The Epson Perfection 2450 Photo
An Affordable All In One Scanner For Photo, Digital

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Silver-based black and white film can be a challenge to scan on two levels. First, the developed metallic silver grains can block light in highlights recording insufficient detail data; and second, the low density range of a black and white film negative must be expanded to fill the same gamut as a scan of a transparency. The Epson Perfection 2450 Photo's TWAIN driver handles this challenge well and is easy and efficient to use.
Photos © 2001, David B. Brooks, All Rights Reserved

Digital technological progress continues at a rapid pace and shows up in new and improved products on a regular basis, all driven by relentless market competition. As we progress along this path, a level of both higher capability and lower cost occasionally reaches a plateau that opens the door of possibility to a flood of new, potential interest. So it is with Epson's new Perfection 2450 Photo scanner. I say this because it is the first very affordable flat-bed scanner that has the ability to scan prints, 35mm, 120, and 4x5 film at a level of quality I think many of you will find entirely satisfying. It is the first scanner in this class I can recommend without qualification, it's that good.

Epson bundles the SilverFast SE software driver for photo scanning. This provides a simpler, easier control and adjustment of photographic scans with most of the features of LaserSoft's SilverFast Ai 5.5 software, the one preferred by many photographers who do scanning.

At under $400, this new Epson Perfection 2450 can provide all of the scanning needs many photo enthusiasts desire, with its 2400dpi optical resolution, 48-bit color depth, and 3.4 dynamic range. In addition it offers both USB 2.0 and FireWire connectivity, as well as a software bundle that contains Adobe Photoshop Elements and LaserSoft SilverFast SE, a new easier, simpler version of the best scanning software. This is a complete basis for an effective digital darkroom, plus it includes Epson's own excellent document scanning software backed up by NewSoft Presto! OCR to convert print to digital text. All of the features and specifications come together in ideal fashion, as was apparent after I made just a few scans of 35mm slides and printed the resulting 8x10" image files on letter-size paper with a new Epson Photo printer--they are great looking prints, no excuses needed!

Epson's TWAIN driver is recommended for document scanning, but I also found it an easy and effective tool for scanning black and white film.

Scanning With The Epson 2450 Perfection Photo
Unpacking, setting up, and installing the software for the Epson Perfection 2450 Photo could not be easier, and didn't take but 15-20 minutes, make it a half hour or so if you also install Adobe Photoshop Elements. I started off with my first scan made of a Kodak IT-8 reflective color test target, which, using SilverFast SE, reproduced quite accurately relying on just the automatic color adjustment. Encouraged, I got really brave and selected a 120 color negative shot with a Rolleiflex TLR at the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle. The 2450 version of SilverFast SE includes LaserSoft's new NegaFix utility to identify the brand and speed of the film. This does not provide an exact match for a 40-year-old film, but after a few trials I found a close one. And, after some manual color adjustments, I obtained a scanned image 16x16" by 300dpi. Once open in Photoshop, I tweaked the color unevenness, and retouched dirt and film flaws. I obtained a final result that I felt was good enough to submit with this report.

This sunlit home with tones ranging from white to black across a broad range was recorded on Kodak's Ektachrome 100 VS. It includes the widest span of densities a scanner must reproduce. The 2450 handled this challenge resulting in clean, brilliant color values and sharply defined detail of the scene.

For my next test I went to the opposite extreme and scanned some 120 and 4x5 film for a friend who does a lot of professional architectural photography. James Chen shot both fully sunlit exteriors, as well as interiors of a classic Mediterranean style home, on the latest Ektachrome 100 VS, producing images using the entire density range of the film and with brilliant color. The Epson Perfection 2450 Photo met this challenge with no exceptions, producing very exact color matching, fine detail sharply defined and no noise whatsoever. I believe Chen was quite taken back by the quality of the test prints, especially when he learned that they were made with a scanner costing under $400.

B&W Capabilities
I continued my test by scanning a great variety of 120 transparencies made with different films, a diverse selection of 35mm color negatives, and, using the Epson TWAIN driver, scanned a large number of 120 black and white film images in sizes from 6x4.5cm to 6x9cm. I was pleasantly surprised that besides the ease of document scans, the Epson TWAIN driver is very efficient and effective In the recent past consumer flat-bed scanners with film scanning have offered the most versatile scanning capabilities at a price affordable to many enthusiasts. This same market segment is generally most heavily invested in 35mm photography, and all of the flat-bed models under $500 I tested previously left something to be desired in their ability to make good scans of 35mm slides and negatives.

Late afternoon with the sun just above the horizon is often referred to as "sweet light." The subtle coloration in the scene with tinges of purple in the distance and yellows and reds in the foreground are important to the image, but can easily be lost in scanning. SilverFast SE provides the option of both optimizing the image values while preserving all of the distinct subtleties of color.

The Perfection 2450 Photo is an exception, producing scans which rival dedicated 35mm scanners costing the same and more in the 1800-2700dpi range. The resulting scans produce letter-size prints quite equal to scans made with many of the dedicated 35mm film scanners. So the 2450 is, in my opinion, definitely an all-in-one scanner for the photo enthusiast on a budget.

For the more advanced photographers using a medium format or large format camera, the Epson Perfection 2450 Photo will produce very high quality scans for a print size of 13x19 from even the smallest 6x4.5cm 120 film format, and proportionally bigger prints for larger film sizes like 6x7cm and 4x5".

I don't usually use the "best buy" phrase in my reports, but from every possible perspective my experience with the 2450 justifies its application to this latest Epson Perfection scanner. For more information call Epson at (800) 463-7766 or visit their web site at: www.epson.com.

The sleek design of the new Epson Perfection 2450 Photo is a fitting complement to its ourstanding performance.
After 40 years of questionable storage a 21/4 color negative would seem to have dubious possibilities as a digital photo image. Not only did the Epson Perfection 2450 Photo provide a good, well-adjusted scan, it also made a credible large print from a 16x16" by 3000dpi file.

Technical Specifications

Type: Flat-bed single pass color scanner

Resolution: 2400dpi optical, 2400x4800dpi hardware with Epson Micro-Step Drive

Interpolated Resolution: 12,800dpi

Color Depth: 48-bit RGB

Output Depth: 8 or 16-bit per channel

Dynamic Range: 3.4

Maximum Read Area: 8.5x11.7"

Film Scanning: 4x9" transparency adapter built-in

Interface Connectivity: USB 2.0 and FireWire

Dimensions: 11.9x18.7x4.8"

Weight: 12.8 lbs

Software Bundle: LaserSoft SilverFast SE, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Epson Film Factory, Epson Smart Panel, Epson TWAIN

ESP: $399

Originally photographed to evaluate a new camera, this still life provides an ideal range of tone, color values and image detail. It's an excellent image to use to evaluate the scanning capabilities of the Epson Perfection 2450 Photo. The scan was quite easy to adjust in SilverFast and resulted in a virtually ideal digital image. The test print fully represented the values in the original transparency.

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