Here’s a quick comparison of what I think is good and bad about the Vuescan, Epson and Silverfast scanner software. They were tested on an Epson V700 and/or Plustek 120 scanner.

I stop using the Epson software a while ago, so it might not be as precise a judgment as Vuescan and Silverfast, because it’s made from my memories of the software.

And this is of course my personal experience with the different software, yours maybe different. So feel free to add you experience in the comments below.

VuescanEpsonSilverfast
ScansSharpSoftSharp
UpdatesFreeFreePay for them
Scan framingAnnoyingGoodAnnoying
PriceFairFreeExpensive
UsabilityVery hardEasyVery hard
SettingsA lotCan’t remember A lot
UpdatedFrequentlyCan’t rememberNot very often
CompatibilityLots of scannersEpson onlyLots of scanners
Work processSlowSlowVery slow
LicenseEndlessEndlessOne scanner
Film profilesYesNoYes
InterfaceBadVery goodGood
Infrared cleaningYesCan’t rememberYes
Learning curveSteepGoodVery steep

I – as mentioned above – don’t use the Epson software anymore, and haven’t for some time now. My go to scanner software is Vuescan, although the learning curve is a bit steep, it’s still the best software out there if you ask me. Silverfast is not bad, it’s simply just to big a hassle to use.
And now that the Lightroom plugin Negative Lab Pro has become part of my workflow, Vuescan is the only software I can use.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Hi,
    I’m looking for some advice please. I’ve just set up my Epson Perfection V500 scanner to scan some photos into my MacBook Pro, and it’s stopped working. A bit of googling tells me that upgrading to Catalina requires a new driver which Epson, in their attempt to make me buy a new scanner, have decided to no longer do. I am considering going down the Vuescan route. My previous scanner, A Canon, came with Vuescan included which I used regularly at the time, until the scanner broke down. I got on pretty well with Vuescan, though in your review you imply it’s a steep learning curve to get into. I’m wondering if the interface has changed much over the years, which would make it harder for me to get into. I’m hoping it hasn’t changed much so it would be a bit like riding a bike (though it’s been 30 years since I last did that!)
    Hope you can help,

    Regards
    John Collins

    • Hi John

      I don’t know how long it’s been, since you last used Vuescan, but I’m pretty sure that the interface haven’t change that much. There has properly been added some more/new features, but other than that I think your home free.

      But before you buy a new license, check your old one from the Canon, if it’s a pro license, you can properly just got a head and upgrade Vuescan to the latest version.

      Hope this helps you, if not feel free to ask some more đŸ™‚

      Cheers
      Bo

      • Many thanks for that Bo.
        I found no signs of VueScan on my MacBook Pro so I fired up my 2003 iMac (the angle poise model!) and discovered my memory has been playing tricks on me. I found I had Umax VistaScan software installed and remembered my previous scanner had been a Umax Astra, not a Canon. D’oh! In my defence ‘VistaScan’ and ‘VueScan’ sound very similar…
        It looks like I will being installing VueScan Pro, on the assumption it will work with my Epson scanner. Once I get used to it then should I need to get a new scanner I should be able to use VueScan with it and not have another learning curve to face.

        Many thanks again,
        Regards
        John

        • Hi John

          Sorry for the late reply.

          OK, I’ve never heard of “VistaScan” but you are right, they sound almost the same.

          Anyway, I hope you are getting up and running with Vuescan, it is a nice piece of software.
          And works with most scanners.

          Cheers
          Bo

  2. Hello
    I found your comparison of scanner software useful- so thanks for that. I have the latest version of Vuescan with my EpsonV850 Pro scanner.
    No matter how I try, I cannot get Vuescan to give me a) a scan which reproduces what I see in the preview and b) a good dynamic range in the final scan.

    No matter what I do the final scan comes out very dark and post-processing in Photoshop Camera Raw can improve overall exposure, contrast Highlights/shadows etc (almost max + adjustment for exposure), but shadows remain blocked in.

    Can you suggest Vuescan adjustments to resolve this problem? any help will be much appreciated.

    Sincerely, S.B.P. McCullagh

    • Hi McCullagh

      First a thanks – glad you liked it and found it useful.

      I have the same issue with the preview vs final scan, they never look the same. I looked around the internet for an answer a while back, but it seems to be a thing with Vuescan, a problem if you like.
      So unfortunately I don’t have an answer for you. Personally I just learned to live with it.

      According to the crushed blacks, then my experience tells me that, if the scan has crushed blacks, then it’s because there is nothing there, or at least I have never managed to get anything out of mine.
      And I always keep in mind that it’s better to overexpose my photo then to underexpose it, the film media is much better at handling the highlights.
      One of the few settings I adjust regularly is “Color Balance” under the color tab, here I either go for “None” or “Neutral”

      I use a Lightroom plug-in called Negative Lab Pro, to convert my negatives to positives, so my other settings are adjusted according to it.
      If you haven’t heard about Negative Lab Pro – and if you use LR – then I can highly recommend that you go check it out, it’s amazing.
      It will in a way also solve your preview/scan issue, since you just scan as an image, and then convert it in NLP.

      Hope this helps you a little.

      Otherwise, feel free to ask again.

      Cheers
      B.

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