A computer scanner is a device that allows you to take a digital photo of a photograph or text and view it on your computer. Scanners are often used to capture images for use on a Web site, for example. The quality of a digital scanner is primarily measured in the number of colors it can recognize and the resolution it can display. In terms of colors, a good scanner is capable of recognizing 36 bits, or 25.2 million colors, while high-end scanners usually offer at least 600 DPI, or dots per inch, resolution. As with most computer hardware, the better the scanner, the higher the price. Low-end models with 30 to 36-bit color and 300 DPI can cost as little as $100, while 36-bit, 600 DPI models can cost upwards of $800, depending on the quality of the photo editing software included. To scan photo negatives or slides, you’ll need either a special scanner for negatives and slides or what’s called a “transparency adapter,” which allows a regular scanner to scan negatives and transparencies. The stand-alone scanners cost about $800, while transparency adapters run from $100 to $350 . Finally, if you frequently scan photographs you’ve taken yourself, you may want to consider simply using a digital camera to capture the images you need, since a digital camera is essentially a portable scanner.
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