Scanner with automatic photo feeder?
December 5, 2005 9:55 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a scanner that can automatically feed photographs (not negatives or slides) in a variety of sizes (no larger than 8" x 10"). The pictures are almost exclusively black and white (or sepia), but there are a few thousand to be digitized, so something automated would be preferred.

I have found a number of scanners that can automatically feed negatives, or slides, there must be one out there that will do the same for prints. Not knowing what such an attachment would be called, my Google-Fu is failing me. I am not interested in obtaining scans for reprinting the images, but for online sharing (e.g., Flickr), if that helps understand my goals. Bonus points if I can spend under $500 to do this.

Alternative solutions that for the digitization project are also welcome.
posted by istewart to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
(I'd be interested in hearing about [good, inexpensive] scanners that can automatically feed slides too.)
posted by gottabefunky at 9:58 AM on December 5, 2005

I use the Xerox Documate 510 at work - the feeder works pretty well. You could probably stack 10 or so at a time. However, depending on the thickness of the paper and your desire to keep the prints pristine, this might not be an ideal solution as it will bend the paper on the way through.
posted by ny_scotsman at 9:58 AM on December 5, 2005

After reading horrible reviews for the inexpensive flatbed scanners with document feeders, I've had great luck with the Fujitsu ScanSnap sheetfed scanner. My application is document scanning, though. It's very fast, and I bet it wouldn't have a problem feeding photographic prints individually, but don't they have a tendency to stick to each other? For scanning a variety of odd-shaped pages, I usually feed it individual pages by hand. It isn't that tedious because the scanning is so fast.
posted by trevyn at 10:11 AM on December 5, 2005

For a massive digitization project of flat originals, you may consider making use of a digital camera mounted on a copy stand. Once you set up the lighting and pre-focus, the workflow becomes:

1. Put a photograph onto flat surface
2. Click
3. Repeat

After you are done, dump the digital photos onto a computer, and finish them off there. For bonus points, get a high-enough resolution digital camera and photograph several photos at once; than use Photoshop's functionality to automatically splice up the input image into multiple files based on border detection. Finish by running the files through a bulk color correction/sharpening action, and you are done.

This approach still requires you (or someone else) to physiocally put each photograph to be digitized down on the surface, one at a time. But by eliminating all other delays, this will be factors of magnitude faster than using a scanner for the same. Also, once you are pre-setup, there is basically no margin of error, so you can get your local neighborhood kid to do it for you, for $10 an hour.
posted by blindcarboncopy at 1:04 PM on December 5, 2005

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