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Home / Tips and Tricks / Digitize this shoebox full of photos – Review Geek

Digitize this shoebox full of photos – Review Geek



Rating:
7/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute hot garbage
  • 2 – Sorta lukewarm garbage
  • 3 – Heavily defective design
  • 4 – Some advantages, many disadvantages
  • 5 – Acceptable imperfectly
  • 6 – Good enough for that Sale
  • 7 – Great, but not best in class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with a few footnotes
  • 9 – Shut up and take my money [19659004] 10 – Absolut Design Nirvana

Price: $ 599

  The Epson FastFoto FF-680W prints pictures on a desk of a laptop sitting next to it.
Epson

Do you have tons of boxes full of photos? With the Epson FastFoto FF-680W, you can digitize and save them on your PC, Mac or in the cloud with every snapshot in your photo albums. Unfortunately it is not cheap.

What we like

  • Quickly edit boxes full of photos
  • Scans documents with included ScanSmart software
  • Connect via Wi-Fi or USB
  • Duplex Scan Picks Comments on the back of photos [19659021] And what we do not
    • Expensive just to scan photos
    • Photos land on a messy stack in the output bin
    • Scanning receipts is an additional cost

Where did I do that? Put Those Photos?

Many people have tons of photos – their own and those inherited from relatives. The problem with saving printed photos is that they are vulnerable. They can be damaged by water or fire, or you accidentally throw them away, and then these memories are gone forever.

If you do not mind sharing your pictures with the world, Instagram is one solution and saving them in the cloud is another. But first you have to convert them to digital, and this is where the Epson FastFoto FF-680W comes into play.

The FastFoto looks and works like a standard document scanner. However, it is designed so that photos of all kinds can be scanned as long as they fit in the input tray. Unlike most other sheet-fed scanners, the FastFoto is suitable for thick photos such as polaroids or postcards. Amateur radio and shortwave listeners exchanging QSL cards will love the ability of this scanner to organize and store them. And if you have notes on the back of your cards and photos, the scanner will pick them up too – you will not even have to flip them over and scan again.

Setting up is child's play

There's a quick process to get the FastFoto up and running. After I unpacked it and connected the included AC adapter, I downloaded the software from the Epson support website. This ensures that you have the latest drivers and utilities. The download includes both FastFoto software and Epson's ScanSmart utility. You can connect the scanner via USB or WiFi as I have tested it. Setup will find and identify the network, and then install the scanner driver and utilities. After a few minutes you can scan!

  The
The software detects the network and installs the scanner.

Scan away

To save space, you can fold the scanner if it is not in use. The top opens to expose the feeder and paper support while the bottom cover slides out to become the output tray. Just unfold it and turn on the device and you can scan.

There are two ways to scan: Start FastFoto or ScanSmart from the Start menu, or simply press the Scan button on the scanner. The latter option also starts FastFoto software on your PC or Mac. The Scan button works regardless of whether you are connecting via USB or Wi-Fi.

The scanner controls are not very intuitive. So I printed out the part of the documentation they are listed in and stuck it to the front of the device. The controls become familiar after a few scans, but it was helpful to refer to the labels first. Most of the operations I performed were done through the FastFoto and ScanSmart screens on my laptop. A nice feature that is not immediately recognizable is the double feed detection skip button. This will enable or disable double feed detection. This is necessary because the device can scan thicker documents such as postcards and polaroids.

 The controls on the front of the Epson FastFoto FF-680W next to a diagram of the controls and their functions.
The controls on the front and their functions. Ted Needleman

Speedy Does It

Overall, the scanning speed is pretty high. I've scanned a bundle of 35 photos (4 x 6 inches) at 300 and 600 dpi and another set of five photos at 1200 dpi. The scanner allows you to scan at this resolution if you want to print a magnification.

It took so long to scan the above photos:

  • 35 photos in the format 4 x 6 inches with 300 dpi: 38 seconds
  • 35, 4 x 6 inch photos at 600 dpi: 1 minute, 34 seconds
  • Five, 4 x 6-inch photos at 1200 dpi: 20 seconds
  The
can be selected The scan resolution can be found in the Scan Settings menu.

In the software, you can set the device to scan both sides of a photo in one go. This is handy if you tend to write notes on the back of photos. The back of an image will only be scanned if it is determined that the back is not empty.

Epson claims that the feed can take 36 standard-thickness photos. But most people will only take a handful and, if it seems too tight, remove some of them until they feed themselves without problems. Due to the number of photo booths that have happened to me several times, it is faster to do an extra scan than to stop. Eliminating a traffic jam is not particularly difficult. You fold down the bezel to expose the pick mechanism and rollers, and then remove the jammed photo. Fortunately, none of my photos were crumpled.

  The Epson FastFoto FF-680W scanner with open front.
The front folds forward, so you can clear a jam. Ted Needleman

One thing I did not like was that the photos ran out of the scanner in a mess on the output tray. This is not a deal breaker, but Epson suggests that you organize your photos into groups before you scan them. This makes it easier to find their digital counterparts if you want a specific group. I found it annoying that the group I had organized scrambled everything in the output tray.

  The Epson FastFoto FF-680W scanner with photos scattered on the output tray.
What a mess! Ted Needleman

One feature that I have greatly appreciated is that you can set the software to perform automatic image enhancement. There are several options, including the removal of red eyes. You can either set the scanner to make the improvements to the original scan, or the software will create a second scanner with the enhancements immediately after scanning the original.

  The menu options for automatic enhancement in the Epson FastFoto software.
You can set the scanner to automatically enhance photos.

It's not a Photoshop, but comes in handy when many of your photos require only a simple optimization. After you have scanned your photos, you can share, print, edit or delete them directly in the software.

  The menu that appears in the Epson FastFoto software after you have scanned your photos.
After you've scanned your photos, this window opens and you can choose what to do with them.

Not just for photos

While the FastFoto FF-680W is optimized for photo scanning, it is still in operation core, a document scanner. If you also want to use the FF-680W as a document scanner, you must install the ScanSmart application, which is available as a full download from the Epson website.

ScanSmart is very easy to use: You load only the documents that are in the input. Click Single or Duplex Scanning on the taskbar.

  The main menu in the Espon ScanSmart software.
The start screen of Epson ScanSmart.

ScanSmart also offers a free 30-day trial of the Accounting Edition to scan you receipts. They are also automatically posted to QuickBooks or Excel, but post-test storage costs $ 99.99.

ScanSmart also scans the front and back of a page in one pass. In document scan mode, the FF-680W can scan up to 45 standard 8.5 x 11 inch single-sided pages per minute or 90 double-sided pages per minute. You can also set the ScanSmart software to automatically detect your scans and send them to Word, Email or the Cloud.

I tested all three options, including the free trial of Accounting Edition. OCR worked well and was very accurate. I had no problems transferring documents to Excel, but I did not test it with QuickBooks.

An expensive option

With the FastFoto FF-680W, several boxes of photos could be processed in a short time. There were several hundred of them, and they differed in size and quality. The quality of the scans – including the hidden black and white Polaroids – was very good, especially after I used the enhancement function. I also liked the quality of 1,200 dpi scanning to allow for 8×10 inch magnification from a 4×6 inch photo.

However, if you only need a scanner for photos, there are many cheaper alternatives, even from Epson. Unless you need a document scanner, you probably do not want to spend a premium on scanning polaroids, postcards, and other non-standard sizes and thicknesses. Every standard page scanner does the job. You can enhance and edit your scanned images in any number of photo editing applications such as GIMP (for free).

But if you want the best photo scanner on the market, the FastFoto FF-680W is for you. You also get an excellent document scanner for booting!

What we like

  • Quickly edit crates full of photos
  • Scans documents with included ScanSmart software
  • Connect via Wi-Fi or USB
  • Duplex scanning captures notes on the back of photos ,

And what we do not do.

  • Scanning photos is expensive.
  • The scanning of receipts is an additional cost


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