Top positive review
67 people found this helpful
A very capable scanner, requires a bit of patience to get the best results
on 7 August 2015
I bought this in addition to my 35mm dedicated film scanner so I could provide better quality "print scans" and deal with larger format scanning.
This is a fairly sizeable scanner about 48cm long by 28 wide, though more manageable than the higher end models from Epson. The spec on this is very much the V600 minus the Photoshop Elements though at a slightly better price.
In the box is a quick start guide, film holders for Medium format and 35mm slides/negatives, a normal length USB cable (if you plan to have the scanner some distance from the desk then an extender cable is necessary) and a good length power cable (figure of 8 connector with a fairy compact power brick.
Installation went without issue on a 64bit Windows 10 PC this is also Mac compatible.
There are a number of "extras" on the disc these are not essential for normal scanning but add additional functions:
Abbyy FineReader 9.0 - This gives you OCR (optical character recognition) for scanning documents and editing
Easy Photo Scan - A simplified scan suite which has basic adjustments (exposure, cropping, colour, b&w/sepia etc) and designed to upload files to social media sites; Facebook, Picasa, Evernote
Arcsoft "Scan ' Stitch" - This software lets you scan larger posters or non standard sizes putting them together to create a single output file.
Copy Utility - This allows you to use the scanner like a photo copier outputting the results directly to the printer, if you have an all in one printer it's probably not required
Most of the software is useful, though you might not use it frequently it's worth keeping the disc around. More experienced users might pass on the Easy Photo Scan as you have various modes on the normal Epson scan utility.
Onto the scanner, markings indicate where to load the trays with a top removable white cover on the inside (you need to remove this for film scanning) The trays are quite flexible though pay attention to the covers that clip in they are there to hold the film flat and need to click into place.
On the side the power button and a bank of 4 quick scan options, a capable scanner for documents but more suited to film scanning.
The main Epson scan software is fairly easy to follow with 4 main modes:
"Full Auto" - Very few options to adjust on this you can set the DPI (up to 1200 on the film mode) and specify a document or film scan, dust removal or restoration and photo orientation.
"Home Mode" - This gives you more settings and an easy to see drop down menu for the scan type (film type b&w etc, document, newspaper and text, you have more control over the DPI, can specify ICE/Backlight correction and you get a preview
"Office Mode" - Dedicated options for document scanning with descreening options, text enhancement, specific sizes etc. If it's not a photo this is the mode to be in
"Professional Mode" - You have access to advanced settings for both document and film scanning including levels, colour correction, fine control over every parameter, bit depth, high resolutions, ICE, software dust removal, grain reduction, unsharp mask the whole hog is in this section as well as the settings for document scans.
To start off I would suggest the "Home Mode" this is suitable for both text and film scans and you have control over most of the important functions of the scanner.
***Notes & Film Scanning Strategy***
Digital ICE is a hardware based Infrared technology and it works well for dust/scratch removal on most film, however it doesn't work effectively on black and white silver halide film (the silver particles interfere with the Infrared) and it doesn't work well with Kodachrome; this is due to the specific film in Kodachrome which has a separate Cyan layer which degrades the Infrared (this is just this specific film not slide film in general). In both cases you can use the software dust removal which is fairly effective (3 levels low to high)
USM: Unsharp mask this is a critical setting on a film scanner and has a significant impact on scan results. Off with yield soft images that require sharpening later on, medium and high will be suitable for direct printing. The low setting seems like a reasonable compromise allowing some scope for sharpening later on without over sharpening
Grain Reduction: Very effective but it also has potential to remove details too (the presence of grain is a natural part of film) use at the lower settings to maintain good resolution, noise/grain can be removed later on after the scan.
Colour restoration: Attempts to rejuvenate faded prints/film though will wreak havoc with normal photos it's quite good but make sure it's off unless the film is faded/desaturated
Backlight correction: Boosts exposure significantly if the image is underexposed, film will show more grain and lower levels of detail only use it for underexposed images as a quick fix.
Image type: 48 bit has a high depth suitable for image editing later on use in combination with TIFF files, for more direct results 24bit and low compression jpegs are still suitable for some adjustment later on. TIFF files are huge, but have a large scope for adjustments. You also have options for 16bit and 8 bit greyscale, the former being preferable for images the 8bit perfectly fine for text/most documents
Resolution: Consider what you are scanning and how you are going to use the images. For highest quality archival film scans then use a higher setting (the actual optical resolution on film scanners is never the headline figure) Medium format will benefit from higher resolution settings for print output, 35mm film is somewhat harder to scan but good results are possible if you adjust the settings to suit. For example there is little point in scanning old 35mm film taken on a plastic lens camera with ultra high resolution the image just won't have that much detail, on the other hand a good lens and emulsion can yield high details even on 35mm scans a sensible "normal scan" for a good printable image will be around 3200 DPI giving an approx. 12 megapixel image, 2400DPI will still be able to deliver a good A4 size print (just over 6 megapixels) if not a bit more. Don't scan 35mm film at 6400 DPI unless it's something amazing resolution wise (Adox with a Leica/Zeiss lens)
Higher resolutions take longer to scan, adding ICE and grain reduction all add to scan times. Speed wise it's reasonable (comparable to my Plustek) but slows down significantly. DMAX (dynamic range) is good you will rarely have problems with the exception of Kodachrome which is a difficult film to scan (high density) I would aim for a neutral slightly flat exposure on the scans this film is unique in that it is hard work for most scanners (even high end professional ones) the Epson does fairly well. To my surprise the Epson did hold up to my Plustek with resolution despite this being a flat bed scanner v a dedicated 35mm one. But the settings are quite important the Plustek applies quite a bit of sharpening by default, the Epson really does need a setting of at least "low" for Unsharp mask.
The scanner surprised me in some ways the end result/performance, though I would prefer slightly more robust holders (it might be worth picking up an extra set to load up whilst you are scanning) Even without any image editing software (there are some open source ones around that can help, those who have Lightroom will find that well suited to tweaking) Epson's suite is fairly good though it could use a makeover for the layout.
Make no mistake this is a capable scanner whilst it's not quite as high end as the next model up (higher DMAX, consider this for difficult scans) it can punch up with dedicated 35mm scanners in terms of resolution and dynamic range. This model has several important features over the models below it, ICE is worth the extra £100 of so if you are looking for good printable results from the scanner the increased features make this ideal for film users who need to scan various sizes of film you also benefit from better print scanning too.