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Image Scanners

Neil Valentine D'Silva Feb 14, 2020
A brief information about different types of image scanners, and how to choose one for your purposes.
Image scanners are devices that can read photos or documents and can convert them into a digital format. The reading needs that the physical document be provided to the scanner in some manner, so that the scanner will analyze it, and then digitize it into pixels. There are different pixel resolutions, which directly affect the quality of the scanned image.


There are different types of image scanners, based on both, their general structure, and their principles of reading data and digitizing it. The following is a list of the different image scanners that are available.

Flatbed Scanners

These are by far the most common image scanners. They have a flat transparent surface with an illuminating lamp and reading device built underneath. The document to be scanned is placed, face down, on this transparent surface, and a cover blocks any external light into the scanner.
The lamp illuminates the whole document equally, while the reading apparatus moves along the document. This is then converted into the digital version which is displayed on the computer.

Drum Scanners

These are highly advanced scanners, which use photomultiplier tubes to scan even the subtlest nuances in the images. They are much more advanced in principle than flatbed scanners. They have a drum-like device, where the document is mounted. Due to their mechanism, the scanners are slower than flatbed scanners too.

Handheld Scanners

These are much smaller scanners than the flatbed varieties. They have a handheld apparatus, which contains the reading and illuminating arrangement. The scanner is supposed to be slid by hand on the document quite steadily in order to read it.
Digitized images are displayed on the computer. These scanners are cheaply available, but because of the inconvenience in using them, they are not quite popular.

Barcode Scanners

These are the scanners you will see at the billing area of a superstore. These can be both handheld or fixed, and they have different reading arrangements, such as photodiodes, laser, charged couple devices, and even mini cameras, which have made their appearance in the newer versions.
These scanners can read an arrangement of thick and thin bars on product packages and then convert them into a prerecorded code number. This then points to the name and the price of the product.

Which One To Choose?

The choice of scanner depends solely on where you are going to use it. The following are some tips.

Buying Flatbed Scanners

These are the best choice for both homes and offices, even for photography and high-end professional purposes. There is a lot of variation in them, so the prices can range from cheap to expensive, and the quality they produce will vary accordingly. They are very convenient, and work for an extraordinarily long period of time, with almost zero maintenance.

Buying Drum Scanners

These scanners have become redundant now. Their quality is supreme, without any doubt, but because of their slow speeds and the inconvenience of using them, they are not that popular. They are also terribly expensive.
Another fact that has pushed them on the backburner is that modern flatbed scanners have evolved vastly and their prices have fallen. In fact, most manufacturers have stopped manufacturing drum scanners. You will need one only if you are into highly technical needs, such as jewelry scanning, archiving classic photographs and archaeological findings, etc.

Buying Handheld Scanners

Once upon a time, people purchased them because they were a lot cheaper than the flatbed ones. But they remain as inconvenient as they were back then. An unsteady hand can produce an abysmal image. These scanners are strictly avoidable.

Buying Barcode Scanners

Of course, you have no choice if you are operating a mall or a supermarket where you need to bill your customers. Select the fixed ones rather than the handheld ones, because that increases efficiency and is less taxing on the cashier.