Epson Perfection 2580 Photo
At a Glance
The Epson Perfection 2580 Photo produces high-quality images from both prints and film--and is a great value for the price. Plus, this scanner is ideal for anyone with stacks of 35mm negatives to scan.
People with large film archives will like this scanner, which is the first flatbed model we've tested with an automatic film loader. This nifty device lets you easily scan individual frames on 35mm negatives. Sort of like inserting a bank card into an ATM, you open the film loader door--located directly on top of the scanner cover--insert the filmstrip (containing up to six shots) in the slot provided, and push the start button. In our tests, the 2580 flawlessly fed the film into the unit and scanned and saved each frame in the strip as a separate image. The automatically scanned images did a fine job of matching the brightness, contrast, and color tones in the originals. You can also use the loader manually, which allows you to preview each frame before making the final scans.
In addition, the 2580 comes with a small slide holder that fits on the glass for scanning 35mm slides, but only one at a time. (Other models such as Epson's own Perfection 4180 Photo can scan batches of 35mm slides at once.)
The 2580's impressive performance earned it the second-highest ranking in our March 2005 issue among small-office scanners for overall speed. It pumped out a 2-by-2-inch color photo at 1200 dpi in just under 28 seconds--the fastest score of all our currently tested scanners.
In our standard image-quality tests, the 2580 won first place among all small-office scanners. In our on-screen display of a scanned 4-by-5-inch color photo, the Perfection 2580 accurately reproduced the skin tones and color shades of the original. Our black-and-white line-art and grayscale photo scan tests, however, produced results that we rated closer to average.
The 2580 has four front-panel buttons (Start, Copy, E-Mail, and Scan & Save) for quick starts to common scanning tasks. The proficient Epson Scan driver has three operating modes: Full Auto, for fast and easy one-click scans; Home, for choosing a few basic settings; and Professional, for complete access to all scanner settings, including color adjustment, tone correction, and gamma control. We liked the 2580's image-enhancement options, such as color restoration, dust removal, and grain reduction; the color restoration option, for example, livened up a faded photo with a red color cast by adding more green and blue.
Bundled software includes a basic image editing application (ArcSoft PhotoImpression), a feature-limited but very accurate OCR package (Abbyy FineReader Sprint 5), and Epson's Smart Panel utility. The easy-to-use Smart Panel helps you process and manage your scans with a highly graphical interface, suitable for beginners or infrequent users. An optional $149 Multi Photo Feeder can scan up to 24 4-by-6-inch photos (or business cards up to that size).
The Epson Perfection 2580 is most useful for people who want to digitize batches of 35mm negatives.