Now that we’re carrying the Flip-Pal mobile scanner in Family Tree Shop, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I gave it a try on one of my favorite pictures: My great-grandparents on their porch in Bellevue, Ky., about 1925, judging from my grandma’s age (she’s the baby).
The scanner is nice and light, about the size of a book, and it runs on four AA batteries. The scanning window is smaller than a desktop scanner, 4×6 inches, so you need to scan a larger document in parts and then stitch them together. (The scanner comes with Easy-Stitch software to do this.)
You can scan at a resolution of 300 or 600 dpi. 300 is the lowest recommended dpi for images you want to digitally archive, and will allow you to make a good print that’s the same size as the original photo. 600 dpi is even better, because you can enlarge the photo before printing it.
I tried the Sketch Kit, sold separately from the scanner, which lets you annotate photos and documents in a low-tech way. It’s a clear acrylic panel you place over your picture and write on with an erasable marker, like so:
Then to scan the annotated photo, you pop out the Flip-Pal lid, flip the scanner over and press the big green button to scan the Sketch panel on top of your picture:
(I kept accidentally pressing the green button during the lid removal and flipping.) Here’s that scan:
You’ll also want the photo itself, minus the Sketch panel. For that, you pop the lid back in and place the picture face down on the scanner, as you would for a desktop scanner. The scan:
The images are saved onto an SD card. I discovered just this morning that my computer here at work has an SD card reader—perfect. (The scanner is also compatible with wireless Eye-fi SD cards.) If you don’t have a card reader, you can plug the card into the included SD-to-USB adaptor and stick that into your computer’s USB drive.
You can see technical specs for the Flip-Pal scanner here and FAQs here. I did these two quick scans without reading instructions, but I’ll check them out to learn more about the scanner settings and how to use the stitching software.
You can find the Flip-Pal scanner and accessories such as the Sketch Kit and a carrying case in Family Tree Shop. If you’re trying to decide whether to buy, we’ve also got a Flip-Pal product review article download.
Got a bunch of family photos and heirlooms you need to archive and share? Learn how in our Aug. 9 Digitize Your Family History webinar.