I bought an Epson Perfection V330 Photo scanner, and tested it today so here's my review!
I was a little skeptic because I read many reviews that pointed out some issues, but so far I had none.
I was deciding between this model and Canon CanoScan 5600F. They are around the same price and have very similar features, and the reviews are equally good (or equally irate). My deciding point was that Epson can open the lid fully up to 180° as the images clearly showed, but I wasn't sure if Canon can do that. Since most of my artwork is larger than A4, this is very important to me.
So, am I satisfied? Yes, pretty much! :D I have scanned some of my drawings and paintings and the scans are just sooo much better than the photos I made of them. Here's an example:
See the new scan of Animus in full size :)
I used my Pentax k100D SLR for the photo, I took the shot in daylight with a tripod, and preserved the RAW format so basically, that's the best you can get without studio lighting. I retouched it to get more accurate colors, but there simply wasn't enough color information to begin with. Compared to the scan it's washed out.
The scan is very close to the original, the colors are very vibrant, contrast is perfect, I had to make minimal color adjustments. The paper texture is maybe too harsh (it's not so evident in person), but I can live with that.
I noticed on the new scan of Ascent that it picked up even the subtlest creases on the paper, but it can be retouched — as long as all the shades are there (and they pretty much are!) it's good.
I don't really need the transparency unit so much, but 25 Euro difference wasn't a big deal, so it's nice to have that option in case I decide to have fun with my vintage film cameras again.
Canon LiDE models were out of the question because of the CIS sensor which is pretty much useless for anything that's not completely flat. Forget about mixed media/collage, warped watercolor paper, paper that has been folded and such.
One other thought: the scanner software applies automatic settings when you preview the scan. I haven't found the option to turn it off completely yet, but there is a button that resets the settings to normal. You can either use the scanning software settings then to adjust your scan, or if you prefer to use a certain program (GIMP or Photoshop) just scan as it is, and then edit the image in your favorite program, which is what I'm doing.
I've been without a scanner for over a year, but the one I had was not very good (one of the older HP all-in-one printers), it used to cut off subtle shades and this was very frustrating, so photographing pieces was actually a better option.
If you don't have a scanner, it's OK if you have a decent point-and-shoot camera. Some of my artwork photos were taken with a Sony Cybershot DSC-W170 from my hand, and it worked well too. The only trick is that you take it in daylight so the colors are accurate, and you have a steady hand (I take 5-6 photos and pick the clearest one). My sketches and WIPs were taken on incandescent light, so it took a lot of Levels adjusting to get the colors from yellowish to neutral.
If you're thinking about a scanner for your traditional artwork, I can recommend this one. I'll let you know if anything changes :)