Scanner vs Camera – Do you really need a scanner?

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If you’re trying to get a scanned copy of something, then things can be a bit tricky. Unless you have a good scanner at home, then getting something scanned can be difficult. Unless you have the ability to go to a university or your local library has a scanner, then what else can you do?

Well nowadays, a lot of people are using their own phones to take a picture of something that needs scanning, or even using a high quality camera. But does this give the ability to recreate the same quality as you can with a scanner, or is it not as good?

Scanner vs Camera

The fact of the matter is that nowadays, you don’t really need to have a scanner, especially if you’re only using it for personal stuff. If you’re in an office and you’re using one consistently, then maybe a scanner would be a good choice. But for most people that already have a digital camera that only need to get a few things onto their computer, then using their camera might be worth it.

So if you’re deciding between using a camera or making the investment into getting a scanner, here are a couple of reasons why it might be worth getting yourself a scanner.

Advantages of a scanner


If you’re thinking about opting for a scanner over a camera, you might be in for a rude shock. A scanner is still not as good as taking pictures with your digital camera because cameras are designed specifically for taking photographs while scanners are – well – just copying machines that offer varying degrees of success at reproducing colors accurately.

Here’s why: Scanners don’t shoot images at high resolution (by which we mean only 300 dpi) even though there is no hard and fast rule on how well they should work. Scanners also don’t have the ability to give you a sense of depth in your photographs.

In comparison, cameras with 6 mega pixel resolutions produce photos which are much sharper and clearer than what scanners manage. For instance: Scanning an image at 300 dpi resolution is not going to give you that crisp, sharp finish that high-resolution cameras will do.

A scanner requires high levels of manual intervention when it comes to adjusting contrast, color tone and shadowing while most cameras take care of these problems automatically for you – so why bother with scanners when there’s so much more you’re missing out on?

If you are thinking about investing in a scanner, then there are some things that would make it worthwhile investing in one as opposed to just using your camera. Here are a couple of reasons why getting a scanner might be a wise investment.

  • Much better for speed – If you’re looking to print a lot of documents in a short amount of time, then you might want to opt for a scanner. The issue with using a camera to get things on your computer is that it’s going to take ages to do this. However, this isn’t a problem with a scanner as you should be able to run through a lot of documents in a short amount of time.
  • Easier to use – Another thing to note about using a scanner as opposed to using a camera is that you’re going to find it much easier to use. If you want to use a camera, you’re either going to have to settle for the image being slightly wonky, or you’re going to have to pick up a tripod. With a scanner, you can just slip the paper into the scanner and that’s it!
  • Resolution – Unless you’re using an expensive digital camera, then your scanner is going to have a much better resolution than your camera. This makes it a better choice for people that are going to be using their scanner for specific things, like artwork scanners. So if you want high quality images on your computer, then it’s a good idea to invest in a scanner.

Flatbed scanners are generally one of the better options you can go for, as they allow you to create a strong digital image. Once you have a good DSLR scanning setup, there’s actually not that much else for you to worry about. However, some people instead prefer to stick with the camera on their phone, and the good news is that you don’t need to be a professional photographer to do this.

When to opt for a camera

Now, for the majority of people who are just going to be scanning things on occasion, then a scanner might not necessarily be worth it. There are advantages to using a camera as opposed to using a scanner.

The main benefit of using a camera over a scanner is that you don’t have the outlay of having to get yourself a scanner that you’re barely going to use. Unless you’re going to be using your scanner on a regular basis, then it might end up collecting dust, and the last thing you want to do is purchase something that you’re never going to use.

With a camera, of course it’s much more portable than a scanner too, so you can easily scan stuff when you’re at friends houses or out in public. Unless you pick up a small portable scanner that is, but even then they can be a little bulky to carry around with you. So for convenience, sticking with a camera is a good idea.

Of course the main downside of a camera is that you’re not going to get the same quality of image. For everyday usage like documents or scanning ID cards, this won’t matter too much. But if you’re an illustrator or an artist, then you might need a scanner to get things in higher resolution. Whilst scanners aren’t for everyone, there are some people who they will be necessary for.


So, you don’t have to invest in a scanner to get a few documents on your computer. You can use a digital camera (if you don’t have one, you could easily borrow one from a friend) if you need a higher resolution image. However if the quality of the image you need isn’t that important, then you could consider downloading a scanning app like Genius Scan. This will give you the same effect as you’d get from a regular scanner, although it might not be as high in quality.

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