Now we’ve all gone digital with our photography what happens to all our old pictures, negatives, slides/transparencies? The low-cost Veho VFS-004 Deluxe scanner could be just what you’re looking for, and it is extremely easy to install and operate.
This standalone USB device, roughly the size of a compact photo printer, is designed solely for digitising 35mm slides and negatives (colour and black-and-white). Once the drivers are installed in Windows (there’s no Mac version to date) you plug in the scanner and off you go.
The VFS-004 package include a slide tray-holder, negative tray-holder, optics cleaning brush, drivers, ArcSoft PhotoImpression v6 software on CD, a tiny instruction manual and even tinier quickstart guide. Perfect for my 1960s colour transparencies I considered worthy of digitising and a good test of the scanner’s potential. The scanning process starts by opening the PhotoImpression software and choosing the scanner as the source. After setting the quality of the resulting JPEG image and the film type, the tray, which holds three slides at a time or six negatives, is inserted into the scanner.
The image is captured either via the software or by pressing the large button on top of the scanner and it only takes about 5-6 seconds for the scanner to adjust its white balance to then scan the slide. Once complete images appear on screen and can be transferred to PhotoImpression for rudimentary editing - cropping, colour adjustment, contrast, brightness - and eventual saving.
'Given the cost of the unit, the overall image quality was quite acceptable'
The scan quality of the Veho VFS-004 is good and the capture process and saving to disk is quick. However, it is a bit fiddly to open the slide tray and its main shortcoming is that it tends to over-expose, especially with bright whites. The resulting image is not quite as good as the original in bright areas but the mid-tones and darker areas appear more or less correctly exposed. Although the supplied software provides tools for basic corrections, no amount of tweaking in Photoshop Elements could put back the detail that had been lost. However, given the cost of the unit, the overall image quality was quite acceptable. Perhaps a manual control for the exposure would have made a huge difference to the scans.
The Veho VFS-004 is a basic film scanner and suitable for anyone who want to digitise a whole bunch of slides or snaps and is not precious about the quality. You have to be prepared to trade quality for speed and convenience – and this device is convenient, especially if you install the software on a laptop to provide a fully portable film/slide scanning solution. As for speed, Veho VFS-004 takes just a couple of seconds to transfer an image – a contest a typical flatbed would struggle to beat – and if you can live with its shortcomings, it is a most cost effective vehicle for archiving celluloid.
Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose 3
Ease of use 4
Value for money 3
Veho VFS-004 Deluxe scanner
Scanner for negatives and slides (transparencies), £89
BLi Group, Angel House, Sherston, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0LH.
Tel: 01474 357 350
January 13-16, Olympia, London
You can find out more about Veho products at the TAG Learning stand, C50