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Best Scanners For Artists And Photographers : Review And Buying Guide

Brandon Forder
  Sep 27, 2023 7:42 AM

Isn't it time you digitized your old photographs, slides, and negatives? Artists and photographers may get their work done more quickly with the help of the correct tools. Here are the test winners, along with in-depth analyses of their performance.

In order to digitize their prints and film, many photography enthusiasts and family historians turn to photo scanners. Differentiating qualities of photo scanners include high sensor resolution and the ability to scan both photographic prints and transparencies (slides and negatives). Scratch-removal and other scan-retouching software is included in many of them.

Most picture scanners are multipurpose in nature; some even come with optical character recognition (OCR) software for scanning the occasional document. Dedicated photo scanners are a rare sight on the hardware market, but those that are available tend to last for years. (As you read and explore the models we've summarized above and below, you may see that many of them were evaluated quite some time ago. In a word, yes, these are still the cutting edge versions. Below you'll find a summary of our current top picks, a guide to selecting the best model for your needs, and a comparison table with all the technical specifications of our top picks.

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Last update on 2023-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buying Guide

Scanner type 

It's crucial to select a scanner that's a good fit for the artwork you intend to scan. One type of scanner, the CIS scanner, is suitable for flat artwork since it can scan any type of material.

However, a CID scanner is required to scan oil and acrylic paintings due to their rough surfaces.

In most cases, a CID scanner will be the most adaptable and useful tool for scanning artwork, unless the surface is perfectly flat.


Dots Per Inch, or DPI, refers to the number of pixels in a scanned image, expressed in terms of the number of individual dots. All the scanners we've chosen have a DPI that's greater than 300, which is the minimum DPI that experts recommend for scanning artwork.

Don't bump up the DPI in Photoshop or any other photo editor if you want to avoid distorting your final product. Instead, make sure the DPI of your scanner is at least 300.

Scanned artwork with a DPI of 100 or below may look pixelated and blurry, making it unsuitable for reproduction or sale.

Keep in mind that if you intend to enlarge the original artwork, the higher the DPI, the larger it can be printed without seeming pixelated.

Screen resolution, also known as PPI or pixel density, is distinct from print resolution, also known as DPI. This word isn't relevant when searching for a scanner, but it will become relevant when working with editing software.

Dust and scratch removal

Remove dust and scratches from your scans with the help of many scanner drivers. The dust function can be helpful, but a hardware-based method is needed for permanent scratch removal. You may identify these scanners by looking for the Digital ICE technology they incorporate.

Scan Resolution

When scanning artwork, it is crucial to have a high DPI (dots per inch) scan resolution in order to capture as much detail as possible.

Whether you're making prints for Etsy and your online shop, archival-quality art prints, or photos for your web portfolio, your choice of scanning resolution will be largely determined by the intended usage of the final products.

For greater versatility in terms of final result, scanners with a resolution of at least 1200 dots per inch (DPI) should be your goal.


When referring to an art scanner, "compatibility" refers to its ability to interact with a specific set of computer systems and interfaces. These days, every scanner is equipped with the newest USB connection interface and can work with both Windows and macOS. Some even have Wi-Fi connectivity for scanning directly to the cloud.

Affordable artwork scanners exist in plenty, and they can adapt to a wide variety of mediums and sizes, capturing every nuance, nuance of color, depth, and even the spirit and energy of our original masterpieces.

File format 

Somewhat unexpectedly, this is also related to color accuracy. Because of their widespread use and acceptance, JPEG files and images are often suitable for reproduction. However, JPEG could potentially degrade your images.

There is also the option of using the TIFF file format, which is compatible with both Illustrator and Photoshop.

Since TIFF files employ the same CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) color model that is standard in the printing industry, the quality of the image won't suffer. Simply put, this means your prints will have the most accurate color possible.


As you can see from the companies we've listed above, Epson and Canon are industry leaders when it comes to scanners and printers, and have been for many years. Rather than choosing a scanner based on its name alone, you should consider the features it will provide and its value for money.

However, if you're going to spend a significant amount of money on such hardware, it's advisable to stick with a reputable brand.


There is a huge variety of photo scanners on the market, both in terms of price and functionality. Ordinarily, the only thing that low-priced picture models can do is scan printed photos. Many of them are excellent at this and cost less than $100. A slide/film negative scanner can be purchased for around $200. Slides and negatives can be safely held in place on the scanner's glass platen and scanned in bulk with the use of plastic holders included with some versions. This lessens the strain on your arms and shoulders from constantly repositioning the transparencies as you scan by keeping them off the platen.


Is it better to scan or photograph artwork?

You can get greater resolution and more consistent results when digitizing flat artwork like drawings, sketches, and line art by scanning it with a high-quality artwork scanner. Photographing paintings, drawings, and other works of art can be the best option when you need to convert them to a digital format.

What DPI should I scan my artwork?

We advise scanning at a minimum of 600 DPI (dots per inch) and ideally the maximum resolution available if you intend to print it afterwards. As a general rule, 300ppi is the minimum acceptable resolution for sharing digital artwork online.

Can you scan watercolor?

Yes. Dry your artwork thoroughly before scanning it to get rid of any remaining moisture. Using wet tissues or a hair blower can help you accomplish this in record time.

How do I scan a large piece of artwork?

A huge piece of artwork can be scanned with a large-scale flatbed scanner, or if it is extremely large, it can be scanned in chunks and then stitched together using digital editing tools. Most scanners come with software that can accurately join many images into one.


Our featured products cover the gamut from entry-level consumer options to high-end scanners designed for dedicated photographers. All of these items share the distinction of being the top picture scanners on the market right now.


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