Equipment Review: Epson V600 Flatbed Scanner

Throughout the project, we’re keen to share our thoughts on the items that make up our mobile digitization kits. So far, we’ve reviewed our laptop and our mobile copy-stand but not yet our flatbed scanner; although, we did post near the beginning of the project about a problem we had with one of the Epson V600’s.

As is noted in our kit lists – two of the scanners we have are the Epson V600 model and the other is the Epson V800 model. We purchased the V800 as Queens Library already had a V600 and so wanted to experiment with a different model.

In a nutshell, I have been extremely pleased with the V600. It’s produced consistent, high quality preservation TIFF files and it’s extremely robust given that I’ve wheeled it all over New York City with no problem at all. Below is an overview of what the standouts are for me of this scanner.

Lightweight, which = portable
The V600 is 9 pounds. Due to the nature of our project, I’m forever lifting it in and out of its transportation case and I’ve had no trouble with this at all. It’s weight and dimensions (11″ x 19″ x 4.6″ W x D x H) mean it’s easy to move around.


The V600 onsite at The Grolier Club

The V600 onsite at The Grolier Club

Silverfast is worth the added $
The Silverfast license is an added cost with the V600 (an extra $49 but it’s included with the V800). As well as better color management and more granular setting options than the built-in Epson software, Silverfast also has a great pre-scan and selection functions. We have written a guide on the ‘pre-scan’ function in Silverfast which demonstrates the just how useful it can be, as it allows you to set scan parameters before the actual scan (useful for when scanning a light colored document as Epson Scan can’t seem to find the border of the document and often cuts the margin out). The pre-scan parameters also come in handy if you’re digitizing a small item; you can set the parameters directly around the item, reducing scan time, which has been very useful on several occasions. You can also rotate the image in pre-scan eliminates any skew problems in your scans right from the beginning, a bonus for not having to undertake that work during post-processing in Photoshop, for example.

Negative scanning function is great
I used this function when I was onsite at White Plains Public Library. They had some great film negatives from the refurbishment of the city’s train station and some great glass plate negatives of people using the library in the 1950s (if you’re interested you can check them out here). The scanner comes with trays to hold negatives in and it was extremely easy to switch between the reflective and transparency modes on the scanner, which I did in Silverfast. The negative scanning features are a big plus for this scanner; we were considering purchasing a separate slide/film scanner, which we ultimately didn’t need to do because of the V600’s added functionality in this area. 

One of the negatives I scanned with the V600 from the White Plains local history collection

One of the negatives I scanned with the V600 from the White Plains local history collection

I’d recommend the V600 to anyone looking to start a digitization project in the cultural heritage field. It’s not prohibitively expensive ($200), it consistently produces excellent quality master images and has the added benefit of negative scanning. The only thing I can think of that may is a mark against it, is the scanning bed size (max 8.5”x11.7”) but given our need for portability, this isn’t too much of an issue for us. We have written about the difficulty of finding equipment that bridges the gap between having the functionality to output archival quality preservation files (so many lightweight and ‘fast’ scanners on the market do not produce TIFFs) and being lightweight enough to be portable and the V600 is definitely the perfect scanner for us for our needs.

As we bought both the V600 and V800, I thought it might be useful to see the specifications of the two models. This isn’t a comparative table as these two models are quite different in their offerings – for different audiences (I won’t go into further detail about it as I’ve not used it extensively throughout the project).

Specifications V600 V800
Price $199.99 (Epson website price, March 2016) $739.99 (Epson website price, March 2016)
Maximum Scan Area
  • 8.5″ x 11.7″
  • TPU: 2.7″ x 9.5″
8.5″ x 11.7″
Transparency adapter Type: Built-in lid

Transparency Size: 2.7″ x 9.5″

Supported Film Size:

  • 35 mm mounted slides (4 frames)
  • 35 mm film strips (12 frames)
  • Medium format strips 6×22 cm (2 frames)

Dust/Scratch Removal: Digital ICE for Film

Transparency Size:

  • Transparency adapter: 8″ x 10″ (max size)
  • Transparency adapter using film holders/fluid mount: 5.9″ x 9.74″

Supported Film Size:

  • 35 mm slides (12 frames)
  • 35 mm film strips (18 frames)
  • Medium format film (1 frame, up to 6 x 20 cm)
  • 4″ x 5″ film (1 frame)

Dust/Scratch Removal:

  • Digital Dust Correction via Epson Scan
  • Digital ICE Technologies for Film and Prints
  • Optional Fluid Mount (scanning fluid and supplies not included)
  • Epson Scan included.
  • Silverfast license additional cost.
  • Epson Scan and Silverfast included.
Optical resolution
  • 6400dpi
Hardware resolution
  • 6400 x 9600 dpi
  • 4800 x 9600 dpi
  • 6400 x 9600 dpi with Micro Step Drive™ technology
Effective pixels
  • 54,400 x 74,880 (6400 dpi)
  • 40,800 x 56,160 (4800 dpi)
  • 37,760 x 62,336 (6400 dpi)
Scanning speed
  • High-speed mode: 6400 dpi
  • Color: 21.00 msec / line
  • Monochrome: 21.00 msec / line
  • High-speed mode: 4800 dpi
  • Full Color: 12.3 msec / line (approx.)
  • Monochrome: 12.3 msec / line (approx.)