At less than the price of a Nikon 35mm transparency scanner, the Epson 750 offers almost equally good scans from negatives or slides up to large format, as well as excellent A4+ scans from prints or graphic originals. This is a scanner which fits very well into a graphic design studio, with smooth, even and (relatively) rapid performance. But it does not rival the high-end Hasselblad/Imacon scanners for transparencies, nor does it offer the A3+ size now available on digital presses. All that said, this is the best general purpose scanner I've ever used, at a price which comes in at less than a decent extra lens. Anyone who has a large number of stills or prints to digitise, or wants to work with hybrid graphic/photographic production would do well to look at it.
What's it like?
It's a chunky piece of desk real-estate that's about twice as thick as a pair of bathroom scales and only slightly narrower than an A3 sheet of paper. Inside, there is an upper lens and a lower lens, and you insert holders for transparencies - small, medium or large format, or a plain opaque backing for prints and graphic originals. It connects by USB 2 or FireWire, and it comes with high end SilverFast software and the MonacoEZcolor colour management application, as well as some OCR software which you should never admit to anyone that you own*. It's physically simple to operate, although it takes a few moments figuring out how to get the holders in properly, and a fair amount of fiddling to put negatives or slides into the holders for scanning. The SilverFast has what can best be described as a quirky interface, but it runs fine on OSX or Windows, and contains the full range of scanning tools for optimising the exposure and colour balance, with some fairly intelligent presets for various kinds of film. It also contains DigitalICE dust and scratches software. I've never managed to get DigitalICE to do what I wanted, though some people swear by it. For most users, SilverFast will be used to get the image into Photoshop, and the rest will be done there.
|Image: scanning with the 35mm negative holders, you can scan four strips at once, and either use them as a quick archive, or scan a single image at maximum resolution.|
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