Best resolutions for scanning still photos

Question: I am looking for a scanner that will scan in stills at high quality. Someone told me I need a resolution of 1600×1200. Do you know if this is true? I will be using the stills in a movie and will be using a Mac. I want the pictures to remain clear when viewed on a larger screen TV. I have no idea where to start, or what a scanner like this will cost. –Greg

Answer: According to Linda Blakely, HP Canada’s Acting Marketing Manager, scanning at the same number of pixels as the screen is most sensible thing to do.

“Back in the good ol’ days, this meant no more than VGA resolution (640×480),” she said in e-mail. “HDTV (or high definition television), however, has pretty much doubled that.” If that’s the case for you, you would want a 4-inch by 6-inch photo to cover 1280×960 pixels.

My recommendation would be to scan at 300 pixels per inch — because 300 times 6 is greater than 1280. If less resolution is needed, Blakely recommends you do the resolution reduction in Photoshop Elements 4.0 to get the best results. Blakely added that Hewlett Packard’s website has lots of information on scanning at

Also, HP’s support staff is also available to help by calling 800-HP INVENT. “They are trained to handle the most in-depth questions about HP technology,” she explained.