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Old 11-09-2012, 11:19 AM
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Default Vuescan vs. Silverfast...????

I am getting ready to digitize my thousands of slides and color negatives. I will be purchasing a Nikon Scanner for this project. Probably the Coolscan 5000ED. That is not my query to you all.

It is which scanning software to get. I know Nikon does not have any software to work with the Windows 7 operating system. So the question....Do any of you have experience with either Vuescan or Silverfast scanning software and if so which do you think is best and why? My choice will be between these two.

This probably should have been in the photo section but I feel this is more of a computer question vs. photography. I already have that done very well.
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:55 AM
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I've used that scanner setup connected to a Mac and the software was a combination of VueScan and Adobe Photoshop. Vue Scan ran the scanner, but I progammed scripts in Photoshop to batch save the files and do some crop/resize/save. The vue scan software was complatible with the import option in Photoshop. I still use Vuescan with my epson flatbed scanner. The only experience with Silverfast was using a huge flatbed transparency scanner for radiology films and it was on a PC. That whole setup was not very user friendly. For doing loads of slides, I would want to have the batch capability in Photoshop.

What computer are you using to run the scanner and save your files?

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Old 11-09-2012, 12:17 PM
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Gonna get a new desktop. Dell from Microcenter with Windows 7 on it. As a few people know I'm not the greatest with computers but will be by the time the winter is over this year.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:52 AM
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Interesting. I would have thought more people in our world would have done some scanning of old pictures. Granted you don't have to go to the highest level of equipment. But the good older equipment has been discontinued from the major manufacturers or there software has not been updated for Windows 7 or 8. Like Nikon. These two programs, Vuescan and Silverfast, are designed to run all of the great old scanners. And as always one is simpler to use than the other.

Martin I'll probably give you a call this week to learn more. Anybody else know anything?
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:28 AM
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It it not worth the time. You are going to sit for hours. I did 100's of sliders and used Scan Cafe. They send the scans to India and then scan them there. Really good prices, good communication and give you all kinds of options on formats, choose / reject scans etc.

I probably spent the same amount as buy a scanner, but I figured it was a one-off deal and I could not buy a high speed / quality scanner for what I paid.

Attached a low res scan of a slide for 4x4 content. Original RTT on a Land Rover in Mozambique.
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:57 PM
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Yah, I know about the time involved. You are right there. But I think I want to learn this stuff better. So in headfirst I go.

That RTT is excellent. I always enjoy seeing where things come from. The first ideas, versions, designs are always intriguing to me. Kind of a what they built from what they had at the time.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:49 PM
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When I was shooting for the mags, I had that scanner and VueScan. Best combination I came up with. Since I'm a software engineer by training, I built a bunch of stuff to automate it as much as possible. Using the Photoshop/Bridge batch capabilities is a huge time saver.

Definitely a good thing to learn but after the first few hundred you'll be banging your head against the wall.

dr5 is a lab in Denver that I've used for years starting when they were in LA. I'd recommend giving them a call and seeing what they can do for you.

Feel free to get in touch if you have specific questions. I probably have a few tips in the bottom of my head that may help.

FWIW, I decided awhile ago to only keep slides/negs that had been published and/or sold. I think I threw away over 10,000 slides and I don't even know how many sheets of 35mm B&W...
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:42 PM
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I took a business seminar a few years back that had an excellent suggestion that I still remember: don't buy a piece of equipment for only one job. If you're still shooting slides and will continue to do so, then a scanner might make sense. If you're only shooting digital these days, I'd follow Christo's advice and let someone else take care of all the scanning.

My $0.02.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:03 AM
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I have that scanner and I use Nikon's software (which is just OK) and VueScan into PS, but all on Mac OS X. VueScan is rock solid on the Mac, no idea on Windoze. I got a decent scanner years ago, when they were actually still made even, and kept it because I still use film and so if there is a shot I want to post I have no choice.

For batch scanning, even with the bulk loader, it's a PITA. The loader accepts I think 50 at a time and is prone to jamming, so I'd have to load less then 50 and babysit the thing anyway. I got what I paid for it on eBay and feeding them individually really isn't any slower once you get into the flow. Feed one, start scan, sip of beer, eject, start scan #2, sip beer, work on scan #1 in PS, sip beer, flip LP, eject, start scan #3, work on scan #2, sip beer, repeat until you pass out drunk.

If you do nothing but raw scans it takes about 30 to 45 seconds per slide at full resolution. You can batch process, although I find you still need to tweak for roll-to-roll variation, particularly with older E6 slides that are prone to color shift. It takes me about an hour or so per roll to scan, when you figure in cropping and adjustments.

Unless you really have the time, I would have them done. Services charge something like a quarter a slide with processing and usually a few cents per slide just for raw bulk. So at $1500 you're looking at 5,000 slides to break even. If you average 2 minutes a slide that's 165 hours of work and a ton of beer.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:07 PM
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So the beer part sounds intriguing. And as most of you know I am very competent in that part. But I will look into your all's advice on having scanning done outside too.
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