OT: photo and document scanner request?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Bill Pressing, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Sorry to go OT here folks, but I wasn't sure where else to turn. I use the
    archives of this group all the time for video information and have often
    found your suggestions helpful. So, even though my request is OT, I feel
    most of you are tech-savy enough to be able to help or at least give me a
    good start.

    I'm looking for as portable a scanner as possible, preferably one I don't
    need a PC to operate, that will easily scan both documents and photos. I
    have owned a VuPoint Magic Wand for some time and it's good if I'm not in a
    hurry but no good for hundreds of medical billing forms and it only does
    so-so on photos plus I don't know how well the scans were until I see them
    on the PC later.

    Recently, I found out about "mobile" scanners and I have just purchased a
    Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300. However, I should have researched more beforehand
    because it requires a PC to operate and isn't the greatest in the photo
    scans. I have yet to receive the scanner and may just send it back once it

    So.... what is available that offers portability (hand held, battery
    operated, no PC to operate), speed (I need to scan hundreds of medical bills
    into digital format), and ability to scan photos decently of up to 8x10
    size, and ideally costs less than $350, and has good reviews as well?

    I would greatly appreciate any suggestions and that would include possible
    appropriate forums where I could address these concerns.

    Thanks in advance,
    Bill Pressing
    Bill Pressing, Jul 13, 2012
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  2. Bill Pressing

    Paul Guest

    First bit of advice.

    Scanning sucks.

    It's time consuming, and will make you nuts after only a few hours
    of loading samples into your setup.

    If I had to do it, I'd use a laptop and a flatbed scanner. With the
    flatbed scanner, you get to "compose" the object being scanned.
    Whereas, with autofeeders, you take whatever you can get, which
    may not make you very happy. If all the source material is 8.5x11,
    perfectly flat, on good quality paper, no crinkles, yes, the autofeeder
    would be great. But if the objects are all different types, and need
    to be composed, the flatbed for $100 is the answer.

    It might take you two minutes per page, to scan.

    If you use a DSLR with a macro lens, halogen lamp, tripod or
    stand, you can capture stuff in one second. A DSLR camera is
    self contained. But you won't know how the stuff looks that
    you capture, until you load it into the computer later. So
    it would really pay to "dial in" a DSLR, while it's hooked up
    to your computer, ascertain whether the quality is there, then
    take the DSLR and lighting solution to the final capture site,
    and then do your capture there. You don't have to own the DSLR,
    and you could rent it and a macro lens and use it for a few days.

    The main problem with cameras, is lighting and reflections. I've
    tried to shoot pictures of an electronics PCB, and getting
    the lighting right was sheer torture. The flatbed scanner,
    solves all of that for you, as there are hardly ever lighting
    problems. (Most plain paper has a matte finish.) The flatbed
    is slow, but you know that eventually, you'll be finished.

    Paul, Jul 13, 2012
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  3. The OP asked for a portable setup (I first typed 'potable', which might
    help a lot). He specifically didn't want a scanner that requires a

    The DSLR (or any decent digital camera, or in an emergency, a cellphone)
    is a good idea. But you *can* see the quality of the results without
    going back to a computer. I do it all the time. Just use the playback
    function and the playback zoom - it's easy.

    Where that idea might fail the OP is in quality. If he needs really
    sharp documents, he might have trouble with a camera, especially a
    point-and-shoot or a phone.

    To the OP: here are a couple of links from Amazon. I won't try to
    evaluate them for you, but they do manage to tempt me :)


    The first two are links to two products at Amazon. Weirdly enough, the
    third one I got to by clicking on a link at Amazon.

    Oh, never mind, I got an Amazon link for it:


    Some of the links at Amazon are devices that require tethering to a
    computer; those above don't. BTW, I only looked at the first page of

    Maybe you could have even found them yourself.
    Gene E. Bloch, Jul 13, 2012
  4. Bill Pressing

    Brian Guest

    A multipurpose printer should fill your needs.
    It scan and prints. Canon have some good reliable multipurpose printers. I
    use the Canon Pixma MP960.
    Brian, Jul 14, 2012
  5. Bill Pressing

    j Guest


    Xerox XMobile Portable Scanner



    Have not used it.

    I've snapped hundreds of documents on the fly with my pocket camera but
    is hard to get even lighting. Good enough to read later, but you
    wouldn't want to reprint.
    j, Jul 14, 2012
  6. Bill Pressing

    j Guest

    j, Jul 14, 2012
  7. Bill Pressing

    Brian Guest

    Some pocket cameras have a text mode designed to photograph text. It is
    useful for photographing things such as descriptions of things in a museum
    and documents. It seems to work well.
    Brian, Jul 15, 2012
  8. Um, he said he wants something that doesn't need to be connected to a
    PC, and he said "as portable as possible". The multipurpose machines
    you mention seem to me to be among the worst possible choices given his
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jul 17, 2012
  9. Bill Pressing

    Brian Guest

    Not all functions on a multipurpose printer need to be connected to a PC.
    On my Canon printer I can scan photos and put an SD card into the printer
    and print photos without connecting it to a PC.
    If your going to scan documents then the scanner part of the printer needs
    to be at least the size of the document.
    If he just wants to scan photos then there is a small hand scanner device
    that runs on batteries. Its about the same size of a ruler. If he is
    reading this and wants to know more then I can give him more details on my
    portable hand scanner that
    has scans onto a SD card so no PC is needed.
    Brian, Jul 17, 2012
  10. Most MP printers I've seen are portable - with a wheelbarrow...
    Gene E. Bloch, Jul 17, 2012
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