For those with big photo collections to scan, nothing comes close in terms of scanning speed and quality. Whilst the FastFoto comes with a price tag that matches its blazing performance, it might be the only practical option for those with thousands of photos to scan.
The first stage of the setup process was to install Epson’s scanning software which can be downloaded from their website. To make you aware, there are two separate software options available for using this scanner, Epson Fastfoto and Epson ScanSmart, as the name suggests the Fastfoto option is for scanning photos and the ScanSmart option is for scanning documents.
To start the software installation process of either option, you need to download Epson Product Setup, this takes you through the whole setup process and allows you to select Epson Fastfoto and Epson ScanSmart.
As part of the installation process, the Epson Product Setup wizard asked us to connect the scanner to the computer, whilst it’s possible to connect your computer to the scanner using WIFI, we elected to use the more straightforward USB cable option. Once completed we restarted the computer and opened the newly installed Epson Fastfoto software.
Whilst it took us a little head-scratching to realise the difference between Epson Fastfoto and Epson ScanSmart, the software installation process was straightforward.
The software allowed us to easily scan and review photos as we went. Selecting the destination folder where the scans would be saved was a quick process, it was also possible to name and date photos in batches (great for those using Apple Photos or Google Photos and would like their photos to show up in the correct order). Whilst one can start the scan process by using the scan button in the software, we preferred to press the start button on the scanner. The software has several auto correct features that we enabled, these auto-rotated and cropped the photos to the perfect size.
To scan the photos, we organised them into groups of the same sizes. We would then place 25 or so at a time into the feeder, to start scanning we just had to press the green button on the scanner.
Below is an example scan of a6x8" photo. Across a wide range of photos, we found the quality to be excellent even when the scan setting was on the default 300 DPI mode.
To evaluate the scanning speed, we loaded ten 6x8" photos into the scanner (Using default settings), you can see how long it took by watching the video below. Compared to using a flatbed scanner, the process with the Epson FastFoto was incredibly fast.
As part of our review process, we scanned several thousand photos. With this quantity of photos, we found that some amounts of dust and residue could accumulate inside the scanner. To prevent any image quality deterioration we followed Epson’s instructions to clean the two internal glass scanning surfaces with a lens cleaning cloth, this was an easy process we completed every 1000 photos. We would like to point out that the amount of dust transferred to the scanner could be minimised by wiping photos over prior to scanning.
The Epson photo enhancement feature came as a real surprise to us, we should have given it more attention when reviewing the product specification prior to receiving the scanner! This feature did a great job of restoring faded colours from older photos.
As mentioned in the setup section of this article, Epson has a second piece of software (Free) available called Epson ScanSmart, this allows you to scan printed documents up to A4 in size.
We were highly impressed by the speed, quality and ease of use of the Epson FastFoto FF-680W. With its ability to scan photos from from 9x13cm up to 21x91cm (panoramic) it provided a lot of versatility too. Whilst the WIFI connection option was a little slow, we had no problem using the USB cable connectivity option. All in all this is a highly capable scanner that can get through large volumes of photos is little time at all, unfortunately it comes with a £549 price tag to match!