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VueScan versus Nikon Scan 4

brundlseth

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brundlseth Registered since 14th Jan 2008
Fri 18-Jan-08 08:26 PM

My mission is to digitize and archive my personal library of 35mm film images consisting of 2500 color negatives, 100 b/w negatives and 200 slides. Most are less than 20 years old, some are 40 years old. All have been stored with reasonable care. After considerable research online, I purchased a Nikon CoolScan V ED because it seems to offer acceptable quality and performance at an affordable price.

I’ve read the documentation for the CoolScan itself and for the accompanying Nikon Scan 4 software as well as the documentation for VueScan. I’ve also read all of the very helpful tutorial provided by Wayne Fulton at scantips.com.

My basic plan is to use the ICE feature of the scanner for scratch and dust filtering and adjust the black and white point thresholds for contrast as required at scan time and save the results in uncompressed TIFF files. Additional editing, if indicated, will be performed in Adobe Photoshop Elements 6, again saving the results as uncompressed TIFF files. The uncompressed images will constitute my archive and will be saved on two identical sets of DVDs.

While conducting my research, I found many unfavorable reviews of Nikon’s Scan 4 software and as many strong recommendations to use VueScan instead. I selected a small but representative sample of my library for testing and learning and downloaded the trial version of VueScan. In two full days of testing the scanner and both programs, I encountered none of the reported failures of Scan 4, perhaps because my computer is relatively fast and has 2Gb of main memory. I would not dispute that the VueScan interface may be more intuitive. On the other hand, I did not find Scan 4 to be particularly difficult and, in fact, it seemed to me to have the edge in letting me understand and control the scanning process.

Of greatest importance and without exception, Scan 4 provided results that were closer, often dramatically so, to the original - better in my estimation - than did VueScan.

My question consists of two parts. First, is my plan sound or have I overlooked something? As an acknowledged beginner, I will welcome any criticism. Second, I am puzzled by the overwhelmingly unfavorable reviews of Nikon’s software. Since Scan 4 works well and produces good results for me, why shouldn’t I use it? Is there something I’ve overlooked or is there some other compelling reason to use VueScan instead?

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