Digital Photography: Film and Flatbed Scanners


Scanners are very similar to digital cameras as both capture images using a CCD or similar chip. There are two types of scanners available - flatbed and film. Flatbed scanners can scan photographs, text documents and 3d objects. Some of the higher end flatbed scanners can also scan 35mm or medium and large format slides (transparencies) and negatives as a scanner's optical resolution has increased over the years. High quality flatbed scanners from Epson, Canon, HP and other manufacturers are now highly affordable and have become an essential part of both the home and work based digital photography studios.

Scanning speeds have also increased over recent years with even multifunction devices performing at acceptable levels in both scanning and printing.

The table opposite shows the top 10 best selling flatbed and film scanners for 2016. Within their intended market, these scanners will satisfy the vast majority of computer users and photographers whether in the home or at work.

Film scanners are more specialized and more costly than flatbed scanners. Film scanners are used for scanning strips of slides or negatives at very high resolutions. The range of film scanners is very small in comparison with flatbed scanners and although some high end film scanners can scan medium and large format slides and negatives, most can only deal with 35mm. Scanning large amounts of negatives or slides can be a time consuming process and it is essential to have a fast PC and large hard disk.