Epson Perfection 3200 Photo scanner
Additional user impressions
edited by Norman Koren

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Guido Bruck's impressions of the 3200

Here are some user impressions of the Epson Perfection 3200 scanner, as of early February, 2003. This won't be my most refined page. Just keeping up with e-mails can be overwhelming. I edit user comments, but some rough edges and unanswered questions remain.

Lynn Healy | Jonathan Murray

Lynn Healy

Summary: faster, maybe a little sharper (inconclusive).
I don't know if these are good enough quality for you, but it's a start.  I will have my old 2450 for a few days still, so I can scan some other things on both for comparison.

The original negative is Fuji Reala (100 iso).  The photo was taken in the late '80s in Sausalito, California.

The scans were all done using SilverFast Ai with no filters (ie, no sharpening).  I believe that the tonal difference is due to a better inversion handling in the new version of SilverFast (but obviously, I can't be sure).  In any case, I just let SilverFast do what it wanted and didn't mess with any of the fine tuning at all.

I've just thought of something that shows detail like nothing else I know (that you won't get arrested for!) -- some of my antique lace!  I've attached some scans of that in case you could use those.  This is a section of some 18th century Mechelin lace (Belgian), scanned directly (not a photograph) at 3200 dpi.

PS.  The scanner IS noticably faster.

E-mail Lynn

Epson 2450. Full image below; 2400 dpi crop (right).
Epson 3200. Full image above; 3200 dpi crop (right).

Jonathan Murray

Summary: Likes it a lot; a few software issues (probably resolvable).

Here are my first impressions of the 3200. I'm really pleased so far. The scanner is better than my Nikon Coolscan LS 20 (2700dpi, Dmax = 2.7) for 35mm, which came as a bit of a suprise, and of course it's amazing for the money.

It took me a while to find the button that lets you crop the image as you like. It's a small arrow to the right of the preview button. Until I found it, the Epson software cropped automatically, losing about 15% of the full 35mm frame. I didn't want to use the Silverfast SE for full frame, because it scans in 24-bits vs. 48-bits with the Epson software. Silverfast SE gives much more control, but if I scan film with the Epson software and then scan it with the same settings in Silverfast (no sharpening during the scan on both programs), the Epson is much sharper.

I was scanning a 35mm trannie (Provia 100F) to A3 at 300 dpi, but in the future I'll scan at original size, 3200dpi. After trying many combinations of negs an transparencies in both the Coolscan and 3200, I'd now say that the Coolscan has slightly better resolution with low contrast, medium density slides only; it has worse resolution with contrasty slides. The 3200 beats it hands down in resolution with any kind of neg, even using the demo Silverfast software I have for the LS 20, which must miss a lot of information because of its very low Dmax (2.7), I can't really knock the Coolscan, because it's very old and has served me well. The difference between the two scanners is a bit like going from a condenser enlarger to a cold cathode (it is indeed; See Scanner light sources. --NLK). The 3200 Epson software also seems to work really well with color negs without having to change the settings like silverfast (Epson works well with these NPS, NPH,Reala etc). When scanning B&W negs in 16-bit B&W mode, the Epson software does a really good job of capturing the highlights and shadows giving an excellent starting point for image editing.

Enlargements from the 2450 look very similar to the enlargements from the 3200 using Silverfast. The Epson software still makes the image look sharper. Perhaps it performs some sharpening, even with Unsharp Mask turned off.

E-mail Jon

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Images and text copyright 2000-2013 by Norman Koren. Norman Koren lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he worked in developing magnetic recording technology for high capacity data storage systems until 2001. Since 2003 most of his time has been devoted to the development of Imatest. He has been involved with photography since 1964.