Shorts: How to Scan A Magazine Using Your Phone

Yeah, you heard that right, I scanned a sixty page anime magazine using an app and I wanted to do this for two reasons:

  1. I wanted to preserve some anime magazines that I have here lying in the house.
  2. I wanted to see if I can achieve objective 1 without shelling out money for a scanner.

With these in mind, I downloaded this app from Adobe called Adobe Scan in which you can use your mobile phone as a portable scanner and I used my copy of Questor magazine (in which I found out that what I have is the June 2001 issue) and I compared the quality of my so-called “scans” with a December 2000 issue of the same magazine that I found on Archive.org.

According to PC Magazine, the way how mobile phone scanners work is that it takes a picture and then searches for text using optical character recognition (OCR) and it also tells you where would you want the crop marks to be so that it would produce the best possible result that a smartphone can do.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the results.

As you can see the images on the right hand side are much sharper than the ones on the left and it might also have something to do with the lighting conditions when the photos were taken because aside from that, except for the front cover of the June issue because it was already sealed in a plastic cover when I bought it, the colors on the right hand example are much more vibrant than the ones on the left.

In terms of readability, having an actual scanner is leaps and bounds the clear winner here because you don’t have to worry about lighting conditions of your setup, the quality of your phone’s camera and the stability of your hands when you took the photo. Sure, you can change the resolution on your phone’s camera settings and have the best setup possible but at the end of the day, phone cameras and scanners have different configurations in terms on how they handle stuff like resolutions and dots per inch and so what you’ll get from a phone camera will always be inferior to what you get when you scan an image.

In short, did I complete the two objectives I have in mind? Yes but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Getting any scanner, whether be it a portable one or one that comes with a printer would be the recommended option here if you want your scans to be in pristine condition.

See you later when I review AKB48 Asia Festival 2021.

You can get the copies of Questor used in this blog post here:

Volume 2 Issue 6 (June 2001): https://archive.org/details/questor-volume-2-issue-6-25

Volume 1 Issue 4-5 (December 2000): https://archive.org/details/questor-0022

4 thoughts on “Shorts: How to Scan A Magazine Using Your Phone

  1. Hi, its been a while. I remember my anime crazed classmate during high school, who is also super rich, buying issues of Questor and bringing it to school. I guess I never paid attention to it during that time since I have no money during my youth. Then again, I think it would have been nice to own a copy.

    Liked by 1 person

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