Our 3 favorite Flatbed Photo Scanners of 2020

Photo scanning is what Flatbed Scanners were made to do.They are not a reliable choice for documents because they are not productive. It was always about the high resolution, color depth and dynamic range. In this article we researched the best scanners to digitize your photo collection and to help you choose the best photo scanner

Here is our roundup of the 3 Best Flatbed Photo Scanners that you can buy now.
Our 3 favorite Flatbed Photo Scanners of 2020
ProductFormatOptical ResolutionConnectivityColor DepthPrice

Epson Perfection V600

Epson Perfection V600
A46400 dpiHi-Speed USB 2.048-bit Color or 16-bit GrayscaleClick for more info
Our choice

Epson Perfection V800

Epson Perfection V800
A46400 x 9600 dpiHi-Speed USB 2.048-bit ColorClick for more info

Epson Expression 12000XL-GA

Epson Expression 12000XL-GA
A32400 dpiHi-Speed USB 2.048-bit Color or 16-bit GrayscaleClick for more info


Let’s have a look at each product in particular.

Epson Perfection V600

ProductFormatOptical ResolutionConnectivityColor DepthPrice

Epson Perfection V600

Epson Perfection V600
A46400 dpiHi-Speed USB 2.048-bit Color or 16-bit GrayscaleClick for more info
The Epson Perfection V600 Color photo image film scanner is one of the most popular flatbed photo scanners on the market, not because it is the one with the best specs, but because it is a great all-rounder for a great price. That is why most users have chosen it as their go-to flatbed scanner for photos. Let me explain why: First of all, the optical resolution on one of these is 6400 DPI. That is the kind of pixels per inch that you get in high-end scanners. Another great thing is that it uses a CCD sensor which tends to be generally better than CIS counterparts in RGB color accuracy and vividness.

When you scan in color, you’ll get a 48-bit color depth and when you do it in black-and-white (grayscale) you will be accessing a 16-bit palette. The scanning time is very fast at 300 dpi optical resolution with it being 6 seconds making it a high-speed photo and document scanner. And if for example you have to scan 4×6 photos, you can just place several of them on the scanning glass for quick scans.

The Epson perfection v600 photo scanner can scan photographic film negatives too, it comes with 2 types of film holders for film scanning, one that can help you 35mm film negatives, up to 12 frames and one for mounted slide film. The software offers some Digital ICE features for removing scratches and dust from the digital files, auto crop and what you would expect and that is really important because those scratches on film might not be visible on the film but they are really noticeable when the picture gets magnified on your LCD screen.

Epson provides some good solid included software for processing photos: Epson Easy Photo Fix, Epson Copy Utility, ArcSoft PhotoStudio, ABBYY FineReader Sprint Plus OCR software. A minus is that the software doesn’t upload the documents scanned automatically to cloud storage. The V600 and its scan software work with both operating systems, Windows 10 and Mac OS X. There is no Evernote, Dropbox or Google Drive integration, so the best thing to do would be to set up a hot folder that uploads and syncs automatically and scan the files directly in it.

If the V600 is a bit out of budget, you can opt for the Epson Perfection V550 color photo image film negative scanner which has essentially the same quality and the same transparency unit for slides and negatives, but the ICE features only work on film and you don’t get the Photoshop Elements license.

Epson Perfection V800

ProductFormatOptical ResolutionConnectivityColor DepthPrice

Epson Perfection V800

Epson Perfection V800
A46400 x 9600 dpiHi-Speed USB 2.048-bit ColorClick for more info
The Epson Perfection V800 photo scanner is a professional Flatbed Photo Scanner. Even though it has the same pixel density as the V600, this number doesn’t tell the whole story. The CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) sensor in the V800 has a Dual-Lens system, which means it will capture sharper and more detailed images at the same image resolution.

There is also the issue of black density as the V600 has a 3.4 Dmax and the V800 has a 4.0 Dmax. The Dmax value points represent the ability to scan deep the blacks in the scanned images. The situation here is just like with digital cameras, you can’t capture very bright colors and very dark in the same photo. All these details will be very noticeable on monitors for photo editing. Some scanners do better than others and the V800 does great at this. The Dmax and the Dual-Lens system will show their worth especially when you digitize graphic art and photo prints. The scan speed on this photo scanner is about 8 seconds at 300 dpi resolution.

Some more advanced photo enhancement software is provided this flatbed scanner for photos: Epson Scan, LaserSoft Imaging SilverFast SE editing software. Silverfast SE has Photoshop features with things like 64-bit HDR for layering multiple exposures, Adapted Color restoration which works great for old photos to restore the vividness, frame detection for film, unsharp masking for improving the edges in the pictures, Color True negative to positive photo conversion and SRD Dust and Scratch Removal technology. So all the Digital ICE technology features for photography that you need are embedded in this. A license for ABBYY FineReader Optical Character Recognition is provided too, for converting JPEG, TIFF and Bitmap into searchable PDF files and Word documents with editable text. The software is compatible with mac and PC devices.

So if you are a photographer and high-quality scans are your priority because you are working with precious photos, then you might want to look past the V600 at the V800 or Epson Perfection v850 pro. Why was the V800 included here and not the V850? Simple, because the price difference wasn’t enough to convince us that it is worth the extra money. It’s just 2 sets of film holders to improve productivity when you do multiple scans and supposedly a bit more image quality.

Epson Expression 12000XL-GA

ProductFormatOptical ResolutionConnectivityColor DepthPrice

Epson Expression 12000XL-GA

Epson Expression 12000XL-GA
A32400 dpiHi-Speed USB 2.048-bit Color or 16-bit GrayscaleClick for more info
The Epson Expression 12000XL-GA is an A3 Flatbed Photo Scanner and one of the most powerful flatbed scanners you can buy. It was actually built for photography and Graphic Arts in general because it has a maximum scanning size of A3. So if you want to digitize large photos then this is the choice for you. Not that there is much choice around. It has a photo scanning resolution of 2400 dots per inch without the use of interpolation. This scanning system connects to your computer through the USB 2.0 port and USB cable included. the Dmax from the MatrixCCD sensor on this flatbed photo scanner is actually 3.8 so not as good as the V800. The sensor is also backed by a ReadyScan LED lamp which is present on all the three scanners.

This flatbed photo scanner can also scan photos on film negatives and it scans slides and negatives and the advantage is that this scanner features 2 sets of photographic film holders that are compatible with film and slides, similar to the V800. With the complete set you can scan 48 frames of 35mm negative film, 30 35mm slides, 6 strips of medium format film and 8 frames that are 4 by 5 inches large. You can also scan panoramic film with this device. Scanning film with 2 sets of image holders is much more productive for batch scanning because while the scanner scans the film you are already loading the next batch, making it a productive high-resolution film scanner.

You get the Epson Easy fix software that removes dust and scratches but you don’t buy the scanner for that. This one has the best Silverfast software for photo editing that you can get, the Silverfast AI. The difference? Productivity. It can do better streamlining of digital image enhancement. If you have to work with a large quantity of photos and documents, this is the one for you.

The scanner also comes with 2 calibration targets so that you can correct the RGB color accuracy, very helpful. But bear in mind it is not a cheap scanner so carefully asses your budget options before. There is another version of this large format scanner, the Epson Expression 12000XL-PH.


Which Flatbed Photo Scanner should I get?

So if you just want the best value for your money, get the Epson V600. That has plenty of features and if you are not a professional photographer you won’t notice many differences in the scanning output and you can use the extra money to get a better camera or some additional lenses. It’s great if you just want to digitize family photos. If you work with high-quality photographs and you are the kind of photographer that shoots RAW, then you will love the V800 because it caters to all your photographic needs. The Epson Expression is much more expensive and that works when you have to digitize photos larger than A4. Only then would I suggest spending the extra money. The paper size can be a deal breaker in this buying decision. The Canon canoscan 9000f was a great flatbed photo scanner and it has had a long lifespan. The manufacturer only makes the canon canoscan lide 300 and 400 (Replacement for the Canon Canoscan lide 220 photo and document scanner and direct competitor to the Epson perfection v39). Since flatbed scanners aren’t the most productive, you have three alternative options for portable photo scanners with a fast scanning speed: epson fastfoto ff-680w wireless high-speed photo scanner, fastfoto ff-640 and plustek ephoto z300 (The only plustek photo scanner with an ADF system). Color photos can also be digitized on a color duplex document scanner like the HP Scanjet 2500 f1 or Canon ImageFormula device but the scan quality is usually lower on image scanners with document feeders. If your photos are just on film and the quantity that you have is substantial, then you can use a dedicated slide and negative scanner. For scanning small photos up to A6 you can also use the doxie flip, made by the same company that makes the Doxie Go Se portable scanners. It saves your personal photos directly to an SD memory card. The flip-pal mobile scanner works the same way with SD Card support. We also did reviews on scanners of other types like the Fujitsu ScanSnap IX1500, the Vupoint Solutions Magic Wand portable scanner, Plustek Opticfilm and Kodak Scanza slide scanner.
Our Score

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