Epson Perfection V200 Photo Scanner

Last year I posted a brief review of the Epson V100 photo scanner. The V200 succeeds the V100 at the low cost end of the photo scanner market and has similar features and pricing to its predecessor. Setting it up is very easy to use, with a USB connection that created none of the hassles I remember from old parallel port scanners or certain HPs that would be forgotten every time the PC shut down. Whereas the V100 I looked at was a work scanner that I’ve used rarely, the V200 is my home unit and was bought to scan all of our extended family’s slide and photo collection. As there are only small differences between the V200 and V100 you should read the earlier review for more indepth information about the scanners as most things written there are equally applicable to the current model. The maximum optical resolution has been boosted to 4800 dpi in the V200.

To begin scanning my family’s slides, I’ve used Full Auto mode throughout, even though it doesn’t scan at more than 300 dpi by default. Still, a typical 35mm slide produces a file of approximately 1800×1200 pixels. Although as noted before the plastic film holder is fiddly to load and unload, the easiest way to insert the slides is to place the holder onto the platen first and then put the slides into the four openings by pressing them flat against the glass. Removal is a simple step of lifting up the holder and pushing the slides out to fall onto the glass, then collect them up. As with the V100, the scanner’s great redeeming feature is its ability to automatically identify the slides in the holder and produce up to the number of files required for the number of slides or negatives loaded without any user intervention, selecting the area to scan, or trimming off borders after scanning is completed. There were a few small points I would like to see rectified in future editions of the software:

  • Setting changes are not saved between sessions
  • Slides are best scanned horizontally. Vertical scans often have original detail omitted and extra black bands on each side of the result.

If you have a few originals that are vertically oriented, you can use software such as IrfanView to perform a lossless JPG rotation of the scan output file so to reorient it correctly without resaving the file and losing more quality. So far the first four boxes of originals, all Ektachrome and retaining the original colour accuracy well, up to 40 years for the majority of slides, have scanned flawlessly without a single hitch. Due to its combination of ease of use with the low price point, as before, this scanner definitely gets the thumbs up from me for film scanning; it is a great bargain at a typical retail price of $299.

[UPDATE: The so called “300 dpi” minimum resolution for slide scanning, it turns out, is actually 1200 dpi, and the 1200 dpi setting is closer to 4800. One wonders why the software lies this way, because changing to professional mode and setting those dpi numbers directly produces radically differently sized images from the obviously falsely labelled Full Auto mode’s choices]