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Scanners - A buyer's guide to deciding which Desktop or Flatbed Scanner is right for you!

An image of a Fujitsu Scansnap S510 Desktop Scanner An image of a Canon LiDE 600F Flatbed Scanner An image of a Canon CS8800F Flatbed Scanner

For those uninitiated into the world of document and photo scanning and the myriad of strange and unfamiliar terms associated with it; choosing which scanner to buy can be a daunting task. Some clear explanations of which scanners will perform well for specific tasks would be beneficial and it is with this in mind that we at A1stores have created this useful guide to photo and document scanners.

Why Use a Scanner?

Image showing the restorative possibilities of flatbed scanners and film scanners

Whether you want to protect, preserve and restore your family photographs, negatives and slides or simply need to streamline the ever-increasing pile of paperwork that is threatening to obscure any evidence of a desk surface then there is a scanner that will suit your needs.

One of the most obvious benefits with a scanner is preservation and restoration or, to be more specific, the halting of deterioration. Over time the colours and vividness of your photographs become faded and drab, the chemicals used during the processing of your old negatives can react with light, heat and oxygen and ultimately ruin them, and documents can become faded and yellow.

Using a film scanner or a flatbed scanner can breathe new life into these faded photographs and dust scratched negatives with surprising results.

Scanner Basics

At the simplest level a scanner is a device that converts your images and text into digital files that can be accessed using a computer. Some scanners, such as Canon flatbed film scanners, are capable of scanning any type of document where other scanners such as business card scanners have more specific uses.

What type of Scanners are there?

The Flatbed Scanner

Flatbed scanners are the most common desktop scanners and are similar to photocopiers in that the item being scanned is placed on a glass plate while the scanning head moves underneath it. Many flatbed scanners have hinged lids that can extend upwards allowing thicker items such as books to be placed on the flatbed scanning surface.
See our range of Flatbed Scanners here

The Flatbed Scanner with limited film scanning

Although still predominantly flatbed document scanners this range also have a light box fitted into the lid passing light through the transparency to the sensor which captures and renders the image in conjunction with the scanning software. Typically this low-end scanner range will only allow one strip of negatives to be scanned at a time. These types of scanners are very popular with users with lower budgets who require a document scanner with limited film scanning capabilities.

The Flatbed / Film Scanner

This range typically boasts a full size removable transparency unit allowing scanning of multiple rows of negatives and numerous slides in one pass. Suited equally to both document scanning and scanning transparencies, negatives and film they are popular with users who have a mid-range budget and have many photos, slides and negatives to archive and restore.

The Dedicated Film Scanner

Dedicated film scanners are designed solely to scan slides or photographic negatives and is a task in which they excel. Film scanners can usually accept 35mm and 120mm film strips and individual slides. This range suits users with a larger budget and a large quantity of film and slides to scan at a higher resolution than would normally be achievable with a flatbed scanner.

The Desktop Scanner

A desktop scanner is one that is used mainly for the quick scanning of documents. They often have the ability to scan images and photographs but only at limited resolutions and usually to a limited number of file formats such as jpg or bmp. These scanners excel in the fast scanning of single or double sided A4 documentation and the ability to export these scans to a varied number of formats such as PDF, Word and even Excel.

The Business Card Scanner

These scanners are designed to quickly scan business cards into scanning software that then organises and presents those contact details in a 'digital address book'. Suited mainly to those in the business world receiving a great quantity of business card contacts
See our Business Card Scanners here

Canon Scanners...not Cannon Scanners!

Image showing the 'you can with Canon' logo

A1stores specialise in supplying a range of Canon scanners from Canon's entry-level LiDE 25 flatbed A4 scanner to the award winning Canon CanoScan 8800F high performance film, photo and document scanner.

Canon scanners are supplied with everything you need to get up and running no matter what operating system you're using. Drivers for Windows XP & Vista, Mac OS X Tiger & Leopard, Linux and Unix are supplied plus the easy-to-use CanoScan Toolbox scanning software comes bundled with every scanner

Best Photo Flatbed Scanner 2008 Award Winner!

The award winning Canon CanoScan 8800F Flatbed Scanner

The Canon CanoScan 8800F was recently awarded the Technical Image Press Association's 'Best Photo Flatbed Scanner 2008' award. The Canon CanoScan 8800F provides a solution for all photo archiving needs with the ability to scan up to twelve 35mm slides or negatives at a time, along with standard documents and images. The maximum optical resolution is 4800x9600 ppi. The CanoScan 8800F is equipped with Film Automatic Retouching and Enhancement (FARE) Level 3 technology, which aids in automatic dust, scratch, fading and graininess reduction. The CanoScan 8800F is the first Canon scanner to come equipped with a high-luminance white LED lamp, and this technology virtually eliminates warm-up time and allows for scanning to begin instantaneously from its sleep mode. The Canon scanner also comes bundled with SilverFast SE and Adobe Photoshop Elements. Designed to enable any user to obtain brilliant results, quickly and can be used as a stand-alone application, a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop (including PhotoShop Elements) or as a TWAIN driver. It is also possible to upgrade Silverfast SE to the professional version SilverFast Ai.

For quick answers to your Flatbed Scanner & Film Scanner questions you can speak to our team of product advisors at

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