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filmscanners: Vuescan vs. Nikon Scan (in reply to J. Robinson)

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,

I apologize for the subject change. The referenced message (and its
subject :-)) are on another machine that I don't have access to now. I
tried to reply via the WWW portal of my mail provider earlier but
apparently this message was blocked.

> 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).

same here :-)

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 which *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.


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 with for a

while*. No software will ever produce a perfect scan on first try. Some

will produce poor results no matter how much you try, which is every
time I

try a new version of Vuescan. 


> 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


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" suggests 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

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 -


My animal photo page on the WWW: http://schmode.net
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