After plenty of research I realised that flatbed scanners lose the battle to dslr when it comes to scanning negatives as seen in the picture:

enter image description here

But what about old basic paper photos? Will an average flatbed scanner achieve the same sharpness and detail as a dslr or a dslr will still win the battle?

  • \$\begingroup\$ This ALWAYS depends on the scanner. In both cases. Try benchmarking Canon 5D MK II (or III) + Makro Planar (whatever focus length that was) against a Hasselblad film scanner. If digitalising paper photos, you could also try using a medium format camera, which will also bring you way better results as any home scanner on the market right now. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dragos
    Dec 20, 2015 at 20:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks to me more as if something is wrong with the scanner. Dirty glass/sensor element? - A scanner should provide better quality. \$\endgroup\$
    – DetlevCM
    Dec 21, 2015 at 21:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DetlevCM The problem is with focusing I think \$\endgroup\$
    – Giancarlo
    Dec 22, 2015 at 12:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Giancarlo Could be - but it could also be dirt which produced a blurry/milky piece of glass (etc.) to look through. Assuming all is clean, a scanner would be very sensitive to distance - i.e. I would expect bad results if there is a (large only?) gap between the element to be scanned and the glass. (quite simply because they are designed for pages to be flush with the glass.) \$\endgroup\$
    – DetlevCM
    Dec 22, 2015 at 13:14

1 Answer 1


I have digitised 1000’s of negatives and slide films from the 80's & 90's using the Konica Minolta DiMage Scan Dual IV. (not a flatbed).

I have been using this for the past 10 years scanning at 3,200dpi on both, PC’s and Mac.

Recently, I used a friends Canon9000 flatbed scanner to scan both negatives and paper and was shocked to see how poor the quality was! for both, negatives and paper!

I have used Canon 5D II for scanning purposes and found it to be better than the Canon Scanner for negatives, but not quite as good as my trusty Minolta of 10 years ago!

Perhaps you should try out a dedicated negative scanner first as I believe they have come down in pricing now and may have improved on performance too.


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