Epson Perfection V800, V850 Pro scanners promise faster, better quality film scans


posted Friday, October 31, 2014 at 11:56 AM EST


Do you shoot film, either alongside your digital camera or exclusively? Perhaps you have a treasure trove of old photos you've never brought into the digital age, or maybe you did so years ago with a scanner of dubious quality, and feel you could extract more from those old negatives and slides. Either way, the Epson Perfection V850 Pro and Epson V800 -- which were just announced at the Photo Plus Expo in New York -- were made with you in mind.

Both of these scanners are aimed specifically at photographers, and will handle positive and negative film (including both medium and large-format film), as well as slides. The two are quite closely related, and share an interesting dual-lens design that allows them to scan with a 4,800 dpi optical resolution for reflective media at up to the full 8.5 x 11.7-inch platen size, or transparency media at up to 8 x 10 inches, while a second higher-res scan lens provides 6,400 dpi scanning at up to 4" x 5" size.

The Epson Perfection V850 Pro scanner, shown with included film holder in place.

They also share the ability to scan without any warmup time at a 48-bit depth for color images or a 16-bit depth for grayscale, and with 4.0 Dmax optical density, thanks to an LED light source. (Epson brands this as ReadyScan LED technology.) Where they differ is that the Epson V850 Pro includes a high-reflection mirror and anti-reflective optical coatings that both improve image quality, and allow for one-third faster scanning.

The Epson Perfection V800 lacks a duplicate set of film holders, calibration software, and a little performance / image quality compared to its sibling.

Another difference between the two is that, while both scanners come bundled with sturdy film holders that keep the film in place during scanning, the V850 Pro includes a second set of holders so that you can be mounting another set of photos while the previous batch is scanning. And the V850 Pro also adds X-rite i1Scanner software to the product bundle, including both reflective and transparent IT8 targets, allowing for accurately-profiled color when scanning. The software bundle for both scanners includes Epson Scan and LaserSoft SilverFast SE.

One of the film holders bundled with the V800 and V850 Pro.

A handy time-saving feature present in both scanners is Digital ICE technology, which locates and automatically corrects for dust, scratches and creases in film, slides and photos. And for black and white film only, an optional fluid-mount kit is available, if you want to wet-mount and get the most out of your negatives.

The film holders cater to a variety of positive and negative film sizes, as well as mounted slides.

Available from November 2014, the Epson Perfection V800 is priced at US$740, and the Epson V850 Pro at US$950 or thereabouts. The fluid-mount kit is another US$60 without scanning fluid and supplies. More details can be found on the Epson website.

Another shot of the Epson V850 Pro flatbed film scanner.