The Epson Expression 10000XL Photo Version gets a major two thumbs up from me. I’m stunned by the improvement in the quality of the scans over my old unit, color art especially. I save a fortune now that I am able to scan slides and transparencies. My buddy Jim Valentino of Image Comics recently purchased the non-photo version (the 10000XL GA) which can’t scan slides and transparencies, and he has nothing but praise for his purchase.

The only difference between the units is the cover attachment with photo/slide scanning accessories. Professional scanning of slides can be expensive: if you have a lot of these things, I highly recommend the Photo Version. I scan 5″x7″ transparencies with ease while each would cost me $9-$25 to scan elsewhere. You only save $300 on the Graphic Arts version of the unit, but a stack of slides will more than pay for it. And you can always get extra work scanning slides and restoring photos: my Photo Version paid for itself with my first job. The photo lid is very heavy: when you are not using it, you can swap it with the extra graphic arts lid.

This review is from 2007.

The Epson Expression 10000XL Photo version cost $2999. Read the details at the official Epson website.

It only took 15 minutes to get it out of the box and the software installed. It was working immediately, and there were no troubles at all. It is smaller and lighter than the 836XL, and cleaner looking, too. Yeah, OK, it’s daffy to care how it looks, but I am going to be living with this thing for another half decade.

Within a half hour of receiving it, I had my job scanned and in my editor’s mailbox, with a few hours to spare.

It is very, very fast. And it is very, very quiet, much quieter than the old model.

If it belches smoke next month, I have a warranty and I will let you know, but in the meantime, I couldn’t be more pleased with my new ability to scan images without having to pop in and out of the old operating system. (At the time I wrote this, my old scanner was not compatible with the OS of my new computer, so I had to revert from one OS to the other every time I scanned something). I also purchased an extended warranty.

The instructions were easy to follow.

The scanner also comes with the usual connections, so no need to run off to Comp USA on a frantic search for a missing cord.

Also included are Photoshop Elements, and the professional version of the Silverfast software. I tried to use Silverfast to scan art and found it horrid. I got a try-out version over the internet and decided not to purchase it. I hear Silverfast is wonderful for scanning film, but for art, I had no luck figuring out how to make it work. Since the software costs some bank, getting it with my unit allows me to try it out again without having to go to further expense. But there’s no need for it as far as I can see since the standard software opens directly in Photoshop.

Also included, Monaco Easy Color software. I’ve never used color calibration or control software, so this will take some getting used to. All software is for both MAC and PC.

The Epson scanner runs almost exactly like my old Epson scanner, and while I may have been able to get a unit that was less expensive, I figured it might be better to get a unit that had features with which I was already familiar so I didn’t lose a couple of days work figuring out how to use it.

I bought my scanner from a company called NEWEGG. I paid for the scanner on Monday afternoon and had it delivered to my door by Friday. And the nice UPS man took the big box all the way into my office.

Here’s a scan of a tiny little 1.5 inch slide. This was shot from the original art more than 20 years ago, and the scan looks great. The art is from Anne Rice’s The Master of Rampling Gate:

My scanner is now 2.5 years old, and I have not had a single problem with it. Perfect for scanning large scale color art and illustrations, and super-crisp black and white art. With later versions of Photoshop, it’s easy to scan double page spreads and large paintings in pieces and stitch together using the panorama feature, with no variation in color. 1200 dpi black and white art scans in seconds.

I used to spend a couple thousand dollars a year paying others to archive my work. Worse yet, paying others to archive my work only to find the archives were all saved as 150 dpi jpgs.

It’s essential that every pro artist learn to archive their own work. Don’t skimp on the scanner. When you open the files you made from the cheap old model five years later, or open those archives that cost you $4,000 to pay someone else to archive for you, you will not regret the $3,000 you dropped for the Epson 10000 XL.