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Epson Perfection 4990 Photo review

It's pitched at photographers, but that's not all

Our Verdict

The best on test for reflective scan quality and outright speed, but at a hefty price.

For

  • Superb scan quality
  • Blisteringly fast
  • Film scanning options

Against

  • The most expensive on test
  • Big and bulky
  • No push-button panel

One of the aims of such tests is to establish how much you need to pay for a flatbed scanner. Central to this is whether you want high-quality film scanning, as this is what tends to bump up the price. Cheaper flatbeds can scan film, but usually to a standard that's not acceptable.

You might imagine the resolution and precision required for film scanning would have a knock-on effect on reflective scan quality. We'll see about that. One thing that is immediately obvious, though, is this scanner's sheer speed. The 4990 comfortably beats the rest.

Although the 4990 doesn't sport a set of buttons on the front for routine scanning tasks, the scanning software is simple and direct to use, so any kind of reflective scan - from photo prints to magazine pages to black and white documents - can be set up in moments.

The software includes Epson Creativity Suite, Photoshop Elements 2.0 and SilverFast SE 6.0, which is a higher-end scanning application for photographic use. It's a shame that you get Elements 2.0 rather than version 3.0, but this reflects the fact the 4990 has been out for longer than the cheaper 4490 model.

The scan quality is excellent, with very strong but nonetheless realistic looking colours. The descreening filter appears to work well, but the 4990 wasn't quite as good as the 4490 in our 150dpi test, producing some interference artefacts in photos. The 6x4 photo scan couldn't be faulted.

Epson's flagship scanner shares top marks for quality with the Canon 9950F, but the Epson's faster scanning speeds mean it sneaks ahead overall.

Tech Specs

Product TypeFlatbed Scanner
Optical Resolution4800 dpi
USBYes
Product FamilyPerfection
Brand NameEpson
Media SizeA4, A4 216 mm x 297 mm, 60 mm x 120 mm, 101.60 mm x 127 mm
Scan ColorColour
Grayscale Depth16-bit
Interpolated Resolution12800 dpi
FireWire/i.LINKYes
Hardware Resolution4800 x 9600 dpi
Maximum Mono Scan Speed (ppm)5
Maximum Color Scan Speed (ppm)2.069
Maximum Mono Scan Speed (sec)12
Maximum Color Scan Speed (sec)29
Height134 mm
Width304 mm
Depth476 mm
Media TypePhoto, 35mm Film, 120/220 Film, Transparency, Plain Paper
Colour Depth48-bit
ManufacturerEpson Corporation
Product Model4990
Product NamePerfection 4990 Photo Flatbed Scanner
Product LinePerfection
Image SensorCCD
Manufacturer Part NumberB11B175022
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.epson.co.uk
Marketing Information

The Epson Perfection 4990 Photo is the ideal scanner for the professional photographer and enthusiast. It handles all standard film and photo formats, restores torn or damaged originals and delivers stunning quality scans which are ready to print, enlarge or archive.

The Epson Perfection 4990 Photo has a powerful 4800 x 9600dpi resolution and 4.0DMax optical density. This ensures you retain the quality and colour of your originals, and enables you to produce amazingly clear, detailed enlargements.

With the large 8 x 10" film adapter, you are provided with the flexibility to scan multiple film formats and in large volumes, saving you time and trouble. It also has a moving blue Light Emitting Diode (LED) that enables you to track the progress of your scan.

Platform SupportedPC, Mac
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)6.70 kg