Epson unveils image restoration system in new scanner

Epson Corp.'s Perfection 4870 Photo scanner is designed to bring Digital Ice technology to the graphics or photography professional. The Perfection 4870 Photo is said to have an optical resolution of 4 800 x 9 600dpi -- which allows a 35mm piece of film to be enlarged to 60cm x 80cm (A1). By coupling this vast resolution with a moving transparency unit (TPU) lamp, Epson's newest flatbed scanner not only challenges the traditional film scanner manufacturers on quality, but also on price, the company says.

Epson says that it has made these technological advancements with the inclusion of the Digital Ice technology, which is designed to allow film and prints to be scanned for reprinting, archiving, enlargement and picture restoration, without compromising on quality. Available in the professional mode, grain reduction aims to act as a multi-level diffuser that blends the grain, thus allowing you to scan small areas for enlargement. Sometimes the grain is desired, so the user is left with the final artistic decision to use it or not, Epson adds.

Digital Ice technology aims to automatically remove surface defects such as dust and scratches from a scanned image, and also differentiate itself from software-only solutions, because it does not soften, blur or otherwise alter any underlying details or composition of the original image, the company adds. Instead, the patented Digital Ice technology is said to work from within the scanner during the scanning process to provide the user with a clear, authentic base image that improves the original image. The user does not need to learn or install any additional software to make the technology work, Epson continues.

The Digital Ice photo print technology within the Perfection 4870 Photo is designed to work by utilizing two light sources, reflecting on the image from different directions. The technology uses a defect map to identify the precise locations of physical defects, or visual "noise" on a print being scanned. According to Epson, differential shadowing technology and proprietary software algorithms quickly and automatically eliminate the unwanted defects, producing a scanned image file that improves upon the original print. Digital Ice photo print technology is designed to remove dust and lint, while also correcting scratches, cracks, rips, and creases found on the surface of most prints.

"Before the advent of Perfection 4870 Photo, users wanting professional quality photo restoration really had only one option -- expensive film scanners. Perfection 4870 Photo breaks the mold with its blending of film scanner features and flatbed flexibility," says Hans Dummer, country manager of Epson SA.

To cater for every professional's needs, the Perfection 4870 Photo has optical density of 3.8DMax, which is claimed to be unrivalled in this class. This optical density aims to enable the scanner to detect the data lost by most other scanners in extreme highlight and shadow areas. The 3.8DMax figure is actual, not a mathematical theory, and will allow the professional photographer to get the most from their images, Dummer states.