Epsonscan vs Silverfast 8.5 vs Vuescan

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by jpdupre, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. I am scanning with a V750Pro scanner
    Mainly Kodachrome transparencies.
    I use Epsonscan. Any reasons to shift to Silverfast or Vuescan?
    J-P Dupre
  2. I can't offer much help except to say that I've been using Vuescan for many years and I'm very happy with it. Tech support from Ed Hamrick is outstanding and if you purchase the Professional version you'll get free updates several times a month. I would recommend downloading the free trial and giving it a try. Good luck.
  3. Epsonscan is a good, working-class piece of scanning software, the best of all the manufacturers' programs I've used. It is simple, reliable and quick. The latest version is a bit cludgy in naming files, but serviceable. It is not, however, a color managed product.
    Silverfast is color managed, and some versions come with calibration software and targets for transparencies. It also provides a common working surface for all compatible scanners, but you have to buy a new package for each scanner make and model. I have used it for nearly two decades with a variety of scanners, both flatbed and film (Nikon), with good results. It is a deep program, and most of us only use a few of its capabilities. The learning curve is steep, but once you get it, upgrades and new scanners are easy to master.
    Vuescan has a lot of capabilities, and as with Silverfast, you are not tied to Windows XP for older scanners. I've tried it, but find it lacking compared to Silverfast - a very small operation by comparison. It's main raison d'etre is that it's cheap.
  4. I don't know if they are still available, but years ago I bought the Kodachrome calibration target from SilverFast and used it with SilverFast to scan hundreds of Kodachromes in a color managed workflow. I got great results. If you are really serious about scanning Kodachrome, you need a Kodachrome target to calibrate and create a color profile for your scanner.
  5. Vuescan is ridiculously customizable. Once you know your way around the settings you can easily set it up to say "When I insert the negative carrier focus and scan each frame. Don't bother with a preview pass to determine exposure, I already determined the maximum exposure using a piece of the unexposed lead/tail. Process the colors from the scanner using a color profile I made from a Wolf Faust calibration target. Tweak the curves using some knowledge of the film I'm scanning. Clip the highlight and shadows to 0.02 percent of the image pixels but keep the colors neutral to a grey I sampled for this lighting in the preparation. Save a raw version of the scan in case I want to change the results, a 300DPI TIFF at 48 bits in the ProPhotoRGB color space with my limited color tuning applied named sequentially with this pattern, and a quarter-resolution preview thumbnail JPEG named the same thing with a t after it, all to this directory. Then eject the film carrier so I can load the next strip."
    It's implementation of some things like color corrections or ICE isn't always industry leading but it has features tuned for doing all the things that it's too late to do in an image editor and do them as efficiently as possible. It includes a dummy "works with everything" USB driver that allows it to continue to work with scanners that lost support after Windows 98 or XP on the most recent versions of Windows or MacOS, or even Linux if your particularly masochistic. It works with almost everything, and it's updated forever if you get the pro license (which you should, I'm not sure there is a value proposition on the standard version).
    What it will not do is turn an Epson flatbed into a Nikon film scanner.
    Also scanning entire rolls of film at full quality in an attempt to archive them takes an insane amount of time. The workflow features of Vuescan may convince you that is not the case. But when you are reloading a film carrier at midnight to try to get in another six frames before returning to a fitful rest don't say I didn't warn you!
  6. Gup

    Gup Gup

    What it will not do is turn an Epson flatbed into a Nikon film scanner.​
    That's the truth.
  7. J-P What is your scanning work flow and processing that you are currently using? I use Epsonscan with my Epson V600. Here are samples of 35mm Kodachromes taken almost 50 years ago.
    I'm curious from others about how much tweaking you had to do when using color profiles with Silverfast or other programs? What were you procedures? Did you have to make final tweaks at the end anyway?
  8. Sorry. Here's the link.
  9. (To Alan) What is my workflow?
    Well... Not sure if I would call it a workflow by itself.
    Select transparencies, scan... save as TIFF.
    While in Epson scan, scan as is (no adjustments).
    Open in Elements 9, clean (ICE does not work well with Kodachrome), save.
    Import in Lightroom 4. Adjust, export.
    When the transparency is good, the scan is good.
    See the one here taken in Switzerland in 1972.
  10. Why do you bring into Elements to clean? LR has a spot and clone tool to take out the dust the scanner picked up. Also, you might reduce bit from 16 to 8 per channel if you make certain adjustments in Elements. LR keep the bits at 16. Also, isn;t it better to open in LR and then use Elements from LR?
    Finally, are you sure Epson scan is scanning flat? It can be tricky in that you have to go to a second page to shut off auto adjustments. In Professional Mode, you have to click on Configuration at bottom. Then select No Color Correction.
    That's a nice picture. But it seems to have been either over-exposed (the mountains) or the lighting was brightended too much. Do you have other shots that show a more balance range of exposure, contrast and lighting?
  11. Those are really good, better than mine especially the first two. Very sharp and good colors.
  12. Many thanks to all for the comments.
    As usual, very usefull.
    J-P Dupre
  13. Considering the workflow question, I'd like to add that SilverFast Archive Suite allows for a workflow that is lossless and offers the complete information of the scanner until the very moment of processing without changing your RAW format "digital originals" so that you can stick to one solution instead of taking your pictures through a lot of different programs.
    I wouldn't reduce bit depth to 8bit until being sure that the images stay the way they are. Reducing bit depth to 8bit will make a noticeable difference if you intend to treat your images at a later point.
    Concerning the clean up, I'd recommend to try if the infrared-based detection works with your Kodachrome slides on very low detection level. There is also a software-based dust and scratch removal called SRDx and a Clone-Tool (in HDR Studio) which I'd use to get rid of larger defects that can't be corrected by the other two.
    Please feel free to contact us, if you have any questions that are SilverFast related.
    Alexander Sievers-Horn
    LaserSoft Imaging Support Team.

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