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Epson Perfection V850 Pro A4 Flatbed Scanner with ReadyScan LED Technology – 6400 x 9600 dpi

In November 2014 Epson launched a replacement for the Epson Perfection V750 Pro after 8 years on the marketplace with the Perfection V850 Photo The scanner world has long awaited the Perfection V750 Pro successor. The moment has finally come!

Built specifically for professional photographers and only the most dedicated newbies, the Epson Perfection V850 Pro is undoubtedly the scanner of preference if you want the best possible photo-scanning experience and don’t mind paying the cost. The downside is that in an Epson model which costs around 25 per cent less, you can get almost the same scan quality. So whether the V850 is worth the price depends on how much of a workaholic you are.

The Epson Perfection V850 Pro acknowledges a significant legacy: its ancestor, the Epson Perfection V750 Pro, has been for many years the top model in the category of flatbed scanners with embedded transparency device for scanning paper documents and film content up to a size of DIN A4 (21x 29,7 cm). No other scanner could compete with the Epson Perfection V750 Pro from well-known brands such as Canon, HP or Brother.

Sale
Epson Perfection V850 Pro A4 Flatbed Scanner with ReadyScan LED...
  • Professional quality scanning: Slides, film, medium format & prints
  • Dual lens system: Swaps between 6400dpi for slides and film, and 4800dpi for photos
  • High productivity: One second warm up time and two sets of film holders
  • Dynamic range: Accurately reproduce tonal range and gradation of the original
  • Removes imperfections: DIGITAL ICE (Image Correction and Enhancement)Technologies clean up old film...

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There are not many variations between the V850 and its ancestor V750. Both of these are flatbeds, so they can scan photographic prints, but the main reason for buying either one is to scan film. These models can accommodate anything from positive or negative as big as 8 x 10 inches to 35 mm slides. They provide a claimed 6400-pixel-per-inch (PPI) optical resolution coupled with 4.0 Dmax ratings that leads to a claimed ability to differentiate minor shading changes over the full range from white to black, especially for shadow details (details centred on shading in dark areas). Both also provide dust and scratch removal based on Digital ICE hardware.

Key Features and Benefits

  • The software for the V850 includes a version of LaserSoft Imaging’s SilverFast scan utility which is rather more efficient than the one that arrives with the Epson V800.
  • It also includes X-Rite i1 Scanner Profiling Software for Color Calibration plus a basic calibration target. The upgrade, though, would usually be limited enough compared with the standard of the V800 scan that you may not find it worth the extra effort, much less the additional cost.
  • Setup is standard of a USB-connected scanner, though the V850 is somewhat bigger and heavier than many other, at 6 x 12.1 x 19.8 inches (HWD) and 14 pounds 10 ounces.
  • Apart from X-Rite i1 and SilverFast SE Plus 8, which is the mid-level edition of the full-function SilverFast Ai Studio 8, the only software that comes with the scanner is Epson’s scan utility which is what I use for most of my analysis.
  • The scanner utilizes an LED light source that requires virtually no warm-up time.

Speed often counts as a bonus, but again the V850 is practically linked to the Epson V800. I timed the scanner for a sample scan at around one minute, 40 seconds for scanning a slide at 2,400ppi, 2 minutes 30 seconds for scanning four slides, and 1 minute 30 seconds for scanning a slide at 6,400ppi. It took 37 seconds to scan one frame of film at 2400ppi. Turning on Digital ICE has pushed the time up to 2 minutes 30 seconds as it requires multiple scans.

Pros

  • Many of the scanner’s tools can effectively give you a somewhat enhanced scan quality.
  • When the picture is full size, you’re offered a lot of controls such as colour balance, brightness, contrast, bit depth, scanning resolution, etc.
  • The newly developed frame film holders seem to be durable enough, snapping tight and snug over the strip and cutting film sizes after a quick break-in time.
  • The scanner has the Colour-calibration target and software included.

Cons

  • Colour-calibration software is extremely difficult and frustrating to use.
Sale
Epson Perfection V850 Pro A4 Flatbed Scanner with ReadyScan LED...
  • Professional quality scanning: Slides, film, medium format & prints
  • Dual lens system: Swaps between 6400dpi for slides and film, and 4800dpi for photos
  • High productivity: One second warm up time and two sets of film holders
  • Dynamic range: Accurately reproduce tonal range and gradation of the original
  • Removes imperfections: DIGITAL ICE (Image Correction and Enhancement)Technologies clean up old film...

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Calibration files of X-Rite i1 will work with any scan utility. Sadly it can be a stressful experience seeking to create and use a calibration file. For instance, the first step is to select the calibration target you will be scanning from a list in the software. Nonetheless, the target that came with it had no text on it that fit anything in the chart, so I had to approach Epson and figure out which option to choose. There are also some steps in the process that bypass equally vital information.

As with all programs, there is a phase of experimentation in which you find out shortcuts and what the ideal configurations may be. It is highly recommended that you read the manuals and SilverFast has even incorporated instructional videos. Normally, you place slides positioned in a suitable holder. In the workspace, you configure the scan settings, such as dpi, target folder, film type, etc.

Then you do a prescan, that scans every frame you loaded. In the case of Epson software when the thumbnails emerge, you click on the ‘full-frame’ icon and then continue following the ‘Next’ arrows to work on each image afterwards.

For SilverFast, by checking the thumbnail, specify the frame(s) you intend to work on. To do any correction job, you pick a specific thumbnail and then ‘Zoom‘ it up (Command/+ on Mac) to put it in fullscreen.

As the unit reaches up to 6400dpi optical you can get pretty good size scans from 35 mm, and much bigger from medium format film. There will be practical limits, and when you start scanning, you will realize how much a cheap lens ends up costing, so spend on an 8x magnifier and use that as one of your primary editing tools.

Just like the Epson V800, scanning films is the main focus of the V850. Epson offers two sets of four film holders crafted for a range of film formats like 35 mm slides, 35 mm strips medium format film up to 6 x 20 cm (primarily 2.25-inch, 6 x 20 cm, 120 and 220 formats), and 4 x 5-inch film. Additionally, there is a dedicated Film Area Guide for up to 8 x 10 inches of the film. To scan you must first place the slides or the film in the suitable holder and position it on the flatbed, then place the Film Area Guide on the flatbed and position the film in the guide.

Sale
Epson Perfection V850 Pro A4 Flatbed Scanner with ReadyScan LED...
  • Professional quality scanning: Slides, film, medium format & prints
  • Dual lens system: Swaps between 6400dpi for slides and film, and 4800dpi for photos
  • High productivity: One second warm up time and two sets of film holders
  • Dynamic range: Accurately reproduce tonal range and gradation of the original
  • Removes imperfections: DIGITAL ICE (Image Correction and Enhancement)Technologies clean up old film...

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I was using both 35 mm slides and film strips for my film scan experiments. The slide holder enables you to add up to 12 slides with one single command to scan The 35 mm film template will accommodate a maximum of three 6-frame film strips or 18 frames. The quality of the scans was excellent. For both 2,400ppi and 6,400ppi, the real resolution that means the ability to resolve details was ideal for setting, also the dynamic range that is the ability to differentiate shading-based detail across the full range from white to black was outstanding.

For instance, on one of our normal testing slides, with a dark tree line against a bright sky, the V850 did an incredibly great work of maintaining detail in dark as well as light areas. A detailed look at side-by-side scans revealed that the V850 scan only had a tiny bit of greater resolution than the scan of the same slide from the Epson V800. The variation, however, appeared only in the highest details and was minimal enough to concern only some of the more competitive professionals. I could not see any difference between the two scanners for dynamic range.

Over the years, I’ve experimented through various scanners and scanner software applications and therefore can claim without hesitation that the Epson Perfection V850 Pro is the finest scanner available currently.

While those lacking scanning expertise will have some learning to do, the effort that you make for the outcomes is well rewarded. The speed, the high resolution, the controls available and the excellent results render scanning more pleasant. I find this device to be an ideal choice for colleges, conferences, exchanging picture groups and for the individual filmmaker who wishes to catch up on film files.

Those who have film records and want to prolong the image’s longevity into the digital world or prepare photos for massive inkjet prints or transfer them to stock files will gain from this device. But for those who still shoot film and want to produce prints despite resorting to the darkroom chemical printing or who want to prepare their job for the web-imaging stage, I also find it an ideal choice.

Sale
Epson Perfection V850 Pro A4 Flatbed Scanner with ReadyScan LED...
  • Professional quality scanning: Slides, film, medium format & prints
  • Dual lens system: Swaps between 6400dpi for slides and film, and 4800dpi for photos
  • High productivity: One second warm up time and two sets of film holders
  • Dynamic range: Accurately reproduce tonal range and gradation of the original
  • Removes imperfections: DIGITAL ICE (Image Correction and Enhancement)Technologies clean up old film...

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Conclusion

The combined effect of these big, high-quality scans and a decent inkjet printer is tough to match and is also the approach adopted by many of the former silver print world’s icons.

Do look closely at the Epson V800 if you want high-quality scan output and are not worried regarding colour calibration or intend to have a software like SilverFast Ai Studio 8 that provides its colour calibration. It offers almost the same quality of scanning as the Epson Perfection V850 Pro for about 25 per cent less. However if you are too much of a workaholic to want better picture quality from the V850, you may decide that the modest improvement in scan efficiency with the V850 is worth the extra money.