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Old Aug 30, 2007, 12:52 AM   #1
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Know of a Scanner w/ an Automatic Photo Feeder?

I am going to digitize several thousand photos my family has in albums. Obviously I could pay for a service to do this, but I want control over the process and I can do it much cheaper, and better, myself. I have been able to track down only 2 scanners with an automatic photo feeder:
1) The Epson Perfection 2480 PHOTO (~$130, although it's discontinued) with an Multi Photo / Business Card Feeder ($150). Total is $280. The scanner is an old, entry level model and scans quite slowly according to many amazon reviews.

2. The HP Scanjet 5530 Photosmart ($280, but I've seen it cheaper other places). This is also discontinued, it seems to be from early 2004. Again, it's old and doesn't seem like that great of a scanner to begin with.

3) Professional photo scanners for thousands of dollars. This is not an option, I'm on a budget. I couldn't believe the lady I talked to at Epson actually recommended some machine to me that was $2999.99 ... thanks, but are you insane?!

Seriously, where is a reasonably priced photo scanner with an automatic photo feeder? I couldn't believe all the forums I read of people spending months scanning all their old photos by hand on a flatbed scanner. I'm also dumbfounded that companies are making these fantastic photo scanners with no form of automation at all. They could make a photo feeder for my HP all-in-one for like 50 bucks and it would do a great job. But no; they want you to drop a small fortune on a pro machine.

Are there no modern photo scanners with a photo feeder (not a document feeder)? Did they discontinue making them to force you to pay some company to do it for you? For the love of kittens, please help me.

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Old Aug 30, 2007, 01:26 AM   #2
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due to the variable size, flatness and stock thickness of prints (esp. old ones) I just can't see an automatic feeder working reliably and quickly. May be why manufacturers aren't offering them.

You could gang scan (put down 6 or 8 at a time) on a flatbed, then either scan at once or select each photo in the preview for individual scan (if the tonal balance is radically different on each).

I take it these are all prints, and you don't have the negatives? Scan quality from negatives generally is better.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 03:29 AM   #3
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Actually, I've read reviews that speak highly of the automatic photo feeder on the epson machine. As long as the photos aren't sticking to each other, it generally works well. One guy scanned 10,000 photos with it.

I've tried the gang scan method, with mixed results. I know photoshop can auto separate and crop the photos, but I can't afford it (beyond the trial). Some scanners come with software that does this, but it can be hit or miss.

I have negatives for about a quarter of the photos, maybe less. Apparently I need a scanner that supports negatives, with a transparency adapter.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 04:56 AM   #4
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If you really have a lot of pictures that are to be scanned, I'd definitely pay a service to do so. I've seen offers on ebay which ask for 100 /1000 pictures, that's 10 cents a picture, a price you can't really beat.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 09:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
If you really have a lot of pictures that are to be scanned, I'd definitely pay a service to do so. I've seen offers on ebay which ask for 100 /1000 pictures, that's 10 cents a picture, a price you can't really beat.
Would you trust your massive collection to the cheapest company you could find on ebay? I only have physical backups for a small portion of our collection. If I did pay a company to do it, I'd pick someone more trustworthy.

So no one knows of a good scanner with an automatic photo feeder?

Know of any forums that could help me out?
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Old Sep 12, 2007, 09:57 PM   #6
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Epson V350 and I assume V200 or 4490 would be similar, can auto-crop multiple photos in the preview window. It needs a bit of baby sitting, as you need to hit preview, rotate some of the thumbnails and then hit scan, but I don't think it is that bad.
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Old Sep 12, 2007, 10:53 PM   #7
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You can get the 4490 (mentioned in the post above) with a 30 sheet feeder. I can't find any info on how the feeder works with photos though...
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 05:22 PM   #8
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I cant tell you that I'm in the same position as you and still have not come to a solution.
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Old Dec 12, 2008, 11:47 PM   #9
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Photo Scanner with Auto feeder

I am just checking to see if anyone has any new information on finding a photo scanner with an auto feed. I have hundreds of pictures without the negatives that I want to scan and copy. I do not trust a service where I would mail the photos. Does anyone have a suggestion other than a flatbed scanner without an auto-feeder? It seems hard to believe there is nothing new since 2004 with these capabilities, without spending an enormous amount. I would certainly appreciate any suggestions that anyone has in regards to this issue. Thanks so much! RMurrah
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Old Mar 25, 2009, 11:38 PM   #10
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Photo feeding scanner: there IS an option!

The feeding scanners you are looking for will cost more than a good service will charge for even a few thousand photos. But there is a somewhat affordable, and very capable machine available.

The Kodak i1210 costs $600-700. The best part is that it automatically crops and straightens each image no matter how crooked it feeds through. You'll still need to rotate it 180 degrees though if it goes through upside-down.

It theoretically does 30/minute. Doable, but probably not the best option. For example, TheDigitalConvert.com in Chicago has listed 15 cents/ea. 3,000 photos would only be $450. That includes editing, upload to the Internet, two copies on disc. And you don't have to waste your own time. The albums can even be done without removing the photos and messing up your albums (someone spent a LONG time putting those together). Of course, it's very understandable that someone would want to keep the photos in town. I'd encourage checking out some places, walking in and speaking to the person who'll actually do the work.

But alas, you still don't need to spend $3000 to do it on your own. No matter what, you'll be spending a good amount of time learning new software, hardware, editing etc.

There are a few things you want to keep in mind should you go that route:

1) The scanner you get should have a straight paper path so the photos have the least chance of getting scratched or damaged. Most Kodak and Fujitsu scanners work well. Multipurpose units with a U-path will bend and flip the photo over the edge. If it gets stuck, there could be damage. Polaroids and other old thicker photos won't have a chance.

2) When feeding photos, you will learn that dust can be a major annoyance. Unlike a flatbed where a speck of dust on the glass blocks light in a tiny area, ADF scanners with dust on the scanning glass will block light from reaching the entire length of the photo passing over that speck. This results in red and green lines appearing in your final copies. You need to stand ready with a moistened (non-ammonia glass cleaner) lens cloth.
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Old Mar 26, 2009, 10:04 AM   #11
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Couple of comments here.

1. I successfully scanned about 35 gigs of old photos using a Canon flatbed scanner (LiDE 60 in my case) and thier software. The software allows "multi-scan" so I could put as many photos on the platen as would fit (with some space around each one, obviously) and it worked like a charm. Did not take nearly as long as I thought it would. Cost less than $100. I did take the time to organize the photos before scanning (i.e., by approximate date, location, etc.) and that made organizing them afterward so much simpler. I scanned in batches and then would "clean up" each batch after the fact. Not at all hard to do. A little preparation goes a long way to make your life easier.

2. Photoshop Elements also has the feature to automatically divide photos that are scanned in one file. Much cheaper than the full Photoshop. I have version 4, and did use it for a few that I scanned at work. Worked just fine!

3. I had tried previously using an AIO scanner (Brother) and found that it pulled many photos at one time, and also only allowed me to put about 10 photos in at one time. The Canon way was much faster!

4. While working on this project, I found a site -- www.scanmyphotos.com that would scan 1000 photos for $50 or so. Lots of other options there, too. Reviews are good, but I did not use them -- too many hoops to jump through as to how they want them sent to them (sizing, orientation, etc.). May be worth it for you, especially if you live in CA and can go in person.

One thing I would note. I have read on other forums that some people have had problems scanning B&W photos and them not showing up in iPhoto or whatever -- just being blank. When I was doing my project, I scanned all as if they were color photos, and everything worked perfectly.

Anyway, good luck!
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Old Aug 6, 2009, 09:15 PM   #12
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Automatic Photo Feeder

I can say of the NeatDesk Desktop Scanner ADS as one of the best batch scanning scanner I've known. What sets it off from the others is that it can batch-scan materials of different sizes at one setting.

There's this site btw, automatic photo scanner, that aside from giving praise to the NeatDesk scanner, also recommends a few more notable scanners for this particular area of use.
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