Week 34, 2015: More on the Epson V550 scanner and preserving your memories


Sound Advice

By Don Lindich

Week 34, 2015

Q. Every once in a while I write a column that opens the floodgates of reader email, and my column about the Epson Perfection V550 recently earned that distinction. In the months to come I will have more information about scanning, archiving and printing.

My father had an Epson Perfection 2840 Photo scanner. He passed away a couple of years back and I tasked myself to bring to JPG-life all the color positive slides he and my mother had taken. I found the 2840 very poor on scanning slides. If theV550is as excellent with slides as you professed for the photos, I’m all in. What do you think?

-Peter Armstrong, Walnut Creek, CA

Q. I did not scan any color slides or transparencies, but I did scan 35mm and medium format film negatives and was pleased with the results. The Perfection V550 can scan 4 mounted 35mm slides or 12 frames of 35mm negatives in a single scan.

The Perfection 2840 was introduced over 10 years ago. The Perfection V550 has higher resolution and ten years’ worth of improvement in both the hardware and software. You should find it to be dramatically better in all regards. For more detailed info, check out http://tinyurl.com/v550review and read the Phoblographer’s excellent in-depth review of the Perfection V550.

What can you tell me about the Perfection V370 vs the Perfection V550? It appears that the V370 can also scan multiple photos, slides, and negatives, and it is less expensive than the Perfection V550.

-Walt Russell, Milwaukee, WI

You are correct. The V370 can also scan multiple photos, but it does not have Digital ICE that automatically corrects problems (such as dust or scratches) in your photographs or negatives. That is a rather critical difference.

After carefully comparing the V370 and V550, I think the easiest way to sum it up is the V370 is a top-of-the-line general purpose consumer scanner, and the V550 is an entry level photo enthusiast scanner. They play in different categories and the V550 is a more capable, heavier duty machine.

There isn’t a big difference in price and personally, I wouldn’t chance going backwards in the hopes that the V370 is “almost as good” or “good enough.” I was incredibly pleased with the scans I made with the Perfection V550. I printed many files from the scans and when I compared them to the originals I did not feel like I went backward by scanning and printing them, rather than using the original negatives. There were slight differences, but not to the point where I felt I had lost something.

Years ago I purchased a scanner to do negatives and slides and was very unhappy with the speed. As for reliability, it gave up after about 100 scans and sounded like a rock tumbler at that point. Do you think the Perfection V550 may have improvements to make it better in both regards?

-Harold Netkow, Columbia Heights, MN

One of the biggest differences between the V550 and older scanners is LED vs. fluorescent lighting. The LEDs require no warm-up time and this improves scan time dramatically. I can’t 100% predict the future regarding reliability, but I can say that I made several hundred scans for my V550 review. It never missed a beat, always operating quietly and smoothly. As I mentioned earlier in this column, as an enthusiast-grade scanner the V550 is built for heavier use than the consumer-grade scanners that most people purchase. I am confident the V550 will serve you well for years.