I have posted this question/complaint on the silverfast forum, but that seems to be full of people complaining about how slow the response is and how unhelpful! I also posted this in a couple groups on flickr, so apologies if you come across this in multiple places. I thought I'd post here and see if anyone has experienced the same thing. Thanks for your help!
I am a current user of the bundled Silverfast SE that came with my Epson v700 scanner. My software is updated to 6.6.2r3.
I recently downloaded the AI Studio 8.0.1r13 DEMO so that I could test the new version 8 and evaluate whether I should upgrade.
I think the image quality/tonality is slightly improved in 8, and would like to upgrade from my version SE anyway so that I can save to 48bit color with processing (NegaFix). However, in testing the DEMO of version 8, I have found it completely unusable for my situation.
I scan MF and LF film at 4800spi, immediately downsampling to 2400dpi in Photoshop. I prefer to scan at double resolution to eliminate grain aliasing and reduce noise in the scanned image, taking advantage of the effects of the 2x2 pixel averaging. This does create very large files, but with version 6.6.2r3 the scan time is reasonable and the workflow acceptable. Scanning a 4x5 negative in 48bit HDR mode takes under 10min, from start to saved file (2.5GB).
I tried to scan a 6x7cm color negative with the Demo version of SF-8, but found it incapable of doing so reasonably. A 4800spi 48bit scan of the 56x68mm image took 45 minutes! (755MB). I also tried other settings: 4800spi 48->24bit took 49 minutes with 8 (410MB), compared to 7 minutes with version 6.6 (406MB). I am able to scan at appropriate speeds with version 8 at lower resolutions - a 3200spi 48->24bit scan took only 4min (184MB), as I would expect. I also tested at 2400spi and 1200spi, 48bit, without problems, and also successfully scanned only a small portion of the negative at 4800spi 48bit (76MB).
When scanning the entire negative with version-8 at 4800spi and 48bit, I can hear the drive motor in the scanner run for only about 5 out of every 20 seconds. Most of the 45 minutes it is not actually scanning! It is in fact constantly writing to the HDD, while the memory usage in the windows task manager graph goes up-and-down like a heartbeat (but never above 40% of the total). The silverfast 8 process never uses more than 340MB of memory, despite between 4 and 6 GB being "available" according to the task manager. It also seems to create four 700-800MB files in the temp directory. In contrast, when scanning with my current version 6.6, the memory graph is a completely flat line, the HDD is idle until the scan is over and the file is saved, and everything runs smoothly. If helpful I can upload or send screenshots I recorded of the task manager while scanning in these different situations.
I know the immediate response is that it would be a memory issue but the fact that I can scan, with the same settings, a file that is 3.4 times larger, on the same system, using the older software, eliminates this explanation in my opinion. Poorly written code and inefficient system resource usage in version 8 is the only potential difference.
For reference, my computer: windows 7 professional x64, service pack 1; intel core-2 quad Q9550; 8GB DDR2-800 RAM; traditional HDD with 116GB (50%) free space.
At this point I would like to purchase the upgrade for a version of SF-8, but cannot do so because the software is wholly non-functional for my needs.
Thanks for your help - I look forward to any responses.
p.s., I also have Vuescan Pro 9, but find it intolerable - people say silverfast has a bad UI!
pps, none of this is an issue with black and white, because i don't need negafix for that - just scan in 48bitHDR mode and adjust in photoshop. Another win for B&W!