Review: Epson V330 photo scanner

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The question is, what do you do with all those photos you’ve accumulated? Answer: Scan them. What do you do with all those negs you’ve accumulated over the years? Same answer. How about transparencies? Yup, same answer.

These scanned images can then be viewed on your computer and/or saved to something like a DVD. You can make multiple copies and send them to your friends and family.

The Epson V330 . . . Perfection V330 Photo, to use its full name . . . handles prints up to 8.5 × 11.7 inches (216 × 297 mm) plus 35 mm slides and 35 mm negs (colour and B&W).

No, it doesn’t handle medium-format negs or transparencies, or anything larger.

With neg strip in place in film holder

The scanner features 4800 x 9600 dpi optical resolution and a 180-degree lid for scanning oversized objects. It’s not restricted to scanning photos.

It’s that transparency unit, as Epson calls it, used to hold slides, negatives and film, which sets it apart from a regular scanner. That and a special light in the scanner’s lid, a light which only comes into play when you’re scanning the small format items.

The V330 comes with ArcSoft’s Scan-n-Stitch Deluxe, a program used to scan multiple images such as panoramas, oversized artwork, documents, and scrapbook pages, etc., which it stitches together automatically.

Epson’s Easy Photo Fix allows users to restore colour from old/faded prints, remove dust from scanned film or slides (see below), and reduce grain.

There are four customizable buttons for one-touch scanning, copying, scan-to-email, and creating PDFs.

So what does all this get you? I pumped B&W negs, colour negs and slides through the V330, finishing off with some prints, and was delighted with the results. The images produced from scanning colour negs were a real eye-opener, delivering an unexpected vibrancy.

It’s a flatbed scanner, so you have this large playing field on which to scan prints. A special rig for holding negs and slides sits nicely on top of the bed, with two pegs holding the rig in place so it lines up with the lid’s lightsource.

The neg holder aids in placing the neg strip in proper alignment, with the upper half coming down to snap into place, holding the neg firmly. This is a bit fiddly, but necessary. Anyone who has been in the darkroom and placed negs in the enlarger neg carrier will be right at home. The V330’s neg holder will handle neg lengths anywhere from one to six frames. A seventh frame will get pinched in the closing clasp.

Slides are a different matter entirely, although you’re using the same rig. A maximum of four slides can be placed in the rig, with cardboard mounts easier to handle than plastic. It’s all a matter of friction; the cardboard mount stays in place better, while the plastic mount will drop down onto the bed, out of the rig, with what seems to be the slightest provocation.

Does the scanner do what it’s supposed to? Definitely. It was with great delight I saw images which haven’t seen the light of day in 40 years come to life on the computer screen – which says something about the dark storage longevity of negs and slides.

If your film wasn’t well washed when processed, you may find chemical deposits (or even hard water residue) has left its mark, literally, on your images. You’ll need a good image editing/manipulation program, such as Photoshop, to fix them.

Keep in mind: garbage in, garbage out.

What you will need is a good blower (or decent lungs and pucker) to ensure the negs and slides are as free from dust as possible. I found the built-in dust removal to be less than stellar. It got rid of some dust spots, but not all, even when set to the highest level.

The Epson V330, overall, was a delight to use. I was frustrated I couldn’t scan a batch of medium-format film I had shot in the ‘70s but I suspect for most the inability to handle 120 film is inconsequential.

There’s an auto setting, where the scanner identifies what’s being scanned and takes care of everything, but my guess is this device will appeal more to the person who has a long history of DIY, and who will click on the “professional” tab and set parameters to his or her personal liking.

Father’s Day is coming. I can’t think of a better gift for the long-time shooter with an extensive archive.

What you see in “professional” mode, with several scanning options available.
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