The Flip-Pal portable scanner is a new device which has taken the genealogy and historical world by storm.
"Mobile. Versatile. Safe. Accurate. Easy and Quick."
The above are the words the manufacturer uses to describe this nifty product.
To those, I would add Innovative, Durable, Flexible, and Indispensable.
About the size of a netbook computer (10.25 x 6.5 x 1.25 in.), the 16.5-ounce scanner runs on 4 AA batteries, and saves images to an SD card. No need to have a computer, or electrical power, to operate this one!
According to the company, you can expect to get 150 scans from 4 good-quality batteries, or 500 scans from photo lithium batteries. I found that the batteries it came with didn't last very long - probably about 100 scans, which seemed like no time at all! - but that my rechargeable batteries just seem to keep going and going, like the bunny in the TV commercials!
The Flip-Pal portable scanner comes with a 2 gb standard SD card, although it supports SDHC cards of 4 gb or higher. It is also compatible with the DCF (Digital Camera File System), and with wireless Eye-Fi SD cards.
For devices which do not have a slot for SDHC cards, the scanner has an adapter which plugs into a USB port on your computer, into which the SD card can be inserted. Photos can be transferred to your hard drive in this manner.
Although the maximum size of one scan is 4" x 6", the scanner comes with software (the Flip-Pal Toolbox for Windows) which allows you to "stitch together" several scans of a photograph or object which is larger than the scanner's surface. Effectively, then, there is no limit to the size of an object which you can scan.
The stitching software works 'like a charm'. The first time I tried it, I couldn't figure out how to access it. But I'm one of these people who can't be bothered looking at the instruction booklet, until I run into difficulties!
Once I followed the instructions, it was very easy to use, and the results were great! The stitched photo may be a little rough around the edges, but that is easily fixed by cropping in a photo editor. The photo itself is completely seamless, and you would never know that it had been scanned in several pieces!
The scanner also can scan photos through plastic or glass (such as in a picture frame or a photo album), creating a clear image without glare. No more flashbulb reflections on the photo!
Although it has a lid which can be closed on small photographs, effectively making the Flip-Pal portable scanner a flat-bed scanning device, the lid is removable. Flip the scanner over (with the lid removed), and it will scan a photo on the table, on a wall, or wherever it happens to be!
Scanning can be at 300 dpi or 600 dpi. Scanning speed at 300 dpi, for one 4" x 6" scan, is 6 seconds, or 11 seconds at 600 dpi.
I set mine to 600 dpi. I'm amazed at the clarity of the photos it scans!
The Flip-Pal portable scanner comes with software, batteries, and a 2 gb SD card installed. It is ready to use, out of the box. Just stock up on batteries (I would recommend a set of four AA rechargables), and enjoy!
The following video demonstrates just how powerful this little gem really is.
Those in the genealogy world, as well as scrapbookers and baby boomers, have found the Flip-Pal portable scanner to be an amazing "boon" in preserving and organizing old photographs and other family history memorabilia, as it copies the items where they currently are stored, without damaging them.
It will scan newspaper articles, large documents, and even small coins and buttons. It works equally well on documents bound into volumes as it does on loose photos, or photos in frames.
It also is the only type of scanner allowed in many archives, as it will not harm the fragile items being scanned.
The following are some sample customer comments regarding the Flip-Pal scanner:
Love it. I have and will keep recommending it to anyone doing research. A real jewel to use and just what we have needed.
So easy, right out of the box! It had everything I needed to try it out immediately. The scans are perfect. The software for stitching and color correction work really well and are very easy to use!
This tool is so incredibly useful for genealogy. Folks understandably don’t want to part with their old photos or albums even for copying, but to watch me make the copies while sitting at their kitchen table is a much different story – old photos almost jump out of the corners.
I’m a Mac user, just downloaded EasyStitch for Mac and it works perfectly. I did a 16 segment scan of a map. The map was framed and under glass. The results were great. You have one fantastic machine.
I’m big into genealogy, and have tons of photos to copy – I’ve already got over 1000 scans on the scanner. Thanks for creating this great tool…I’ve scanned medals, old scrapbooks, military photos, documents, dried corsages/pressed corsages…you name it!”
I have been scanning madly since I received your scanner. I have thousands (really) of photographs from the 80 years of my life plus many others from our large extended family. I’m thrilled with my Flip-Pal scanner and send thanks to those of you who made this Flip-Pal scanner a reality. I will explore other uses for Flip-Pal. Just having fun at the moment. Aloha.
The Flip-Pal scanner is a productive tool unlike anything I’ve encountered before, and it is making everything easier for an historical society like us. The Flip-Pal is the first technological device I’ve actually been excited about and enjoyed using since 1987, when I first tried a computer.
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