Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Buying a Photo Scanner

If you are new to scanners then all of the features involved can be a bit confusing. Let's review some of the most important features of a photo scanner in particular so you can make an informed buying decision.


First, one of the first features you will see emphasized is resolution, given in dpi or dots per inch. The resolution limits of a scanner tell you how powerful the scanner is at replicate the detail of the item that it is scanning, but there is an important catch. When scanning something like a photo, there is a limit to the amount of detail that can be captured in the first place.

Now, if you plan to scan film, slides or negatives then a higher resolution is important. That is because a negative (or slide) has a much greater resolution within itself to be captured than a print made from the same negative. The photo print has essentially lost detail to the printing process (as photo printers have a max resolution at which they can print).

So if you only plan to scan photo prints then you do not need to necessarily purchase the scanner with the highest resolution. But if you think you may one day want to scan film or objects, then go for more resolution.

See a list of the top photo scanners here:

Image Enhancement

Another thing to compare when trying to choose a photo scanner is the image-enhancing functions. For example, the Canon 9000F has a feature called FARE which will automatically correct for defects in your photos like scratches or color fading. Some of the mid to upper level Epson scanners have a similar technology called Digital Ice. These functions can improve the quality of your scans without much intervention on your part, but they also come at a higher cost.

Scanning Software

Software packages are another thing that can differ from one scanner to another. The cheapest photo scanners do not include photo-editing software like Photoshop Elements that some of the best scanners have. If you would like to do some creative editing of your photos, then the addition of these programs can sometimes be more cost effective than buying them separately so keep that in mind.

Finally, don't forget to check the dimensions of the scanners you are considering. Flatbed scanners have a larger footprint than some people realize and you need to make sure you have the space to set them up. If space is a major issue, there are also portable photo scanners available which are very compact. Image quality will not be as good, but if you have nothing fancy planned for your photo images then that may not matter anyway.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Some Handy Tips On Scanning Slides To A Computer

Slides used to be one of the most popular ways of showing off holiday snaps or other photographs of a wider appeal. With most people heading into the digital age though, many have tried to scan their old slides onto computers, a process which can often be disappointing without having first read some tips on scanning slides.

The reason for the poor quality of many images which have been scanned from slides is due to one very simple consideration for which the remedy can be found relatively straightforwardly.


Light is key to the process. Scanners transmit light against images, in much the same way that office photocopiers work. Obviously, slides are transparent, meaning that light shines through the image being scanned rather than reflecting off it as it should.

The scanner being used therefore needs to have in-built capability to scan transparencies; this takes the form of a Transparent Materials Adapter, usually referred to as a TMA. This is part of some scanners' specifications, but by no means all, and individual scanners should be checked. Expert help from the manufacturer or an accredited expert should be taken if no TMA is present.

If a TMA is part of the scanner's specifications then the actual process of scanning transparencies is not over-complicated. The first step is to ensure that the scanner's glass is clean to prevent any distortions or disruptions to the quality of the final image. A lint-free cloth sprayed with a mild variety of glass cleaner is usually best for this job.

The TMA should be opened next and the transparencies to be scanned placed in the slots indicated on the TMA's template. Additional leaks of light cab ruin the process, so if less than a full sheet of slides is being scanned additional light shields are necessary. These additional shields should come with the TMA.

It should also be borne in mind that different scanners from different manufacturers have different specifications and this may mean small alterations to the process on different devices. Instruction manuals should be consulted for specific details.

The with the slides needs to be placed on the glass of the scanner, the marking symbol or arrow in its corner aligned with the similar mark on the scanner bed. The images can then be scanned, saved and altered using one of the many kinds of software available for such a purpose.

The resolution at which the images are being scanned is another factor to consider. If images are to be expanded or blown up in any way then details can be lost if images are not scanned at a high enough resolution.

The scanning of an old image can present the chance to restore it to former glories, with photo software allowing for colours to be reinvigorated and images sharpened. This is a good idea if the images are going to be presented in public or beyond the immediate circle of friends and family, or if images have spent a lengthy period of time in storage conditions which have been less than perfect.

The user manuals of individual scanners can provide additional and more specific guidance on the process using different devices. However, the essential requirement is to have a TMA.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

How a Scanner Works

The difficulties that arise when you are using print media are endless: they are prone to degradation and it is quite cumbersome to manage them all. But printed photographs and other documents can be easily digitized using a flatbed scanner. You just need to know how to do it.

The World of Digitizing

Digitizing data has numerous advantages the most obvious of which are high compression, easy manageability, organization and reproducibility. You can easily manage and manipulate digital photographs with an image editing software program and a digital photo or document will not suffer from any of the problems that print media does.

These days most multifunctional inkjet printers suitable for home and office use come with built in scanners. These all-in-one units are very affordable and produce decent results. For basic photo or document scanning a multifunctional printer that will scan can be fine.

But a flatbed scanner is a must have if you want high quality scans of photographs or film. A mid-level photo scanner will not only scan photos but has the equipment and software to handle film products like slides and negatives. A number of companies that are into document management also create stand-alone scanners. A few of them are Canon, Xerox, and HP.

Can't I Just Use a Camera?

Now you may be thinking: Why can't I use a camera instead of a scanner? Well, good thinking. But here's the problem: A camera creates an image in one just one shot. However, a scanner takes in information line by line making the reproduction more clear and producing high resolution images. If you compare by speed then the camera wins, but if you compare image quality as far as detail, then the scanner wins.

The main components of a flatbed scanner include a light source, a photo sensitive chip fixed to a movable assembly and electronic control hardware. The photo sensor scans the document by converting the light reflected from the paper to electrical signals, those signals are relayed to the host computer to which the scanner is connected. Associated software controls the scanner and creates the complete scanned image.

The speed of the scanning process is one of the components in image quality. When a high resolution scan is requested, the arm of the scanner moves very slowly to capture more detail in each line of its run. This is one frustration for people as far as scanners go, it can be a slow process.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Using a Slide Viewer for Old Slides

One thing people love are good memories, and pictures are a great way to savor good moments. Before everything became digital, slide viewers were the rave. In 1931, the slide viewer was born. People used slide viewers to view their pictures, usually during a gathering or special event. Due to the advances in technology, slide viewers are rarely used today.

How Do Slide Viewers Work?

Slide viewers use positive film instead of negative film like many cameras. Instead of prints, the positive film is put in a cardboard, rectangle frame to be viewed in the slide viewer. Once the film is placed in the slide viewer, the light in the viewer shines through the film, and projects on a surface, such as the wall or ceiling.

What Size Slide Will They Work With?

Most slide viewers use standard size slides which are 35mm positive film. Some slides use film that is 2 inches and 1/8. Most of the time, you can view slides that are over 50 years old, and keep special memories.

Types of Viewers

Yes, there are different types of viewers. Some viewers are more common than others. Common viewers include slide, overhead, and digital viewers. Viewers that are not as common as others include, cabled, wireless, AC powered, and battery powered. Each type of viewer has there benefits and disadvantages.

Common Viewers

Slide Viewers

Slide viewers use a mechanical system that allows different slides to be changed when you're ready.These viewers have a bright bulb that shines through square slides. A slide viewer magnifies and projects the images on small square slides.

Overhead Viewers

Overhead viewers display information on transparencies, including notes and images. These viewers were used for the first time in 1940. Like the slide viewer, the overhead viewer contains a bright light. The bright light is housed in a large box with a lens over the top. The transparency is placed over the top of the lens. An overhead viewer has a long arm with a mirror that projects the transparent image onto a wall, ceiling, screen, or other surface.

Digital Viewers

Digital viewers are more up to date than overhead and slide viewers. These viewers, like overhead projectors, are used to display images, video, and data.  Information can be shared through digital viewers through memory cards, computers, or electric devices. Digital viewers require bright bulbs to display information correctly. Because digital viewers can display a variety of media, they are more versatile than other viewers, and smaller than most viewers available.

Uncommon Slide Viewers

Cabled Viewers

Cabled viewers are often favored over wireless viewers because the connection is more stable. Cabled viewers can be connected to many data sources. These viewers are less expensive than wireless viewers, the connection is not susceptible to an interference, and  the viewer does not need to be wireless in order to operate.

Wireless Viewers

Wireless viewers are favorites of businesses and schools because they can be placed anywhere in a room and the quality of the image will not decrease. The setup of wireless viewers is easier than cable viewers, and it is easier to store than cable viewers. Wireless viewers are portable, more flexible, and holds less of a health and accident risk than cabled viewers.

Advantages of Using A Slide Viewer

There are many benefits of pursuing a slide viewer. Both electric and battery operated units are available. Battery operated slide viewers, especially hand-held viewers, can be placed anywhere in the room. Electric slide viewers are easy to use and you will never have to worry about changing batteries. Hand-held and electric slide viewers are comparatively inexpensive and able to display high-quality images.

DIY Slide Viewer

Looking for a cheap option? A quick and dirty method for viewing slides? Instructables has a page on making your own slide viewer. Check it out!

More About Hand-held Slide Viewers

Hand-held slide viewers cannot be mounted on a wall, ceiling, or on any other surface. If you want a viewer that projects data on a surface, you need an overhead or digital viewer. When you're ready to replace the batteries, go to the back of the viewer and squeeze and pull the sides of the compartment to remove the cover and replace the battery. The piece snaps back in place when you push it on the back of the viewer.

Although viewing more than one slide at a time is convenient, hand-held viewers are equipped only to handle the load of one cardboard slide at a time. If you need a viewer that holds more than one slide at once, you will need to purchase a more updated version slide viewer than the hand-held viewer.

The hand-held version of the slide viewer cannot be set to an on or automatic position for continuous viewing. Another version of a slide viewer will need to be purchased to enable stack and continuous viewing. The hand-held slide viewer does not require a light box. When a slide is placed in the slot, the light comes on and displays the photo. The photos are displayed with 2x magnification o more. 

Most hand-held viewers come with everything you need to get started in the box, except the batteries. At some point in time, the bulb will need to be replaced. and can be done by removing the back of the viewer. Many hand-held viewers are battery operated, and requires two AA batteries, and the batteries are not included. If you prefer an adapter, an adapter can be purchased separately.

A warranty for hand-held viewers are available. The warranty protects against workmanship and imperfection within the material for one year. A limited time warranty is available. When you're ready to buy a slide viewer, the hand-held viewer is the most popular. There are many different viewers available, all of which have awesome benefits and few disadvantages.

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII

The CanoScan 9000F MKII is a bestselling photo scanner for good reasons. It is a versatile scanner that produces high quality images across various formats.

The CanonScan 9000F MKII can be used to scan a variety of items including photographs, documents, negatives and slides. With a maximum resolution of 9600 x 9600 dpi, this scanner is capable of producing beautiful color images. This scanner is also faster than many older models.

If you are looking for a great photo scanner at a reasonable price, the CanoScan 9000F MKII is certainly a great choice.

Customer Reviews
I would imagine that if someone is serious about purchasing a scanner, they will want to be reassured before they make their final decision. One of the best ways to reassure them would be to have them hear from someone else's mouth the experience they had or what they were looking for. Other peoples opinions are a great way to come to a conclusion, but they do not have to be the only route you take.

In any case, in this review of the Canon 9000F MKII we are going to examine what one customer found to be so good about this particular scanner.

What this particular customer wanted out of a scanner.

While deciding on what type of scanner to use, this particular customer though about the type of everyday needs they had concerning a scanner. The CanoScan offered to solve some of the worries they were having such as a scanner that could not remove dust and one that did not offer scratch removal. This customer also wanted the scanner they chose to offer fading, grain, and backlight correction. All of the features were offered on the Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII.

This customer wanted a scanner that did not have so much warm up time and did not consume too much power.

This particular customer was unsatisfied in the past with scanner that took too long to warm up. Their time was valuable and they wanted to get on with other more important matters. When they came across the
CanoScan 9000F MKII they were happy to see that it had zero warm up time. They were also happy to see that this scanner would not consume too much power. Consuming too much power would only cause circuit problems with other heavy power items in their house.

This particular customer wanted to be able to easily adjust setting and modify images.

Other scanners made this very complicated, but this is not the case with the 9000F MKII. You will be able to utilize what is known as auto scan mode. What this does is allows you to easily adjust setting so you are satisfied with the final result of the image you will create or you can make modifications easily.

In the end, this customer found that the CanoScan 9000F MKII was one of the
best photo scanners and solved a lot of the worries and problems they would have with other scanners. When they were on the fence about which scanner they should choose, all of these functions made the choice really simple. You can follow a similar criteria when deciding whether or not this unit is the scanner for you.

Learn how to apply special filters to your scans below.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

An Overview Of Scanner Options

One of the most useful inventions to come along with the computer age is the scanner. They were called flat bed scanners and provided a means of cleaning up a lot of files. Considering the 11x17 scanner options, you might want to read some other interesting things you can do with a scanner.

Scanning Photos For Printing - Photographs are nice especially if you are a professional photographer, but you could use the photos for websites to display your latest DIY project. The images could be used for desktop wallpaper or sending to friends and family through email. Because they are digitized you can use computer software to edit them, and make interesting images on top of the first.

Here is something else you could do with a scanner and software. Using the edit feature you can enlarge your projects in on the computer screen and then print out only that part. This allows you to make a full sized pattern of anything you wish, turn around and use it to trace the object on plywood. Once you are done, cut out life size reindeer, cows, antique cars, you name it.

Copying Documents - You can turn a good flatbed scanner into a copying machine by scanning in those receipts and other important documents and then use your printer to have a copy. The best thing about this is that you could use software to improve the documents, if you need to take out a grease smudge.

Other things a scanner can do is copy a quick recipe out of Grandmas old recipe book, or a page from a magazine that shows the instructions for a new at home project you have been wanting to do. Maybe there are some old documents in the family that you would like to have a copy of for yourself, those can be added to the computer files just as any other document.

Faxing Documents - You can Fax a document that is already in your computer, but if that document on a sheet of paper, you have a problem. A scanner can scan it in, then you can send it out by using the fax driver. When you have long distance relatives, and you find something in a magazines that they need to see, put the magazine in the scanner and then from the computer send them the information.

OCR - Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software is used to convert images to readable text. Once they are converted you can use word processor to make the changes that are required. When working with a group event and they brought you a printed copy you easily change it. OCR software usually comes with the scanner.

There always seems to be a need to try getting a hard copy of some document or picture into the computer files, and a scanner is the only way to achieve that. Having good 11x17 large scanner options could really improve your home or office with all of the nice things it can do for you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Mustek ScanExpress 1200 For Large Format Scans

The ScanExpress 1200 is one of only two scanners using CIS (Contact Image Sensor) technology as opposed to the standard CCD (Charge Coupled Device) used by most scanners. A review of the Mustek ScanExpress 1200 is necessary to introduce users to the specifications of the machine and its capabilities.

Any office using scanners for business purposes will find the large format machine an extremely useful piece of equipment. Document sizes up to 297 by 420 mm can be accommodated and scanned in full color with a 9600 dpi (dots per inch) resolution. Communication is through a USB 2.0 interface which is easy-to-use. The machine will work with most Windows OS's including 2000, Vista and XP. It is compatible with the Apple Mac OS X system too.

Copies of a high quality can be produced with the best scanners and may be faxed or E-mailed using the software supplied with the machine. Among the software are programs for OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and for manipulating images, which graphics designers may find useful. Besides having a color depth of 48 bits, the 24 bit gray scale is also supported with printing onto plain paper of A3 size.

A 500 MHz Pentium processor, 128 MB of RAM and 220 MB of free space on a hard disk drive will be required for the installation of this scanner. A free USB 2.0 port should also be available and, to view scanned images, an SVGA color monitor should be used. The unit's power is not transferred through the USB port but is delivered via a 12V supplementary power adapter included with purchase. LED's provide the light source for scanning. These do not require as much power and allow for a quick start from cold.

Scanners normally take up a lot of space on a work surface. This is called a large footprint to the technically minded. Being an A3 scanner the ScanExpress 1200 is no exception to the rule. This could cause some minor problems while a suitable location is being sought. One feature that will prove useful is the ability to remove the cover to facilitate the scanning of books or thick documents. The cover is held in place by two wedges, and when these are removed, the cover can be separated from the base.

There are no visible switches or operating keys on the outside of the scanner, no on/off switch is to be found. The machine relies entirely on it's operating software for control. What is interesting is that the software that controls the machine has not changed in five years. All the drivers are modern, fortunately, and are able to support Windows XP 64 bit and Vista.

A scanners maximum optical resolution is quite important, but be careful about claims of interpolated resolution which is really a software trick to try and generate a large picture from less available data. A clear picture can not be built up from very little data. The machine is able to scan at 9600 dpi but displaying an image on a computer screen will not require much more than 75 dpi. Printing the scanned color picture can be done reasonably at 300 dpi while black and white pictures would need 600 dpi.

Looking at the above information, it is assumed that images would be printed out in their original size. A higher resolution is required for enlargements, however, and when the final image is printed, the greater dpi should be kept after enlarging. This review of the Mustek ScanExpress 1200 has hopefully been of some use.