Epson FastFoto FF-680W review: Capturing old photos has never been so easy

For most of us, names of big printer companies like Epson initially conjure up the idea of printing. With the FastFoto FF-680W, Epson stays in line with their mission to “Exceed Your Vision” as they shift their focus from output to input.

If you’re reading this article and you’re under 30 years of age you’re probably wondering to yourself what a printed photograph is and why anybody would need a digital scanner. But to those of us from the eighties, printing pictures is a way of life and the opportunity to capture pics at such a high level of quality is an opportunity we simply cannot pass up. This article reviews the value of this product in capturing family photos, but this scanner also has utilitarian value in the home-office. Doc scanning is definitely an option here. Sure, you can capture that with your phone, but that is only one-page at a time, at a lower quality.

Getting Started

The scanner is smartly packaged, and the setup is rather easy as it connects just like a printer. Even with the software installation I was scanning within five minutes. For my test I decided to scan a box of pics from the years 1999-2000. There were about 300 images. The hardest part of scanning those shots was remembering what year they were from. Back in the day, photos were sometimes developed with the date printed on the back, but that is only as reliable as the people taking them in to be printed on a
regular basis. You age the pic based on holiday, setting, children’s ages (or your hair, lol). It is fun for my wife and I to spend time looking through photos as they scan.

While the Epson FastFoto FF-680W scanner is impressive – the associated software seals the deal. I choose the setting that allows me to keep a copy of the photo as it scans, and a duplicate of an improved photo processed by the software. While this could potentially create more editing in the future, we felt that it was important for us to see the difference in the solution that we were getting. If I were to scan our entirety of our family snaps, I might tend to trust the software and turn it off. 

Incredible Software

In every case, the software enhancements are a benefit to the picture and do not take away from the natural moment. Most of these snaps were taken on cameras that were not of high quality, and the lighting was not great. The ability for a software to recognize what the camera should have taken and adjust the photo is simply amazing.

The software also prompts you to select the year and occasion with a setting to place each scanned set in a new folder… this is where planning your storage from the beginning pays dividends. I would recommend this planning in advance of the scanning sessions. Knowing your folder structure and where you will store your photos will prevent you from having to adjust down the line. Choosing a storage method, online or hard drive, as well as a backup is incredibly important especially if you are going to consider getting rid of the original copies.

The software on the FastFoto FF-680W allows you to select the quality of each photo. The larger the dpi the slower the scanner processes. We initially chose 300dpi for photos and then switched to 600dpi. The speed drop was not enough for us to stay away from the better quality. Besides the opportunity to print to a larger size, these photos will be on a large screen for families, so we wanted a better resolution. The scanner has guides to scan from small 2” photos (like from a photo booth) all the way up to full sheets of paper. The software in the scanner also translates the size of the photo with ease.  Processing thirty scanned pictures in less than a minute was a better solution than I expected.

Phone App

I also set up the scanner wirelessly to my phone. I found this setup easy, though it took a little longer than the plug-n-play to a PC. The user interface on the phone works great and allows for a quick scan-n-send via text or social media. At a price over five hundred dollars this printer might seem like a bit of a sticker shock to your checking account. However, when you compare the cost of this printer with the price of sending all of your photos in for someone else to scan and process, this is clearly a winning solution.

Bottom Line

For those who are looking to capture moments and memories and put them in a digital format so that you can remember and view them forever, I highly recommend the Epson FastFoto FF-680W; this scanner delivers as advertised.  During the short time I spent reviewing this product, my wife and I laughed and cried as we reviewed our history – bringing it back to the forefront of our minds. It gave us the opportunity to relive these moments and share them with our family forever.