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Epson Perfection V500 Photo

>> Friday, January 9, 2009

The scanner's long list of impressive features includes a 6,400 pixel per inch (ppi) optical resolution, which is more than enough for scanning 35mm film an LED light source that doesn't need time to warm up when the scanner's been sitting idle and hardware based Digital ICE for digitally removing dust and scratches from film.

Even more important than the individual features is the way they work together, as a well designed, fully integrated whole that makes it easy to take full advantage of each part. Setting up the V500 is typical for a flatbed scanner. You install the software, plug in the scanner, connect a USB cable, and turn it on. In addition to the Epson Twain driver, which you can use directly or call up with almost any program that has a scan command, the bundled software includes two application programs.

Photoshop Elements (my unit came with version 4.0, though Epson insists it ships with version 3) is a fairly sophisticated photo editor that's appropriate for the relatively serious amateur photographer the V500 is aimed at. ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Sprint is a capable optical character recognition (OCR) program appropriate for basic OCR for personal use. It can save recognized text to a format suitable for editing and can save files in search able PDF format for document management.

The V500's front panel includes one touch scan buttons for scanning to a PDF format image file, copying (sending a scan to your printer), email (creating an email message with the scan attached as a document), and calling up the Epson Twain driver to scan and save a file to disk. The driver, complete with Epson's usual three modes, will be immediately familiar to anyone who's used other Epson scanners.

The default mode is the scanner equivalent of a point and shoot mode on a camera, handling virtually all of the settings for you. Switch to Home mode and you can control a few settings, including adjusting brightness after a preview. Switch to Professional mode and you get much more control, with settings for color balance, saturation, and more.

All three modes include options for software based dust removal and for restoring color to faded photographs both of which worked reasonably well on my tests. Home and Professional modes include a backlight correction feature that automatically fixes photos with, for example, a dark face against a bright background. You simply click a check box, instead of having to adjust settings manually.

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