on January 21, 2007
I bought this scanner a month ago to scan the several thousand slides I have taken over the past years. I'm not a professional photographer - my expectations were only to digitize my slides to the same quality as the photos I have been taking with my 7mp digital camera. After receiving the scanner (which set up easily) I did an extensive set of tests to determine the appropriate settings (resolution, compression, etc), and then set about scanning my slides.
Now that I am 2/3 done with the task I can say that it's working OK, but there are goods and bads. I have no experience with other film scanners so I can't say how this unit compares to others, but here's what I have learned:
* Many have complained about the flimsiness of the plastic slide holder. Mine has held up fine so far, but I can find no information anywhere about how I would get a replacement if I broke the one that came with the scanner, which concerns me a little.
* Epson's web site is not very helpful. They have a simple FAQ with some basic items, but nothing really helpful, and no discussion groups. You are on your own.
* As others have commented, the included software is pretty basic, but I think it gets the job done. It has at least 2 very annoying flaws, though. One is that every time I preview scan another set of 12 slides, it turns off the dust removal and/or digital ICE selection. This means that you need to remember to turn it back on with every scan, which I have forgotten to do some times. There appears to be a way of saving your settings, but even that gets reset on every scan, so is useless. Maybe there is a way to make this work right, but the sparse documentation yields no clues.
* Another software issue is its ability to recognize the vertical or horizontal orientation of slides. Mostly it does a really good job with this, but sometimes it guesses wrong, e.g. it will think a slide is vertical when it actually is horizontal. Usually this happens if the slide has a dark background. Unfortunately when it guesses wrong, it crops off the sides or the top/bottom of the picture, so you can't just rotate it 90 degrees. Most of the time when I notice a wrong guess I have been able to correct it by rotating the slide 90 degrees and re-previewing, but I have several slides where it simply insists on getting it wrong and the software provides no way to override this behavior. A related bad behavior occurs if you have a slide that has a bright rectangle on a dark background, e.g. a shot of TV screen - in that case, it tries to zoom in on part of the picture, cropping off much of it including even some of the light area. I can find no way to defeat this behavior, so apparently the only remedy is to crop this type of image manually, which is going to be very labor intensive.
* Another problem relates to a hardware design flaw that I am very surprised that no one has mentioned. After scanning my first several batches of slides and examining the results carefully, I went into a mode of scanning without taking the time to examine every resulting image. After scanning a LOT of slides, I started reviewing the results and was horrified to notice that on certain batches, there were 2 faint vertical lines (one green, one blue) down certain scans. I finally noticed that the lines seemed to be on 4 consecutive slides out of every 12 (the slide holder contains 12 slides), so that was a clue. Notice that the top of the scanner has a transparent slit down the middle - apparently this is a sexy feature so you can see where the scanner light is and watch its motion. Well, it also admits other light into the scanner, at least under certain ambient light conditions, ruining the scans of the 4 slides in the middle column. I fixed this by taping a piece of cardboard to the top of the scanner. And now I have to re-scan a lot of messed-up images.
* I really can't notice that the Digital ICE feature does anything except quadruple the amount of time it takes to scan each set of slides. I tried doing scans with it and without it, and can notice little difference. Not much of a problem, since I the Epson software de-selects the option to use it after each preview scan as mentioned above.
* I suppose it's not really a fault of the scanner, but watch out for dust! It's really important to blow off your slides before every scan, and also the scanner glass. Despite being really careful, I still have a big issue with dust. Would have been nice if Epson had included a brush and something to blow with (I got a squeeze bulb blower that helps a lot). When I am done with my scanning project I'm considering replacing the electronic air cleaner in my home with this unit, since it seems to be a dust magnet! :-)
* One last comment. This is not a general-purpose scanner, i.e. you really wouldn't want to use it as a document scanner, mainly because every time you want to use it, it needs to warm up for a minute. Fortunately I have another scanner for documents, and it works instantaneously.
It's possible that some of the items above are user error on my part, but with the meager documentation and web site, it's hard to develop a detailed understanding of the unit without a lot of experimentation, which might cause one to miss something. Your mileage might vary.
** LONG-TERM EXPERIENCE UPDATE 3/11/10:
The V700 is still working fine, after scanning at least 10,000 slides, color prints, color negatives and b&w negatives. I remain very satisfied with my purchase (I would probably upgrade my rating to 4-stars now), as it has done a lot of work for me, I've scanned a lot of stuff with good results, and it continues to work fine. In particular, I think that the V700 does a spectacular job scanning prints of any kind, and automatically recognizes where they are when you place multiple prints on the glass for a single scan - but see one of the notes below!
* None of the flimsy plastic holders has broken (yet), thank goodness. I handled them very carefully. Still worried about how I would get a replacement if needed.
* Something else I learned: The V700 recognizes each of the included film/slide holders automatically, and changes a variety of settings automatically depending upon which one it recognizes - like it or not. See next item.
* Besides my 35mm slides, I also have a large collection of "super slides" that were shot on 120 film. Even though these are mounted in standard 2x2 cardboard mounts, you cannot scan them in the slide holder, because each opening in that holder is in the shape of an "+" to allow for the possibility of a vertically- or horizontally-oriented 35mm slides. But since super slides are square and have much more film area that the rectangular 35mm slides, the holder blocks out part of each slide, making the holder unusable for such slides. Also, when you put the slide holder in, the scanner automatically assumes 35mm slides, and crops down automatically, thus throwing away part of each slide anyway.
Canon offers no additional holders as far as I can tell, so here's what I did: I used a different holder that would fit 4 2x2 objects, BUT - turned it 180 degrees on the scanner surface. This was necessary to fool the V700, which otherwise reads some coding on the bottom of the holder and then changes the settings automatically. I believe this holder is meant for raw 6x6 cm negatives, which obviously won't work for slides. Turning it 180 degrees prevented the V700 from reading the "coding" on the bottom of that holder, and allowed it to scan the whole page without changing any setting automatically. Next, I created a set of 4 identical marquees that matched the 4 slots on the holder, and saved them with a name so I could use them as a template over and over again. With this set-up, I scanned several thousand 120 super slides just fine. Again, really watch the dust.
* One more experience item: the V700 does NOT scan all the way to the left edge or the bottom edge of the glass - there seems to be a small gap near those 2 edges that is not scanned. (It does scan all the way to the top and right-hand edges.) I learned this the hard way when I was scanning prints. I started off by placing 4 - 6 prints on the glass for each scan, pushing each up to one of the edges to keep it squarely aligned. Eventually I noticed that I was missing a bit on a few of the edges, which I traced back to this problem. All works fine if you are aware of this issue.
on May 3, 2006
I have a large collection of slides shot in the past 20 years. Lots of good shots on FujiChrome100 and Velvia50. In the past I've had a tough time getting good prints from them from regular photo labs, and pro printers cost too much.
I have experience with an older Nikon slide scanner, and I am getting much better results from the Epson V700 bed scanner. I see image improvements to 6400dpi, I scan to tiff at 48bit using the Epson software, then adjust color and contrast in photoshop cs2. I get very good results even from some warped slides where I always had focus problems when printed in the lab. Its very exciting to see these pictures again.
Despite good reviews of this feature, I have yet to find an acceptable result from the included automatic dust removal, both hardware and software based. The dust is gone, replaced by strange pixelation. Much better to remove the dust by hand using the CS2 repair tool, which works like magic for me. After dust removal I increase sharpness using smart sharpening, and save to jpg. Its amazing the detail that emerges with a little sharpening. Resultant jpg is 20-35megs, but is compatible with local printer's fuji frontier printer. With the control I get from manipulating and color-converting the digital image, I get prints that come out exactly as I like, better than any enlarger-based print I've ever obtained.
I won't claim the v700 will scan better than a modern slide scanner because I've never used one, but the results I get are certainly better than I expected. It is surprising to me that these slide prints are on par with what I get from my nikon d70.
Bed scanning of slides is pretty fast, about 45 minutes to scan 12 slides when scanning to my pentium m laptop. It take about a minute to put the old slides away and plop new ones into the holder.
Installation was super easy. Just install driver, plug in, start scanning. But the documentation isn't so good. There is a lot involved in getting a good scan, its sort of an art. You'll need to read a bunch on the internet. When you first get the printer, play with all the settings, scan the same slide over and over with different slide-height settings, resolutions,etc, until you find what works for you. Have an idea what you want to see, then try stuff and see if you can make it happen. Like I said above, the auto dust removal might be convenient, but the results won't withstand close scrutiny. Ditto for the scanning software based "color restoration", "sharpening", or anything else. Just post-process the 48bit tiff in photoshop.
I played around with the included silverfast SE scanning software, but found the interface clunky and there was no functional improvement over the included epson software, so I don't use it. The included detailed scan manipulation functions are all available in photoshop, so I don't bother.
When scanning photos (as opposed to film or slides), the resolution makes a huge difference. Some resultions will alias the print pattern. Getting a good scan from a print requires patience.
on July 3, 2006
Outstanding product quality, but it takes work to get the best out of it.
We bought this scanner to use mainly for scanning medium format film.
The scanner resolution is excellent, and the ability to scan in 16 bit mode provides extended dynamic range and ability to capture subtle tone details. However, achieveing this always requires changing the default exposure levels, particularly on the low end of the scale. A limitation of the software, however, is that the histogram tool for setting the levels always shows the scale in a linear 8 bit mode (0 to 255 levels), whereas a log scale or optical density scale would probably be more appropriate for 16 bit scans. Photshop also does not have this feature but would benefit from it.
A more troubling problem we have experienced is that all our film scans require changing the gamma of the blue channel significantly in order to achieve color balance. Once we had that figured out, the results have been excellent.
The software documentation is pretty lame, as usual.
As far as film handling goes, the slide holders seem adequate, but the film holders feel like they are going to break every time you use them. The medium format holder only holds the film by the long edges, which doesn't provide much support. One solution for this would be to improvise a filmholder which is like an enlarger holder in that it clamps the film on opposite sides of the image. The Epson filmholders have holes in them that the scanner uses to detect the holder type, and the software does a good job of detecting the borders of each image and presenting them all to you in the preview window.
Despite these nit-picks, this scanner is an excellent value. The scans we are getting off of Fuji Velvia 100 are breathtaking. I hope that the availability of these will renew interest in medium and large format film, as these offer creative options which are impossible with digital cameras.
on May 12, 2007
I am highly satisfied with this product. Scanning photos for me is a means to an end. The goal is to share web-based images and pleasing prints, occasionally as large as 8.5" X 11."
Prior to purchase, I researched extensively what I would need to digitize a large quantity of mostly personal photos - both those existing and any future pix I may take with my film equipment. Since the majority of the photos are 35mm slides and negatives, my initial inclination was a Nikon Coolscan film scanner. This was further reinforced by having been a Nikon user since the Nikon F days. Two factors, however, steered me in the flatbed scanner direction.
Studying reviews, both from sources such as Amazon's Customer Reviews and from other web sources convinced me that the Epson V700 would meet my needs from a scan-quality standpoint. And, a closer look at my photo collection revealed that there were numerous prints without corresponding 35mm negatives and a surprising number of medium format negatives, too. I felt it would be nice to digitize these, as well as the 35mm transparent material, but no film scanner could accommodate them all.
I purchased the V700 scanner through Amazon with expedited shipping. That went smoothly, as did the Epson set up.
The V700's graphical user interface is straightforward. Now, I have used for the last 5 years or so an Epson scanner in my business (embroidery design). While that scanner is much more basic in functionality, my previous experience gives the V700's user interface a comfortable, familiar feel.
I only installed the Epson Scanning Driver Software and the User Guide. I use Adobe Elements 5.0 for any enhancement and cleanup that may be necessary. I scan in Professional Mode, and most always turn off all Epson features. This has to be verified each time, by the way, since they have an annoying habit of mysteriously turning themselves back on. I could probably correct this, but haven't taken the time to delve into it since it's so easy to fix on the spot. I've developed recipes for handling the varied media I scan.
I put together a kit for film cleanup/preparation. It includes PEC-12 solution, PEC Wipes, a soft brush, cotton gloves, a can of compressed air left over from my old darkroom days, a bulb blower (aka ear syringe), a soft brush and cotton swabs. This kit, in combination with an antistatic plastic dustcover sized for flatbed scanners, has taken care of things so far. (Where real damage has to be dealt with, the restorative functionality of Elements 5.0 must be utilized.)
In addition to handling satisfactorily my scanning requirements, I like the way the V700 sits on my desk. When not in use, if a stray document or two is placed on it temporarily, no harm is done. It has its own on/off button conveniently located in front, which permits powering up my computer with or without powering up the scanner. The V700 simply fits into what I do and want to do. I am pleased with it.
I bought a V700 because my Epson 4990 developed a bad pixel and the V750 was not yet available. This my fourth Epson scanner and its really much the same as the others. Its fine for scanning photos or documents, surprisingly good for medium format or large format film and lousy for 35mm. When you consider that a really good, flat field process lens for duplicating 35mm slides costs almost as much as this scanner you realize you get what you pay for.
If you're not especially quality conscious and have a lot of slides to scan, this is the way to go. And I would argue that a lot of people who've switched to digital and think a 6 or 8 megapixel camera captures the same amount of detail as a Velvia 35mm transparency are not very quality conscious. And hey, that's fine. After all, in the digital world, convenience trumps everything else unless you are willing to spend really big money.
I find the supplied Epson Scan software does a fine job. There's also a lite version of SilverFast which can squeeze out a bit more quality but it has a "steep learning curve" which is marketing department talk for difficult/complex/time consuming.
One minor, obscure detail. At the top of the scanner bed there are two, raised "bumps". I'm not sure what they're for but they make it impossible to scan a section of anything larger than 9 x 12. So, for example if you have something that's 11 x14 and you want to scan a section of it for eBay, you can't on the V700. Or course its not intended for this but I thought it worth mentioning.
All in all, I'm pleased. The film holders are terrific. I make really good, sharp scans from 6x7 and 4x5 film and of course it does a great job with paper. But if you need to scan 35mm in high enough quality to make enlargements (meaning 8x10 prints, not wallet photos or something for the web) you'll need a Coolscan or better yet, an Imacon.
on January 12, 2010
This scanner is an incredible piece of equipment. Unfortunately, it stopped working after around a year. It just started clicking, making noises, and flashing a red light... They make clear that "Epson is not responsible for any repair cost on units that are out of their warranty period." Regardless, this was a hardware failure after around 14 months of intermittent use.
Epson's customer service is all based in the Philippines. The only time you speak with anyone in the U.S. is when you speak with customer relations.
My company had purchased an extended service warranty, which is not an equipment replacement, it is simply a warranty that allows you take your scanner into an "Epson service center" for them to repair. Our offices are based in NYC and Epson only had three locations that were "certified Epson service centers". One was in Brooklyn, 8 miles away, the 2nd was in West Babylon, NY, 33 miles away and their final suggestions was in Weymouth, MA, 187 miles away. The cost alone, in man hours on the phone, and shipping equaled half the cost of a new scanner. And sending it to the repair center did not guarantee its repair.
We spent $30 to send our scanner to Brooklyn. The owners of the facility were uncooperative, rude, sexist, and refused to do work on our scanner until they received a retainer for $35. We requested an invoice from them, and they refused. It took days to get this handled. Meanwhile, they only test scanners on PC's with Microsoft based OS. Had Epson communicated with the service center, they would have know I work on a MAC. So if you are in the NY area, stay away from ARON and DAVID at TOTAL OFFICE SOLUTIONS INC. 6202 17TH AVENUE BROOKLYN, NY 11204
(718) 331-3545... They should be stricken from the list as service reps.
In trying to deal with this further, I brought the matter to Epson again. I had two dropped calls with no return call. I finally spoke with a person in California in customer relations. The conditions regarding the service center in Brooklyn and the preverbal stalemate with Epson themselves leaves the customer with no option but to buy a new unit or find another company to purchase from.
I will never buy another Epson product again. And I encourage you to do the same.
on May 21, 2009
Let me say up front that, because the V700 ships with a SilverFast image management program, this is essentially a joint review of device and software.
We're a family of photographers with a lot of legacy negatives and slide material, some ours, some inherited from our parents. We've tried several scanners, with so-so results, and found them slow and somewhat clunky to use. Which meant we made little headway with the huge quantity of material we were trying to get into digital format.
The reviews convinced us to try the V700, and we've been delighted. First, I won't say it's perfect - at this price point, we didn't expect to have a totally professional experience. If it were possible, we'd probably give it a 4.5 instead of a 5. Some of the glitches noted by others can be at least mildly irritating. Still, even with the basic SilverFast software shipped with it, it works much better than anything else we've tried. (And using the SilverFast Studio Ai with ME makes it even better - you have to order this separately, but you can get it as a download.)
When used with the shipped SilverFast program, the device is intuitive, which results in a fast learning curve. (The videos on the SilverFast support site are extremely helpful should a question arise.)
What has impressed us the most is the adjustability of the import controls, especially the ability to adjust F-stops 3 up or down on negative imports, which literally brings most heretofore unviable negative images "back from the dead." As to transparencies, the adjustments provided for their import are also helpful. If you combine this adjustment capability with Photoshop controls, it is truly amazing how much life you can return to images so faded or discolored that they're almost invisible to the naked eye. Evidently there's a lot more information left on even the worst of old slides and negatives than our cursory examination led us to believe.
Also, we like the speed. The scan process is reasonable as to time required. Also, the ability to scan multiple images at once is cool. Which reminds me of the plastic holder issue. The V700 ships with a good assortment of sizes. Still, it would have been nice to have been offered the option of purchasing spares with the scanner at perhaps somewhat less than the rather breathtaking price charged by after-market vendors like SilverFast.
As to ICE, unlike the experience of other reviewers, we definitely notice a difference when using ICE, especially on images with large areas of solid color. If you want to use ICE, do go through the steps of specifying exactly how you want to use it, as this very much affects not only speed but also the end output. The degree of detection and correction sensitivity that you set is critical. If you set the sensitivity high, you can get rid of just about any dust, etc., but the tradeoff for this much "cleaning up" is a significant degree of image softening. A setting somewhere in the middle seems to work best. We don't use ICE for closeup people images, instead doing any cleanup in Photoshop. Also, at least in our opinion, we would not use ICE to clean up material that is going to be reproduced in print form.
There's more one could say, but I think the above is what we've observed from our experience that would matter to most users.
In summation, we really like this product and recommend it.
on July 19, 2007
I'd been looking at film scanners for more than a year when I read about the V700. I considered a dedicated film scanner, but didn't want to pay for one that could scan negatives up to 4x5. Long story short, I bought the V700 and it has far exceeded my expectations. It will scan a whole sheet of negatives to make great proof sheets. With the slide holder it'll scan 12 slides, but I've found I can skip the holder and lay 20 slides on the glass to just make a proof sheet. I don't use the enhancement software so scans are very fast. My favorite thing about the scanner is that it's a time machine. My family and I are enjoying slides and negs I hadn't looked at in thirty years.
There are some esoteric reasons this scanner isn't quite as good as a dedicated film scanner, but I'll bet 99.999% of the population would never be able to tell the difference.
on November 15, 2010
EPSON PERFECTION V700 SCANNER - FAR FROM PERFECTION
I have owned, loved and recommended Epson products since the 1980's. The quality was always great, as was their technical support, customer service and customer satisfaction. Because of this, I have owned ONLY Epson photo printers and scanners. I do own another brand laser printer, a Brother, I love it.
I have actually intervened in a sale at Best Buy where the salesperson was pushing an HP photo printer on a customer and told them to buy Epson, as there was no comparison in the quality of the print, the product and the support. The customer ended up walking out of the store with the Epson printer.
My satisfaction with Epson came to a halt the other day when I experienced a problem with my still under warranty Epson V700 scanner. I scanned approximately
25 photos and the carriage stopped moving, red light flashed and it was dead.
I called tech support, they kept asking me the same stupid questions over and over, and finally decided I had a hardware failure and the unit needed to be serviced. They referred me to an authorized Epson repair service in my state, and told me to contact them to have the unit repaired. I asked about shipping, they said that Epson would take care of it.
The next morning I called the authorized repair service, no answer, left messages, no calls back. Called about 50 times, only got voice mail. Finally I got someone on the phone who told me that I must ship the unit to them by FedEx or UPS for repair.
I called Epson's tech support again, and they told me they will not pay the frieght, that would be on me, even though the unit was still under warranty. I checked the cost to ship with insurance, about $50.00 each way.
Needless to say, I am not a happy camper, either with the performance of the scanner or the fact that I have to shell out another $100.00 for a scanner that was obviously defective out of the box.
I will not purchase an Epson product again, nor will I ever recommend their products to friends, colleagues, family or strangers at Best Buy.
Too bad Epson hasn't maintained the high standards of quality, customer service and satisfaction it did in the past.
on November 21, 2007
I don't know why everyone hasn't rated this scanner a five. It is very fast to set-up, and makes stunning scans. I am using it to convert all of my old 35mm negatives to digital images, as well as some old photo prints. You buy a scanner for its scanning, not the software that comes with it, and this is a solid scanner.
The software for actually scanning from Epson is very simple to use, and works great. LaserSoft Imaging SilverFast SE6 does not come with a manual, but when installing, you can install the manual as an option, and it links to their website and has very extensive and excellent instructions, including quick tour guides and videos on its use. I don't see what anyone is complaining about below when it comes to the software? Plus a copy of Photoshop Elements, you can't ask for more.
The bottom line - don't be scared to buy this scanner, everything is great about it.