If you need to scan a lot of photos the Epson FastFoto Scanner may be just the ticket. Watch this video review I recorded for one of my classes or read below about my experience using the Epson FastFoto FF-640 for the past year and a half.
Scan A Stack Of Photos
The Epson FastFoto scanner works by feeding a group of photos quickly through the scanner one at a time. The most recent version says you don’t have to worry about different photo sizes when placing them in the feed, but I like to choose photos the same size or close in size. I ran 3×5 and 4×6 inch photos together without any problem.
Place the photos face down in the document feeder and adjust the sliders to the edge of the photos. Press the blue scan button to start scanning. Photos will quickly move through the feeder to the tray below one photo at a time.
My Must-Have Checklist
For me quality is supreme. Convenience is nice but if it doesn’t result in a quality scan or if I have to do more work in Photoshop to fix something, it isn’t worth it. I was amazed at the quality of my photos with the FastFoto scanner right out of the gate!
I was very interested in a scanner where I didn’t have to preview each scan for position and then select each photo and then scan the photo. This scanner creates individual files of each photo without me having to preview or select anything.
I wanted faster scanning. The FastFoto scanner can feed up to 30 photos one right after the other, and the photos travel through the scanner quickly, about 1 per second when using 300 dpi and a little longer for higher resolutions.
I wanted a choice of resolutions. FastFoto only gives two options: 300 and 600 ppi, but on the Epson website you can choose to download a free app called Epson Scan 2 which works with FastFoto and gives you more resolution choices. You can choose resolution presets up to 1200 ppi or you can type in your preferred resolution if it isn’t listed, so the resolution issue worked out OK, even though you have to launch a different program to access it.
Here are some perks I wasn’t expecting: I have the option to choose automatic back-of-photo scanning. If the scanner detects something written on the back it will also scan the back. I love this feature! It doesn’t change the speed of scanning and it labels the back with the same file name as the original, but adds “_b” to the end of the file name to differentiate it.
Like many scanners FastFoto has the option of photo enhancements that work pretty well on most photos, but here’s the difference: You can apply photo enhancement to the original photo or on a copy of the photo, which is recommended. I recommend that too. If you choose a copy you’ll get an original scan and a second enhanced scan with “_a” at the end of the file name to differentiate it from the original.
Here’s a photo where the enhancements removed a yellow color cast.
Photo Naming & Organization
I also have the option for the scanner to remind me to add dates and topics for my photos. The scanner will then create organized file names, folder names, and tags.
On older photos I like to capture the white edge frames as well. The FastFoto scanner captures edges that are straight without me having to preview and select the photo ahead of time. However, if your photos have deckle (wavy) edges, it will only select part of the outer frame.
Here’s the same heritage photo with auto image enhancement checked.
Plus it made a copy of the back of the photo as a separate image because it detected writing. Just so you know, marks like tape residue or dirt may also trigger a back-of-the-photo file. That’s OK, though. It’s easy to delete files that don’t have important information.
Keep in mind that although all scanners will show dust specks, scanners that feed are especially sensitive to dust.
If you see a straight line like the one over the baby’s face you’re almost certainly dealing with a piece of dust on the scanner glass that cuts out a small section of the image as the photo rolls past.
Lines that are curved or irregular or small may be random dust or a hair, but sometimes they’re scratches on the photo itself. I looked at this photo with a magnifier and could see the curved scratch on the right.
How To Clean The Scanner
Push down on the top right button to open the feeder unit. Blow away dust with a blower, and then gently wipe the rollers and the glass on both sides with a micro fiber cloth. I like to do a quick dust wipe between photo batches. I also wipe down each photo, front and back, before placing it in the stack. This may seem time-consuming but it saves more time in the long run by reducing the amount of time fixing the photos later.
Here’s another scan after cleaning the scanner. The straight line is gone but you can still see the scratches on the photo itself.
Epson FastFoto Pricing
FastFoto is in the middle price range of scanners, which includes scanners over $300 but less than $1000. I spent close to $600 on the Epson FastFoto FF-640 a year and a half ago. You can get that same model for a little over $400 now and the newer model is now around $600.
The newest model, Epson FastFoto FF-680 scans more than photos. It also scan documents using OCR technology (optical character recognition). That means the PDF scan it creates allows you to highlight and copy the type so you can paste it into another document—a very nice feature.
For years we’ve used a dedicated document scanner that has OCR capability. If you don’t have a document scanner the newer FastFoto scanner might be worth the additional cost.
After a year and a half I’m still very impressed with the FastFoto scanner. I use it for most of my photos. I still use my flatbed scanner for oversized photos or small or delicate photos and for slides and negatives, but for most everything else my go-to scanner is now the Epson FastFoto.
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