Product Review: Epson Perfection V600 vs. V850 Photo Scanners

Posted on by Larry

[ Disclosure: I purchased both these scanners for my own use. ]

I am a long-time fan of the Epson Perfection V600 Photo scanner (V600). I’ve owned and used one for many years and it has provided highly reliable, high-quality scans. It has never failed in years of use.

Recently, though, I inherited hundreds, perhaps even thousands of historical slides that need to be digitized. After researching a scanner that would allow me to scan more slides faster but with precise image control at high-quality, I selected the Epson Perfection V850 Pro (V850).

Why? Because the V850 has all the resolution I need, saves into uncompressed formats like TIFF and PNG, has the image controls I need for high-quality scans from 35mm slides, and can scan up to 12 slides at the same time in a batch.

Both Epson scanners are very similar, but there are clear reasons to choose one over the other, depending upon your needs.


Epson Perfection V600 Photo

In one line, if all you need is to scan documents and photos, the V600 is the scanner of choice. If you need to scan transparencies as well as photos, or need better dust and scratch control, the V850 is the better choice.

Epson makes excellent scanners which live in the sweet spot of providing high-quality, high-resolution professional-grade scans without breaking the bank. Both systems, depending upon the scanning software you use, can scan up to 6400 dpi and save into PDF, PNG, TIFF, and JPEG. Epson scanners are popular (which means lots of third-party support), reliable and high quality.

NOTE: Both scanners offer interpolation for higher-resolutions. However, interpolation is like scaling a video image beyond 100%; all you are creating is fatter pixels, not better quality.

Scanners are one half of a two-part system: To make the most of your scanner, you also need high-quality scanning software. Both scanners come with Epson Scan 2, Epson’s scanning software. The latest version of Epson Scan 2 has problems running on M1 Macs. I’m disappointed in it. Epson seems to be taking the software in the wrong direction. Better scanning software is LaserSoft Imaging’s SilverFast SE Plus 9, which I cover in a separate review. (Read it here.)

Epson Perfection V850 Pro

Both scanners scan photos, 35mm slides, 35mm negatives and medium format film. Both have optical resolutions up to 6400 dpi (which you will never need). Both scanners work at 48 bit depth for color and 16 bit depth for black and white. Both scan images up to 8.5 x 11.7 inches. The V600 has an optical density of 3.5 Dmax, while the V850 has an optical density of 4.0 Dmax. (Dmax only applies when scanning slides, the higher the Dmax, the greater the image detail in shadow and highlight areas.)

Both can remove dust and scratches, though the V850 does a much better job. As well, dust removal works best with slides, rather than prints. Both scanners are excellent at scanning documents as well as photos.

NOTE: Though, truthfully, if you are just scanning documents, one of Fujitsu’s SnapScan family of scanners is probably a better choice.

If all you need is to scan photos and occasional slides, the V600 is an excellent choice. If you need the highest quality slide and film scans, along with great photo scans, the V850 is a better choice. The V850 is also marginally faster than the V600.

NOTE: Epson’s website lists both scanners as currently out of stock. However, many dealers, such as B&H Photo, still have units in stock. Both scanners have been manufactured for several years.

Manufacturer: Epson
Website: Epson Perfection V600 Photo scanner
Website: Epson Perfection V850 Pro scanner
V600 retail price: $249.99 (US)
V850 retail price: $1,149.00 (US)


Both scanners include all the hardware you need to get started: scanner, power brick, plastic trays for holding transperencies, and Epson scanning software. However, the V850 (shows above) is also bundled with SilverFast. I’m not sure whether this software is included in the V600.

Connecting these is no different from any other computer hardware: plug it in and turn it on.

Installing the Epson Scan 2 software is also relatively straightforward and doesn’t take long. However, please read the manual. Don’t connect the scanner until after the software is installed.


From a spec point of view, the two scanners are essentially identical. Epson Scan 2 supports connecting and scanning from multiple scanners on the same computer, though only one scanner can be active at a time.

So, as a test, I scanned images both scanners, using the Epson Scan 2 software, to see how they look. Images can be scanned into TIFFs, PNGs, PDFs or JPEG. I generally prefer TIFF, but PNG is uncompressed as well.

NOTE: I am not a fan of creating a high-quality image scan and mastering it in JPEG.

For this review, I scanned two 4×6 color prints and one color slide at a variety of resolutions and color bit depth on both scanners, then compared them.

This is the Epson Scan 2 interface, showing my two sample photos, which contain a wide range of gray scale and lots of color.

When I first wrote this article, I adjusted the Histogram of each image before scanning to get the best image possible. Epson Scan 2 provides Histogram, Curves and Color Balance adjustments. Then I realized that it would be better to use the default settings from the software for each scanner. Using the defaults gives a better idea of the results a new user would get.

NOTE: The following images were all scanned at 6K which created an image too big to post to the web. I then moved them into Photoshop and scaled them to 2K JPEGs so they could be posted. I did not make any adjustments to the image in Photoshop other than scaling. The scan settings were 600 dpi, 24-bit color, TIFF, with dust removal turned on for both scanners.

(Click to see larger image – or drag to your desktop.)

The V600 image is on top, the V850 on the bottom. Even with dust removal turned on, the V600 didn’t remove many speckles. However, from a scanning point of view, both images are very similar in quality.

(Click to see larger image – or drag to your desktop.)

Again the V600 image is on top and, again, notice the significant amount of dust the V600 did not remove using its default setting.

Based on multiple tests, the two scanners create very similar scans at their default settings, though the V850 does a better job of dust removal. However, remember, image quality is a combination of both hardware and software; and the software was the same in both cases.

NOTE: As you can see in this second example, if the focus isn’t perfect in the print, it will look worse in a high-resolution scan. It is amazing to me how many really bad photos I’ve taken in my life.

I scanned both images as a batch and timed the total scan duration. Here are the timing and file size results for the V600:

Here are the timing and file size results for the V850:

When the two resolutions (1200 & 600 dpi) were loaded into Photoshop, they looked virtually identical when scaled to the same size. At actual size, both images looked blurry because the print didn’t have enough detail to support 1200 dpi scanning.

NOTE: The same resolution yielded the same file sizes on both scanners. This is what I expected. What I didn’t expect was that changing color bit depth did not change scan times, though it did change file size.

When working with printed photos, as opposed to transparencies, there is no reason to scan at more than 600 dpi or 24-bit color. Much though I would love to endlessly enlarge photos of family and friends, the resolution and color detail in the print itself just isn’t there.

NOTE: While there is no difference in scanning speed when adjusting color bit depth, there is a significant difference in scanning speed when adjusting resolution (dpi).


The V600 can scan up to 4 slides at a time. However, while the plastic slide holder holds the slides, it does not do so very securely. They can be easily bumped out of position. (The open strips to the left are for holding film negatives.)

NOTE: Slides should be loaded into the scanner so they look correct (left / right and up / down) when you look down on them on the scanner bed.

The slide holders for the V850 are more carefully thought out. The plastic guides feel a bit heavier (though you need to be careful as they can still break), and they hold the slides in place with little clips.

The guides themselves slip into pins on the side of the scanner which assures that the position of the slides won’t change as you close the cover. I like both these features a lot.

(Click to see a larger version of each slide. Please do so to better see dust and sharpness.)

The top image is scanned from a 35mm slide by the V600 at 4800 dpi (scaled to 2040 x 1378) with dust removal turned ON. The bottom image was scanned by the V850 at 4800 dpi (scaled to 2040 x 1378) with Digital ICE dust removal turned on. The bottom image is MUCH better! Essentially slide dust removal doesn’t work on the V600.

NOTE: The Digital ICE dust removal technology makes a big difference, thought it does slightly soften the image.

Here are the file size and timing results for the V600 scanning the image at 4800 dpi, 24-bit color:

The V850 scanned the sample 35mm slide at 4800 DPI, 24-bit color:

I mentioned there is a big difference in dust removal between the two scanners. Let’s compare the two, again, using Epson Scan 2.

Although it took longer to scan each slide, the quality difference using Digital ICE dust removal on the V850 is significant and worth waiting for. There was only a slight loss of detail when ICE was turned on, as these close-ups show (image shown at 100% size, scanned at 1200 dpi.)


Both scanners connect via USB 2, which is more than fast enough to support the data coming from a scanner. If you have a Mac with only USB 4 ports, you’ll need a USB adapter, which costs about $20 for a set of two.

Epson Scan 2 really does not like running on M1 Macs. It continually lost connections with both scanners. This forced multiple restarts of both the scanners and software.

Though I’ve used Epson Scan for many years, the latest version is really difficult to use. Epson keeps trying to streamline the software. This effort is misdirected. While everyone likes automation to speed their work, if we wanted fast and cheap, we would not spend the money for an Epson scanner. As pros working with pro tools, we need easy access to image enhancement tools like the histogram, the ability to set and load presets and Curve and Histogram screens that don’t keep disappearing.

For example, after a preview scan, Epson Scan 2 sets the histogram levels such that both shadow and highlight detail are lost; this means that the Histogram needs manual re-setting for each slide before scanning. Also, tools like the Histogram are hidden multiple menus deep and there’s no way to save setting presets to speed scanning similar slides.


Epson’s Scan 2 software is OK, but should be avoided if you are running on an M1 Mac. Instead, I highly recommend Lasersoft’s SilverFast 9 SE plus scanning software (the one above the free version). It provides much better control over the scanner with higher-quality results.

If you are only scanning documents and printed photographs, the Epson Perfection V600 Photo scanner is an excellent choice. It creates scans that are the equal of the V850 for 1/4 the price and at roughly the same speed.

If you are scanning a few slides occasionally, the V600 is still a good choice, but only if you use LaserSoft’s SilverFast SE plus scanning software.

If you are scanning documents, photos, slides, negatives, or transparencies, the quality of the Epson Perfection V850 Pro is unsurpassed, especially when you want to remove dust and other blemishes without degrading image quality. And it is slightly faster than the V600.

I’m very happy with the Epson Perfection V850 scanner because I have so many slides to scan. But the V600 is an excellent choice for those on a budget. And, in all cases, I’m using SilverFast 9 as my software.

NOTE: Here’s my review of SilverFast SE Plus 9 software, from LaserSoft Imaging.

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34 Responses to Product Review: Epson Perfection V600 vs. V850 Photo Scanners

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  1. Alan Barker says:

    Thank you Larry for this comprehensive review. One point not mentioned is that the V600 scan of the couple while falling short in dust removal is considerably sharper than the V850 scan. For me the V850 scan is unacceptably soft, with or without dust removal. I am about to embark on scanning many hundreds of slides and mostly negatives. I have a Nikon 8000 ED but it is painfully slow.

    • Larry says:


      Keep in mind that both scanners have sharpening controls. I left both set to default, but they are adjustable.

      I like the 850 because it can scan 12 slides at once. The SilverScan software scans three slides at the same time. And I like both the dust correction and auto white balancing.

      I use the 600 for prints and 850 for slides. The 850 all so has a higher D-max which capture more subtle grayscale variations. Which makes a difference with well exposed well focused slides.

      On the other hand, the 600 is much less expensive.


  2. Al Caminas says:

    Hello there,

    Thank you for this information! I am In the process of making a book with vintage color slides. Most have lost none of their detail but some may need a touch up and some color restore. I have tried the Opticfilm Plustek 8300, and I can see the street signs in a lot of them. Still, I’d like more detail and quality restore. The most fantastic ones are in stereoview form, though, and I have hundreds I would love to scan. Would the 600 or the 850
    Scan the stereo slides? Which do you think would be best to try? One last thing, some are protected between two pieces of glass, so they are very preserved and the view is amazing In the stereoviewer, and I’d like that quality in my scans, without the 3D of course. If you could recommend either the 609 or the 850 for the stereo slides, which would you think is best?

    • Larry says:


      Scanning resolution depends upon the quality of original image and the inherent resolution of the color printing/transparency dots. Prints max out around 400 – 600 dpi. 35 MM slides max out between 1800 – 2400 dpi. Larger transparency formats (like 2.5″) can be scanned at higher resolution. Either of these two scanners can scan clearly at that resolution.

      Scanning stereo slides is like scanning a printed photograph. However, overlaying them for registration is a manual process.


  3. Mike Yuhas says:

    Larry, I’m leaning towards the V850 Pro though double the cost but one question for you I didn’t see. With V600 less desirable because dust and the default Epson Scan 2 software not removing as well as the V850 have you tried the SilverFast software with the V600? That would change the cost a bit and then the V600 may be appealing? Much Appreciated

    • Larry says:


      Yes, I use the silver fast software with the 600 and it works great. Including the infrared dust removal.

      The big advantage with the 850 is transparencies. If you are scanning prints, the 600 is perfectly fine.


  4. Vincent Lopes says:

    Hi Larry,
    Thanks for the great comparisons. I have thousands of 35mm and medium format negatives and slides I’d like to scan. They are black & white and color. The medium format (120 and 220) 6×7. Which scanner is likely to give me the best results?

    • Larry says:


      For slides and transparencies – especially large format transparencies – the 850 easily wins. Why? Greater dynamic range (more accurate gray-scale and color values), the ability to scan 12 slides at a time vs. 4 in the 600, multiple slide trays, which allow you to scan one set of 12 slides, while prepping the other tray.

      I have both the 600 and 850. I use the 600 for stills and the 850 for all transparencies – color and black & white.

      I also recommend the advanced version of Silverfast 9. This can scan three slides at the same time, which improves total scanning speed 3X.


  5. Vincent Lopes says:

    Thank you so much.

  6. R. Lynn says:

    I have just inherited 1000’s of photos and negatives ranging from the mid 1800 cardboard backed photographs to 1990’s photos and negatives plus everything in between.
    I want to get all of these scanned and archived for my family. Which scanner do you recommend for this variety of formats. Thanks.

    • Larry says:

      R. Lynn:

      If you are dealing solely with printed images, as opposed to transparencies, the V-600 is an excellent choice. If you are dealing with negatives and transparencies, the V-850 is a better choice. Yes, it is more expensive, but it has a wider dynamic range that allows you to capture everything in that negative. It can also process more images at the same time.

      However, if budget is the main driver, get the V-600. It is an excellent tool.

      I also STRONGLY recommend LaserSoft Imaging SilverFast V9, instead of Epson’s default scanning software. Epson recently upgraded it and it became much, much worse.


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