This high-quality Epson WorkForce DS-510 sheet-fed scanner cuts a sleek figure, its polished lid adding a certain élan to an otherwise fairly orthodox design.
Not that there's anything wrong with orthodox when the result is as accomplished as the Epson. The device is compact when folded up, but the lid is easily pushed back to convert this model into a substantial sheet-fed design. There's plenty of heft to the input tray, and the DS-510 feels robust and totally reliable.
The control panel is simple but highly functional, with colourful power on/off, start and stop buttons allowing for simple PC-free operation. There's also a handy page separation lever that lets you decide whether the scanner should handle documents one sheet at a time, or whether it should treat them as one long unbroken document.
A versatile A4 50-sheet paper feed is easily adapted to take A5 or A6 sizes of paper, and it can even handle large A3 using the stitching function.
A related model from Epson, the DS-510N, comes with a network interface box, allowing it to be hooked up to standard 10/100 ethernet networks. The usefulness of this feature is slightly undermined, however, by the need to load the software onto any machine on which the scanner might be used.
The display is nice, though, and makes it as easy as it could be to use a sheet-fed scanner in conjunction with a machine that possibly isn't even in the same room. The price isn't small, though, and the DS-510N costs an extra £150. The interface box can be bought separately later, although this does currently come with an extortionate RRP of almost £293.
Epson WorkForce DS-510: software and setup
The sizeable software bundle could take a good 20 minutes to install, but there's plenty of functionality once set up. The main gateway is the Document Capture Pro package. This isn't the most user-friendly of programs, partly because it's relatively sophisticated for standard scan software, supporting a variety of formats (including multi-TIFFs and searchable PDFs) and cloud services. It also lets you alter the running order, and extract and add new pages at will.
The skewing tool is one of the more effective examples we've seen, and the software is logical but capable. Document Capture Pro isn't the only program bundled though, and ABBYY FineReader 9.0 Sprint makes an exceptional job of OCR, while BizCard is also supplied for converting business cards to electronic form.
The scanner comes with a maximum scanning resolution of 600 x 600 dpi, and can officially work at a rate of 52 colour images per minute.
At 200 dpi, we were able to read a 10-sided document in a time of just 14 seconds – a speed of 42.8 images per minute. It took a further 18 seconds for those pages to be turned into full searchable PDFs. At 300 dpi, the time went up to 20 seconds, and at 600 dpi 48 seconds (30 ipm and 12.5 ipm respectively). At 600dpi id did produce large files, though, and probably should be ignored if you're using a relatively old machine.
Quality, certainly from 300 dpi onwards, is excellent, and the Epson picked up on the subtle differences in hue of complex magazine photographs.
Text was also cleanly rendered, with well defined characters and smooth lines. OCR (through ABBYY) is also fantastic on this model, and our fiendish dictionary page test produced almost 100% accuracy, even when working with tiny font sizes and intricate footnotes.
The Canon and Fujitsu scanners have stiff competition indeed from this handy little Epson. Robust but ruthlessly effective, it's reasonably fast and comes with powerful software. The standard DS-510, in particular, is very good value for money for serious businesses who have lots of paperwork to convert to a digital format.