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Epson V500 Scanner 

With the MFU (multi function unit) or AIO (all in one) taking up little more space than a scanner and providing the functionality of three or four products then the scanner needs to do extra things to consider a stand alone product. There are units that read vast numbers of textual pages at 16 or 20 PPM. Here it can read slides and transparencies.
Epson Perfection V500 flat-bed photo scanner closed
click to enlarge

First the all important dimensions it is 44cm long, 26cm wide and 9cm tall. It is a very dark grey in colour and has the power input and USB close together on the back and the on/off switch on the right side. There are four buttons on the front edge but everything can be managed from within Windows. The lid opens portrait and while it comes as a standard scanner (white plastic lid background) this takes out to allow you to insert either the transparency or negative sleeves.

A raft of software is supplied and you can choose to let it install it all or you can untick stuff you do not think you will want. Doing a full install takes around 360MB of hard disc space under XP.

It is likely that to want this scanner you have a lot of negatives or transparencies that you want to digitise. It does this job well and indeed whenever I review one of these specialist units I always transfer some of my transparencies and negatives to the PC.

I am always amazed that with film negatives they always manage to get separated from the printed pictures and only by using a product like this do you stand a chance of finding that long lost image that frequently cannot be replaced, certainly true as you become older. So just finding a few unreplaceable images makes the cost worthwhile.

One thing that the scanner from a MFU or AIO is unlikely to have is Digital ICE a feature to remove dust and scratches from film.

Warm up is virtually nil (it uses LED's) as opposed to the MFU or AIO unit that often take fifteen seconds every time you want to scan.

Epson Perfection V500 flat-bed photo scanner
click to enlarge

This unit can scan at 6400 pixel per inch and that is more than you need for 35mm film. The Epson TWAIN driver should work with almost all photo manipulation software. But just for good measure Epson provide Photoshop Elements 4.

The OCR software provided ABBEY Fine Reader 6 Sprint this is a perfectly acceptable piece of OCR software remember you can still replace the white plastic backing on the inside of the lid to use it conventionally.

The four buttons on the front can scan to PDF, copy to a printer, scan to email or of course call in the TWAIN driver to output to the PC all easy to use and understand, all this can be done from Windows with more handholding if required.

Giving the unit a 35mm slide takes just over a minute to send the output to the PC. However using Digital Ice will more than double this but if you have a scratched image the wait is worth it as the multiple scans will at the very least lessen the problems.

The Epson price is a penny short of £200 but consider this how much would you pay to get images back that you thought were lost or badly damaged forever?

Do not confuse this with the bulk standard scanner in a MFU or AIO unit it is totally different and of course with less demand the price is always higher.

Doing my Internet searches found the Epson Perfection V500 at a best price of £176.99 including free delivery from the first link below.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000VYYSEE

http://www.epson.co.uk/scanners/Epson-Perfection-V500-Photo-Scanner.htm

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