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Just got an Epson V300. First impressions!
Old 10-23-2008   #1
ocean7
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Just got an Epson V300. First impressions!

A few days ago I was looking for a cheap scanner mainly to scan documents when I stumbled upon the new Epson V300. It had the ability to scan film as well and it was available for US$ 99.00 so I took the plunge and ordered it. As I have not seen a review about it I wanted to share my first impressions with you guys.

Please bare in mind that I am not a pro reviewer, I am not a pro photographer neither, my scanning abilities are limited and English is not even my native language so this is a micro review from an average Joe Photog.

What does it do?
This is a scanner in the El Cheapo range that scans positives and documents as well as transparencies and film strips. It does not scan medium format, only 35mm. It can scan 4 slides at a time or a strip of 6 35mm frames. What attracted me was that it features the famous ReadyScan, EarthFriendly LED with no warm up time. You can read more about the specs here on the Epson website.

Unpacking and first look
I was expecting a cheaply built unit and to my surprise the first handling proved me wrong. It's a nice little scanner made of black plastic that does not look cheap at all. It's certainly not a V700 but the build quality is similar to that of the V500 we have at the office. Good. The most flimsy part is as you guessed the film holder.

Software installation
Time between unpacking and first scan: 5 minutes. You have to install the software before you plug the scanner into the USB port. I downloaded the latest version of the software that includes drivers and the Epson Scan utility. On XP it was just a matter of click, next, click, done. After I plugged the scanner it was immediately recognized by Windows and ready to go. I pulled out a few old trannies from my drawer and started scanning.

Scanning
I must say that I like the Epson Scan software very much. It's really intuitive and straightforward. It has different modes: full auto, home, office, and professional. Professional gives you access to all the controls including resolution, color depth, unsharp mask and so on. You install your film, hit the preview button to see if all looks fine and then the scan button to proceed. The scanner is quite silent. It makes the usual scanner noises when the head moves but if you listen to music at the same time you'll barely hear it.

First results
I used four slides than I know I scanned with the Nikon Coolscan V in the past. These were shot on Fuji Provia 100F if my memory serves me right, through a Rokkor 40/2. All the automatic controls were turned off except unsharp mask which was at medium. I scanned at 2400 DPI. Although there is a drop down menu that goes up to 4800 DPI I figured that would not give better results.

First I noticed is that the scanner gave a light magenta color cast to all my slides. Not a problem as you may correct this in Photoshop or you can probably adjust everything right from the start using the Epson Scan controls. But remember I am an average guy and I wanted to see what the scans looked like with minimal adjustments. Histogram looked good, no clipping on the whites and safe on the blacks with a little bit of room for level adjustments.

---------------------------------------

First scan ever. Please bare with the artistic qualities or the lack of! The original tif was 2080x3032 pixels and 18 MB and here is a resized version for the web. I made the following adjustments to the original: autolevels, correct slight color cast the best I could and resize.



And here is a 100% crop.



Not bad at all hey? For the sake of it here is a crop of the same image
scanned on a Coolscan V.




Of course the Nikon wins but don't forget it's a least 5 times the price. That is
if if you find one.

---------------------------------------

Second scan with same basic adjustments.



100% crop from the V300.



And 100% crop from the Coolscan.



The Nikon scanner resolves more details but I believe the little Epson is
no slouch.

---------------------------------------

Third scan. Let's see how the thing handles the shadows.



100% crop from the V300.



Same crop from the Coolscan.



Bad news I'll probably have to play a bit to get better results than that. Details
in the shadows are simply not there and you can see a lot of digital noise.

---------------------------------------

Fourth scan for contrasts.



100% crop.



As you can see this scans exhibits chromatic aberrations but it's not too bad as it probably does not have high quality
optics like the ED lens found in the Nikon.

---------------------------------------

Bottom line
For US$ 99.00 I believe this is a nice little scanner. These were my very first scans so with time you can probably do better. If you are looking for a decent scanner at a very good price well I think you just found one! It's more than suitable for web presentation and I believe these scans could print nicely up to say 5x7?

OK folks my little lady just called me and I have got to go but feel free to comment or ask if you have questions. I'll do my best.

Thanks and see you around!
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Last edited by ocean7 : 10-23-2008 at 16:31.
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Old 10-23-2008   #2
slm
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I use a Canon 8400F, using their software. I don't think my results are as good as yours.
I think it might be the software. The final scans never look like the thumbnail preview.

Great shots of our city !
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Old 10-23-2008   #3
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thanks for the review this seems like a viable option to get my film scanned at home and be able to post it up.
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Old 10-23-2008   #4
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Great stuff! Thanks for taking the effort to do the comparison and sharing with us.

Cheers,
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Old 06-08-2009   #5
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Thanks for the review, very helpful. We hvae the Epson Perfection 4990 which is not bad but ours has some sort of mould or dirt in the transparency lid. Why can't the V300 do 120 format? Is it just a case of not having a holder?

Last edited by elwrongo : 06-08-2009 at 04:19. Reason: mistake
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Old 08-23-2009   #6
photochrom
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How about Ubuntu 9.04? Is this scanner compatible? Any troubleshooting tips?

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It's limited by design to not compete with the V500
Old 08-23-2009   #7
kuzano
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It's limited by design to not compete with the V500

Quote:
Originally Posted by elwrongo View Post
Thanks for the review, very helpful. We hvae the Epson Perfection 4990 which is not bad but ours has some sort of mould or dirt in the transparency lid. Why can't the V300 do 120 format? Is it just a case of not having a holder?
The transparency head path only lights a 35mm wide path. No way to cheat the system.

I had the V500 which was equivalent to the V300 on 35mm, but I would have needed to buy better film holders for 120, since the OEM film holders for 120 with the V500 are pretty bad.
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Old 03-12-2010   #8
Ducky
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I use the V300 for BW negatives and I'm quite happy with the operation and results.
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Old 08-17-2010   #9
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hate to revive the thread, but could anyone post traditional b&w (not c41) film scans? thanks in advance
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Old 08-17-2010   #10
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Leica IIIf w/ 5cm f3.5 Elmar - Tri-X scanned with V300
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Old 08-17-2010   #11
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that's really nice, thanks!
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