My Creative Land


A scanner for hand lettering

For the last 4 years I've been using Epson V37 to scan my sketches and handlettering and it was ok - slooooooow but the result was satisfying. Unfortunately, recently it's started to hang my computer so only hard restart would wake it up. Besides, I do find the scanning speed of this scanner is annoyingly slow. For example, it scanned A4 in greyscale with 4800dpi for about 22 mins. 

Doing market research showed that there are not so many scanner models that would fit the purpose. See, I don't need to scan photo slides, I don't need to scan photos (meaning that color matching is not that important in this case) but I do need hi-res scan and reasonably good texture handling. 

First, I looked at the top range of Epson scanners like V800/600 etc. Besides being huge in size, they offer so many functions that I won't ever be using (even if I need to scan films or slides I have Nikon Coolscan in hands) while the scan speed is not impressive at all. In other words, I had no reason to pay £470+ for this. 

The next candidate was Canon CanoScan LiDE 220. It is prised for it's speed and I've heard a lot of good things about it's ability to scan paper texture well. But! There are many negative reviews about this scanner not working well in MAC environment. Since I didn't want to take a risk, the only other option I saw was going for successor of Epson V37 - Epson V39. So I bought it yesterday.

Epson V37 vs V39

The first thing you notice is that V39 is significantly smaller and lighter model. It feels a bit flimsy though. You can also save some space on your table using its vertical stand. Another good thing - it has no power cable - less wires around the table - the better.

Then I had a scare. Once I started to setting it up, going through the setup process, it told me to switch the scanner on. There is NO switch on button on the scanner and pressing all other buttons had no result whatsoever. The solution was very simple - just keep going - install all the software that is offered. When everything is installed, the scanner switches itself.

Epson V39 produces much sharper scans comparing to V37 (see images below) but I'd say it has it's lights settings a bit over the base line. Perhaps, using the Epson Scan app would be able to fix this 

Epson V37 sample (4800 dpi)

Epson V39 sample (4800 dpi)

Epson V39 scan speed. It looks much faster than V37. Scanning ~2/3 of A4 in greyscale with 4800 dpi took me about 8 min. And during the scan process the scanner makes absolutely no noise. It is quite noisy during the preview though. I haven't tried Epson Scan app yet as I'm used to using Image Capture for this but I don't think/hope it will change the numbers much.

In my humble opinion, V39 looks quite promising. And it's just £75, not £400+. I wish there were more options on the market though. I kinda like trying new things... :)

05 Feb. 2018: UPDATE 

So far, I love this scanner. Especially it's speed. One issue I've discovered - it produces quite a lot of noise around letters after all filters applied so you do need to do some clean up after tracing the image. It is not a big deal though. I've been using Adobe Illustrator script "Select Path by Size" by John B. Wundes for quite a while now - it has lots of options to play with and I do find it very handy when preparing your scans for Glyphs/FontLab. 

Noise after applying Levels & Posterize filters in Photoshop. 

23 Feb. 2018: UPDATE

I've noticed that when scanning with 2400 dpi the scanner is actually quite loud! 

Elena GenovaComment