Epson’s Perfection V350 Photo is a reasonably priced USB scanner with a built-in transparency adapter for scanning film and slides at resolutions of up to 4,800 dpi. Its most notable feature is an automatic film loader that’s built into the top of the scanning lid. A great fit for hobbyist shutterbugs with a shoebox (or several shoeboxes) full of negatives waiting to be brought into the digital age, this easy-to-use scanner can expedite an otherwise daunting task.
The V350 sports a silver-and-gray case with a sleek, low-profile design and has a hinged lid for scanning thick and oddly shaped objects. It ships with Epson Scan software, which works in three modes: Full Auto Mode for basic scanning with very few options to confuse novices, Home Mode with a few additional user choices and capabilities, and Professional Mode with complete control over your scans. We did most of our testing using Professional Mode to import images into Photoshop CS2.
To scan paper, photographs, or slides, you lift the lid and place the object directly on the V350’s glass, which holds documents of up to 8.5 by 11 inches. You can also scan filmstrips this way, but it’s far easier to use the scanner’s automatic film loader. Push a button on the top of the scanner and the film loader pops out of the lid. Extend the small wire guide and place the filmstrip in the slot. The scanner automatically pulls in the film and aligns it correctly. Then, in the Epson Scan software, choose Film (from Auto Film Loader) and click on the Preview button.
The software does a preliminary scan and displays a 2-by-3-inch thumbnail of each image in the filmstrip. You can select all or some of the images to scan, and you have the option of setting cropping area, resolution, dust removal, and more for each image. Then click on the Scan button in the software interface and let the V350 go to work.
In our testing, it took about 5 minutes to scan a filmstrip containing four shots into Photoshop as 4-by-6-inch, 240-dpi, 48-bit color images. When the scan is finished, the V350 spits the film back out. Press the Eject button, and the scanner releases the current strip and is ready to accept the next. With a little practice, you could easily scan ten strips per hour, with minimal babysitting required.
The scanner was pretty zippy when scanning photos and documents, too, taking around a minute for most tasks, with only a minor performance penalty for high-bit scans.
Scans of our test photo came out a little dark and a touch on the blue side at the default setting, but would require only minimal tweaking to please picky photographers. The scanner also captured many of the minute details in our test chart, though the scans of our resolution test slide were a bit soft and not quite as sharp as the reflective media scans. Scans of our color photo test slide also came out a bit dark, but the colors were definitely in the ballpark and required only minor adjustment.
In the past, we’ve found most dust removal software to be a little too aggressive, removing elements of our photos that it shouldn’t. The V350’s dust removal feature for film scanning worked well. It removed dust and other surface imperfections, which can be very distracting when enlarged, while leaving other areas of the image intact.
Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor
|8-by-10-inch photo, 600-dpi scan||0:42|
|4-by-6-inch photo, 1,200-dpi scan||1:06|
|Transparency, 2,400-dpi scan||1:06|
Scale = Minutes: Seconds
|Highest optical resolution||4,800 dpi|
|Maximum scanning bit depth (output)||48-bit color, 16-bit gray scale|
|Weight (in pounds)||6.4|
|Dimensions (width x depth x height, in inches)||16.9 x 11 x 2.9|
|Maximum scan size (in inches)||8.5 x 11.7|
|Included software||Epson Scan with Epson Easy Photo Fix, Epson Creativity Suite, ArcSoft PhotoImpression, Abbyy FineReader Sprint Plus OCR|
Macworld’s buying advice
The Epson Perfection V350 Photo is a swift flatbed scanner that makes it easy to output colorful and pleasing images. And though it lost a bit of detail in its transparency scans, its ability to load and scan filmstrips automatically without requiring you to lift the lid is a great no-hassle feature for digitizing older photos.
[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]Epson Perfection V350 Photo