Introduction Epson F-3200 scanner
Without question film scanners are on their way out, they are either going to end up in the loft or in a boot sale within the next couple of years. So why are manufacturers still churning out new models? The obvious answer is that almost all photographers, and home users, have a collection of negatives or transparences that still need to be accessed. Our family history or artistic endeavours are stored on a small piece of celluloid, the most logical thing to do is to have them photographically printed, but this means either setting up a darkroom or a visit to a pro lab. With technology moving so fast, we can have prints almost instantly at the touch of a button. Users want to take advantage of the superb quality inkjet photo printing that is now available, and the only way to do this is to scan in the film.
Finding the right scanner, that faithfully captures all the detail in a photograph is like looking for the Holy Grail, we are all looking to find the right scanner, that will deliver quality at a reasonable price. Epson have a good history in flatbed scanners. The Perfection 3200 and 4870 PHOTO, came very near in our quest, medium and large format film scans are excellent, but for 35mm film they still fall short. In January we will see a new model the Perfection 4990, I hope this one will take us a step nearer the ultimate goal. Then there is the new dedicated film scanner, the F-3200. I am not quite sure what to make of this one yet. Let me take you on a Step by Step review of this scanner and see whether £500 is going to be a wise investment.
What's in the box?
Epson have crammed a lot of goodies into this small box, in fact everything you need to get you productive within a few minutes of opening it.
- F-3200 film scanner
- 35mm mounted slide holder (8 frames)
- 35mm film strip holder (12 frames)
- 120 film holder
- 5x4 film holder
- 6x4 print holder
- 8 slide covers (still trying to work out what these are for)
- AC adapter
- Power cord
- USB cable
- Film holder slot cleaner
- Cleaning cloth (but no bottle of Mr Sheen)
- SilverFast Ai (not SE) with iT8 target
- Drivers and software CDs
- Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 (latest version is 3)
- 16mb CompactFlash memory card (for updating firmware)
- Quick start manual (several languages)
- Operation Guide
My initial thoughts are that this scanner is a neat looking device which isn't going to hog the last bit of space left on my desk. The scanner is approx 8x10x3.25 inches (see specs later in the review for a more precise size). Construction is solid with good attention to detail. I will look at the film holders in great detail later in the review.
On the back of the installation CD there is a big yellow card, which tells you to install the drivers and software before you connect the scanner to a computer. The drivers support Windows 98, Me, 2000 and XP under USB 1.1. USB 2.0 is supported under Windows XP and 2000 only. Windows Me, XP and 2000 can also use Firewire (but not Win 98). Macintosh is also well supported USB 1.1 and Firewire for Mac OS 8.6, 9.0, OSX 10.2 or later. USB 2.0 and Firewire for Mac OS X 10.2.7 or later.
Installation is a simple task of shutting down all running applications, turning off any anti-virus software and putting the CD in the drive, the rest takes care of itself. You can do a custom install of any or all the Epson software, I have opted to install the lot, including Epson PhotoQuicker 3.0 an excellent printing application - well I did say I wasn't sure what to make of this scanner.