Scanner prices have continued to dropped dramatically in recent years, making digital imaging technology very affordable for more people than ever.
At most any computer electronics store you can purchase a basic scanner for as little as $50, or a very sophisticated model for $300 or less.
Most scanners work with pictures printed on paper, but some work directly from negatives and or transparencies.
Almost all scanners typically come bundled with basic software that lets you view a fast pre-scan, and then make certain basic adjustments before doing the “real” scan saving you time.
Generally, this software has gotten very easy to use over the years, but it still helps to have someone with you that has experience with computers when you get your first scanner.
Virtually all scanners on the market feature software to edit images and recognize text (OCR).
Some time spent studying the software packages and their features will help you determine if they offer the added value that you are searching for with a scanner.
Are you looking for a basic scanner for home use and simple projects. A 30-bit 300 dpi, parallel port model would probably be the best choice.
Perhaps you are searching for a scanner that will serve as an office companion.
Features such as the ability to scan legal size or larger may be an issue.
You would also probably want the ability to fax or copy. Perhaps you are a graphic designer that needs many of the features a 36-bit scanner can offer.
When shopping for a scanner, the important figure is the scanner’s optical resolution.
Another issue of course is to understand how much resolution to use for each application.
Many people will automatically assume that they need to always use the highest amount of resolution available for the best quality. This is may not be true. When scanning an image with a flaw, the added resolution will only pronounce this flaw.
The resolution at which you scan a picture determines how much detail gets captured in the digital file, and the size at which the picture will print or display. Resolution is commonly measured in dots per inch (dpi).
The higher the dpi, the larger the digital file will be an important consideration if you have limited ability to store digital files, or if you’ll be sharing them via e-mail or the Web.
Resolution and file sizes of images are directly related. As you increase the scanner’s resolution, the file size will also increase. For e-mailing an image or placing it on a website, it is important to not use too high of a resolution.
The average viewable resolution on a typical monitor is 75 dpi, so it is unnecessary to scan at any greater dpi when displaying items on screen.
For printing to ink jets or color laser printers, you need not go beyond 300 dpi as the printer’s available line screen figure (the amount of lines per inch available when an image is halftone) will typically never move beyond 100 lpi.
The rule of thumb is to scan an image at one and a half to two times the available line screen of your output device. Following this rule, you can see that 300 dpi is adequate.
I personally have found that for Scanning Photo’s 180 DPI works best.
The lower the resolution the faster it will scan and the smaller the file size will be. For Text 300 DPI seems to work well.
If you plan to use your inkjet printer to print the picture, scanning at 300 dpi will probably suffice.
However, if you know the picture will only be viewed on computer screens (which have very low resolution compared to any printer), 72 dpi is appropriate.
I suggest you playing around with your scanner.
Take a real small picture and scan it at 1200 DPI and 25 Percent or 9600 and 5 percent you can take a very small image and enlarge it this way without losing resolution, however, depending on the program you’re using you may get some strange results.
If you plan to share your picture online, JPEG is your best bet. This format also works well with most image-editing software packages. JPEG images are compressed files that can save you space on your computer hard drive.
Scanning Old Pictures Tips!
Most old pictures fade, so correcting the contrast is one key to reversing the effects of time on your treasured pictures. For best results, you can make your own “gray patch” and scan it along with your image. Here’s some tip:
A. Cut small, equally sized rectangles of bright white paper, nonreflective black paper (or velour), and flat gray paper that looks about halfway between the black and white.
B. Glue the rectangles in a row on a strip of paper or thin cardboard. Trim away any excess cardboard.
C. When scanning an old picture, place your gray patch right next to the original print, so you can scan the two of them together into one image. This allows your scanner’s software to use the light and dark values in the gray patch as a basis for adjusting the contrast in your picture.
D. After you’ve made your scan (with adjusted contrast), you can crop out the gray patch from the picture.