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Epson Perfection V550 Flatbed Scanner Review

Stephen Waller reviews the Epson Perfection V550, the flatbed scanner capable of scanning 35mm and 120mm film.


|  Epson Perfection V550 in Flatbed Scanners
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Epson Perfection V550 Scanner (2)
The Epson Perfection V550 was announced on September 18, 2013. It is the size of a larger classic domestic flatbed scanner and of a similar weight, capable of scanning up to A4 documents as well as 35mm and 120mm film. It has a relatively high Dmax of 3.4, and is a true scanner incorporating infrared dust detection and a maximum scan resolution of 6400dpi. This will give a file of 153Mb at 24 bit in Tiff format from a 35mm negative. There are also interpolated resolutions up to 12800dpi. It is now available for around £189, but how does it perform? 

Epson Perfection V550 Features

Epson Perfection V550 Scanner (1)

The combined film and slide holder is relatively easy to use, though the plastic frame for retaining the film appears a little flimsy. Slides are loaded by placing them into the frame when on the scanner glass. Tabs on the side of the film frames facilitate their alignment on the main scanner bed.  It has dust removal and separate ICE technology, colour restoration and film grain equalization. Scans would be suitable for printing at over A3 size with a minimal amount of touching up.
 

Epson Perfection V550 Handling

Medium Format ScanMedium Format Scan

Installation and Bundled Software - As with many USB devices, the software should be installed from the CD before connecting the scanner. This is fairly straight forward, and the installation will check on line for updates. The bundled software is Epson Scan with Epson Easy Photo Fix technology, ABBYY FineReader Sprint OCR, Epson Easy Photo Scan, and for editing Arcsoft Connect and Scan-n-Stitch. Epson Scan is very capable, and in Professional mode allows processing and resolution adjustment of individual images for batch scanning. The scanner is also compatible with Hamricks VueScan.

Epson Perfection V550 Features and Specifications

The combined film and slide holder is relatively easy to use, though the plastic frame for retaining the film appears a little flimsy. Slides are loaded by placing them into the frame when on the scanner glass. Tabs on the side of the film frames facilitate their alignment on the main scanner bed. It has software based dust removal and separate ICE technology, colour restoration and film grain equalization. Scans would be suitable for printing at over A3 size with a minimal amount of touching up.

Epson Perfection V550 Scanner (5)
Film Scanning - It is not clear what filter is used for scanning, and negative scans only require you to select from colour or black and white film types. I would suspect a filter profile is determined from the clear segments separating the images, as you might manually determine white balance. The automatic colour compensation does not work adequately with thin negatives, but with the use of the histogram this is easily resolved manually. Due to the diffused light source on flatbed scanners, results are not as sharp as with dedicated film scanners. This can be an advantage, as fine scratches and blemishes do not show.

Epson Perfection V550 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Eps V550 053 Grn ICE | Eps V550 053 Grn ICE Crop |
Perfection V550 grain and ICE filter Perfection V550 grain and ICE filter crop
Eps V550 051 Un Grn ICE | Eps V550 051 Un Grn ICE Crop |
Perfection V550 unsharp mask, grain and ICE filter Perfection V550 unsharp mask, grain and ICE filter crop
MF5000 Fair 028 3200DPI 16Bit MagicTouch AutoColour | MF5000 Fair 028 3200DPI 16Bit MagicTouch AutoColour Crop |
MF 5000 Magic Touch and Auto Colour MF 5000 Magic Touch and Auto Colour crop.


Scanning times are slow particularly on high resolutions and when using the processing options, but batch scanning improves work-flow. In automatic mode it is possible to scan through a lot of film and achieve reasonable results relatively quickly.

Eps V550 060 Grn ICE+unshrp Levels |Epson V550 Colour Transparency Test Grn ICE+unshrp Levels 

Eps V550 054 Autxp Grn Dst |Epson V550 Black and White Test

In professional mode, up to twelve negative frames can be adjusted individually for colour correction as well as resolution and be scanned in batch mode. The dust removal is very effective (though noticeable JPG type artefacts are produced), and was also able to remove minor scratches. Using ICE on black and white media also produced JPG type artefacts. There is also evidence of chromatic aberrations on some bright edges. Finding the most appropriate combination of settings can take some experimenting, but is worth the effort. For minimal grain results from black and white negatives I found using the grain removal with dust removal the most effective setting. The unsharp mask tends to accentuate grain, and sharpening the images post scanning was more effective.

Eps V550 036 Un Resize | MF5000 Bride 018 16Bit DigitalNoiseRed MagicTouch+AutoTone Sharpen |
Perfection V550 (resized to match MF 5000 resolution) Reflecta MF 5000
Eps V550 036 Un Resize Crop | MF5000 Bride 018 16Bit DigitalNoiseRed MagicTouch+AutoTone Sharpen Crop |
Crop  MagicTouch+AutoTone Sharpen Crop 
Eps V550 038 Un Strait |
Epson V550 Medium Format
MF5000 MediumFormat 040 |
MF5000 Medium Format 

Value For Money

The Epson Perfection V550 is available for £189 which makes it excellent value for money, as the scanner is capable of scanning a variety of film sizes, including 120mm film. Particularly when you compare this with the price for dedicated 120mm film scanners, which are generally priced in the region of £1700 or more. 
 

Epson Perfection V550 Verdict

It is very capable at scanning slide and film and compares favourably with stand alone models though possibly not quite as sharp pixel for pixel. There is a lot of built in flexibility that does make it possible to attain pleasing results. I would recommend it if you are just starting to catalogue your collection of negatives and slides, as the batch processing capabilities make for good productivity.
 


 
  The Epson Perfection V550 offers a lot of flexibility and excellent value for money.
 

Buy Online Now

 

Epson Perfection V550 Pros

High resolution scans
Effective dust removal
Software supports multiple file formats
Histogram compensation adjustment
Batch scanning up to 12 images

Epson Perfection V550 Cons

Slow capture times
Auto exposure not effective with all negative types

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  


Epson Perfection V550 Specifications

ManufacturerEpson
Scanning Sensor
Optical Resolution6400dpi - 9600dpi
Software Resolution (Interpolation)12800dpi
Dynamic Range3.4DMax
Colour Depth48bit/pixel
Scan methodReadyScan LED technology, Matrix CCD
Interface
USBUSB 2
Box Contents
Box ContentsEpson Perfection V550 Photo colour scanner, CD-ROM software
Dimensions
Weight4100g

View Full Product Details

Additional Technical Data:

Scanning Time 
35mm Negative @ 3200dpi 48bit Colour Depth 77 Sec 
Optical Resolution 6400 dpi with Epson MatrixCCD®
Maximum Hardware Resolution: 6400 x 9600 dpi with Micro Step Drive™ technology
Maximum Interpolated Resolution: 12,800 dpi
Effective Pixels: 54,400 x 74,880 (6400 dpi)

Grayscale Scan Mode (bit depth): 16-bit internal/external

Optical Density: 3.4 Dmax
Scaling (zoom): 50 – 200% (1% step)

Transparency Unit: 35mm film –12 negatives/4 slides
Medium-format film (up to 6 x 22 cm): 
Buttons: 4 customizable buttons: Scan, Copy, Email and PDF
Maximum Read Area: 8.5" x 11.7", TPU 2.7" x 9.5"
Light Source: ReadyScan LED technology

Scanning Speed: 6400 dpi High-speed Mode
Monochrome 21.00 msec/line
Full colour 21.00 msec/line
Reliability: MCBF — 30,000 cycles

Environmental Conditions
Temperature (Operating) 10 ° to 35 °C (50 ° to 95 °F)
Humidity (Operating) 10 – 80%, (no condensation)
Frequency 50 – 60 Hz
Power consumption 16.5 W
Ready mode 5.5 W
Sleep 1.6 W
Off 0.4 W
Maximum Scan Area: 8.5" x 11.7"

Operating Systems 
Windows® 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista®, Windows XP, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Mac OS® X 10.5.x – 10.8.x


 

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Comments


RamblinSam 6 31 United Kingdom
10 Sep 2016 2:05AM
Having bought this because my previous HP scanner, wasn't recognised by Win 10, to date I would say that performance-wise this is a considerable improvement speed and image quality-wise. My only niggle, is ergonomically related, in that that the power On/Off switch is [A] not a 'conventional' toggle switch and [B] It's located on one of the sides, rather than on the front next to all the other buttons, when there is an extensive amount of unused space there. Software-wise, I wish they would display next to each of the various types of scanning methods available, what PPI/DPI they employ. In fact, this information is NOT listed in their manual, and I'm going to have to phone up Epsom to find out what these are, or waste time producing scans from each function, then open the resulting files, to to find out what they are!

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