Most of us have film negatives, slides, and old photos that we would like to digitalize. To that end, Epson offers the Perfection series of image scanners that are perfect for this purpose. Let’s take a closer look at four of the top-selling models to see which is the best for your needs.

Epson Perfection V550 Color Photo, Image, Film, Negative & Document Scanner with 6400 dpi (B11B210201)

Epson Perfection V550

Epson Perfection V550

The Epson Perfection V550 will make it very easy for you to share those old photos, 35mm negatives, and slides online. Once it scans them, you can upload the digital images to Facebook, email, Evernote, and other cloud services. The only thing it lacks is a photo editing program in its bundled software. Instead, its Easy Photo Scan software only allows basic edits like cropping.

One feature that sets the Perfection V550 apart from a typical desktop scanner is its high resolution. Instead of a mere 600dpi common to document scanners, the V550 has a maximum resolution of 6400dpi. This allows for enlargements up to 17 by 22 inches in size.

Its scanning bed handles up to 8.5 by 11.7 inches, or four 35mm slides, or two rows with six negatives each. The software does automatic edge detection to separate image files.

All this sounds great, but what about that dust and those scratches on your negatives? All of the Epson Perfection scanners in this review today have a hardware solution to this problem. Instead of relying on software to remove blemishes, the V550 has Digital ICE.

Digital ICE does multiple scans of the photo or negative, then reviews them to isolate and remove scratches and dust. Pro reviewers have commented that this is usually much more effective than using a photo editing program alone.

Another feature that stands out is Epson’s use of LED light instead of the CCFL lamps many flatbed scanners use. LED light doesn’t require a warm-up period so the V550 is ready to use instantly. And if you choose the Full Auto Mode, the scanner does everything from choosing the best settings and saving the image for you.

Should you desire to scan documents too, the software includes Abbyy FineReader for OCR, or optical character recognition. This converts text documents into searchable digital text files that you can edit.

More features of the Epson Perfection V550:

  • 48-bit color depth
  • Comes with film holders
  • Built-in transparency unit, or TPU
  • One-year limited warranty

 

Epson Perfection V600 Color Photo, Image, Film, Negative & Document Scanner – Corded

Epson Perfection V600

Epson Perfection V600

At first glance, you might see that the Epson Perfection V550 and V600 are very similar. The V600 is faster than the V550, though, and it comes with Arcsoft Photostudio editing software.

The V600 has a scan area measuring 8.5 by 11.7 inches in size and a resolution up to 6400 by 9600dpi. Its TPU, or built-in Transparency Unit, can handle up to four 35mm slides or two strips of negatives at a time. It can also scan medium-format film like 120/220 and panoramic shots. From the image files it creates, you can print out enlargements up to 17 x 22 inches in size.

Since the scanner uses LED light instead of cold cathode fluorescents, it’s ready to start working without needing to warm up first. Then it only needs a few seconds to scan photos for a preview, or you can process everything in full auto mode.

Should you need to scan original prints that have faded, the scanner can automatically restore their colors. Its Easy Photo Fix program can also brighten up bad prints, like portraits taken against a brightly-lit background. Since you can view the pre-scan image before you do a final scan, you can see ahead of time if these adjustments are helpful.

If you have dusty, torn, or creased originals, Epson’s Digital ICE in the V600 takes multiple scans and compares them. Then it can eliminate and restore the damaged areas to improve the digital image of the photo or slide.

And since the V600 comes with Abbyy FineReader OCR software, you can also use it to scan documents like business cards and receipts.

More features of the Epson V600:

  • Energy Star certified
  • One-year limited warranty
  • Comes with software on CD-ROM plus AC adapter and USB 2.0 cable

 

Epson Perfection V800 Photo scanner

Epson Perfection V800

Epson Perfection V800

While the Epson Perfection V550 and V600 are ideal for home users that occasionally want to scan and share images, the V800 is designed for photographers and prosumers. It has both a 6400dpi resolution and a 4.0 Dmax rating for accurate reproduction of shading detail. And it’s compatible with an optional fluid mount tray for wet scans.

While you can use the V800 as a document scanner, its main purpose is creating digital images from photos, slides, film, and film negatives. It’s faster than the V550 and the V600, completing a scan of 4 slides at 2400ppi in 2 and a half minutes. If you turn on the Digital ICE feature, it essentially doubles the scanning time, but it will eliminate scratches and dust damage.

The V800 comes with Epson’s Scan utility and Lasersoft’s SilverFast scanning program that offers more options for basic edits. But Epson’s simple program lets you perform color restoration and fix overly dark prints, too.

In the box with the V800, you’ll find four film holders. There is one each for 35mm film, twelve 35mm slides, medium format film, and an area guide for film up to 8×10 in size. The software can recognize individual images and save them as separate files so you don’t need to spend time cropping them.

Finally, one of the features responsible for the V800’s excellent performance is its dual lens system. One lens is capable of scans up to 4800 x 9600dpi, while the other can handle super resolution up to 6400 x 9600dpi. For speedier scans, the V800 automatically selects the best lens for the job.

More features of the Epson V800:

  • Comes with software on CD, plus USB 2.0 cable and power adapter
  • Compatible with both Mac and Windows computers
  • One-year limited warranty

 

Epson Perfection V850

Epson Perfection V850

Epson Perfection V850

Our final pick is the Epson Perfection V850, one of the best flatbed scanners for professional photographers who need to scan film. Like the V800, the V850 has a 4.0 Dmax rating and a top resolution of 6400ppi (pixels per inch). It can reproduce an astonishing level of shading detail and color accuracy from 35mm slides and negatives as large as 8×10 inches. Plus, it has Epson’s Digital ICE to remove blemishes like creases and dust from images.

What sets the V850 apart from the other scanners in this review are its enhancements to the dual lens optical system, including anti-reflective coatings. As a result, it creates slightly better images than the V800, something that demanding professionals will appreciate. But it’s not appreciably faster than the V800, even with Digital ICE turned off.

Besides the improved scanning system, the V850 comes with two sets of film holders, not just one. This is convenient because you can prepare a second set of prints to scan while the first set is inside the scanner. And it’s compatible with the optional Epson wet mount tray, just like the V800.

The software that comes with the V850 is also a little different than that included with the V800. It includes a complete version of X-Rite’s i1 Scanner for calibrating color.

More features of the Epson V850:

  • One-year limited warranty
  • Compatible with both Mac and Windows computers
  • TPU transparency unit built into the lid

 

Recommendation

All four of the Epson Perfection scanners here have had rave reviews from users and pro reviewers. Since you can’t lose by choosing any one of these, your choice may come down to how much you’re willing to spend. If you’re a home user who plans to digitalize your old photos, slides, and film, you’ll do well with the V550 or the V600. The V600’s advantages are that it’s a bit faster and it comes with photo editing software.

If you’re an amateur or professional photographer, you’ll probably prefer the V800 or the V850. While the V800 is very good indeed, the V850 makes slightly better reproductions and comes with additional software. Plus, the 850 also has extra film holders to help you scan more efficiently.

If you don’t need additional software, you’ll probably prefer the V550 for home use or the V800 for professional use.

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