Tech Savvy: Move those precious family photos from that shoebox or scrapbook to digital

Lots and lots of photos.

It’s a reminder of all those generations of family photos that can languish in photo albums. For anyone who has ever created photo boards for family events, these vintage photos are invaluable links to young faces, childhood homes, and vivid memories of their parents. There are a number of photo scanning devices available for home use that can turn those photos into digital images, preserving them and making them more easily accessible.

The keys to keep in mind when looking for a home scanner are the scanner’s ability to repair photos and, when there may be a multitude of photos to be scanned, the speed at which the machine can scan. The scanning speed will be faster if there are a lot of photos in albums or shoeboxes collecting dust in the closet.

Prices range from thousands of dollars to under $ 100, depending on sales and desired bells and whistles, such as photo resolution.

Popular Mechanics recently reviewed photo scanners, picking the Epson Perfection V600 photo scanner as the best overall. With a recent price tag of $ 249.99, the scanner is in the high end of the cost range, but it can scan negatives, slides, and photos. The scanner has a number of features including the ability to remove the appearance of tears, creases, dust and scratches from photos, which can be extremely useful when dealing with photos in albums that don’t. have not stood the test of time. Those albums using a sticky surface to hold photos in place can make it nearly impossible to delete photos without damaging them. It undoubtedly seemed like a useful surface back then, but over time deleting photos from the album becomes a difficult and even heartbreaking experience as the aged photos crumble in the process.

The Epson is also able to restore faded color photos – another useful tool if that framed high school graduation photo on the wall slowly fades and disappears.

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Popular Mechanics’ best budget option was a Canon CanoScan LIde 300 photo scanner. The Canon also tops the list of a short list of the best scanners recently updated by PCMag.

“Photo enthusiasts and family archivists often turn to photo scanners to digitize their prints and films,” PCMag reported. “Most of these scanners offer photo-friendly features, such as high resolution and the ability to scan transparencies (slides and negatives) in addition to photo prints. Many include software to help touch up scans and remove scratches.

Other benefits of scanning such important family photos mean that multiple family members can have a copy, and photos stored in multiple locations cannot be lost in the event of fire, flood, or any sort of thing. another natural disaster.

Photo scanners “allow you to scan your precious collection of photos and save them to a hard drive – either installed on your PC or laptop, or ideally on an external hard drive or NAS device,” TechRadar reported. “This means that if the original photos are lost or damaged, you still have a digital copy.

“You can then print more copies – either using one of the best photo printers yourself or using a service, and even have them printed on canvas, reproduced in photo books and more.”

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So why buy a photo scanner when you may already have a home printer scanner?

TechRadar notes that the best photo scanners deliver super high resolution images in a simple and straightforward manner.

A number of tech critics warn to stay away from the photo scanner which will actually move the photo like a pasta loader, noting the potential damage to the photo in the process. So this could be something to consider when choosing a model or at least serve as a point to check reviews and customer experience.

CNET’s top picks include the Epson Perfection 3170 for performance and price – recently listed at $ 174.99 or the Epson Perfection 2580 for the “hobbyist / hobbyist photographer with moderate scanning needs” with a recent price tag. from $ 129.99.

So there are plenty of options for a variety of budgets and needs.

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This week, when time spent with loved ones makes family history reflect and may even mean dusting off those photo albums, consider the opportunities to preserve those snapshots for the future. Take the time to make sure there is information there so you know who is in the photo.

Whether you’re meeting via Zoom or in person, this time with the family is also an opportunity for video family talks and a great way to connect the generations. Have the grandchildren ask the grandparents what it was like for them to grow up. What did they do for fun? How was the school ? These are great times to capture and can be so rewarding over time and those loved ones are no longer with you. There are many websites and articles with five steps to save family history that can help with a quick Google search.

And then check out Black Friday sales to see if there’s a photo scanner that can help add so much context and visual interest to those videos or just preserve those moments before time robs you of that connection. with your past.

Happy Thanksgiving.

RENEE RICHARDSON, Editor-in-Chief, can be reached at 218-855-5852 or [email protected] Follow on Twitter at