Silverfast or Vuescan? What advantage over Nikon Scan?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by leon chang, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. What's the advantage in upgrading my scanner software? I currently use the
    Nikon software that came with the Coolscan V ED.

    I am not impressed with the speed and user interface of this software. Does it
    make sense to upgrade to either Silverfast or Vuescan? What are the advantages
    over the Nikon software?

    I would like to hear some opinions from users of this software. Do you prefer
    the one or the other?

    Basically what I need is larger previews for editing, easier control with
    several sliders and faster scanning speed (if this depends on the software at

    Thanks for yr help in making a purchase decision.
  2. Leon, you'll get several different answers on this, so here's mine: Go with Silverfast AI6. The only way to know for sure is to try them out. You can download a trial version of AI6 from Give it a shot.....
  3. I've used all three and each has it's strengths and weaknesses. For the LS 5000, Vuescan is hard to beat, even against Silverfast. For my Epson 1680 flatbed with transparency adapter, Silverfast is vastly superior to Vuescan. To scan transparancies, like 4x5 images, the Epson scanner uses a special film carrier that require a software switch to change the focus plane. Silverfast has the switch; Vuescan doesn't. Big, big difference in image focus.
  4. Leon, I scan with a Nikon 9000 and use Nikon Scan 4.0.2. I do not edit with Nikon Scan, but save the images to a file for editing with Photoshop CS2. I do a lot of batch scanning, so this works very good and I have the larger image in Photoshop to edit. The only editing I do in Nikon Scan is specify the crop of the image if I am not scanning the entire frame.

    Once I load the film carrier and start the batch scan I can do something else while the scanner completes all scan and saves them to a folder. I output 16 bit TIFF files with Adobe RGB profile for editing.

    I tried both Vuescan and Silverfast, but I like Nikon Scan better.
  5. Silverfast is fully CMS compliant, whereas NikonScan has only programmed choices. Silverfast has a sophisticated level of automation which produces a much higher percentage of good scans without fussing. Nikonscan is very flexible, but requires much more touching up from one image to the next. Silverfast has "Negafix", which is a set of profiles for negative film. I find this highly effective.

    On the other hand, Nikonscan has much better access to hardware/firmware features in the scanner such as automatic feed and frame registration. There are times that Nikonscan is my only choice (e.g., the image blends with the borders).

    I haven't used Vuescan. Vuescan is much cheaper than Silverfast, but Lasersoft (Silverfast) has much greater resources, and continually updates their products and adds new scanners. I have several scanners, film and flatbed, and appreciate the common interface from one to another. Photography is a competetive business, and you nearly always get what you pay for.

    Scanning software of any sort make a poor editing platform. My objective is to get a reasonably good scan, capturing the full gamut of the film, then do the detail work in Photoshop.
  6. pje


    I have a Coolscan 9000 and use Nikon Scan with it. However I've used VueScan for years with
    flatbed scanners although it does support film scanners. As for "resources" I don't think it
    can be touched as it supports over 500 scanners, on USB, Firewire and SCSI interfaces; with
    support for Windows, Mac and Linux. Ian Hamrick, the developer is on top of things with a
    constant stream of updates. VueScan has a fully functional demo so give it a spin.
  7. By resources, I'm thinking of a multi-national corporation vs a one-man shop.
  8. Sorry for the slight sidetrack but Edward,<br>
    You state,<br>
    "My objective is to get a reasonably good scan, capturing the full gamut of the film, then do the detail work in Photoshop."<p>

    Could you please explain further exactly what you mean by this. I'm new to scanning and want to make sure that I don't ever have to go back and scan the same slide again. So, do you mean to set the exposure and the histogram so that as many of the tones are there as possible, even if the scan initially looks flat therefore you'll have as much data as possible to be able to fix things later in PS?<p>

    If I'm on the right track, please go into a little detail about the workflow you use to accomplish this if you don't mind. In other words, what are the steps that you usually take and in what order to get the histogram looking like you want it to and how DO you want the histogram to look?<p>

  9. I use Silverfast on my Canon flatbed and Vuescan on my Minolta film scanner. Both are better than the OEM software that came with the scanners. Both also have downloadable demos that will go a long way toward answering your question for yourself, although you do need to spend some time with any scanning software to discover its true potential.
  10. Several times using different scanners (canoscan 8400F, K-M Elite 5400 II, Epson V700 - gotta get rid of the Canoscan now!) I've tried if I would get better or more convenient results from using Silverfast or VueScan instead of the vendor-supplied software. The answer is I well might get better results at least on the flatbeds (actually I am highly pleased with the K-M scanning software usability and result quality). However I never seem to find enough energy to really learn how to use them!
    Let's put it this way: With the vendor supplied K-M, Epson and even Canon (easily the worst of the three) scanning software, getting film scanned is pretty easy in my usual scenario: put as many strips of film in as the scanner can handle. Press the preview button (or with the K-M no need even for this). After a while I have the pre-scan frames visible on my display. I can individually alter scanning options for each frame and finally press the scan button and go out for lunch.

    The initial user experience with Silverfast and VueScan is that I have a whole lot of all kinds of small buttons and fields with no idea what they do. I am presented with a pre-view of the scanner's entire scan area and it seems I have to manually select the frame to be scanned from that. While that might not actually be true, it feels confusing at first. Moreover, with a dedicated film scanner, a more "general" program like Silverfast or VueScan actually feels like it doesn't really fit very well.

    I'll probably keep trying to get to grips with either program, though, and maybe finally I will "get it"..

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