Epson V800 vs V850 — The 5 Differences and Which You Should Buy

by | Last updated Feb 22, 2019 | Featured Post, Scanning Photos | 77 comments

Epson v800 vs v850 photo scanners side by side graphic

So you’re ready to buy a very high-quality flatbed scanner to digitize your analog prints and film, but now you're having a hard time deciding between the Epson Perfection V800 Photo and the Epson Perfection V850 Pro Photo Scanners.

Don't feel bad. Unless you're already extremely knowledgeable about high-end scanners, let me tell you, it's extremely difficult to understand which model will give you the most benefits and value for your photo collection by just comparing the sales and specifications pages.

Whether you or an avid hobby photographer, a true professional, or just want to get all the quality you can out of your prints and film, either one of these models is going to give you exceptional results.

But, I want to help you feel confident you're going to make the right choice. Below, in plain English that will make it very easy to understand, I've written out and explained in detail, the 5 differences between the two models.

The Epson V850 vs V800 — The 5 Important Differences

1

Higher Image Quality

If you've stared at photos of the V800 Photo and the V850 Pro, you've probably noticed they look fairly identical right? This is in fact because other than the identifying name written across the top right front of each device, their physical casing is exactly the same for both. However inside, it's a little different.

Both scanners are equipped with a Dual Lens System — unique to the V800 series of scanners in their current lineup. (This system was also available in the V700 series the V800 series later replaced) This means when you scan a paper print, the scanner will automatically use a high-resolution lens capable of 4800 dpi (optical). And when you are scanning film in the included film holders, it will then automatically choose a second “super resolution” lens capable of scanning at 6400 dpi (optical). You won't find a two-lens setup like this on even the next model down in the lineup — the single-lens only Epson Perfection V600 Photo.

Epson V800 V850 flatbed scanner lid open showing dual lens system inside

But, with the flagship V850 Pro model, Epson decided to take the image quality one step higher by adding what they call “High Pass Optics“. The purpose of the 850 Pro is to pull out every last possible amount of quality from the scanner using some additional internal design refinements to ensure minimum optical distortion:

  • Anti-reflective coatings on the optics
  • High-reflection coatings on the mirrors

In an interview with Mark Roslon, Senior Product Manager of Epson America, Inc. states about the V850 Pro:

“The V850 has all of the little extras that we know how to do to make that image quality better. The structure of the two scanners are identical, but the V850 Pro has anti-reflection coatings on the optics, and high-reflection coatings on the mirrors, that simply eek out the last bit of image quality we can get from that system.”

To put it simpler, by coating these surfaces in this manner, they are able reduce the amount of stray light they don't want getting inside the lenses, and they are able to increase the amount of light they do want bouncing off the mirrors. This means theoretically, your images will be even more accurate because the scanner has to do less work to process out obscurities unintentionally captured by the lenses.

2

Faster Scanning Times

Photo scanner with lid open - Epson Perfection V850 Pro

Epson Perfection V850 Pro

Because the case and components of the V800 Photo and V850 Pro are nearly identical, you wouldn't think there would be any speed difference in how long an identical scan would take to complete with either model.

However, while continuing to speak about the improved image quality of the V850 Pro, Mark Roslon also adds:

“[The V850 Pro] will also scan a little bit faster because we know the processor understands the data coming in is cleaner, that there is less processing to do to make sure that image is very precise, so we can run it a little bit faster because of it.”

I'm sorry to say I don't have access to both scanners side-by-side to do a speed test with identical settings and photographs. Owning both models would be quite the luxury wouldn't it! But, I've read multiple sources back when these models were released that say the V850 Pro scans 33% faster than the V800 Photo. If anyone finds evidence to back this up or prove otherwise, I would be very interested in hearing from you so I can modify this post and link to the supporting write-up(s).

3

Additional Film Holders

Both the V800 Photo and V850 Pro come with film holders to make straightening and flattening your film easier while scanning. The difference however is that inside the box of the V850 Pro, you will find a surprise.

  • The V800 Photo comes with a single set of 4 film holders.
  • The V850 Pro comes with not one, but exactly two sets of 4 film holders (total of 8).

The film holders are actually new and improved over those sold with the previous V700 and V750 models. This happened based on customer feedback that the holders should be more rigid this time.

Epson Perfection V800 flatbed series empty film holders spread out

Epson Perfection V800 and V850 Pro Film Holders (Set of 4)

Each set comes with one of each of the following holders:

  • 35mm mounted slides — holds 12 frames
  • 35mm film strips — holds 3 strips (up to 18 frames)
  • Medium-format strip – holds 1 frame (up to 6 x 20cm)
  • 4 inch x 5 inch frame – holds 1 frame

3 Epson Perfection V800 flatbed series loaded film holders spread out

Why would you need two sets of film holders?

In real-world film scanning, you're dealing with a workflow like the following:

  1. Load your film into a film holder
  2. Wait for the scanner to scan the film in the holder
  3. Remove the holder from the scanner bed
  4. Empty the film from the holder
  5. Start this process over by re-loading more film

If you're not busy dusting off your next batch of film you want to scan, or giving your last scanned images specific filenames in your computer, with a second set of film holders, you could save time by filling up a second film holder while the first one is finishing up being scanned. By having an extra set of film holders, its possible to increase your ability for greater productivity.

Epson Perfection V800 series scanner film holder loaded with 3 negative strips

Epson Perfection V800 and V850 Pro Slide Holder

4

Different Scanning Software

Graphic open flatbed scanner with photos lying inside - Epson Scan software icon

Epson Scan Scanning Software (Included)

It may not be completely apparent by reading the dense “Overview” sales pages of the Epson V800 Photo and V850 Pro, but both of these scanners actually come with two different pieces of scanning software. You are free to use whichever you would like — or even both.

First you get a copy of Epson Scan, a very adequate and easy to use application made by Epson. It's included with all models of their Perfection Photo scanner lineup. Secondly, you also get a copy of LaserSoft Imaging's SilverFast scanning software. But, depending on which scanner model you buy, there's a slight difference in which version is included:

Epson V800 Photo SilverFast SE
Epson V850 Pro SilverFast SE Plus

At the time I'm finishing up this articlr, this currently is all you learn from the Overview sales pages on Epson's website. One is called SilverFast SE, and the other is called SilverFast SE Plus. But, what are their differences? Do you really need SE Plus, or will SE be adequate for your scanning needs? For those unfamiliar with SilverFast, here's all the information I've compiled for you, to help you make an easier purchasing decision.

 

SilverFast SE vs SilverFast SE Plus (The Differences)

If you don't include their SilverFast software written to control very specialized high-end scanners — such as Heidelberg drum scanners and medical x-ray film scanners — there are basically three versions of their scanning software SilverFast you need to known about. In order of features included, they are SilverFast SE, SilverFast SE Plus, and then their highest version is SilverFast Ai Studio. All three are calibrated to work well with the Epson V800 series of scanners.

Lasersoft Imaging - Silverfast SE 8 - Scanner Software DVD case open

SilverFast SE

Comes with V800 Photo (Retail Price USD $49 — if bought separately)

  • SE is their “entry level” scanning software for “uncomplicated and professional scanning specifically designed for beginners.”

Lasersoft Imaging - Silverfast SE Plus 8 - Scanner Software DVD case open

SilverFast SE Plus

Comes with V850 Pro (Retail Price USD $119 — if bought separately)

  • All of the features included with SilverFast SE.
  • Also includes the following important functionality for advanced users:
Multi-Exposure

Increases the scanner's Dynamic Range, removes image noise and captures more details especially in dark areas of the image. “SilverFast Multi-Exposure records an original's maximum Dynamic Range by performing a double scan with an increased exposure time of the second scan.

This procedure captures the light image area's details in the first pass and the the shadow details in the second. Afterwards an algorithm calculates the final scan, which now contains any detail, from each single scan.”

Kodochrome Features Scanning Kodochrome slides can be challenging and often leaves them with a bluish tint. “By implementing improved Kodachrome routines, it's finally possible to achieve high-quality scans of Kodachrome slides with the highest possible Dynamic Range, color calibrated and free of bluecast, dust and scratches.”
Auto Frame Alignment

Works in unison with the “Automatic Frame Detection” feature (Also available in ‘SilverFast SE' to “align the frames in a rectangular order with a single mouse click.”

Screenshots showing SilverFast SE Plus Auto Frame Alignment of 4 negative frames

LEFT: After Prescan | MIDDLE: After Auto Frame Detection | RIGHT: After Auto Frame Alignment (Image Source: Mac OSX with 700 Series scanner)

Printer Calibration (Sold Separately)

Includes the ability to use LaserSoft's Printer Calibration software with SilverFast (Optional – software sold separately).

“Output or printer calibration is very useful when the task is to reproduce an image via printer under the condition of keeping the colors and hues as original and predictable as possible. Without creating an appropriate ICC profile which takes into account the printer, ink cartridges and paper used, the task is almost impossible. The SilverFast 8 Printer Calibration is an exclusive feature for calibrating the printer using a flatbed scanner, which is appropriate for professionals and for beginners as well, due to its easy handling and smart price-performance ratio.”

(Printer Calibration only works with the SilverFast SE Plus and SilverFast Ai Studio versions)

5

Included Scanner Calibration Software

X-Rite i1Scanner Software Case front

X-Rite i1Scanner Software

Finally, the last difference with the V850 Pro, is you will get the “X-Rite i1Scanner with reflective/transparent IT8 targets.” The Epson product listing makes it sound like you are getting a separate hardware scanning device. But, in actuality, you are getting another piece of software called “X-Rite i1Scanner” and IT8 targets that work with it. These two go hand-in-hand to calibrate your scanner for color accuracy.

The process has you scan the flat IT8 target with your V800 series scanner. The i1Scanner software then analyzes this scanned file and compares it to a reference file associated with your color target. The difference between the two is mapped into a “color profile” that is assigned for you that you can now use with your scanning software. The i1Scanner software will work with the Epson V800 Photo, if you were wondering. it just isn't included with the purchase of one.

IT8 Color Target chart for X-Rite i1 Scanner Software

IT8 Color Target for X-Rite i1 Scanner Software

Final Thoughts

If you were at all confused before in how the Epson V800 Photo and V850 Pro are different, I certainly hope I was able to clear things up for you. If you still have questions, let me know in the comments below.

Photo scanner with lid open - Epson Perfection V850 Pro

Epson Perfection V800 Photo

Epson Perfection V850 Professional

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kev
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kev

You never mentioned ‘Digital ICE'. What version does each use?

macingosh
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macingosh

Hi Curtis, thank you very much. You gave me exactly the information I was looking for. I have a v700 since it was released and I am very satisfied with it. But unfortunately I have the FireWire-version. It works perfectly with my early 2008 iMac, but after nearly 12 years the Mac needs to be replaced by an actual 27″ Retina model. I guess FireWire will not work with this, not even with an adapter. So I will probably sell the scanner and the mac and have the v850 instead. Regards from Germany

Nate Oakes
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Nate Oakes

Very informative article and very useful.
The questions I have deal with the different sizes of photos to be scanned.
My mother and her mother were both camera/photo enthusiasts. I have pictures from the early 1900s with various exposure issues. Now I am aware that you cannot fix exposure issues, the data you have is what is there. The sizes of the various photos are from the old ‘wallet' size to larger sizes which were done by a professional and these are on a heavy cardboard backing.
I have scanned some pics on a scanner I have access to and of course the scanned image is the size of a full 8 1/2 x 11 page. I don't have a way of cropping out the empty space, word will crop it but the entire file is cropped meaning the size of the photo decreases with the cropping.
I am trying to find a way to scan the various sizes of photos into files which do not include a lot of empty space; or software that will allow me to crop individual photos or separate photos should I scan several together.

This may exist, I simply am not aware of the fact either way.
I have just started this project, I have several old photo journals, a lot of loose photos and a lot of old slides I could copy.

The main thrust of this comment is to find out about separating multiple photos in one scan and scanning only the photo rather than the entire scanning bed.
Software I know nothing about now. I know a lot of magic can be done by the adept but have no idea which program would be useful to me.

I see the last post here was several months ago, I am hoping this is still a live discussion.

Art Taylor
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Coins:41
Art Taylor

The Epson V600 flatbed will handle up to 4 slides in a batch and two strips of 35 mm negatives, or several medium format slides or negatives, as well as reflective materials (prints) up to 8.5×11″. The much more expensive V800 & V850 will also do the same size reflective originals, but will do more slides or negatives in a batch. They will also do transparent originals up to 8×10 inches. The EpsonScan software included with all Epson scanners lets you crop to scan just the image you want, without extra space. VueScan Pro (VSP), less than $100 USD from Hamrick Software, works with thousands of different scanners. It also lets you crop and scan multiple individual images, regardless of whether they're prints, slides, or negatives. I've consistently found VSP to cut my scanning time almost in half for scanning the same originals while giving me many more scanning options. It's well worth the investment. Be aware that the less expensive VueScan program does NOT work for slides or negatives, so don't bother with it when you want to scan slides. Check out the VueScan User Guide at https://www.hamrick.com/vuescan/html/vuesc.htm to learn how to use the software. It's very informative.

Brian Howard
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Brian Howard

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH CURTIS! I have looked everywhere to find this quality and breadth of info about these 2 scanners, specifically the differences between them. I will read over this a few more times, I am sure, but I know now the answer to which to buy is here for me. It is so damn difficult to buy a scanner or a printer these days. Thanks in particular for the software comnparisons – impossible to find ANYWHERE. I can't tell you how much I value those comparos! I'm more a prosumer than a professional – I do like to know my specs and what they can/can't do for me BUT I definitely do not know it all. Reviews are scant on detail (like the detail in this article) and with both scanners and printers you never know if you will like it until you start using it. Therefore, detailed articles like yours are worth gold bricks in saving time and costly mistakes. However, I've had Epson scanners previously (4990 Photo – absolutely wonderful but killed by lightning sadly!) and currently get by with a little V39. The tiny V39 is great as a standby (very slim and cute and reliable as it is an Epson) and does a good job on office stuff but leaves a lot to be desired on photos. It was only $90AUD though! Great value! Again Curtis, THANK YOU as the info you have supplied here is GOLD and near impossible to find elsewhere. Thanks mate, – Brian in Sydney Australia.

Art Taylor
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Coins:41
Art Taylor

Hi Alberto,

Have you tried contacting Epson Technical Support? It's probably not a good idea to try to change the glass yourself in case some other part or parts of the scanner get damaged. Epson should be able to advise you of an authorized repair depot in your area or tell you some alternative, such as shipping it to their office for repair.

Alberto
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Alberto

Hello,i have the Epson V750 and the problem is the glass, it has some scratches, and this is pain you know where specially when working with negatives, where can i change the glass here in Miami Florida? also can you use the film holders from V850 in V750 PRO?

Art Taylor
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Coins:41
Art Taylor

The V750 holders work on the V850 so I expect the newer ones would work on the V750.

Julia
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Julia

If looking for the best scanner for artwork (paper prints not film or negatives) can one tap into the capabilities of the “super resolution” lens capable of scanning at 6400 dpi (optical)? I'm looking for the best option for artwork and don't want to over pay for features I won't be using. What are your thoughts?

Art Taylor
Member
Coins:41
Art Taylor

Hi Julia,

The Epson V8xx series scanners, I believe, will scan a maximum of just over 8.5 x 11.7 inches at one time. If your artwork is larger than that, you'd need to do each piece in two or more sections and later splice them together in software. You also probably don't have a computer capable of handling the humongous files you'd get from scanning anything letter-size or larger at 6400 dpi. A 4″ x 6″ print at 6400 dpi would give you a file of (4×6400) by (6×6400) pixels (25,600 x 38,400 pixels) or about 983.4 megabytes. Your scanning time per image will likely be measured in minutes, as will the time it takes your computer to load such a huge file into any image editing program. Storage will also be an issue for just a few images of that size.

How large do you contemplate printing any of your digital images? Remember that the larger a display image, the further away the viewer needs to be to be able to view the entire image. Even highway billboards are printed at 300 dpi or less, although they appear acceptably sharp at normal viewing distances.

You're likely to have difficulty finding any scanner with a larger platen than legal size (8.5 x 14″) at any price with anywhere near 6400 dpi. Even if you did find one, do you have sufficient space to set it up and a table/desk strong enough to support its weight?

You might check with nearby art galleries or museums to see how they digitize their artwork.

To digitize artwork of any size larger than 8.5 x 11″, you're probably better to use a digital camera with a macro lens that lets you shoot in RAW. You could then take a shot of the entire piece of artwork and take additional shots by moving in and shooting smaller parts of the image to enlarge significant detail areas. You'd get about the same, or better resolution, depending on the capability of the camera, with much smaller file sizes, and in fractions of a second per shot. My Sony A-77 Mark 2 has an image sensor of 4,000 x 6,000 pixels and gives me ARW (Sony's version of RAW) files of about 25 megabytes. Cameras with higher resolution sensors, common in newer models, would give correspondingly higher image resolutions, but still nothing like the 6400 dpi from scanning.

Amali
Guest
Amali

Hi,

I'm a bit confused with the loading of the 850 tray.

If one follows precisely what the manual says, they tell you to have shiny side up when you load.

If you look at online tutorials other scanners 700 or 800 they'll say the opposite.

Any clarifications ? Has the loading of the 850 changed after the 700 ?

I seem to have the images scanned in the way they were shot if I follow the manual , however all the online tutorials say the opposite..

Best

Art Taylor
Member
Coins:41
Art Taylor

Hi Amali,

Regardless of what the manual or online sources may say, so long as your negatives scan so that any printing in an image appears the right way to be read, continue putting your negatives into the holder as you've been doing. The “shiny side” is the “base side” of the film which holds the emulsion layers that give the colors. With slides, the “shiny side” goes toward the screen and the “base side” goes toward the projector lamp. If your scans have any text in the image appearing as a mirror image, or men's shirt buttons are on the man's left side (viewer's right), you should flip the strip of negatives the other side up since it's upside down.

Jan B from Norway
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Jan B from Norway