eBay Guides - Scanners Buying Guide
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Scanners Buying Guide

Use scanners to get your photo prints, photo negatives, and important documents into your computer. Once you digitize your photos, you can email them or use them to create your own website, photo gallery, greeting, cards, calendars, and more. You can also use your scanner to create backup copies of important files, receipts, product warranties, or even archive your magazines. Whether you want a tool for pleasure or productivity, you'll find a scanner to fit your needs on eBay Canada.

Study Types of Scanners

Study Types of Scanners

Different types of scanners work in different ways. Know your scanner options so that you can choose the right model.

  • Flatbed scanners: Versatile flatbed scanners can scan both flat and three-dimensional objects, including thick books and magazines. Flatbed scanners work similar to a copy machine. Rest the item you want to scan on a glass plate and a scanning head captures the image. Look for a large-format flatbed scanner if you want to scan legal-size documents.

  • Slide, film, and transparency scanners: Flatbed scanners with slide or film negative adapters will help you get old slides into your PC and help you preserve your old film negatives before they deteriorate. Kodak scanners, Nikon scanners, Canon scanners, and HP scanners can also scan your film negatives.

  • Sheetfed scanners: Sheetfed scanners are smaller than flatbed scanners and can only scan loose pages.

  • Handheld scanners: Small handheld scanners plug into the parallel port on your desktop or laptop and you can use them with several computers. They often require you to scan your documents in sections.

  • Portable scanners: Compact portable scanners can easily fit into a briefcase or tote bag, but may not offer the same resolution as larger scanners.

  • Drum scanners: Some graphics professionals prefer older, high-end drum scanners. Drum scanners rotate an original source past photomultiplier tube (PMT) sensors repeatedly and at high speeds to achieve a quality scan.

Popular choices for home users include Canon scanners, Epson scanners, Fujitsu scanners, HP scanners, Kodak scanners, and Minolta scanners. You'll also find UMAX scanners, Microtek scanners, Mustek scanners, and Visioneer scanners appropriate for home and business use on eBay.

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Understand Technical Scanner Terms

Understand Technical Scanner Terms

Know which technical features to look for when you evaluate scanner item listings.

Scanner sensors

Scanners have an internal sensor that picks up reflected light off an original image and converts it into digital information your computer understands.

  • Charge-coupled device (CCD): CCD scanners illuminate an original document and use mirrors and lenses to reflect light onto an array of CCD sensors. CCD scanners generally produce better image quality than CIS scanners.

  • Contact image sensor (CIS): In CIS scanners, the image sensors lie directly under the document and pick up the reflected light right from the document. CIS scanners are more compact and more durable than CCD scanners.

  • Photomultiplier Tubes (PMT): Photomultiplier tubes used in drum scanners are more sophisticated than CCD and CIS sensors

Scanner bit depth

Scanners pick up a certain number of bits from each pixel of an image. This is known as bit depth, and the more bits a scanner remembers, the better the image quality.

  • Text: Find a bit depth of at least 24.

  • Slides, negatives, and transparencies: Get a minimum bit depth of 30.

  • Photos & colour graphics: Select a model with 36-bit colour depth.

Scanner resolution

Optical resolution measures dots per inch (dpi) or pixels per inch (ppi). As resolution increases, image quality improves, and the amount of image detail you see increases.

  • Text scanning: 300 dpi resolution adequately scans text.

  • Photo scanning: Look for a minimum of 600 dpi to scan photos to use on the Internet. Buy a scanner with higher resolution (greater than 600-by-600 dpi) to scan photographs you plan to print.

  • Negative & slide scanning: Look for a scanner that offers an optical resolution of 1200 dpi or more.

Scanning at a higher dpi results in higher-quality images, but you'll need to wait longer for the scan to complete. 

Computer connections

Scanners can connect to your computer's parallel port (printer port), USB 1.1 port, USB 2.0 port, or IEEE 1394 (FireWire) port. Make sure your computer supports the technology you want to use.

Parallel ports have a slow connection and work best with low-dpi scans. For the fastest connection, look for a scanner that communicates with your computer via high-speed USB 2.0 or FireWire.

Included scanner software

Most scanners include scanning software and basic image-editing software. Look for optical character recognition (OCR) software if you want to modify scanned document text. Basically, scanners send documents to computers as images. OCR software examines the images and converts them into an editable text format your word processor, spreadsheet, or database program can understand.

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Find Scanners on eBay

Find Scanners on eBay

Once you know what type of scanner you want, go to the Computers & Networking portal, click Scanners, and start searching for item listings on eBay.

  • Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for Canon, Epson, Fujitsu, HP, Visioneer, and more.

  • Keyword search: Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find a HP flatbed scanner, type “HP flatbed” (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try shopping eBay Stores, tell the eBay Community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

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Buy Scanners With Confidence

Buy Scanners With Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

  • Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

  • If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.

  • Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.

  • Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

  • What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?

  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?

  • Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that a problem arises during your transaction, eBay and PayPal are there for you.

  • Pay safely with PayPal: PayPal enables you to pay without the seller ever seeing your bank account or credit card numbers. In fact, PayPal protects buyers 100% against unauthorized payments from their accounts. Plus, with PayPal Buyer Protection, your purchase can be covered up to C$1,250.

  • eBay Security & Resolution Centre: Visit the Security & Resolution Centre to learn how to protect your account and use eBay's quick and efficient resolution tools.

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