VueScan or Silverfast for scanning?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by ljwest, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. I'm processing my own b&w again, and I want to scan the negatives. I have an older version of VueScan, but it seems to me to be very
    slow at scanning, and a lot of the controls are not the most intuitive. I'm wondering if Silverfast would be better, or easier to work with.

    I'm using an only MacBook Pro, and a Canon flatbed scanner, if that helps.
  2. Scanner, processor, ram, resolution setting have more effect on scanning speed than software.
    Software gives you the tools to extract the information from the scanned object and get the most from the scanner.
    I have only used Vuescan in trial mode the others in registered (full) mode, from worst to best IMO/experience:
    OEM software/ Silverfast SE
    Silverfast AI
  3. I've always been partial to Vuescan. Have actually just started up again, scanning some fresh shot/processed Tri-X. I tried the Silverfast trial once, way back, could not fathom it.
    Vuescan is a very objective, text oriented Program. The interface never changes. Everything can be saved in ini files. You can produce "raw" tiff files for intital scan, then work with the files to output the finished product.
    The lifetime license purchase is $80 if I'm not mistaken, the only way to go. The alternative is $40 for only 1 year of upgrades, and raw output is locked out.
  4. I used both Silverfast and Vuescan. I find Silverfast 6 to be better in term of workflow, but I do not like the new Silverfast 8 interface.
    Vuescan is very good as well,maybe a little too much of options in the interface.
    Be aware that Silverfast works and will only work with one dedicated scanner you buy the license for....
    Anyway for b/w scanning you won't need all the adjustment tools that there are in both software.
  5. I've never tried Silverfast, because Vuescan works with every scanner I have, old or new, and I have figured out how to do what I do. It has a manual, but ....
    I find that the results and tweaks available in it often produce better results even on new machines still supported by their makers.
  6. I've bought VueScan, tried to like it, but haven't really taken to it. Mostly I've been frustrated getting good results in color negative, with the preview window looking NOTHING like the actual scan in terms of color balance. Something is wrong in color management, and the author doesn't appear inclined to admit so and fix it. I do really appreciate that he supports so many different scanners, and I'm happy with it for B&W and normal flatbed reflective scanning. Try lots of different versions, maybe some run faster with your scanner than others.
    I've been a SilverFast customer for a long time, and have been happy with it. Used it on my Epson 2450, and use it with my Epson V750. I like the new SilverFast 8 user interface. However, they are slow to add NegaFix profiles for new films. (That may not be an issue anymore -- I don't anticipate any more generations of color film.) The NegaFix profiles are also variable in quality. They aren't good at automatic file naming. The price is indeed high, but the support has been excellent.
    I still use Nikon Scan for my Coolscan V, under Windows XP on Parallels on my Mac Mini. It generally does a very fine job at orange mask removal and color balance on C-41 films. Only Ektar 100 challenges it, for that SilverFast has been the best, but only since they added the NegaFix profile.
    I probably will license SilverFast for my Coolscan at some point, so that I can use Q60 calibration targets (have both the 35mm Kodakchrome and Ektachrome ones). But it is a lot of money.
  7. I've bought VueScan, tried to like it, but haven't really taken to it. Mostly I've been frustrated getting good results in color negative, with the preview window looking NOTHING like the actual scan in terms of color balance. Something is wrong in color management, and the author doesn't appear inclined to admit so and fix it. I do really appreciate that he supports so many different scanners, and I'm happy with it for B&W and normal flatbed reflective scanning.​
    You are 100% correct. I have no idea why this isn't stated more often. Vuescan has all these controls but how are you supposed to tweak them when the preview looks nothing like the final scan!
    B&W negatives are okay. I may be a charlatan but most of the time I just leave most of the stuff on automatic when I scan. If the results are not to my liking I may fiddle with the exposure control. But really until you open the final product on a calibrated monitor there is no way of telling definitively whether what you have is good or not. Anyway I eventually figured out setting up a darkroom wasn't too hard or expensive and if something doesn't scan to my satisfaction I just go old school and break out the enlarger.
    Scanning really is the Achilles heel of film photography. It seems so alluring until you get that series of color pictures you can't scan in with the right colors.
  8. On my setup, Vuescan produces images that all look alike, no matter which of my different systems I display them on.
    The preview window in the program works just fine for me. C/N from Agfa to Kodak, color slides from Agfa to Perutz, and B&W, both chromogenic and ordinary.
    I wonder if you are not blaming the program for problems that have their origins elsewhere.
  9. I wonder if you are not blaming the program for problems that have their origins elsewhere.​
    Possibly. I never posted about it because I thought there may be something wrong with my workflow. Reading John Shriver's post is what prompted me to chime in and state my experience.
    I use Windows 8. When I open the final output file in Photoshop it looks correct. I turn on proof colors and choose Monitor RGB and the image looks the same. If my monitor is off I can see color/intensity shifts when turning Monitor RGB proof colors on and off. If everything is calibrated right there is no perceptible difference between the two. One thing I have noticed is the colors/intensities will not look right in Windows Photo Viewer unless you run a full screen slide show. I assume this is because it doesn't read the imbedded color profile... or something like that when you just double click on a file. I have no idea. Anyway once I edit the TIFF in Photoshop I convert the profile to sRGB if they originally were Epson Grayscale and then upload them for printing.
    Is there anything else in my workflow I should tweak?
  10. I'm not sure. I confess that on one occasion (with that exotic film, Kodak Gold), I had one episode in which the colors and scans were completely crazy. But it didn't happen again, and I never figured out what the problem(s) was.
    I pretty much scan with "color balance" turned off (=set to "none"). That normally produces a scan that is very close to the original slide (harder to tell with negative). Then I do the color correction in ACR/Photoshop where there are more options.
    I'm using an ancient Canoscan 4000 hooked up via fast SCSI to an equally ancient PowerPC Mac. Never found a satisfactory SCSI to anything else conversion. Although some used to exist, the scuttlebutt has them not working very well.
    There are pictures of the screens on the different machines toward the end in my post at
  11. My experience with VueScan has been mixed. As I recall, when I first downloaded it, the first few scans came through ok. Not perfect, but OK, and I paid for it right away. Then I was using the defaults or automatic modes for the scans.
    After that, I decided to tweak some settings, and I can't seem to recover from that! I'd love to start from scratch with the automatic settings, but I can't seem to find a way to do that.
    What I may end up doing is downloading it and installing it on my new MBP. That should bring back the "default" settings, and I can start from scratch. I hope I can find my registration code!
  12. ^ Any time you load a new version you're at defaults, I think. If not, just go to file pulldown, the option's in there to reset everything. Next to the option to load presets from an INI file you've previously saved.
  13. My experience is that you are best to avoid trying to make Vuescan produce good colors. Instead save a raw scan and open it with Colorperfect
  14. JDM von Weinberg and everyone else I am ssooo sorry. I was thinking of the Epson Scan software not Vuescan. I've used vuescan before because of my frustration with Epson Scan so I had Vuescan on the brain. It was my Epson Scan software that had the preview issue. Again I am sorry for the confusion. I had some other issues with Vuescan and switched back to Epson scan because I just figured I would send out if I ever need a big print of a difficult to scan image.
  15. After that, I decided to tweak some settings, and I can't seem to recover from that! I'd love to start from scratch with the automatic settings, but I can't seem to find a way to do that.​
    Just delete vuescan.ini in the vuescan program folder.
  16. Hello. I just started to scan a lot this days and I experimented in the past with both softwares. Recently I tried the new Silverfast 8. My advice is not waste money except the device you are using is not more usable with new OS. Otherwise I find that you can get the same quality with the software that arrived with your scanner cause the limit is in the hardware. I recommend not use any automatic function or noise or sharpen utilities. Just clean well the surfaces of the scan and negative to avoid spots like the old days when we used an enlarger. Learn how to use well your device. Appears a simple thing but it can be a world of difference. And use post process to avoid noise and to do sharpen in Photoshop. I learned some good tricks in this site
    I did some actions to set a workflow and get the best of my scans. Is not the same work with BW or color images. It can take some time to learn how to get the best of your device but this will avoid headaches in the future.
  17. This thread isn't that old, and I just came across it as I have started up scanning old slides of mine. Like many of us, I have thousands all stacked up in 35 years of Kodak Carousels.
    I finally bit the bullet and bought a new Plustek OpticFilm 8200i USB scanner as I had an old Canon scanner that only supported SCSI. I used Vuescan for that. This new scanner comes with Silverfast and the iSRD noise/dust removal software etc.
    I bought the unit last March and didn't use it much since I had much other stuff going on. Recently I started again and noticed that Silverfast had an update on their website. So I added the latest and greatest Silverfast V8 update in made a big difference in scan quality.
    If you are using Silverfast please consider going out and doing the latest upgrade.
    That still doesn't answer my question about Vuescan. I have an old Vuescan license but I don't think it will get me the latest Vs software for my OpticFilm 8200i, or how it might compare. Vs was better than the Canon software that came with the OEM unit.
  18. I recently scanned 475 Kodak 200-3 negatives from my 1994 honeymoon to Hawaii. I used VueScan and a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED scanner. In the initial stages I was not pleased with the results. They were initially very dark. I'm certain my images were not exposed properly and that this contributed to my results. What I found through experimentation is that lowering the red/green/blue gain settings to around 0.5 to 0.7 made a huge difference in brightening them.
    I do not lock in film base correction or exposure. I also use auto-levels in the color tab, and I use a medium setting for infrared cleaning, restore colors, and do not sharpen in VueScan. And finally I make sure I set all of the color profiles in the color tab for monitor, scanner, and output color profile.
    With these settings I find that properly exposed frames come out great. Frames improperly exposed still are not great, but at least are acceptable. I was relatively new to 35mm SLR and my photography technical skills were pretty new at the time of that trip. Scans of later film turn out better because I'm certain I did a better job on the in-camera exposure.
    I still have to do color and tonal corrections in a more advanced tool like Photoshop or Apple Aperture, but these settings at least make me feel like I'm getting all I can out of the negatives.
  19. Walter, was the pinkish cast on the original of just the output version?
  20. I'm sure part of what you see is my less than stellar color correction in post processing. I set all of the color channels to the same value in the Input tab. The output tab does have different values for the color channels to correct the colors as best I can, so I guess there could be some color cast in the originals. I figured part of the color cast was due to the film emulsion itself having a color cast. For the most part though I am able to correct them pretty well in post processing. I'm loading the TIFF files into Apple Aperture for post processing.
  21. Vuescan. Definitely.
    I recently bought a Reflecta RPS 7200 scanner from, and was stupid enough to buy SilverFast with it. The worst piece of software I've ever used. Everything in it seems to have been implemented in the most possible counter-productive and counter-intuitive way. The documentation is close to nil, and don't try to find some help on their "forum". They screen every post, and many posts are simply censored. This is simply not acceptable for a software with this price tag (500 EUR for the Reflecta RPS 7200 version). I have claimed a refund from ScanDig and Lasersoft (producer of SilverFast), as I hold both company jointly responsible for delivering an incomplete product. To no avail yet, I am seeking legal advice.
    Do yourself a favour, buy Vuescan Pro and the book "The Vuescan Bible" by Sacha Steinhoff for a fraction of the cost of SilverFast and get to your scanning work!
  22. SilverFast is of cause delivered with manual documents for all important functions and tutorial movies which show how to use them.
    If you feel an information is missing fell free to ask us and we will help you.
    You do not have to purchase a "missing manual" from another author.
    Nevertheless there of cause is information available from third party sources.
    Like Mark D Segal's e-book on SilverFast 8 or the extensive Video tutorial by Dr. Taz Tally on
    Of cause we also offer support through our websites support assistant which contains solutions for the most common issues in written form and using short help movies.
    And of cause we offerr support by phone for any kind of questions about SilverFast or it's use.
    Unfortunately you rejected our offer to help you.
    Our forum however is not intended for technical support.
    Therefor we screen all posts and forward those requiring technical help to our support system.
    So we do not delete any valid postings, but some requests are answered by e-mail.
    A forum is simply not the appropriate way to transfer the personal data or private images we often require to properly help.
    We also individually support hundreds of scanners with many different possible difficulties.
    Even though many issues seem similar it does not mean that the solution is too.
    Also the techical environment constantly changes.
    A solution which solved an issue previously does not necessarily have to be valid later on.
    And of cause it is always possible to resend a post if we determine that the community might be of help.
    We also try to prevent the same question being posted several times.
    In such a case we also answere by e-mail and direct to a existing thread.
    This is meant to prevent the forum from being full of redundant information which makes it difficult for users to find certain information.
  23. Don't update to Version 8.8.0r1 it is much slower than previous version
    It is a piece of junk

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