Epson Perfection V500 Photo

A Flatbed Scanner To Rival Film Scanners

Epson Perfection V500The Epson Perfection V500 Photo scanner does a reassuringly professional job of archiving valuable documents that people cherish and try to save when natural catastrophes hit. This is the first Epson scanner to use the faster LED (light-emitting diode) as its light source, eliminating the conventional warm-up time.

With USB 2 connectivity, the V500 scans both reflective copy and film from 35mm through medium format. The film holders are anchored for exact alignment with the lid’s built-in light source. The glass document bed measures 8.5×11.7″. When raised, the lid locks in place, freeing your hands to arrange documents. The lid can also be removed or raised to accommodate scanning 3D objects.

The Epson scan driver is easy to use and quite good. It can be used as a standalone desktop application or accessed through third-party imaging applications, such as Photoshop. The interface has three levels of sophistication for the beginner, intermediate, or professional. The three levels share some common features but the professional level provides the most options for image correction. Two powerful features are especially impressive: Digital ICE to remove dust and scratches from film; and Easy Photo Fix technology to remove dust and magically restore color to faded photographs. These features increase scan times but save time back in your imaging application. To ensure image detail and smooth color gradients, the V500 has a maximum optical resolution of 6,400 dpi for film and 4,800 dpi for reflective copy at 48 bits. A 35mm slide scanned at 48 bits at 6,400 dpi, using color restoration and Digital ICE, took 5 minutes. At these high settings, file sizes can be big and unnecessary, because quality scans can be obtained at lower resolutions.

The quality of the film and photo scans I made was excellent. Out of the box, the color reproduction is so accurate that I didn’t bother to calibrate and profile the scanner. The Perfection V500 rivals dedicated film scanners although occasionally, medium-format film buckled slightly in the plastic film holder. You can place as many photos as can fit on the glass document bed, then select and make image adjustments to each photo separately, and finally scan them as a group. Each photo will appear in your imaging application as a separate file.

As a standalone, the Perfection V500 Photo scanner comes with four preset buttons on the front of the scanner for use with the included Epson Creativity Suite software. Each button has a specific function for: document scanning; copying documents directly to your printer; converting a document as an email attachment; and converting documents into PDF files (which I found especially useful). Two caveats: converting to email is supported by only a few email programs in both Mac and Windows systems; and tech support acknowledged that all of these presets are currently unstable using the Mac OS 10.4.11 software. By the time this review is published, however, Epson said there would be support for Leopard.

If you don’t already own a scanner, the Epson Perfection V500 Photo is a great choice.—Steve Baczewski

PRICE: $249.99
FROM: Epson America, Inc.

HOT Quality scans
NOT Flimsy film holders