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Memories, oh so many memories with Epson FF-680W fast photoscanner
4.7Overall Score
Name: Epson FF-680W fast poto scanner
Price (RRP): $799
Manufacturer: Epson

Barbara Streisand was really singing about Epson’s new memory making machine – the Epson FF-680W fast photo scanner.

You see in reviewing this photo (and document) scanner so many memories emerged – a tsunami of memories of things long forgotten that should not have been. Thanks, Epson FF-680W fast photo scanner.

Sorry to get emotional but that is what delving into a hundred years or more of Shaw family memories brings. Three huge boxes (each 60x 40 x 33cm) containing thousands of pictures – let the memory live again.

Did I ever look that young? Oh there is a picture of me with hair! We must preserve those memories for our kids, grandkids and family and friends.

All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
Life was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Memory (with apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber)

This rather diminutive scanner took my eye at the recent 2018-19 Epson range launch. I quietly nudged the PR manager and said, “I want to review that.” Little did Epson know the review would cover thousands of photos spanning over 100 years and that the Epson FF-680W would be more than a little used when returned.

I was not sure at first of the scope of this project. Sure, it is easy to scan hundreds or thousands of photos at about one second each. Just throw them holus-bolus (that’s randomly regardless of size or subject) into the document feeder and hey presto – gigabytes, nay terabytes of images without the physical bulk.

But that is not what preserving memories are all about. It is about preserving memories and identifying who, what, where, when and why the shots are significant.

To that end Epson’s FastFoto software was great. In brief, it manages the scan, restoration (makes an enhanced copy), organises and shares those precious memories. Call it an intelligent photo organisation tool.

You have nothing to fear, except fear itself

I could not think of a more appropriate headline except something to do with procrastination. Perhaps “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

There were three huge boxes of photos, the repository of grandad’s photos; some of my father’s photos (one of my brothers is responsible for keeping that collection); my wife’s parents and family photos; my photos from the first Polaroid to my Canon EOS; and my family photos. These are quaintly known as ‘hard copy’ and are the missing part of terabytes of photos stored in the cloud or on various flash drives since I had a digital camera and later a smartphone capable of taking a good shot.

Those damned boxes of photos were not going to go away, and I owed it to the kids and rellies to do something.

I valiantly hauled these back-breaking boxes out of conveniently forgotten cupboards. My wife and started reminiscing over the contents. What a grave error that was – many evenings with more than a few tears welling up.

We soon realised that preserving memories was more than about simply scanning them. We had to get organised!

The trick to using the Espon FF-680W scanner effectively (dare I add efficiently) is to pre-sort the memories. We started placing like subjects into separate zip-lock plastic bags marked with the subject matter and approximate date to help preserve logical groupings.

Some photos were in albums (great as this usually meant a grouping of some sort), some in photo-printing envelopes, some in frames etc. In fact, most of the time taken was in removing photos from albums. That is fine for recent photos, but many of the older ones used glue – more on that later.

Let’s just say that our large lounge room floor was covered wall-to-wall with plastic bags by the time we were done. That took several attempts over several days. Our sort criteria also consolidated – perhaps we were becoming a little daunted at the scope.