Digitize old photos fast at home with this high-speed scanner

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Get out those old shoeboxes! A fast photo scanner from Epson helps you digitize those precious prints that are currently collecting dust.

My Mom loves her old photos! With 5 kids and a handful of grandkids, she has plenty of them. Problem is, they mostly sit in boxes in the garage because she’s too worried about anyone touching the prints. I’ve been bugging her for years to send the photos out to be scanned, but she’s concerned about sending them through the mail – which I understand.

Enter the Epson FastFoto FF640 scanner. It’s an in-home scanner that can digitize old prints fast – and they never leave your sight. Epson loaned me a scanner to try out – so I took it home to NJ and gave it a spin.

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Thankfully, my Mom was open to the idea of breaking out a few old boxes of photos to scan. The stacks we found were mainly from the 80’s when I was a kid.

The scanner is pretty simple to set up – I connected it to my MacBook, downloaded Epson’s proprietary software and started scanning. Super easy process. Epson’s software makes scanning photos easy for several reasons. For starters, they let you specify a date, season or subject for the stack you’re feeding in. It can accommodate 30 photos at a time. This is nice since Epson then embeds this information in your files so another program knows where they can roughly organize them in your timeline.

Scanning is super fast, as Epson promotes, but the time it takes to process the scans can vary widely depending on your computer. I have a brand new MacBook and there was a decent delay – so I imagine if you have an older computer it will take longer. It’s not super long, just a minute or so after you can while you wait for the system to create the files and perhaps do any auto corrections.

Me and my sister in October 1984.

You can get pretty elaborate with the scans – Epson’s software lets you restore colors automatically and I love how it scans the front and back of the photo at the same time! This is great if you’re like my Mom and wrote notes on the back of each picture.

Once you’ve scanned, the system can easily export your files to online services including Google Drive, Dropbox and more. I just dragged and dropped mine into Google Photos.

One thing I noticed as I scanned – you have to be really careful with dust on your prints. Just a little spec on the scan heads and you will have lines on your photos. It’s pretty crucial to dust off your prints before and continuously wipe down the scanner heads after every few batches. A cloth is included in the box.

Otherwise, I fell in love with this scanner. It does the job and your prints never leave your home. There really is no downside except the expensive price. The Epson FastFoto FF640 retails for $650. I think my Mom summarized it best: “The cost can be a little daunting, but I think families can chip in and share it,” she explained. I would agree – split the initial cost, and when you’re done digitizing your prints you can sell the device on eBay to recoup even more of the initial investment.

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Epson FastFoto FF-640

If you don’t mind mailing your photos out and having someone else do all of the work, I recommend a company called ScanMyPhotos.com. They are based in Irvine, California, so if you live nearby you can even drop your photos off. After doing this segment, I sent mine through the mail and had them back in digital form in just a few days and they looked great.