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vuescan 9 pro vs silverfast 8 ai studio vs Epson Scan Software

Marcin Bartoszewski , Oct 03, 2011; 06:11 a.m.

Hi i bought Epson v500 and holder from betterscanning.com. I have got Mamiya 645 and film size 120 (6x4,5).
I would like to get best result from that scanner. I know that is not drum scanner ;) but i would like do my best to get best result.
I know that a lot of people ask about it but now we have new version of Silverfast and i am curious is that worth of that price or better buy Vuescan (or maybe better stay with Epson Scan software).
I have got also Photoshop CS5 and Photomatix PRO. I would like to play with hdr and raw files but i don`t know is it worth becouse maybe finaly effects are poor.

Responses

peter carter , Oct 03, 2011; 07:31 a.m.

I have seen great scans produced by all the software. I have all the software mentioned (err...the last release of SF).

I prefer VueScan because of the methodical approach and the cost. If you want an auto-pilot approach, Silverfast or Epson Scan may be your cup of tea.

Silverfast gets licensed to a specific scanner. I originally had two, which I had purchased 2 costly Ai Studio licenses for. When I upgraded my 4490 to a V700 they wanted me to buy another. I just uninstalled all their software and now only use Vuescan, which works them all.

I did have a problem with the Silverfast software, involving their software not recognizing my epson scanner while the other scanner (also running silverfast) was turned on. Silverfast does not use the epson drivers and talks to the buss directly. Evey other scan software worked fine on all scanners, simutainously. I wanted my $$ back but they were unwilling, insisting that I would get the next rev of the software for free (didn't happen, and I have all the email - they don't do voice...) and tempted me with a free scan target. My mistake for accepting, in good faith and all.

I mention this for two reasons. Many people have a wonderful success with SF. It has been my experience that when things go wrong, they are big on promises but short on delivery. In contrast, any issues with VueScan were dealt with swiftly and the pro version is upgradable for life.

Trevor Martin , Oct 03, 2011; 09:04 a.m.

I have the same scanner and both Vuescan and Epson Scan, personally I greatly prefer Epson Scan for the V500, and use vuescan for my old minolta scanner. I have found that while I can get great results with either program, Epson scan simply takes much less effort to get good results. While Vuescan does add some features such as mulit-exposure and multi-sampling that in some cases give a superior result, I've found it to be rather hit or miss as the doesn't always align the multiple scans correctly. Overall, I really never found that Vuescan was any better than Epson scan in terms of image quality, and is much more of a pain to use.

That being said, my biggest issue when using Vuescan with the V500 might not be that big of a deal for you, and that is batch scanning. Batch scanning with Epson scan is very easy. After making a preview scan you can individual adjust the scanner settings for each frame, hit scan, and just let the scanner do its things. It's fast, easy and gives good results. I was never able to really get Vuescan to batch scan the way I wanted it to, it took much more effort than it was worth. However, that was when I only had the V500 to scan 35mm frames, with 12 frames to scan at a time, it was just too much of a hassle with Vuescan. But if you are primarily using medium format film, this might not be such a big deal since you'll be scanning only a couple images at a time.

Vuescan is still a good program, especially once you learn how to use it. I use it with my Minolta Scan Dual (as it really is the only option when using Windows 7), and I get great results, although I do sometimes miss the ease and speed of batch scanning with the Epson. I don't have any experience with silverfast as I really don't want to buy a separate licence for each scanner, but it still might be worth trying out. Since you can get free trials of all the software you should just try them all. I will say this, be patient with vuescan, it is certainly not all that intuitive at first since there are so many options, but once you spend some time with the program you can get some great results.

Starvy Goodfellows , Oct 03, 2011; 10:10 a.m.

I used the early version of them all and then settled upon Vuescan. I am now on the latest version. It has taken me a few years to learn a basic technique that now allows me to use the software to a near satisfactory end. I am however, using an older scanner 4490 and the default holders.
Vuescan does allow you a lot of customised options. I have saved the various options and use them as defaults. I started with scanning 35mm and found the batch scanning option to be adequate. Since the end of March I have been scanning almost 90% medium format 6x6. The problem with this had been the lack of batch scanning options. Perhaps I have not quite figured out how to use the batch options for medium format, however, at 2 frames a go this is not really much automation any way. So I scan one frame at a time.
As and when I can afford to buy a V750 I hope to continue using Vuescan. Presently, I feel as if I can get around 75-80% of the quality of my transparencies on a good night's work! This might not satisfy others but my budget does not allow for betterscanning holders or an upgrade to the V750 at present!

David Mantripp , Oct 07, 2011; 03:42 p.m.

I would emphasize that investment of the amount of time you need to get really proficient with any of these tools vastly outweighs the investment in software. Both SF and Vuescan can extract the last drop of quality from a scan, if & when you know how to use them. The cost differential depends a bit on the options you choose (in SF). The initial learning curve is steep, then it flattens out. But going from 90% to 100% proficiency is the real challenge. My personal preference is very subjective, so I won't mention it :-)

Patrick Morgan , Oct 14, 2011; 02:05 a.m.

The best results from the Epson V500 are achieved with SilverFast. Like peter carter said, any supported scanner is adjusted for itself and no generic drivers are used like Vuescan does. That's why Vuescan is available for such a vast range of scanners and SilverFast is not. Nevertheless, Vuescan is a quality software, too. You have to know some imaging theories for getting the ultimate quality like David Mantripp noted. (It's a little bit easier with the new version 8 of SF, there are some teaching instrumentalities in the software.)
You have asked for the best result and for this, I think, SilverFast is first choice.

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