Epson Perfection V550 Photo Color Scanner Review

  • 01 of 02

    Epson Perfection V550 Photo Color Scanner

    Open Epson scaner
    Photo from Amazon

    If you have boxes of old family slides and film negatives that you would love to scan, then the Epson Perfection V550 Photo scanner may be right for you. I found it easy to install the software, make setting changes, scan, and save beautifully scanned copies of my 20-year-old color negatives allowing me to preserve precious family memories. I was also able to scan in eight photos from two different negative strips at a time, which will save time when it comes to scanning in entire boxes of...MORE negatives. The Epson Digital ICE Technology automatically applied corrections to the scanned images erasing dust and scratches. This scanner has a manufacturer retail suggested price just under $200 and can be found on sale for around $150 making it a terrific buy for anyone serious about scanning photos, slides, or negatives for digital preservation and for printing. Scrapbookers will love this scanner. I found it to be very intuitive to use and give it a full five stars.

    Set Up and Install the Epson Perfection V550

    I wanted to see if I could set-up the scanner and get things going without having to consult the Quick Set-up Guide that accompanies the scanner. Everything went fine with the software installation (although later I had to uninstall the Optical Character Recognition software because it seemed to interfere with Microsoft Office 2013 and was causing all Office programs to close automatically after starting up). The only thing that I needed to look up in the directions was the location of the "on" button. Seems like that would be obvious, I realize, however, it is actually a little tricky to find since it is hidden on the back, right-hand, lower side of the scanner and not on the front with the scanner buttons. Once I located the "on" switch, I was up and running with no other problems. Total set-up time, including software installation, was less than 10 minutes.

    Basic Scanning Settings

    The Epson Perfection V550 has four modes for scanning that make it simple to use only the features that are important for your project.

    • Full Auto Mode: For most scanning jobs, you can just use the automatic mode. It detects what type of item you are scanning and then uses the optimal settings required to scan that image, scans it, and saves it, quickly and easily.
    • Home Mode: Gives you a broader range of setting option for scanning color documents, photos, slides, and negatives.
    • Office Mode: Uses the best settings for quickly scanning in documents. Allows you to make adjustments right in preview mode.
    • Professional Mode: Lets you customize all settings, run a preview scan, and then choose the best options for your images. Professional Mode is what I used to scan in my negatives and photos for optimal results.
    Continue to 2 of 2 below.
  • 02 of 02

    Scanned Color Film Negative Using the Epson Perfection V550 Photo

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    Scanned color film negative using the Epson Perfection V550 Photo Color Scanner. Rebecca Ludens

    The Epson Perfection V550 Photo Color Scanner comes with a tray that snaps together to hold negatives in place for scanning. The directions on the tray were easy to follow and it was a simple thing to match the tab on the side of the tray with the spot on the scanner bed where the tray needed to be placed for scanning. The lid of the scanner has a removable panel that needs to come off when you are scanning slides and negatives so that light can pass through them. When I scanned the first set of...MORE negatives at 300 dpi my images were crisp and colorful but very small both in file size and actual size. By scanning the negatives at the maximum 6400 dpi, the final image was a large file size (approximately 4-5 megapixels), and I was able to zoom, crop, and change the size in my photo editing software for a variety of uses and print sizes. 300 dpi scans take less than a minute; while a full tray (eight to 10 photos on two negative strips) scanned at 6300 dpi took about 11 minutes. The same tray will hold four slides for scanning.

    One of my favorite aspects is that it shows you each of the pictures in the preview screen and allows you to uncheck any of the images that you do not want to include in the final scan. There are many photos on these negatives that I will dearly love to have saved in digital form, however, there is probably an equal number that are just bad (blurry, way too dark, a picture of who knows what - the floor maybe, etc.). How did we ever manage it when we had to wait to get a roll developed to see if we had a good shot? The preview scans give me the chance to not waste time scanning the bad images.

    The two side-by-side scans of the lighthouse photo above are a good example of the settings available in Professional Mode. The first image is just a regular scan. The second has all of the advanced settings turned on. The background has been lightened, the image has been sharpened, and the Digital ICE Technology has removed the dust and scratches that can clearly be seen in the sky on the first image.

    Final Thoughts

    If you want a scanner to use for office tasks such as scanning multi-page black and white documents, then this might not be the best choice for the money because it does not have a document feeder and is not an all-in-one with a printer/copier. However, if you want to scan and restore photos, slides, and/or negatives then the Epson Perfection V550 Photo color scanner is a terrific option.

    Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.