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I'm looking to replace my older scanner, an Epson 2400 Photo. I mostly scan in old photos and 5x7 art prints. The scan resolution on this model (2400x4800) was good when purchased, but is now bested by even the cheapest Epson models (V30/V33).

My question is...what would be the best scanner for me? A basic V33? A higher up V500? I can't really tell what the benefits of the higher models are besides a slightly better scan resolution, and the ability to scan slides and negatives.

I don't mind paying more it it'll be meaningful for my needs, but I need help figuring that out. :-)

Thanks for any advice you guys might have. I REALLY appreciate it.

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

How often do you scan at 2400x4800 DPI? My guess is that you don't -- ever, for any practical purpose. The simple fact is that virtually no input contains anywhere close to that fine of detail. Most photographic prints, for example, are only good for around 300 DPI at most (and 150-200 is more realistic in most cases).

Unless you're really using the highest resolution of which your current scanner is capable, you're unlikely to gain much (if anything) by buying a newer scanner.

I suppose, however, I should add that I'm on only my second scanner ever. When I did replace my old one, it wasn't for higher resolution -- it was simply because the company that made it no longer provides drivers. While the scanner was/is perfectly good, it wasn't good enough to convince me to run Windows 2000 or MacOS 9 for the rest of my life.

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I think it depends on whether you are trying to effectively reproduce the detail in the photo or the detail of the photo (including, for example, resolving the film grain itself). –  mattdm Mar 7 '11 at 19:30
    
The most resolution I typically use is for the art prints, which I scan in at 600dpi. I was told that was a good setting for archiving prints. What do you mean by "only good for about 300dp"? I'm just curious, but does that mean anything above that will result in a lower quality scanned photo? Thanks for the help! –  user4187 Mar 7 '11 at 23:40
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@Fauxliia: Scanning at higher resolution won't reduce the quality, but it may waste disk space without giving any improvement. –  Jerry Coffin Mar 7 '11 at 23:49
    
Thanks Jerry. The main reason I'm looking to upgrade is that some of the newer models (V30/V33) are a lot smaller than my 2400. I use the scanner all the time, and it's kind of this giant mound on my desk. Also, I've heard the new LED powered scanners are a lot faster. –  user4187 Mar 8 '11 at 1:46
    
@Fauxlivia: Ah, now those sound like practical reasons to upgrade. –  Jerry Coffin Mar 8 '11 at 2:35
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You need more than ~300 dpi for scanning photographic negatives or slides, especially in the common 24x36mm "135" format - for that you need as much resolution as you can get and then some. Or for scanning printed material where you want to avoid moiré interference between the scan pattern and the print raster, but your current 2400 dpi is massive overkill for this purpose. For scanning photographic prints 300 is quite enough.

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I've been using an Epson Perfection 2450 since they first hit the market - still works great -actually even better than new since I replaced the Epson Software with Vuescan (which I do highly recommend especially for scanning old glass 5x7 negatives)

Unless you are

a) looking to expand your scans to add "the ability to scan slides and negatives" or

b) seeing the beginnings of the eventual lamp/stepping motor failure ( both the lamp and the stepping motor eventually will fail)

c) the surface glass of your scanner is scratched enough that it impairs the image quality (100s of little micro scratches can soften the scan)

d) looking for the features that newer software will provide (ICE or FARE - again look at Vuescan)

then Jerry Coffin is correct (and as he points out its unlikely you are scanning at 2400x4800) - keep using what you've got that works for you as long as it DOES still work for you.

That being said I'd take a long look at the Epson Perfection V300 if you want an upgrade - the price is right.

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