Scan Correct Color Smooth Texture Reduce Noise Remove Dust Repair Crop

I'm drawn to simplicity, so I was intrigued by the Doxie Flip, which also appears to be sold as the Couragent Flip-Pal. This really small scanner has high ratings on Amazon, and I saw that a lot of people use it to scan family photos. I decided to get one and try it out. I found it amazingly simple to use and enjoyed using it a lot.

I wanted to check out traditional scanners, too. After looking on Amazon, I found two scanners mentioned over and over as being great scanners for photos. They are the Epson Perfection v600 (which came bundled with Photoshop Elements at the time I bought it) and the Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II. They are both outrageously popular and highly rated. It was very difficult for me to decide which to get. So I got both and have been happily scanning photos ever since.

The Reviews

Rather than re-inventing the wheel and doing comprehensive scanner reviews, I would like to share a few of the best reviews I have found on some of the most popular consumer scanners available.


Inexpensive Scanners

Two of the most popular inexpensive flatbed scanners are the Epson Perfection V600 Photo and the Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II. They consistently get high ratings on Amazon and good reviews in the press.

ImagingResource has an extensive in-depth review on the Epson V600. And while they don't have a review on the CanoScan 9000F Mark II, they do have a review on the previous model, the discontinued CanoScan 9000F. ScanDig is a company based in Germany that tests and reviews inexpensive, premium, and high end scanners. Their reviews are very detailed, extensive, and critical. They review both the scanner hardware and software, perform lab tests, and analyze features such as image quality, scan speed, and effective resolution (in ppi).
TheWireCutter has a down-to-earth article discussing and comparing various inexpensive scanners including the CanoScan 9000F Mark II and the Epson Perfection V550 (which is similar to the V600):

Premium Scanners

Most scanners do fine with prints. Slides are a whole nother ballgame. Compared to prints, scanning slides requires a very high dynamic range (Dmax) and very high (lab-tested) effective resolution (ppi) for best results.

The Epson Perfection V800 Photo and Epson Perfection V850 Pro are two premium flatbeds that are popular for print, slide, and negative scanning. While they are not inexpensive, they are affordable and capable scanners. Both models consistently get high user ratings and good editorial reviews.

ScanDig reviews tend to be pessimistic about getting high quality scans of slides from inexpensive scanners. Premium scanners are a different story. They like the premium Epson Perfection v800, calling its image quality perfectly okay (which is high praise from them). Northlight Images has an extensive review of the Epson Perfection V850 Pro by a professional photographer. The review is chock full of photos that illustrate the various features and capabilities of the scanner. Scan Your Entire Life has an excellent article written in plain english on the main differences between the Epson Perfection V800 Photo and the Epson Perfection V850 Pro.

The Views

Just out of idle curiosity, I did a few pixel peeping scanner tests. Since peeping pixels might only find differences in tiny insignificant details, I encourage everyone to read lots of user and expert reviews before getting a scanner. My quick pixel-peep tests on only three photographs are by no means a review.


A Scanner Darkly

For pixel peeping purposes, I made 600dpi scans of ten photos with all three scanners. Half the photos were old and faded. There was one black & white photo and one underexposed photo.

I found the following general similarities and differences between the scanners:

Crisscrossed Creases

While I was scanning photos, I discovered something completely unexpected. Creases were showing up noticeably on a couple of the scanners, and hardly showing up on the third scanner.

I decided to run a quick test on an old print with numerous creases and a small tear to investigate this effect. Except for the tear, these creases were not very noticeable to the eye, unless the photo was held at an angle to the light. I scanned in the creased photo using all three scanners. Results are below.

Doxie Flip: both horizontal and vertical creases are noticeable


CanoScan 9000F Mark II: horizontal creases are noticeable, but vertical creases nearly vanished


Epson Perfection v600: all creases virtually disappeared, leaving faint lines (and the rip) behind


The Devil is in the Details

For the detail pixel-peep test, I chose a newer 35mm print in excellent condition with an incredible amount of textural detail in the wood and grass. This print is a photo of my grandmother standing in her garden, which is surrounded by a wire and wood slat fence.

I made straight scans of the print with all three scanners, turned the scanned images into grayscale to eliminate color balance differences, and normalized the brightness and contrast in all scans. I then enlarged all scans by 400% using the nearest neighbor algorithm, which enlarges the pixels without smoothing the pixel edges.

A close-up of a Doxie Flip scan of the print is shown to the right. Tiny crops were taken from the upper left part of the area shown in the close-up for all three scanners. The tiny crops are shown below and are best viewed with this window opened as wide as possible.

Doxie Flip

CanoScan 9000F Mark II

Epson Perfection v600
The Canon and Epson scans appear to have well-defined edges to the wire and wood, and lots of clean detail in the grass and wood slats.


Smooth as Silk

For the smoothness pixel-peep test, I chose a newer 35mm print in excellent condition with no noise and few blemishes. This print is a photo of my father standing in a cow field with his newish red and white pickup. The red paint on the pickup makes for an excellent smoothness test, as it is one solid color without any features. I picked a spot on the red paint that had the least blemishes.

I made straight scans of the print with all three scanners, and normalized the brightness and contrast and color in all scans. I then enlarged all scans by 800% using the nearest neighbor algorithm, which enlarges the pixels without smoothing the pixel edges.

A close-up of a Doxie Flip scan of the print is shown to the right. Tiny crops were taken from the upper left part of the area shown in the close-up for all three scanners. The tiny crops are shown below and are best viewed with this window opened as wide as possible.

Doxie Flip

CanoScan 9000F Mark II

Epson Perfection v600
There may be a few differences in the images caused by tiny specks of dust. Any such differences can be ignored. Despite wiping with an anti-static cloth and blowing dust off with an air blaster, there always seems to be tiny particles of dust that are constantly attracted to the photos or glass.

Ignoring any possible differences in dust, it appears the Canon and Epson scans are very smooth.
Unless people peep pixels at 400% to 800%, tiny differences between scanners may go unnoticed. If Perfection is what you seek, then you might want to choose the Epson.