* Prices may differ from that shown
I just would like to add something to Zmugzy's detailed review:
He mentioned he's happy with the quality of the scans, but he still saw lots of room for improvements. And there is ...
Zmugzy described scanning with the Epson scan software, which comes with the V700. I recommend not to use it. There is another software coming with the scanner: SilverFast SE from LaserSoft Imaging is in the package. And this one is a very sophisticated, professional software for scanning and image processing. I was actually impressed after I've compared scans of the same original made with both programs.
I upgraded my SE version to the Ai verson with additional functions really soon; and it sure was worth the investment. There are demo versions for downloading, so you can test SilverFast for free, if you like to. I had some problems at the beginning, because SilverFast is none too self-explanatory, but there's lots of good documentation (tutorials, movies). So this shouldn't be that big deal, if you're serious about it.
I had an Epson perfection 1650 and it was long over due for a replacement upgrade. As I never had any real problems with my previous Epson I decided I would stick with the same brand an go for the Perfection V700 - a scanner designed specifically for photo scanning but that also acts as an all-purpose scanner. It incorporates Twain and WIA drivers that let you scan from most compatible programs. There also an optical character recognition (OCR) program that converts text images into a document that is in an editable format. The V700 has a maximum resolution of 6,400 pixels per inch, significantly higher than the 2,400-ppi or 3,600-ppi maximum of many dedicated film scanners available at present. It is certainly a considerable improvement on my previous scanner. It handles 35mm film, 120 negatives, 1/4 plate negatives, and can scan any film size to A4. In all cases the overall scan quality is impressive. Perhaps the only downside is the tendency for Epson to produce rather bulky ugly looking scanners and the V700 certainly follows in this tradition.
To use the scanner you first of all have to unlock it. At the back of the unit you will find a transportation lock that you have to slide towards the left to unlock. The lock is only necessary during transportation and can be left unlocked during normal use. The transparency unit must also be unlocked, this is just a small sliding switch. Software installation took only several minutes after which you have to restart you computer. There is an Easy Install option that includes all the main applications and utilities. The installed applications include, Scanner Driver (EPSON Scan), a user guide, Epson Easy Print, ICC Profiles (Adobe), Abbey FineReader 6.0 Sprint Plus, Epson Copy Utility and Epson Creative Suite. The scanner also comes supplied with SilverFast 6 SE and the superb Photoshop Elements 3 but these come on separate CD's and need to be installed separately.
The main function of a flatbed scanner is to scan documents, photographs and other printed material. There are three scanning modes. 'Automatic' mode is a very basic setting that doesn't let you see any image preview and gives you no real image control, but it is a good option if you're in a rush. 'Home' mode does provide you with a preview and a limited range of adjustable settings to manipulate the image. For example, you can pause after a preview scan and adjust the brightness and contrast levels. You can also configure the scans with colour management etc. There are three Image adjustment options, De screening filter, Colour restoration and Digital ICE all of which you can switch on or off individually. 'Professional' mode gives you by far the best control over your image and lets you set different balances for colour, saturation and tonal curve etc. Professional mode certainly produces the best looking colours with plenty of detail in both dark areas and highlights. In all three modes there is the option to use software to digitally remove dust or automatically restore colour to faded images. Both the 'Home' and 'Professional' modes give you the option of using Digital ICE, which uses hardware to digitally remove dust and scratches.
For any scanner to obtain good reproductions from slides it must have far more resolution and dynamic range than it needs for photographic prints, so it's perhaps no surprise that this scanner is exceptional when it comes to scanning photos and photographic documents. The V700 uses a set of 5 different templates and can accept eight different film formats: 120, 220, 2.25-inch, 4- by 5-inch, 8- by 10-inch, 6- by 20-centimeter, and 35-mm slides and strips. Captured media is inserted into your chosen template that is positioned on the flatbed and a scan is then made from within a program or just by pressing the button on the front of the scanner. The overall scanning of film is quite impressive, especially when scanning 35-mm slides which can be loaded into a single template12 at a time. At both standard slide-scanning settings of 2,400-ppi and the maximum 6,400-ppi, images have a good resolution and plenty of dynamic range in the retention of detail in dark and light areas of an image. I must admit though, compared to my previous Epsom scanner there was not much of an improvement in scanning speed. The combined pres-can/scan time for a 4-by-6 photo at 300 ppi was roughly 20 seconds. Slides still take ages, anything from 50 to 70 seconds each at 2,400-ppi.
I was surprised at the efficiency of the OCR function on the V700. It is able to read text copies in an Arial or Times font fairly well and most of the time without making a mistake. This feature has always been a let down for me with all previous scanners I have used. Document files can be saved in PDF format but the lack of an automatic document feeder (ADF) limits the versatility of OCR tasks.
The Epson Perfection V700 is a versatile all round scanner and a good choice if you require a higher resolutions (e.g. for blow ups of detail) or more flexibility in film formats. £342.75 might be a bit expensive for some, but if you take your photography seriously and demand scans of a certain quality or if you have a large print and film collection that you need to convert into digital format, then this is a scanner that might be worth consideration. However, one has to remember that there are still better more advanced scanners (and more expensive) out there that will produce still better quality and more detailed reproductions. Furthermore, an original negative or slide will still possess a superior quality in terms of detail.
Max Supported Media Size: 216 x 297 mm
Dimensions (WxDxH): 30.8 cm x 50.3 cm x 15.3 cm
Weight: 6.6 kg
Resolution: 16-bit (64K grey levels) / 48-bit colour
External Resolution: 16-bit (64K grey levels) / 48-bit colour
Optical Resolution: 6400 dpi x 9600 dpi
Interpolated Resolution: 12800 dpi x 12800 dpi
Max Document Size: 216 mm (Letter A Size) x 297 mm (A4)
Supported Media: Transparencies, plain paper, film
Interface Type: IEEE 1394 (FireWire) / Hi-Speed USB
Price: £342.75 at Amazon