In the end, all we really could do is guess the approximate year and subject matter. It is amazing how fast you forget what you looked like in school photos.
Setting it up
- The scanner comes pre-assembled with many metres of blue sticky tape over its parts to protect it in transit. Remove that.
- Download the driver package (CD-ROMS are useless these days) for Windows, macOS or Unix/Linux.
- Install the software and connect the scanner via Wi-Fi or USB cable to the PC. We had issues with Wi-Fi, so the USB-A cable is best. It turns out that Wi-Fi only supports the 2.4GHz band and we use 5GHz on all PCs.
What we did find is that it does not support saving to a NAS device like a WD MyCloud, but it will upload to Dropbox or Google Drive. I am sure that this is just an oversight – Epson, please fix it to allow network storage.
The smallest scannable photo is 3.5 x 4”, and the largest is 8.5 x 36” (panorama). It will handle most photo paper weights up to .23mm thick.
Assuming you have pre-sorted by date and topic you can batch scan – it appears the maximum number per batch is 36. While the scanner mechanism is quite robust, we found that it was better to also sort into similar sizes to avoid jams. We had remarkably few jams this way.
Epson provides a transparent carrier sheet for damaged, dog-eared, crinkled or otherwise imperfect paper. You can only scan one of these at a time
Naturally, you can’t scan photo’s with staples, lumps of glue or sticky tape etc. It will scan Polaroids (uneven thickness), but you need to be careful and switch to the appropriate setting or use the carrier sheet if there are issues.
We found that scanning in portrait mode (short edge down) was most reliable (although this takes a fraction of a second longer).
It is not a flatbed platen scanner. It is a double-sided, auto-document feeder (ADF). If you can’t use the ADF, you will need to gain access to a platen scanner for difficult to scan photos like drivers licences, ID cards etc.
Overall, we had very few feeder issues. However, on one hot and humid, rainy day we did have misfeeds.If this occurs either dehumidify the room or have a hair dryer handy – the
Scanning quality is about DPI
You can choose TIFF or JPEG, 24-or-30-bit colour. Chose the latter if you ever want to manipulate the image.
The lower the resolution, the faster the scan (about a second for a postcard print). You can select 300dpi (dots per inch), but while this looks OK on a PC monitor or smartphone screen, it can’t really be manipulated later.
600dpi captures more detail, and it is not that much slower (two to three seconds) to scan. After experimenting, we selected the default, and it allowed us to view photos up to A4 size without significant pixelation. This produces file sizes of about 4-5MB each.
You can also select 1200dpi that adds enough detail for photos to be blown up to A3 size. Scanning is much slower.
Epson FastFoto Software
The software makes this a great scanner. It has a huge number of features.
- Scans the reverse side of a photo if there is legible writing on it
- Makes an enhanced, fixed version of a photo if its faded or colours are off, removes red-eye etc
- Places batches in different folders
- Adds metadata to the scanned image (date, topic)
- Can Rotate images to the correct orientation
- Reduce lines and steaks (creates a touched-up copy)
- Can straighten slight off-angle scans
The enhancement is great – it preserves the original and lets you see what time may have forgotten.