Vincent Oliver reviews the Epson Perfection 4990 bundled with SilverFast SE
EPSON 4990 scanner - interactive review

...The Epson Perfection 4990 follows in its predecessors footsteps by offering a higher resolution of 4800dpi, and has also raised the Dmax factor to 4.0, The scanner includes, multi format film scanning, DIGITAL ICE for both film and print scanning. The 4990 scanner is supplied complete with a Transparency Unit and film holders for film formats from 35mm to 5 x 4". Previously flatbed scanner transparency units were sold as an optional extra and could often cost as much as the scanner. Now we are spoilt and we have come to expect it as a standard fitting. With an optical resolution of 4800 x 9600, the 4990 is one of Epson's most eagerly awaited items. You've waited long enough for this review so lets get on with it!

What's in the box?

  1. The Epson Perfection 4990 scanner
  2. Quick start guide
  3. SilverFast 6.0 (SE)
  4. Power cord (will vary according to country
  5. Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0
  6. Scanner software Disk (software contents may vary according to country)
  7. USB 2.0 Hi-speed cable
  8. 5 Film holders -
    • 35mm strip (x4 strips of 6 exposures)
    • 35mm mounted (x8 slides)
    • 120/220 (6x12 max, x3 strips)
    • 5 x 4 inches. (x2 sheets)
    • Film scanning guide mask

The scanner is securely packed and easy to remove from the packaging. The 4870 and 3200 both had a shinny black plastic surface, the 4990 has a smart matt silver surface. This is a much better option as it hides both dust and fingerprints. At the side and on the rear there are two bright yellow caution stickers. The side label tells you to unlock the Transportation lock, this locks/unlocks the scanner's carriage which should be in the locked position when you unpack. Unlocking is a simple matter of turning the lock 90' clockwise with a coin. The label at the rear tells you to install the scanner software before connecting to a computer. As this label covers the Firewire and USB ports you shouldn't miss it. The film holders were well packed in polythene bags, which were a pain to open, sorry Mr Epson, the bags now look my dog has been chewing them. The sticker on the top of the unit is one of the stickiest stickers I have ever come across, fortunately it pulled off in one piece, but was on par with trying to rip up a telephone directory. The Transparency unit also has a sliding lock
sticky lock
Great glue on this label Use coin to unlock scanner (coin not included)
sticky2 lock2
You can't miss the warnings, well at least I didn't Use finger to unlock scanner lid (finger not included)

Driver and Software installation

Before connecting the scanner to your PC, you have to install the scanner software, it says so on the yellow label. Make sure you close all open programs and turn of your anti virus software. Under Windows XP insert the Software CD and choose Install Software. Seven components are installed under the Easy install; Epson Scan, Reference guide, Epson EasyPrint module, Abbey FineReader 5.0, Epson Copy Utility, Epson Creative Suite and Epson Online Registration. If you don't want any of these items then click the Custom button and deselect the items not required. I chose to install all the Epson software. SilverFast Special Edition version 6.2 is also included as a separate CD, I will install this at a later stage. There is also a full version of Photoshop Elements 2.0 included, this is an excellent application. However, you should note that the latest version is now Elements 3.0, as I have the latest version I will not install version 2.0 in this test. The entire installation took about 5 minutes...

(Read the full article: photo-i, Vincent Oliver, 2005)