Artist Review: Epson Perfection V39 photo Scanner

Update: I was told this scanner may have some visual problems while scanning at 1200DPI and higher, similar to the Canon LiDE 400 scanner I've reviewed.
I've recently bought a new scanner for the office. If you've read my article on scanner comparison and Canon Lide 220, you might remember that I use a Canon scanner. So this time I decided to try something different and get an Epson scanner instead.

The Epson V39 is a budget flatbed scanner that's price competitive with the Canon Lide 220.

That's my Canon scanner on the right. The two are about the same size. Compact and slim.

One notable feature that Canon does not have is on the Epson, you can remove the lid. So it's easier to scan thicker books. You can do so with the Canon as well, just that the lid will there there. Not really a big issue.

These are the shortcut buttons for scanning and other features, like saving to the cloud, email, Facebook (gasp!).

The Epson V39 uses Contact Image Sensors (CIS). In short, you need the paper surface to be directly in contact with the glass to get the best possible scan. If there's a gap between the paper and glass, the scanner will not be able to capture the detail.

Because of the scanning technology, the scanner might have problem with scanning watercolour paper, spiral sketchbooks, or a sketchbook that cannot open flat. Watercolour paper may buckle, and those areas above the glass will not be captured. Same for spiral sketchbooks where the paper surface lifts off near the wire, and sketchbooks where the paper curve into the gutter.

This is a problem that the Canon Lide scanners face as well. Not unexpected.

This is the sketchbook page I scanned to test the scanner.

This is the scan with no post processing.

If you click on the picture for a larger view, look at the top of the scan where the paper buckled and the scanner wasn't able to capture the detail there. That's the only issue with this scanner, again it's not a problem limited only to this scanner.

In terms of quality, the scanner is able to pick up high levels of detail, such as the grain of the watercolour paper. It can actually scan up to 4800 dpi. Scanning speed is fast too.

Colours captured are quite close as well. If I have to compare with the Canon, I say the Canon is just a tiny bit closer. However, with the Epson driver software, you can tweak the way the scan is capture (more on that later).

Driver software

In order to use the scanner, you have to install the Epson Scan software. If you're on Mac OS, the Image Capture application will not detect the scanner.

You can tweak the way colours are captured with the Epson Scan software. However, it's very tedious because there's no way to have instant feedback to your colour adjustments. After every adjustment, you have to scan and check the result. If it doesn't work, you have to repeat the process. Of course as a graphic artist, you just have to edit the scan with Photoshop. Just saying.

Epson Scan is a really old software. There's an extremely old scanner in my office that uses the same exact software.

The scanner uses USB for connection and power. No need for extra power cable. The USB cable is the type used to charge Samung, HTC phones and Amazon Kindles. So I always share the cable with my phones. No need to have so many cables coming out of the computer.


Overall, the Epson V39 is a great scanner at a competitive price. Just note the limitation when scanning paper that might not be in contact with the glass surface.

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Thanks for the scanner

Thanks for the scanner reviews - they've helped me narrow down what to buy and likely saved me $150. So, if I read that correctly - it sounds like the Epson is a decent scanner but you would still choose the Canon Lide 220 over it because of the slightly better image quality and Epson's antiquated software - correct?

Thank you for this info. I'm

Thank you for this info. I'm currently roaming around some mall looking for scanners. They have both the Epson V39 and Canon 120 (I know, so old tech). Hahaha, based on your reviews, I'll have to defer buying one for now and just wait for Canon 210 or 220 whenever it's available in their inventory.

Thank you so much for the

Thank you so much for the well thought-out review!
May I ask how well this scanner does for yellow and pink? My current scanner (and previous one) dulls down the yellows substantially and I'm pretty sure is anaphylactic to pink; they always scan in orange or extremely dulled down. I'm in the market for a new scanner specifically for that reason, so while this one has all the image qualities I need, I'm hesitant regarding the colour output.
Thank you for your time and stay safe,

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