The Epson Perfection V600 is a good entry point for those looking for a high-end photo scanner that can handle film negatives and slides, but don't want to spend the exorbitant price that is usually required for such a device. Sure, the V600 can't quite match the quality of a high-end photo scanner, but it does provide a high 6400x9600 dpi resolution (which is closing in on the upper limit for photo scanners) and offers all the functionality you could want. Bottom line, we think all but the most discerning of photographers are going to be happy with the scans you get from the V600. If you don't need to scan film or slides, you may be better off spending a bit less on the V39. It is a slightly lower resolution than the V600, but still does a great job scanning printed photos.
Epson Perfection V600 Review
Pros: Good scan quality, ability to scan photos and film negatives
Cons: Very slow for long documents, no native text recognition, clunky software
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Our Analysis and Test Results
If you're looking to scan old film negatives or slides, the Epson Perfection V600 is one of the least expensive options around. If you're just looking to digitize printed photos you can get away with an even less expensive model, but this is the best deal we've found for scanning film.
While we generally liked the Epson Perfection, some trouble with its software hurt its overall score. For more specifics on its performance attributes, read on below.
The Epson Perfection is quite a capable flatbed scanner, but unless you're specifically looking to scan film or slides you can find better value elsewhere.
Photo Scanning Quality
The Epson Perfection lives up to its name when scanning photos, creating near perfect representations of the originals. We say 'near perfect' because you're always going to lose some quality when converting an image, so you may sometimes notice that the scans look ever so slightly less sharp or vibrant than the originals.
The Epson Perfection does offer option image enhancement (they call it ICE - image correction and enhancement). We found that this mostly focuses on removing damage, like cracks and dust that have damaged a photo. There are some color enhancement modes that can also revive some of the vibrancy of older looking photos, but we think most photographers will want to do their editing outside of the Epson software.
Text Scanning Quality
Like other flatbed models we tested, the Epson Perfection produces good-looking text, though very small fonts may look a bit fuzzier than what high-end document scanners produce. The Perfection is certainly of a high enough quality to handle all of your text-based documents, though it scans them very slowly. The V600 also offers optical character recognition, rendering text-searchable documents. We found this to work quite well, with only a few words being missed here and there.
Like pretty much all bed scanners, the V600 is quite slow. It's hard to nail down the speed of bed style models, because things like the composition/color of the document, what settings you're using, and (seemingly) the current moon cycle can all change how quickly these devices scan. That being said, if you start the clock when you open the lid of the scanner to position the page you want to scan, and stop it when you lift the page off of the bed, it took us an average of 40 seconds to scan an 8x11 page on the V600, with some large photos taking up to 60 seconds. This is certianly slow, but not terrible in relation to other bed scanners (the Epson V39 takes an average of 30 seconds, for example). However, this kind of speed might be borderline infuriating if you need to scan lots of long text documents. In that case a dedicated document scanner is a much better option.
Compared to the software of other flatbed models, we found the Epson Perfection's included bundle to be quite clunky and difficult to use. Navigating through settings and file management felt much less intuitive than other programs we used, and we found that the software ran very slowly whenever we used it on a Mac OS device. The software does include an extension for recognizing text, meaning you can create scans with searchable text. However, you do have to jump through some settings hoops to accomplish this.
We found the Epson Perfection was relatively easy to use in our testing. We had it up and running within 10 minutes of opening the box, and though the on-device buttons weren't exactly intuitive, we were still able to get some scans made before reading the manual. While more advanced tasks that require using the software could sometimes get a bit confusing, the barebones of the Epson Perfection are generally clean and simple.
Listing for $230, the Epson Perfection V600 is a bit pricey if you're only looking to scan printed photos, but actually quite a good deal if you want something that can scan film and slides. For the latter function, it is certainly one of the best values on the market.
The Epson Perfection V600 is a great and relatively inexpensive choice for anyone that wants to digitize old film negatives and projection slides. If you just want to digitize printed photos it is still a great option, but probably a little more than you really need to spend.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata