EPSON FastFoto FF-640

Rating:

Photos are a precious commodity: they preserve memories and experiences, acting as a visual time capsule of our lives. It wasn’t so long ago that all of our photos were printed from rolls of film and onto glossy or matte sheets of paper that vibrantly displayed the images captured through our lenses.

A lot of these photos are probably sitting inside of a photo album (or twenty) somewhere, forever bound their physical manifestations. Digital photos have taken over, and we can essentially store an unlimited number of photos in our computers. However, for those physical photos, aside from collecting dust, the only way to really digitize them is to painstakingly take each one, scan them on a flatbed scanner, and file them away for later use and hope that you filed them properly. That, or pay for a service that takes your photos and digitizes them for you, and pray that they return safely.

Well, those two options may be a thing of the past.

EPSON FastFoto FF-640 Review

Meet the EPSON FastFoto FF-640 – billing itself as the “World’s Fastest Photo Scanner”, it’s the latest innovation coming from EPSON, allowing for batch scans of individual photos from 75 to 1200dpi, up to 30 photos at a time, double-sided, and at an incredibly fast speed.

Hardware

EPSON FastFoto FF-640 Review

Out of the box, the EPSON FastFoto FF-640 surprised by its diminutive size and slim profile, but it definitely caught me by surprise with just how heavy it felt in my hands. They definitely packed in a whole lot of hardware. The scanner came with the actual scanner itself, an input tray with adjustable edge guides, power cables, a USB cable, microfibre sheets, and carrier sheets for scanning fragile or damaged photos.

EPSON FastFoto FF-640 Review

The input tray and its adjustable edge guides can support up to a stack of 30 photos, from 3x5s all the way to 5×7 photos. With 6×8 and 8×10 photos however, you can really only support one at a time. With documents, the FastFoto FF-640 supports up to 100 sheets of 10lb paper. The FastFoto also comes with carrier sheets, which are essentially sturdy transparencies, for protecting more fragile or damaged photos or documents.

After running a few test scans after having set it up, its apparent that the EPSON FastFoto FF-640 is very quick at its job. At 300dpi, the FastFoto is capable of scanning a photo every 1 to 1.5 seconds, going through its maximum 30 photos in under a minute.

EPSON FastFoto FF-640 Review

The machine is quick, it’s relatively quiet, and it seems to treat photos with care. As a disclaimer, I didn’t have any really damaged or very old photos to test through the FastFoto, but carefully examining my prints leads me to believe that it is on the gentler side. But keep in mind that thicker photos (like polaroids) will not fare well inside the FastFoto.

Software

EPSON FastFoto FF-640 Review

The software for the EPSON FastFoto FF-640, at least on OSX, is an easy setup process. Download the file from the EPSON website, install it, plug the scanner into your computer, and let it mellow. After this process is complete, you can start scanning photos almost immediately.

Scanning can commence either through hardware or software, though it seems that the software scan only allows for the “simple” settings for scans, whereas the hardware scan button allows you to summon EPSON Scan, which is the bigger, smarter, more configurable brother of the EPSON FastFoto scan mode. With EPSON Scan, you can choose to scan at anywhere from 75 to 1200dpi, as opposed to 300 or 600dpi with regular FastFoto settings, as well as stitching double sided scans together, rotation of the scanned image, adjusting colour settings, as well as a bevy of image adjustments like “Unsharp Mask” and “Descreening”.

EPSON FastFoto FF-640 Review

However, I did run into a particularly odd error with the EPSON Scan, asking me to confirm my user name and password. I’m not sure what it was looking for, but it certainly was a funny error to see when stitching together a double sided scan. That said, the ability to do a double-sided scan on a single run is mighty useful – you can use this for capturing handwritten notes on the back of photos, or just capturing a double-sided document without having to scan it twice.

EPSON FastFoto FF-640 Review

The EPSON FastFoto software is very simple, and can do very simple image adjustments and enhancements, like red eye reduction and colour correction, but more on that later. In addition, I didn’t really bother with the uploads to Dropbox, Google Drive, or Instagram options. I prefer to have control over where and when I upload to services, but it is quite nice to have the option to directly do it after scanning.

Overall, scanning with the EPSON FastFoto FF-640 and its software is very quick, easy to understand, and comes with a relatively great deal of customizations and options.

Scanning Quality

EPSON FastFoto FF-640 Review

But how does it scan?

That is the all-important question, especially when it comes to a scanner that boasts speed, but needs to perform at a quality that will preserve your important memories and experiences captured on film.

EPSON FastFoto FF-640 Review

For starters, there isn’t enough of a speed difference between 300dpi scans and 600dpi to make it worthwhile to degrade the level of quality you’re receiving when using FastFoto mode. Further, if you’re aiming for the highest quality, you should really opt for using 1200dpi through EPSON Scan, which gave me the highest quality of scan, while still remaining relatively quick when scanning multiple photos or documents.

Personally speaking, the scan quality at 300dpi, when the EPSON FastFoto is at its fastest, is good enough quality. Don’t expect to blow these photos up to poster size, but they are plenty good for sharing with friends on social media and/or creating re-prints. However, if you wish to get a similar quality but at a higher resolution, always opt for the higher settings like 600dpi or 1200dpi in order to get the highest possible quality from the FastFoto.

EPSON FastFoto FF-640 Review

That said, the scans are all good quality, especially at the speed that they are capable of being scanned at. However, you might want to skip out on the “Smart Photo Fix” technology that comes with the FastFoto – I found that it generally didn’t add very much value, and often just made photos look worse after the fact.

Overall, image quality of scanned photos and documents from the EPSON FastFoto FF-640 is more than adequate. You’re able to digitize your physical photos (or documents) at a quality that preserves image quality as well as it possibly can, and the higher quality settings on the FastFoto are definitely enough to get the job done.

The Bottom Line

EPSON FastFoto FF-640 Review

The EPSON FastFoto FF-640 is a solid photo scanner.

Its small and compact frame make it easy to place on desktops or store for later usage, its ability to scan multiple photos in a single scan job is fantastic for scanning photos quickly, its software is quick to set up and easy to use, and its scanning speed is definitely as fast as advertised. I found that the image quality of scanned photos and documents may not have been as high quality as its flat bed (and slower) counterparts, but it was more than adequate in digitizing physical photos and documents, and the speed that it does so is more than enough to offset most image quality issues.

However, at $899 from Staples, the EPSON FastFoto FF-640 is on the pricier side. It’s a very, very quick photo scanner and it does the job well, but the price does feel a tad high for a product that you may not use beyond the digitization of your existing photo albums. I can definitely see the value of the FastFoto scanner, but with a finite level of usage directly related to the number of photo albums I have left to digitize, it’s hard to justify making such a large purchase.

That said, if you have a whole whack of photos, and so do your other friends and family, this is definitely something that would come in handy in being able to digitize all of those photos quickly and efficiently. And that’s largely ignoring that you can quickly and easily digitize documents and other memorabilia like artwork, or card collections (as long as it’s thin enough!), or non-standard photos.

This product is perfect for: people who have large collections of photos who would like to digitize them, or know people who have large collections of photos they would like to digitize. Also, people who value speedy scans.

Key things to be aware of: the EPSON FastFoto FF-640 is a great scanner that is mighty quick, but is also on the pricier end of photo scanners of this level of quality.

Final review score: 4. The EPSON FastFoto FF-640 is a great scanner, and has more than enough features to get the job done, but its price to value is definitely something to closely examine for your situation.

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Jon Lim

Jon Lim is a professional developer, writer, and an avid technologist. He has written creatively for the past 16 years, and professionally for 4 years.

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1 Comment

  • Rean Ohashi December 21, 2016 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Hi, l am very interested in good photo scanner to purchase, However I’m not a tech savvy at all,thank you for your review it’s very helpful for me. I’m not interested on downloading to any where after scanning, does it come with SD card ?or use mine? Or does it store in my laptop directly? Please help!
    Thank you,
    Rean Ohashi

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