Sunday, March 6, 2011

Android App - CamScanner

When I finally upgraded to a smartphone in late November, I loaded some of the most popular apps based on suggestions from friends and on-line reviews. Somewhere along the way I heard about and loaded CamScanner but I had never really tried it out until yesterday. I actually wondered how it could be any different than just using the built-in camera since you "scan" basically the same way you would use the camera. Well, my results were definitely different.

The image on the left was made using my Samsung Captivate's camera. It's completely unedited. It's certainly usable if it happened to be the only way you could capture an image and it might be helped some with editing but it's definitely not great. The picture actually looks lighter on the phone than it does after it's transferred to the computer. The image on the right was made using the CamScanner app on the same Samsung Captivate phone. The document was not moved, the lighting was not changed and this "scan" was done immediately after snapping the regular photo. CamScanner does some auto-editing and cropping. I let it do what it wanted and accepted that outcome with no intervention. Big difference.


The lighting for the above images wasn't very good. For the next set of images, I improved the lighting and the camera did a better job but CamScanner was still by far the best of the two. The first image was taken with the phone's camera and the second one was done with the CamScanner app.

According to the Android Market, this app (which is free) allows a "limited number of docs/pages for trial" but I can't find anything that gives an actual number for that limit. The license which allows for unlimited use costs $4.99. 

Now, when I find an original record of any kind I will likely still get a paper copy whenever possible rather than use this process. However, I will definitely be using this app instead of making copies of pages in books at any facility that allows cameras. 

And just for one more comparison, these images were scanned using my desktop scanner. A real scanner definitely does the best job but you can't carry it around in your hand.

Click on images for a larger version.

DISCLAIMER: I have only had an Android phone for a few months and I know absolutely nothing about how apps work in the background or what kinds of problems they might cause you or your phone. I have a security app installed on my phone and you probably should too. Use any smartphone app at your own risk. Your results may vary.

I have absolutely no connection to Samsung, Android Market or IntSig Information (creator of CamScanner) and have received no benefits for this review.


  1. Sounds like a great app. I want to use it on the reels of microfilm I come across. Those turn out dark when you photograph them and perhaps this will be better.

  2. I'll definitely give that a try 1st chance I get.

  3. oh cool! i didn't even know about this app. i'm downloading it now to try it.

  4. Just tried it for the first time after reading about it on Android News - seems to work well. It definitely sharpens up documents to make them easy to parse into digital format; i'd imagine word recognition works great on this as well.