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Vuescan vs. Nikon Scan (was: filmscanners: Vuescan question)



Julian Robinson wrote:

> I am one of those who has not found the problems that others report with
> Nikonscan; I have found it to do what it should do, quickly and with great
> control.

Hi, Julian, Hi all,

same here :-)

> I bought Vuescan after reading how much better it was, but have
> not found it to be either better or worse, just different and much more
> difficult to use - for me (who has not spent much time on learning how to
> cope with its non-G UI).

I, personally, found it much more difficult to get the color deviations out
with Vuescan than with Nikon Scan. I mainly use Fuji Superia 100 and 400
color negative film, along with some Sensia slide film, and none of the film
profile data matched. 

> The histogram in Nikonscan I find invaluable: I
> always feel as though I am flying blind with Vuescan even though the
> results are usually not bad.

Absolutely ack, apart from that the result *are* (resp. were) bad with the
films I use. The Nikon Scan curve tool, along with the histogram, is perfect
for about 95% of the correction an image requires; the rest is a piece of cake
with decent image processing software.

> Last time I tried Vuescan's IR dust removal I found it didn't work as well
> for me as ICE, but this may have improved since then, or at least I should
> say it definitely has improved going by what I have read here.

I may not have the latest Vuescan version but I have tried previous ones
again and again, and the ICE that Nikon Scan supplies always has been way
superior. I have a lot of old negatives *in need* a lot of ICE'ing which I found
Vuescan unusable for. Moreover, the color profiles of Vuescan work even worse
with older films whose dyes already have faded over the years.

> The bottom line for me is that I have both, and I actually use
> Nikonscan.  There are plenty of others for whom the opposite will apply. 
I
> will say that for most people there is nothing wrong with Nikonscan, and
it
> is one of the most powerful OEM scanning softwares around.  I suggest the
> obvious - try Nikonscan (which you have) and try Vuescan
> (try-before-you-buy version) and compare.  Then tell us what you discover.

<Applause>

I couldn't have said it better. I have heard a lot of ranting about Nikon's
OEM software but it is extremely powerful *if learnt for a while*. No
software will ever produce a perfect scan on first try. Some will produce poor
results even if you try and try, which is every time I try a new version of
Vuescan. 

</Applause>

> PS if it is the learning curve that is worrying you about Nikonscan, I
> think it is not too bad, and you will learn much about your scanner
> features and capabilities that would be useful anyway, even if you end up
> using Vuescan.  The Vuescan interface means that you can remain unaware of
> scanner features for a long time!

Exactly. I would go a step further and suggest the following with Nikon
Scan:

1. Switch all the color management stuff *off*

2. Turn the "prescan settings" from "auto" (which is default) to "lo-cont
neutral" which will prevent the highlights from blowing out. Oddly enough,
"prescan mode" suggest that it will only affect the prescan apperarance which is
not true - it has a very strong (and very bad) influence on the final scan in
the sense of doing some automatic white point correction that usually
"over-corrects" in the sense of blown out highlights.

3. Enable "live update" of the preview window

4. Learn about the "analog gain" feature that directly impacts on the
scanner LED brightness, and its effect on the histogram. Try out how to "center"
the histogram of under- or overexposed images via this control.

5. If that is completed up to this point, do each and every correction with
the gamma curve tool. There is no way to know your scanner better, and if you
have a complicated scan (such as Kodak Gold 400-5 negatives that fade *a
lot* over the years, or pictures taken through a stainy glass wall that has
almost 50 % light retention), you'll master that better than with any automatic
tool you can get your hands on.  

PS: http://www.schmode.net is where the results of my scanning efforts can
be seen.

Greetings from Germany -

Ralf

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