SilverFast vs. VueScan


Been spending a lot of time on here!
Oct 31, 2007
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Cedar Hill, Texas
Can others edit my Photos
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I've been using SilverFast for a few years now and pretty much have it figured out. I read in a few threads here people recommending VueScan, so I downloaded it (on the free trial now).

I see a lot of people (including VueScan's website) saying it's better than SilverFast.

Maybe it is, I don't know ... I can't figure it out, lol.

I've skimmed through the user guide, and looked over all of the menus. I can't figure out how to do things that are very simple in SilverFast. I can't even figure out how to make it show the histogram...

Is there something I'm missing, or is everything just buried in menus?

I can't find it if it is... I mean, I can't find how to change any settings like exposure, levels, contrast - anything like that...

I can generally figure software out pretty quickly, but this seems pretty basic to me unless the advanced features are hidden somewhere.

The one thing I do like about it so far is that it has (a lot) more film profiles than SilverFast does. One thing I don't like is that the files are huge compared to files of comparable resolution and in the same format as those from SilverFast.

A JPG from VueScan is the size of a TIFF from SilverFast. (About 50MB)

Anyone have any thoughts on this...? Is VueScan really that much better, or would I be better off sticking with what I know?

My initial impression of VueScan is that it's very basic film scanning software, without much editing ability... Seems more suited to documents than film...
The reason I ask is because I was thinking of upgrading to a better version of Silverfast, but before I pay that much ($400+), I wanted to explore other options...

So far, the only advantage VueScan seems to have is cost ($80). For what it seems like you get, I think I'd still rather have SilverFast though.

So far, I would equate SilverFast to Photoshop or Lightroom (probably closer to LR), for film - and VueScan to MS Paint or something. It's like everything is on auto. The only thing you have control over is what kind of film you're scanning...


If you don't use either of those programs, what do you use? And how do you like it? $400 is a lot of money for some software for me, I don't want to rush into it without exploring other options.
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Joking aside how did you learn how to use Silverfast. I've had a lot of frustration with it -- sometimes pictures are excellent, sometimes they're crap and the "press a button" software that came with the scanner seems to work better.

The biggest problem for me has been if I scan 35mm and I've got 12 images on the thing. It seems very labor intensive to get each one right -- silverfast doesn't select all the frames well and then I have to go through setting each one
I guess I pretty much learned it by trial & error. The videos they have in the help menus are semi-helpful too.

For a long time, I wasn't happy with the colors - then I noticed that the color space was I changed that to the one created by my Huey, and now everything looks fine. ...I forget which one it was on before that.

What kind of scanner are you using? My scanner (plustek OpticFilm 7300) only scans one frame at a time, so I never have to worry about selecting frames in SilverFast. There is only one frame on the screen at a time for me.

Usually, once I get it dialed in the way I like it, the whole roll needs very little adjustment from frame to frame.

For the little adjustment I might have to do, I just move a couple sliders around.
From what I've seen - VueScan doesn't have sliders of any kind... I can't figure out how to adjust
I use Vuescan, Silverfast and LinoColor Color Factory, all on the same scanner, a Lino Opal Ultra Flatbed, and use VueScan for all my other scanners (a Polaroid SprintScan 4000, Umax Powerlook III, Epson Expression 1600, as well as a few others)

For my needs, scanning MF and LF negatives, I find VueScan to be far easier to get a workable image with a streamlined workflow. More so with color negative film scanning. Granted, I can use VueScan for all of my scanners, it is a definate plus having the same s/w for all scanners. Like any software, the basics come simply, the subtleties take longer.
Am I just totally missing something in VueScan though, or can you not change things like contrast or saturation?

I've only used it a little so far, and it seems to do a good job... I just can't really figure out how to change anything.

I think the file size thing is just a SilverFast specific 'feature' (for lack of a better word...). For some reason, it produces files much smaller (in disk space) than any other software I've used. I can take that same file, edit it in another program, and the file size will often come out double or triple what it was...

A 6000x9000 JPG from SilverFast is typically 15-20 MB for me. A TIFF of the same dimensions is around 45-50 MB.

I guess I just need to play around with VueScan more and try to figure it out.
Contrast and brightness are on the Color tab I think, one big advantage of VueScan is that you can save the preview (for FPO), and save the final image as a DNG file, allowing you some great flexibility in post capture processing. (as well as a TIFF, JPG, PDF)

Are you using it in basic or advanced mode? I found that when starting out, the basic mode made life pretty easy.
I think I had it on Advanced. I'll try starting out in Basic till I get the hang of it.
I have never used Silverfast but I must say that VueScan gives you control over all of the parameters that you mentioned.It also has very good help files to explain everything.
One of the features of VueScan is that it works on so many scanners and platforms,the SilverFast software is designed to work only with the scanner it was made for I have heard.
Ed Hamrick updates his software almost daily it seems and will address any problems that you have on a one to one basis.
I wish that I was smart enough to use all the features that he has built into it.
I have several scanners and his software works with every one of them,the only one that I have not tried is an old Microtek 300Z which I retired before I bought VueScan,I used to use that scanner in DOS 5.1 using PC Paintbrush.
I hope that you will take the time to get to know VueScan as it can give you complete control over the results that you seek.Ron G
What is the quality Vuescan multi-scan work work? Worth more time scanning? overall comparison of the two applications from a standpoint of quality output. I understand that this can not be a fair comparison, since Silver Fast has many functions, but I would still like comments. Clearly, real time to see all the manipulations in SilverFast can be a great advantage. And, of course, is the cost of Vuescan certainly not easy.
From what I've seen, both programs give you real-time previews of any adjustments you make.

I still haven't tested VueScan as extensively as I should... Still using the watermarked free trial... I haven't tried multi-scan in VueScan yet (I wasn't even sure that it could do it - I'll have to look into that now)...
I am testing Vuescan right now with an Epson Perfection V500 Photo flat bed. Of course there are water marks on the images until I purchase but it is giving me something to try out. This is on T-Max400 in a Bronica 645 using 50mm, Paris.
I am testing Vuescan right now with an Epson Perfection V500 Photo flat bed. Of course there are water marks on the images until I purchase but it is giving me something to try out. This is on T-Max400 in a Bronica 645 using 50mm, Paris.
View attachment 4484

That's beautiful, I'm having the same kind of problem with SilverFast 8, it just seems so hard to use, half the time when I click a button nothing happens, like there's some kind of disconnect or the program is broken. Am I missing something? and when I scan the same exact images with silverfast as I do with the epson scan program, they are almost black, and I can't even find an exposure adjustment option, not that the button would work if I could find one... it's like the least intuitive program ever... totally frustrating... but I don't want to spend MORE money on another software package if I don't have to.. the left is the epson scan, the right is silver fast

$Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 10.11.57 PM.jpg

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