Epson Perfection V30

Epson's Perfection V30 is an inexpensive flatbed scanner that boasts an optical resolution of 4800 dpi and 48-bit colors. It isn't the fastest scanner we've seen (nor does it produce the best image quality), but the V30 offers a terrific balance of quality, speed and value.

The V30 is just 1.6 inches thick and weighs less than 5 lbs. It connects to your Mac via USB 2.0 and requires an external power supply. It has four buttons that let you scan to file, copy (scan to printer), scan to e-mail, and scan to PDF from the unit itself, rather than through software you run on your Mac. You can use the included Epson Scan software, or scan directly into Snow Leopard's Preview or Image Capture applications.

In terms of speed, the V30 was zippy performer. A 600 dpi, 48-bit scan of Macworld's standard color photo took just 40 seconds. A 4 by 6-inch crop of that photo at 1200 dpi and 48-bit color depth took 1 minute and 19 seconds. A 1200 dpi, 16-bit grayscale scan of our resolution test chart, took 2 minutes and 12 seconds. We've seen scanners that were faster, but the V30's times were still impressive.

Scan quality was also impressive. The resolution test chart scan earned a Very Good rating for its ability to capture fine lines and details. The V30 earned a Good rating for its color photo scan, which were a little dark and would require a bit of tweaking to achieve a high quality print.

Macworld's buying advice

With its high resolution, high-bit scanning capabilities, its overall impressive scan quality, and affordable price, the Perfection V30 is a good fit for those looking for a capable, simple to use scanner.

[James Galbraith is Macworld's lab director. Product photo by Peter Belanger.]

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