If you need a scanner just to digitise your old holiday snaps or keep on top of household paperwork, there’s little point in splashing out on an expensive model with the best image quality and fastest performance, especially when cheap scanners are so capable.
The V30 is the baby of Epson’s scanner range and the only one that can’t scan negatives or transparencies. However, its 4,800×9,600dpi maximum optical resolution is far in excess of the 300dpi resolution required for most day-to-day scanning jobs. At 12 seconds for a preview and 16 seconds for an A4 300dpi scan, it’s on a par with the fastest scanners we’ve seen around this price.
The four buttons on the V30 include a dedicated PDF button, which scans a document and saves it in Adobe Acrobat format as a bitmap image with searchable text hidden behind. It’s a feature first introduced on Canon’s scanners, but it’s no less welcome here and is ideal for archiving paperwork.
The capture software has four modes, ranging from Full Auto to Professional. Full Auto captures a preview, identifies the document type and chooses scan settings automatically. It correctly identified mono text, colour documents and colour photos in our tests, and chose sensible settings for each. Professional mode provides precise control over all scan settings. However, automatic cropping to the document’s dimensions was often less than ideal, sometimes cropping too wide or too tight. Capturing multiple small documents at the same time was a little clumsy, especially when compared with Canon’s scanners, as Epson’s software is unable to auto-crop multiple objects.
The V30’s scans excelled for colour accuracy. Delicate variations in skin tones were captured precisely, with the best results obtained with the Colour Restoration option set to Medium. Such high colour accuracy also helped bring out subtle details in a photo containing dense foliage. The sharpness of scans was less impressive, though. Raising the resolution above 600dpi failed to add any more detail, and although the Unsharp Mask option successfully sharpened up details through digital processing, it also exaggerated noise. In some cases it added noise of its own, particularly in areas of solid colour. Our biggest gripe is that the primary colours weren’t perfectly aligned, which led to subtle colour fringing around high-contrast lines. It was barely visible in 300dpi text scans, though, and not at all for 300dpi photos.
The V30 is a reasonable choice for casual home use: text is perfectly legible and photos taken with an amateur 35mm film camera are captured faithfully. However, of the low-cost scanners we have reviewed recently, we recommend Canon’s LiDE 200. It makes sharper scans and costs just £56 including VAT from www.oyyy.co.uk.
Tested Scan Speeds
|Full scan area preview
|A4 document at 150dpi
|A4 document at 300dpi
|6x4in photo at 600dpi
|6x4in photo at 1200dpi
|Single 35mm negative at 2400dpi
|Single 35mm negative at max dpi
|Max optical resolution
|Max interpolated resolution
|Output bit depth
|Film formats accepted
|Arcsoft MediaImpression 6, ABBYY FineReader 6 Spring Plus
|Power consumption standby
|Power consumption active