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Top 16 Best Scanners For Old Photos And Film Of 2024

Brandon Forder
  Feb 28, 2024 8:06 PM

To help you preserve, view, and share your precious photographic memories, here is a rundown of the year's top photo scanners.

Like me, you probably have stacks of old prints and negatives stashed away in a closet.

Fortunately, photo scanners make it easy to digitize all of your memories so you may store them safely offsite in the event of a natural disaster or catastrophic event like a house fire. alternatively, you might be interested in ordering prints or canvases from a web-based photo lab.

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Last update on 2024-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buying Guide

Media Type

Some scanners are more suited for scanning images than papers, so it's important to know what you'll mostly be scanning before making a purchase. Some people are more skilled at making photocopies than others, but others can easily replicate letters and other papers. Depending on your needs and finances, the more advanced models can be used to scan documents and photographs. It's convenient to be able to divide documents into their own bays and use the movable sliders to laminating identification cards.

Automatic Vs. Manual Feeders

Select one feeder from the several available scanners. Each each document or photograph must be placed by hand on the scanner's flat, glass bed before it can be scanned. Scanning old, delicate photographs is a breeze with these devices, and the results are better than with automated scanners.

Automatic feeders, on the other hand, can stack multiple pages of documents or images and scan them at once, much like a printer's paper feed. Keep in mind that scanners occasionally experience paper jams, which can severely harm your images if they are particularly fragile, and that the scanner will automatically filter through the photos and papers and scan each one.

Paper jams are a common problem with automated flatbed scanners, thus it's best to use a manual flatbed scanner for important papers and original photos. Manual photo scanners create higher-quality scans overall, but automatic scanners are more efficient for processing large volumes of images.

Scan Resolution

The resolution of a digital picture or document is commonly referred to as its "dots per inch" (DPI) count. For social media uploads, a scan resolution of 300 dpi is sufficient, but for scanning film negatives and slides, a scanner resolution of 4800 to 6400 dpi is recommended.

High-dpi photo scanners are superior to their lower-specced rivals in every way imaginable. Keep in mind that the greater the DPI, the higher the quality and intricacy of the final product.

Color Depth

The quantity of color information that can be reproduced in a single scan depends on the scanner's color depth. Though 24-bits is sufficient for most tasks, a deeper depth photo scanner (about 48 bits) may be necessary if you intend to expand or print your scanned images. It's possible that monochrome photographs with more subtle tones can be scanned using these cameras.

Connection Interface

The majority of scanners may be connected to a computer, laptop, or tablet using a USB 2.0 port with no issues. However, many older scanners may only have LPT jacks, so be wary of that. Wi-Fi is an alternative method of connectivity that should be thought about. It's great for business use, when you might need to share a scanned image across multiple computers at once.

Broad Compatibility

Your chosen scanner should be able to handle numerous slide and film sizes, so look for one that has a high level of compatibility (35mm, 110 or 126). The device's compatibility with a wide variety of OSes is also important, since it will make its use much more convenient for a wider range of people.


If you need to scan at a resolution of 7,200 dpi, the greatest film scanners can still do so at a rapid pace. The resulting file is very sizable, so you'll need a fast transfer rate to save it to the device's storage or an external SD/SDHC card.

Ease of Use

The use of a high-quality negative film scanner requires little technical know-how. Slides and negatives can be digitized in a matter of minutes with minimal effort on your part. Using a dedicated scanner eliminates the need for a computer at any step of the process, from scanning to storing to editing the resulting digital image.


Where can I convert my photos to digital?

Numerous expert internet scanning services exist for those who would prefer not to invest in their own photo scanner. These provide a professional level of scanning for you to enjoy. The top local choices can be found with a simple Google search.

What is the best resolution to scan old photos?

Obviously, this is dependant on your intended purpose for the pictures. Photo prints benefit greatly from a higher resolution, preferably at least 300 dots per inch (DPI). For strictly online consumption, a DPI between 72 and 96 is adequate.

Is It Better To Scan Photos As PDF Or JPEG?

Since PDFs are only useful for storing text images, it is best to convert any web content to Jpeg before saving. If you want the highest quality, save them in TIFF format. Image compression is automated in PDF files, making them a popular choice for storing photos, and JPEGs are also well-suited for storing images due to their ability to reduce the size of otherwise sizable files.

Is It Better To Scan Or Photograph Old Photos?

When compared to other methods of duplicating or photographing photographs, scanning is far quicker, easier, and results in higher quality images. The only time this won't work is if the surface is silk, in which case you'll need to use offset lighting.


This concludes our annual roundup of the most highly recommended film and picture scanners.

In order to begin the process of digitizing your prints and film for backup, watching, sharing, or whatever else you can think of, you can start with any of these models.

Do you have any thoughts? Which method of scanning antique photographs do you find most satisfying?a

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