Published on August 7th, 2019 at 02:27 am

You’ve been struggling to digitize your films and analog prints, and you are finally ready to purchase that very high-grade flatbed scanner that will help you achieve your intended goal, but you cannot seem to decide between the Epson perfection V800 photo scanner and the V850 Pro photo scanner.

Do not worry; this happens a lot more frequently than you would think as a lot of individuals are not knowledgeable about high-grade scanners. To help you understand which of the two models provides you with the most value and benefits, we discuss elements of the two models of Epson scanner that will give you the confidence you need to make your decision.

Summary Table

For a quick version, take a look at this handy table below.  All of the points are discussed in detail further down the article.

Epson V800Epson V850
Image QualityUp to 6400 DPIUp to 6400 DPI + High Pass Optics
Scanning SoftwareLaserSoft Imaging SilverFastLaserSoft Imaging SilverFast Plus
Calibration SoftwareNot IncludedIncluded
Film Holders1 set of 42 sets of 4
Price*~$800~$1,000

Image Quality

Images scanned by the V800, and V850 scanners typically look alike even when you pay extra attention to them. This likely because of the fact that apart from their identifying names, they are very similar, even down to the physical casing.

Both scanners are fitted with dual-lens systems.  For regular documents, the default optical resolution of 4800 dpi is applied.  However, when scanning films in the film holders, the scanner automatically upgrades the scan resolution to another “super optical resolution” of 6400 dpi.

However, the V850 scanner takes the image quality a notch higher with its “high pass optics”, which are intended to push the scanner to its limits via some internal design enhancements that minimize optical distortion.

The design enhancements include high-reflection coatings for the mirrors and anti-reflective coatings on the optics which work together to minimize the quantity of stray light getting into the lenses while increasing the amount of light bouncing off the mirrors. It’s all a very fancy way of saying that this will increase the quality of the scanned image.

Winner: Epson V850

Scanning Times

Do not let the identical casing and component of these two scanners fool into thinking that they have similar scanning speeds as this is not the case.

Several tests conducted proved that the V850 completes its scan much quicker than the V800. According to Mark Rolson, a Senior Product Manager at Epson America, the V850’s processor can recognize when the items being scanned are much cleaner and require less processing to ensure the image is precise and as such the scanner does its job faster.

Several other sources verified our results with some even going ahead to state that the V800 was 33% slower than the V850.

Winner: Epson V850

Scanning Software

The scanning software in these two printers is completely different and nothing alike. Upon purchase of either of the scanners, users receive the standard Epson scan software that is included with all the scanner models in the Perfection photo scanner line.

Additionally, a copy of LaserSoft Imaging’s SilverFast software that is specific to the purchased scanner is included in the package. In our case, the V800 includes the SilverFast SE software while the V850 include the Silverfast SE Plus software (notice the subtle, yet significant difference).

The main difference between the two softwares is that the “regular” SilverFast SE software is a basic entry-level software for beginners while the “plus” SilverFast SE Plus software is an advanced software for advanced users and professionals.

The software also varies on several other elements, including multi-exposure, Kodachrome capabilities, auto frame alignment, and printer calibration.

Winner: Epson V850

Film Holders

While both the scanners are equipped with film holders that flatten and straighten your films for making it easier to scan them, the V850 includes additional film holders.

Unlike the V800 which has only one set of four film holders, the V850 has double the number of film holders. Epson modified and improved the film holders in the scanners, making them more rigid and perfect for holding the films in place as you scan.

The two film holder sets in the V850 scanner increase a user’s productivity levels because while one set is being used in the scanner, the user can be preparing the other set for scanning which saves on time since they can instantly scan the next batch of films as soon as it finishes with the first one. The different holders included are a 35mm film strip that holds three strips and up to 18 frames, a medium-format strip that holds a single frame, a 4 x 5-inch frame that holds a single frame and 35mm mounted slides that hold twelve frames.

Noticing a trend here?

Winner: Epson V850

Scanner Calibration Software

Our final difference between these two scanners has to be the inclusion of the “X-Rite i1Scanner with reflective/transparent IT8 targets” that you receive together with the V850 scanner.

Yes, we know all this is quite confusing.  Let us explain a bit…

No, you are not getting an additional piece of hardware. The “X-Rite i1Scanner” is software that works with “IT8 targets” to ensure the color accuracy of your scanner.

Basically, the X-Rite i1 Scanner is a monitor calibrator that analyzes a scanned document and thereafter likens it to a reference file linked to your color target. In case there is any difference between the two files, the discrepancy is mapped into a “color profile” that is assigned to your scanning software.

The X-Rite i1Scanner software works with the Epson V800, but unlike with the V850, it is not included with the V800 scanner upon purchase.

Winner: Epson V850

Conclusion

We hope that our article was able to clarify the difference between the two scanners and clear any doubts you may have had when trying to decide which of the two scanners you should purchase. Even though the end decision comes down to you as the user, we believe that the Epson V850 is the better scanner of the two as it takes the crown in virtually every area, we compared them in except for the price. The Epson V850 is slightly more expensive than the V800, but we think the couple extra hundred dollars are worth all the additional features and scan quality that you get from the V850.

If, for whatever reason you still want the V800, you can view it here.

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