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Best Scanners For Slides And Photos Of 2023

Gretchen Rubin
  Sep 25, 2023 3:36 PM

The use of film cameras has seen a recent resurgence, but not everyone has access to a darkroom. Fortunately, film slide scanners exist as a product of modern technology.

Scanning slides is the most reliable method for preserving physical artifacts in digital form. However, choosing the best slide scanner from the many models on the market can be a daunting task.

This is the ultimate guide for film photographers who want to digitize their slides. The top slide scanners  will be discussed, along with the aspects you should look for while shopping for one.

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Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buying Guide

Number of Users

The number of people who will be using the slide scanner will determine whether you should get a home or office model. While flatbed scanners are ideal for shared usage in homes and offices with multiple people, portable slide scanners may accommodate up to two users at once.

For group viewing, several flatbed scanners include larger LCD panels or can be connected to a monitor.


Make sure your scanner has enough internal storage for at least a hundred images. To make up for their limited internal storage, slide scanners like the KODAK Scanza and DIGITNOW both offer SD card ports. The option to transfer scanned images to a computer's hard drive or laptop is another convenient storage option.

Scanning Speed

Depending on the scan resolution you've selected, most slide scanners report speed in pages per minute (PPM). There is a direct correlation between scan speed and resolution, thus naturally better resolution scans take longer to complete. The scan time of your device is also affected by factors like the photo size and scan type you pick (color, greyscale, or monochrome). Your best bet for scanning slides in bulk is a device that supports batch processing of many negatives at once.

Scan Quality

Whether you're scanning for business or personal use, the quality of your scan will affect how your photos turn out, particularly in print. Both bit depth and resolution have a significant role in determining overall quality.

The color quality of your scans is significantly affected by the bit depth. Scan colors will be more true to life if the bit depth is increased. If you require a computer for work, don't settle for less than 30-bit resolution, although 24-bit is fine for home usage. A greyscale scan in 12 bits of resolution should be sufficient.

The quality of your scans is directly proportional to the image resolution you use. It's recommended that print resolution not drop below 3200 dpi (dots per inch). However, if you just want to save the scans to your computer or upload them to the web, 300-1200 dpi would do.

Size Of Negatives

The effectiveness of your scanner is proportional to the size of your original prints. Standard A4 film scanners can read 120 and 220 film strips, but their more sophisticated counterparts can read 45 and 810 negatives. Invest in a flatbed scanner if you need to scan documents of varying sizes.

Dust & Scratch Removal

There is a good likelihood that your old negatives have been damaged throughout the years. Invest in a film scanner with built-in dust and scratch removal features to avoid having to make any adjustments in post-processing. Imperfections in scanned images can be found using infrared cleaning technology, which is commonly used by these models.

Try to tidy up your photographs before running them through the machine anyway. Before scanning, clean your slides and negatives with a microfiber cloth or a soft blower. Maintaining a clean flatbed scanner can also increase its scan quality.

Viewing Screen

Certain scanners feature an LCD for instant previewing and editing. Although viewing screens are often more expensive, they are useful for aligning and perfecting film before scanning.


If you require a flexible gadget that can hook up to HDMI cables, SD cards, and other systems, connectivity is a huge selling factor. However, if all you need is a simple slide scanner, you'll find that many models include USB connectivity.


All the action is in the software of a slide scanner. You should expect scan results throughout the system to suffer if the software is flawed.


How should I choose the best photo scanner?

Depending on your desired outcomes, a certain photo scanner type may be required. Selecting a scanner with a high resolution is important if you want to capture the most information possible. Most of the scanners on our list have a maximum resolution of 600 dots per inch (DPI), but the two Epson Perfection scanners can achieve an incredible 6400 DPI.


If speed is more important to you than quality, and you have a large number of photos to scan, you may want to look into a high-volume scanner. The Epson FastFoto FF-680W is an excellent choice for this purpose. Plus, there are low-priced alternatives like the Plustek ePhoto Z300, which comes in at number two on our list, if you just need to digitize a few pictures and speed and detail aren't crucial.

More advanced picture scanners accommodate a wider variety of film types and sizes, including slides, with purpose-built holders. There is a photo scanner out there for everyone and every purpose.

Is it better to scan or photograph old photos?

Taking a picture of an antique photograph using a smartphone or digital camera is one way to digitize it. The portability of a smartphone makes it a viable alternative to a scanner, while the quality of the top camera phones(opens in new tab) allows for instant uploads to social media. However, if you can purchase one of the best picture scanners, this is a far superior choice, since the scan quality will be higher and thus more suitable for generating huge prints or reproductions.

Which Slide Scanner Is Best for Me?

There's no way to rewind time in real life, but a slide scanner lets us relive priceless moments from years ago. Comparing slide scanners across pricing points reveals the same stark disparities in functionality that you'd find in the purchase of any other electronic device. However, if you follow this checklist, you can be confident that the final result will be excellent.


The greatest film scanners will allow you to upload your old film rolls and turn them into digital files, preserving your memories for the ages. Finding the greatest slide scanner, however, requires extensive study, just like selecting any other electronic device. If you take the time to read through some slide scanner reviews, you should be able to discover a gadget that can bring your old, fading prints back to life.

Whether you're on a tight shoestring or can splash out a little, this guide will point you in the direction of the best slide scanners currently available.

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