Scanner Lingo Breakdown

By now, you’ve hopefully figured out which type of scanner you’re looking for. If not, not worries, just click here and you’ll be well on your way to answering that question! 

Are you back now? Great. Now we can move on to the trickier steps in figuring out your perfect scanner. The lingo used for different features can be a little daunting, and their meanings not always clear. Here are the basics:

bit depthBit Depth is the number of bits a scanner picks up from the pixels of an image when it’s scanned. The technical way to think of bit depth is it affects how many bits of data are used to encode each pixel of data. The larger the bit number, the better quality, but also the bigger the image. Basically, it’s one of the key components in deciding the scanner’s image quality. 

  • If you are mostly scanning text documents, look for a bit depth of at least 24.
  • If you will be scanning slides or negatives, look for a bit depth of at least 30.
  • If you will be scanning pictures or color images, look for a bit depth between 36 and 48.

scanner resolutionScanner Resolution is measured in Dots Per Inch (DPI). Again, it’s another key component in deciding image quality. The higher the DPI, the more detail in your scanned image. Many manufacturers will give you an interpolated resolution quote, but the most important is optical resolution.

  • If you will be scanning text documents, look for a DPI of 300 or higher.
  • If you will be scanning slides or negatives, look for a DPI of 1200 or higher.
  • If you will be scanning pictures or color images, look for a DPI of 1200 or higher.

Speed is usually measured in Pages Per Minute (PPM). This one’s pretty straightforward. If you’re not scanning all that often, don’t even worry about the PPM. If scanning is an intricate part of your day, choosing a higher PPM so you’re not wasting time waiting around for your scans is probably going to be beneficial for you and your business.

Connectability is something that many people may not even think of until after they’ve bought a scanner. Most scanners will come with a USB connection option so you can just hook it up to your computer and be set. However, if you want to be able to connect multiple computers to one scanner, you may want to look into scanners that have an Ethernet port so you can connect wirelessly.

Once you’ve figured out what bit depth, DPI, PPM, and type of connectability you need, along with the type of scanner you’re looking for, the last thing to do is just research to find the perfect scanner for you! Popular scanner manufacturers include Canon, Fujitsu, Kodak, and Minolta, but there are many, many brands from which to choose. If you’re in the market for a scanner but are experiencing sticker shock, check out our online store that has tons of professionally refurbished scanners.

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3 responses to “Scanner Lingo Breakdown

  1. Pingback: How to Choose the Right Scanner for Your Home or Business | Imaging Systems Inc

  2. Pingback: 5 Steps to Preserving Old Photos | Imaging Systems Inc

  3. Pingback: Hewlett Packard HP 9250c Digital Sender Review | Imaging Systems Inc

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