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Thread: Vuescan vs. Silverfast SE/Ai

  1. #1

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    Vuescan vs. Silverfast SE/Ai

    I recently acquired an Epson 4990 which is bundled with Silverfast SE. I've been using Vuescan with my former scanner for some years and I like it o.k. for the mostly black and white photography I do. But all other things being equal I'm inclined to switch to Silverfast (and maybe upgrade to Ai) because I like the ability to see the effect of adjustments on the image as you're making them, which you can't do with Vuescan. However, I don't know anything about the relative merits of the two from a scan quality or any other standpoint.

    If anyone here has used both Silverfast and Vuescan I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about their relative merits. Also any thoughts about the wisdom of upgrading Silverfast SE to Ai. I don't mind spending the money but not if all I get is a program with a bunch of extra options and features that are only useful to pros or other people who scan in large volumes. I've read what Vuescan says about the advantages of Ai but I don't understand half of it and don't know how relevant the other half is to someone like me who scans only large format in a very small volume. Thanks.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  2. #2
    Scott Davis
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    Vuescan vs. Silverfast SE/Ai

    Brian-

    I have used both Silverfast SE and Vuescan. In my personal opinion, I greatly prefer SE (I'm sure I would like Ai even better, but I've not been bothered to plunk down the cash for it). To me, the ability to see the effect of the tweaks I make before I finalize the scan is worth its weight in gold, because of the time savings it provides. Also, I think that it scans cleaner and sharper. Maybe I just didn't know how to tweak Vuescan to get a better scan from it, but in my opinion, good software shouldn't require you to do a LOT of work to make simple (if major) improvements in my results. To get the nth degree out of either, it takes work, but from my perspective, I get a lot closer to the nth degree with a shorter learning curve using SE.

  3. #3

    Vuescan vs. Silverfast SE/Ai

    I use AI 6 and Vue Scan and much prefer Silverfast. Use it with Epson 3200, 2850 and Braun 3600 and 4000.

  4. #4

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    Vuescan vs. Silverfast SE/Ai

    I use Silverfast SE on an (now old!) Epson 3200. I get pretty good results. But I would like to learn more about how to "tweak" a scan. Does anybody know of a good book that one can relate to Silverfast SE? I always hear that the skill of the operator makes a great deal of difference in getting a good scan, and I'd like to learn more. Thanks.

  5. #5
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Vuescan vs. Silverfast SE/Ai

    I have tried both and greatly prefer the Silverfast AI, but upgrade it to tht "studio" version as it allows for multisampling for noise reduction. rather than multipass (which softens the image).
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
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  6. #6
    Saulius's Avatar
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    Vuescan vs. Silverfast SE/Ai

    Kirk, have you (or anyone else for that matter) then used the Silver Fast new multi sampling? I have an Epson 4870 with Silver fast and have been thinking about upgrading for the multi sampling but was wondering how effective it actually is. I just received an advertisement from Silver Fast regarding multisampling. Here is some of what they say.

    Extend the Dynamic Range of your Scanner

    Get rid of Noise! SilverFast Multi-Sampling with Auto-Alignment is
    here!

    The "Multi-Sampling" technology is now available for those scanners
    which do not have this feature built into the hardware.

    Anyone have any first hand experience using it with an epson scanner?
    Thanks.

    Here is a link to their web page

  7. #7

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    Vuescan vs. Silverfast SE/Ai

    John - I'm not a scanning expert but most of what I know I learned from Wayne Fulton's book "A Few Scanning Tips." The title is misleading, it's a book not just some tips and it's much more than "a few," it's a couple hundred pages long. The references to specific equipment, specs, etc. is very dated (at least my copy is, maybe he's updated it since I bought mine about four years ago) but the basic information about how to scan is still right on point. He has a web site from which the book can be purchased, I don't have the URL handy but Google on his name and I'm sure it will pop up.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  8. #8
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Vuescan vs. Silverfast SE/Ai

    I have not upgraded because there is some issue with my seial number that needs straightening out but i have seen some examples from a friend that show supreior results from the MS as opposed to the MP feature.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
    WEBSITE

    LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)

  9. #9
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Vuescan vs. Silverfast SE/Ai

    In my experience multiple passes (I trust this is what multiscanning means?) does not work well on a 4870. I wouldn't even consider it unless you're going to wet mount the film on glass, because it's imperative to stop the film from moving, which it's inclined to do from the heat of the lamp. Even so, the transport mechanism of scanners like the 4870 is just not precise enough to line up the ccd in the same place for multiple passes. I find that scans done this way are significantly less sharp than ones done with a single pass.

    A way to reduce noise (and possibly to increase dynamic range by a tiny ammount) is just to oversample. Scan at the full sampling frequency of the scanner (4800 ppi) and have the scanning software downsample. Vuescan will do this; I'd be surprised if silverfast didn't too. If you scan at 2400ppi, the scanner throws out every other scan line and every other pixel. If you downsample to 2400 ppi, the scanner averages every 4 pixel block into one pixel. This has the effect of greatly reducing noise, since noise isn't likely to cover whole 4 pixel blocks.

  10. #10

    Vuescan vs. Silverfast SE/Ai

    I prefer VueScan with my Epson 2450 and Nikon Coolscan LS-50. It's very intuitive and easy to use. You can do multi-pass scanning with VueScan as well.

    I've used Silverfast AI in the past and found that it did not work well with black and white negatives. In fact I only ever used it for color slides because it didn't handle anything else well (in my opinion). I don't do any post=processing in Silverfast or VueScan, I use Photoshop CS for that, so I'm not interested in that functionality. I just want good, clean scans.

    VueScan isn't perfect by any means. It has its quirks. It doesn't have enough negative film profiles built in, particularly for Fuji and Epson film. Even for Kodak, there isn't a profile for T-Max film! Not to mention that it's updated so often I have to download a new version once-a-week.

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