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The Epson Perfection 4870 scanner

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One year ago I reviewed the Epson 3200 scanner, which produced a film scan quality to rival most dedicated film scanners. The Epson Perfection 4870 not only follows in the 3200 footsteps by offering a higher resolution of 4800dpi, but also includes features such as, multi format film scanning, DIGITAL ICE for both film and print scanning. With digital cameras gaining ground over film, the 4870 may be the last or only scanner that you will ever need. The 4870 scanner is supplied complete with Transparency Unit and film holders for film formats from 35mm to 5 x 4". On most flatbed scanners the transparency units are sold as an optional extra and can cost as much as the scanner. With an optical resolution of 4800 x 9600, the 4870 is perhaps one of Epson's most eagerly awaited items since the Epson Stylus R800 and Stylus Pro 4000 printer. Lets get our hands on it!

What's in the box?

1. The Epson Perfection 4870 scanner
2. Setup guide
3. Silverfast 6.0 (SE)
4. Power cord (will vary according to country)
5. Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0
6. Scanner software Disk (software contents may vary according to country)
7. USB 2.0 Hi-speed cable
8. 4 Film holders -

  • 35mm strip (x4 strips of 6 exposures)
  • 35mm mounted (x8 slides)
  • 120/220 (6x12 max, x3 strips)
  • 5 x 4 inches. (x2 sheets)

At last a manufacturer has appreciated the fact that we need three hands to lift the hardware out of the box. Epson have put this scanner in a shopping bag and all you have to do is lift the handles and remove the contents - simple? Well not quite, the first time I tried this the white polystyrene sides fell away and I nearly lost the transparency lid. The whole process ideally needs three hands, back to square one, a thoughtful touch though. The scanner is securely packed with an overkill of protective film to protect the glossy surfaces from scratches. At the side and rear there are two bright yellow caution stickers. The side label tells you to unlock the Transportation lock, this locks/unlocks the scanner's carriage which should be in the locked position when you unpack. Unlocking is a simple matter of turning the lock 90' clockwise with a coin. The label at the rear tells you to install the scanner software before connecting the unit to a computer. As this label covers both the Firewire and USB ports you shouldn't miss it.

Back from shopping

Make sure you don't miss the warnings .

Well protected against Pizza eaters
No code needed to unlock this

Driver and other software installation

Before connecting the scanner to your PC, you have to install the scanner software, it says so on the yellow label. Make sure you close all open programs and turn of your anti virus software. Under Windows XP insert the Software CD and choose Install Software. Four components will be installed under the Easy install; Epson Scan, Epson Smart Panel, Abbey FineReader 5.0, Reference guide and Epson Online Registration. If you don't want any of these items then click the Custom button and unselect the items not required. I chose to install all, but the Abbey software gave me a message saying "Error 1311 Source file not found.... ". I browsed the CD and could not locate the missing file. I guess early purchasers should ask for a replacement disk.

Mac OS X users should note that Epson Scan does not support the UNIX file system (UFS). You must install the software on a disk or partition that does.

I have also chosen not to install the Silverfast 6 SE software at this stage, I will look at it later in the review.

The full version of Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 for both Mac & PC compatible computers is included. Mac OS X users cannot access EPSON Scan from applications other than Adobe Photoshop, this means you will not be able to scan images using Elements. However, you can use Epson Scan as a stand alone application and save the scan as a file (BMP, TIFF, JPG, EPS or PICT).

Click the items to install

Error with Abbey software

Getting connected

You have a choice of using either the Firewire (IEEE 1394a) or USB 2.0 port, a Hi-speed USB cable is included with the scanner but not Firewire. It should be noted that you should not connect the scanner to two computers at the same time using both the USB and Firewire cables. There is only one Firewire port on the 4870, which relegates the unit to the last in any chain. As with the 3200 there is a socket at the rear to connect the transparency lid, I don't know why Epson couldn't have made a direct connection system whereby fitting the lid would also connect it to the power.

Firewire and USB 2.0 ports. Clumsy TPU connection and power socket

I am going to connect the scanner via the USB 2.0 port and will publish the review timings using this connection. At some stage I will also include a comparison timings between USB and Firewire.

© Vincent Oliver 2004
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November 7, 2006

© Vincent Oliver 2008
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