View Full Version : Scanner software, vuescan vs silverfast
I'm looking for better software for a Minolta Scan Dual 4. Any opinions on Vuescan compared to one of the Silverfast versions? I'm having trouble scanning Portra 400vc with the Minolta software. I have dl trial versions of both but still would like opinons of experienced users.
I have tried the trial version of Vuescan, and determined it really won't give any better images than the stock software when properly set up and operated.
It was a fairly steep learning curve on that machine. It took some time and many bad scans to get the hang of it.
DRM makes the important point - download the free trial for each software program and test things for yourself. They have very different interfaces and only you can decide which workflow best meets your needs.
I have used Silverfast on a Microteck 120 for the past few years (it comes bundled with the scanner). On the whole it is a very good program, however it does have its quicks. Upgrades can be very frustrating, their installation program does not remove several files and most likely the upgrades will not work until you manually remove some old files.
I've only used it for color negs a few times, so I can not offer you much advice, but i have been satisfied with b&w and transparencies.
One thing to consider is Silverfast no longer has any tec support in the States. It took me close to a month to get a reply from Germany after my last upgrade.
Downloading the trial version seem like the best way to see if it meets your needs.
I like Vuescan for reasons mentioned above; I only have to know and buy one scanning software for all three of my scanners.. (well I may have three soon).
Vuescan pro has the ability to save the 'raw' output of the scanner, so I can turn off the precious light bulb in my minolta, then crop, tweak etc the file instead of scanning the side multiple times. Vuescan just 'scans' the raw file and does the color balance etc.. to that instead of having to run the slide back through the hardware.
That feature saved me many hours, as I had no concept of color spaces, and most of my slides were exceeding the gamut of the color space. All I had to do was rescan the raw files (this time set to ProPhoto)and all was better, never even turned the scanner on.
What I (still) might suggest you do before switching software in search of a magic bullet is to think about what's lacking in the scan and how it might be tweaked to get some better results.
Is it blurry? Poor highlight or shadow detail? Colors off? Or maybe does it just lack punch or look blaaah?
I have yet to find a properly-exposed C41 (or c22 or slide, actually) negative that it can't make a good scan of*, and I've scanned all kinds of various films from Fuji (mostly), Kodak, Agfa, even Ferrania, and even some 30 year old Kodacolor II.
A couple hints I might give you: If you want a good print, scan at maximum resolution, 16 bit, multiple passes. I use 4 passes for those I want a good print of. Adjust levels only in the scanner software. Use Photoshop or whatever to do any correction, sharpening, tweaking, etc. and of course touching up.
If the negative or slide is not reasonably flat (more with slides than with negs) help the auto-focus do its thing. I've found the auto dust brush is a placebo. I use canned air (yeah, I can hear the booos coming from the peanut gallery) to get rid of any loose dust, and in cases of really grody negatives, filtered H2O, rubbing alcohol, or film cleaner.
I've really had good luck with this thing.
* I do have a few available/low light Walgreens/Agfa negatives that I cannot get a good scan of. However, the scanner does better (less worse?) than the minilab scans. There are exposure and color balance issues here.
I find vuescan does VERY well when you learn its quirks and how everything works - I haven't tried silverfast though
Vuescan for me as well but B&W is trickey with all of them. That's the reason that I miss Scala (one more roll left).
Oh yeah, Vuescan will profile your printer, scanner and film.
The printer profiler is great- vuescan will print the ic8, then you put that into the flatbed, and bam- profiled printer! Same deal with film, but you gotta buy a target to shoot.
Thanks everyone. I compared my current Minolta software with Vuescan and Silverfast. The Vuescan was easiest to use and yields much better results than the Minolta.
I went ahead and bought it. What the heck, at $79 US it costs less than the lunch I had at TGI Friday's last week in London!
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