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« SCL Photography Podcast 139 - TLR To dSLR | Main | SCL Photography Podcast 138 - Epson V500 Scanner Review »
Tuesday
Apr052011

The Film Photographers Best Friend - The Epson Perfection V500 Photo Scanner

(If you can't see the video, please click here).

The first time you hear the Epson V500 Scanner in action you know you're dealing with a quality piece of kit. The smooth electronic hum, with the accompaniment of well-machined motors and gears, makes using it a joy. I warn you now - I like the V500. A lot.

Epson V500 Scanner

One of the challenges of using film in the digital age is how you can turn your analogue negatives and prints into an electronic format for sharing on the web, or for printing out with ink-jet abd dye-sub printers at home.

 A great example to start with are instant photographs, like the ones I take with my Fujifilm Instax Mini or my Polaroid Colorpack II.

 moat

harbour

Mju Shooter At The Allotment

 I love Instant Photography - no messing around, just choose your subject, frame the composition and press the button. The Polaroids or Fuji Prints are brilliant to hand around to friends and familly, but if you want to share them on the web then a flat-bed scanner like the V500 is perfect.

This Epson can scan at a resolution of up to 6400 dpi - more than enough to produce beautifully detailed prints of any photographs, instant or otherwise.

The above photos are scanned with the V500, and I've deliberately placed them at a "Jaunty" angle to emphasise the fact that they are prints and not digital files, and I love the way they look.

Where the Epson V500 Photo comes into its own is when you want to scan negatives - and it can do 35mm negative strips, mounted slides, and medium format 120 negatives, all in black and white or colour. Lets take a look at some of my scans:

bw beach 3

bw beach 5

pocket allotment

The Epson V500's secret is in its lid. Using LED lights, it shines a bright light through your transparencies to the scanner head below, and this is what enables the V500 to produce such great results. Remember that the above photos are from medium format 120 negs, the black and white ones from a Plastic Diana Camera, and the colour one from Kodak Camera built in 1918!

 Using the V500 is simplicity itself. Just install the drivers, then you can access it from within Photoshop using the "File, Import" function. You can then choose one of three dialogues - fully auto, home and professional. I used the pro setting which allows the control of everything to scanning resolution, import size, dust and scratch reduction and colour correction.

If you're scanning negatives the software will recognise this, and import 35mm strips of negs as seperate files. As I mention in the video, one of the most powerful aspects of the Epson sofware is its "Digital Ice" technology, which reduces dust and scratches, great for reducing the amount of time you might have to spend cloning and fixing images.

In fact after scanning plenty of medium format and 35mm negatives I found that all I had to do in post processing was to add a little contrast using the levels command, and anything that cuts down the amount of time I have to spend in front of the PC and frees me to go out taking phtographs, is fine by me!

 I don't like getting technical with the reviews on robnunnphoto.com - and this look at the V500 is no exception. Suffice it to say that this Epson scanner enables me to have a complete film workflow at home, without having to rely on labs to do my scanning. I can develop my own film using my Paterson tanks, scan it with the V500, and then share the photos on Flickr or print them out using my CP780 Printer.

The Epson V500 Photo Scanner - the photographers friend!

Thanks, Rob.

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