Scanner Buying GuideHide

Different types of scanners work in different ways. Know your scanner options so that you can choose the right model.

Flatbed scanners: Versatile flatbed scanners can scan both flat and three-dimensional objects, including thick books and magazines. Flatbed scanners work similar to a copy machine. Rest the item you want to scan on a glass plate and a scanning head captures the image. Look for a large-format flatbed scanner if you want to scan legal-size documents.

Slide, film, and transparency scanners: Flatbed scanners with slide or film negative adapters will help you get old slides into your PC and help you preserve your old film negatives before they deteriorate. Canon scanners, HP scanners, Panasonic scanners and Fujitsu scanners can also scan your film negatives.

Sheetfed scanners: Sheetfed scanners are smaller than flatbed scanners and can only scan loose pages.

Handheld scanners: Small handheld scanners plug into the parallel port on your desktop or laptop and you can use them with several computers. They often require you to scan your documents in sections.

Portable scanners: Compact  portable scanners can easily fit into a briefcase or tote bag, but may not offer the same resolution as larger scanners.

Drum scanners: Some graphics professionals prefer older, high-end drum scanners. Drum scanners rotate an original source past photomultiplier tube (PMT) sensors repeatedly and at high speeds to achieve a quality scan.


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