Pandigital PANSCN06 Photo Scanner Review

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Pandigital photo scanner

My recent post about a high speed photo scanner showed some good information for those people looking to scan mountains of photos quickly. I wanted to find a cheaper alternative that people could use for a smaller project (perhaps 1000-2000 photos). The solution needed to be a little easier to use than the Kodak I recommended and so I started looking at retails stores, Amazon, mail catalogs, and eBay for something.

What I found worked the best was the Pandigital Photo Scanner (PANSCN06). It’s a slim, light, and reasonably quick photo scanner that scans photos in both 300dpi and 600dpi with supported sizes up to 8.5 inches by 11 inches. It’s also readily available.

Why I chose this scanner.

I needed to get something my wife could use, is easy to understand, and produced acceptable results. There were many flatbed scanners available, but each had the fundamental flaw of requiring a computer to scan photos. Although my previous recommendation required a computer, it was needed because of the sheer amount of photos the scanner was sending to the computer (while simultaneously straightening and cropping each one). Flatbed scanners also required more time laying out each photo on the glass. If you have a few great photos that you want to scan at 2400dpi, a flatbed scanner is the way to go. Otherwise, if you want to scan through a lot of photos really quickly, a stationary document scanner is the best bet.

There are lots of document scanners out there, but none were really touted as “photo” scanners. Many reviews talked up how great a scanner was only to point out that “photos didn’t turn out very well”. They are also very expensive for a simple photo scanner. I noticed that Pandigital made a 4×6 photo scanner, but it had too many limitations (size of photos and 300dpi max resolution). So I landed on the next model up which I felt had the best value in terms of price, quality, and overall value.

The scanner came with the following items:

  • Scanning unit
  • 512mb SD card
  • AC adapter
  • Cleaning piece
  • Manual
  • CD

Using the scanner

Overall, the scanner is very easy to use and I got it up and running in less than 30 seconds. Just plug it in, insert the included SD card (or connect the unit to the computer), and wait until the light turns on. The only option you really have is if you want 300dpi or 600pdi. I highly recommend going with the 600dpi setting.

Cleaning

Unlike professional scanning systems, the Pandigital scanner is fairly hard to clean really well. The scanner comes with a cleaning stick that you insert into the scanner to remove dust. For the most part, this does the job. If some white out gets on the scanning element, its extra hard to remove. I’m not sure how Pandigital would make a compact unit while still giving the customer full access to the scanner for cleaning.

As a side note, all document scanners will need to be cleaned. It’s inevitable and is guaranteed to happen because photos aren’t always clean. It’s very important to clean this scanner every 50-100 photos because unless you connect the scanner to the computer, you may run into an issue where lines start to form on the photos as dust accumulates.

Speed

When scanning, the user is given two options, 300dpi or 600dpi. This option is made by pressing the power button and looking at the indicator light (green = 300dpi, orange = 600dpi). When in 600dpi mode, the scan speed is slower, but acceptable. When running scans at 300dpi, the speed increase is noticeable, but it comes with the price. The pandigital scanner scans in a 600dpi 4×6 photo in about 8-10 seconds each (and 4-5 seconds at 300dpi).

Bottom Line

Pros

Standalone operation (scan directly to SD card without the use of a computer)

Very small (compared to the Kodak scanner)

Auto crops photos (but does not straighten)

Reasonably fast photo scanning for both 300dpi (quicker) and 600dpi (slower)

Cons

Does not correct slanted or skewed photos

Dust can easily add unwanted lines to photos

Hard to extensively clean the scanning element (without removing screws)

The compression used on photos are pretty high (great file sizes, but lower quality)

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