Epson’s Perfection V550 Photo Color Scanner

Scan high-quality images automatically to Facebook and other cloud sites

Epson Perfection V550 Color Photo Scanner
Epson

If you’re in the market for a photo scanner and you’ve already done some looking around, then you probably already know that the market is vast. Take Epson, for instance. You can buy a decent Epson-made flatbed photo scanner, such as the $70-MSRP Perfection V19 Color Scanner, for well under $100, as well as super-fast, highly accurate photo scanners, like the Japanese imaging giant’s $950-MSRP Epson Perfection V850 Pro Photo Scanner.

Then, too, there are several midrange photo scanners in between, including the topic of this review, Epson’s $199.99-list Perfection V550 Photo Color Scanner—which, as you’ll see as you read on, is a fine little scanner in its own right, even if Epson neglected to include image-editing software…

Design and Features

A replacement for Epson’s ever-popular Perfection V500, the Perfection V550 has a scan area of 8.5x11.7 inches and a maximum optical resolution of 6,400 dots per inch, or dpi—decent for a $200 scanner. It measures 11.2 inches across, 19.1 inches from front to back, and it stands about 4.6 inches high, but, of course, it requires plenty of room overhead for opening the scanner lid.

The V550 comes with an attachment, an adaptor that allows you to scan up to four 35mm slides, two rows of six negatives, and certain types of film. It can also scan multiple photos simultaneously, using the scanning software’s built-in auto edge detection to determine each image’s size, crop it, and then save each image as a separate file.

Like its predecessor, the V500, this Perfection model includes Digital Ice, a hardware-based routine for removing dust and scratches that works impressively well on certain types of image damage. In addition, the V550 includes a software-based dust filter for prints. Between the two of them, you can get rid of many types of blemishes on your scans, within reason, of course.

Like a few of Epson’s latest scanners, this one uses LED (light-emitting diodes), instead of cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL) that most scanners use. LED-based mechanisms eliminate the need to warm up the scanner before it can perform optimally.

Finally, as Epson has done with a few of its lower-end scanners, this one has four scan buttons, or scan modes, which are initiated when you press one of the four buttons on the front edge of the scanner. The buttons are: (searchable) Portable Document Format, or PDF; Copy, which sends the scan to a printer, Email, and Start, which displays the scan in Preview mode.

Software

As mentioned, while the V550 is a photo scanner, unlike the previous V500, which came with Photoshop Elements, this newer model doesn’t come with image-editing software, per se. But it does come with Epson Scan with Epson Easy Photo Fix technology, plus Epson Easy Photo Print—plus an optical character recognition (OCR) program, Abbyy FineReader 9.0 Sprint, for converting scanned text into editable text. My experience with all of Abbyy FineReader products is that they all perform quite accurate character recognition, with very few errors.

Furthermore, the Epson Scan utility lets you send your scans to Facebook, Picasa, Evernote, SugarSync, and a few other cloud sites, as well as your hard drive and several other locations.

The End

When it comes to photo scanners, the $200 V550 is certainly borderline professional. It turned in perfect (or near perfect) scans on nearly all of my tests, and the Digital Ice dust and scratches filters were impressive. If nothing else, the V550 scanned very well, but it has no automatic document feeder, or ADF (but you shouldn’t expect one at this price), for scanning multiple pages, which makes it less than ideal for scanning multipage text documents, but for the price, it’s a great photo scanner. Period.