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filmscanners: VueScan: How do it know?

I recently bought a Minolta Dimage Scan Dual II to scan the highlights of 40
years of 35mm slides and negatives.  I've been pleased with the purchase,
considering the price.  I've been scanning mostly at 1410ppi to yield approx
1800x1200 scans that can be printed as 4"x6" prints, but I plan to use most
of the images for screen display as 1024x768 JPEG's.  I'm using WindowsME's
"My Pictures Screen Saver" to display random slide shows, and I've used
IrfanView for "ordered" presentations on my kitchen computer.

I've found the Minolta software to be easy to understand for someone who
knows a little about Photoshop. However, it is awfully slow, taking about 5
minutes per image.  Also, I'm not thrilled with the quality of scans,
particularly from my less-than-perfect negatives.  It seems to do a better
job with transparancies.  I have a number of rolls of film that I had
transparancies made from Kodacolor negatives.  The transparancies were
superior to the prints from negatives, and they scanned much better than the

So now to the question:  To see if there is better software available, I
downloaded VueScan 7.1.4, but I can't understand how to get started with it.
I've managed to make three scans, but I don't know how I got it to work with
scanner.  Upon opening, it just seems to sit there.  None of the buttons
(Preview, Scan, etc.) do anything.  I can't get it to recognize the scanner.
I feel like the (substitute your favorite sterotype) who bought the
chainsaw. ("What's that noise?")  The VueScan documentation, such as it is,
hasn't helped.  Is there something obvious that I've missed?  Should the
VueScan software be loaded as a Photoshop plug-in?  Is the trial version
crippled in some way such that I really need to pony up the $40 to see how
the program really works?

I've been lurking for a couple of weeks and understand there is a lot of
support for VueScan on this list.  I hope someone can help me get started
with it.

Preston Earle

Another crazy southerner who is all-Nikon in his camera equipment but didn't
know it was a cultural thing.


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