The Vuescan discussion thread...

ChrisR

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#1
Scanning is an important part of a hybrid analogue/digital workflow. About the only ways of avoiding it are to always get your film processed and scanned by a lab, or build a darkroom and stay away from the digital world altogether. Oh, there's also the "scan by digital camera" trick, but that can be quite a faff.

Many of us on here use Vuescan to scan our negatives and slides (and prints, etc, too). It's quite fully functioned scanning software, at a reasonable price, with unlimited updates available if you buy the Professional edition (which you'll need anyway unless you're only scanning prints). Current price is of the order of US$100.

RESOURCES:

Get your copy of Vuescan from https://www.hamrick.com . You'll need the Professional version to scan negatives and slides, but it's worth it when you consider it works with just about any scanner, and you get unlimited updates!

If like me you got your copy of Vuescan some time ago, it might be worth refreshing your mind with the Vuescan User's Guide, which has been updated fairly recently: https://www.hamrick.com/vuescan/html/vuesc.htm

Someone on here has recommended the Vuescan Bible. I was quite surprised, however, to see it at around £60! Rather than Amaz*n, here it is on Abebooks (though that's probably also owned by Amaz*n these days!): https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/...home-_-Results&an=&tn=vuescan+bible&kn=&isbn=

There are also a ton of videos on using Vuescan on y*utube, some of which contain useful information, though you'll often have to spend minutes going through the basic stuff you already know!

EDIT: I plan to edit this first post freely, so what you see is NOT what was originally posted!

Well, since so many of us use Vuescan for scanning, I thought perhaps we should have a thread to ask questions and receive advice from the wise members of F&C. And if it's not a good idea, no doubt it will rapidly languish onto page 16...

Q1: how much effect does the JPEG quality setting (in the Output tab) have, and what is an appropriate value? I'm currently using it at 95 or 96, and don't know whether I'm missing quality in the JPEGs as a result...

A1: see post #5 from @john-oh, who owns the Vuescan Bible: "The default is 90, lower will reduce file size but increase the likelihood of artifacts."

Q2 from @RaglanSurf: does anybody know if it's possible to batch scan medium format using Vuescan with an Epson 700?

A2 from @Strappy : It works ok for me but that's on a Canoscan 9000F so probably doesn't help much. According to the user guide, the option is only displayed when the scanner is capable of batch scanning; I've just tried setting it up with my scanner switched off (no options displayed) and then on (batch options available).

Q3:

Q4 from @ChrisR: most that I've read on scanning suggests some sharpening is required, and Silverfast includes a couple of sharpening options, although I've not much experience in using them. Is there a sharpening option in Vuescan? If so, I've missed it... If not, I guess some sharpening in post is needed (Aperture, in my case)...

A4 from @s162216 : There is an option for 'unsharp mask' in Vuescan under the 'filter' tab, but its way way too aggressive and unfortunately has no options to fine tune the level of sharpening that it applies. Whenever I've tried using it the result looks way too overshapened with halo's etc and the grain much more prominent. Do it in PP as you will get a much better result.

EDIT: Decided that the Q&A format doesn't really work, so hoping the thread will remain useful for general Vuescan discussion, but I'm not going to try to summarise any more Qs and As.
 
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RaglanSurf

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#2
Well, since so many of us use Vuescan for scanning, I thought perhaps we should have a thread to ask questions and receive advice from the wise members of F&C. And if it's not a good idea, no doubt it will rapidly languish onto page 16...

So my first question is: how much effect does the JPEG quality setting (in the Output tab) have, and what is an appropriate value?

I'm currently using it at 95 or 96, and don't know whether I'm missing quality in the JPEGs as a result...
Sorry Chris I've no idea but does anybody know if it's possible to batch scan medium format using Vuescan with an Epson 700?
 
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#3
I'm not an'Expert' with Vuescan but luckily I won Vuescan Pro on another Forum and Mr Hamrick sent me a special Code thing which I put in and got it -- well, it works with my old Epson 1650 flatbed scanner for all my negs and trannies very well -- I use it to give 'TIFF' files in the 'Output' -- then I have tried finding the exact colour film I am using in the box thing but the 'Pre-set' profiles do not match my outdated films so I use the 'Generic' colour and adjust in PhotoShop 7 'Levels' as I would in the Darkroom using filters in my enlarger -- usually the 'Generic' colour gives a Cyan or Blue cast -- I have also done some Cross-Processed trannies well .--- I have it set to scan at 1600 ppi but do not mess about with most of the other things on there as I don't understand them !
 
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ChrisR

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#5
Right, I have the advantage of owning 'The VueScan Bible' so -

The default is 90, lower will reduce file size but increase the likely hood of artifacts.

I tend to scan to TIFFs
John, thanks, you're a good man to know! Looks like my 95% is OK then. I haven't actually noticed any issues. but I was just wondering.

I scan to JPEGs rather than TIFFs because of the file sizes. I wish the industry would begin to accept JPEG2000, which has several advantages including the ability to choose non-lossy compression, and >8-bits per channel. IIRC SilverFast will let you scan to J2K, but Aperture won't read them. Anyway, that's by the by.
 
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ChrisR

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#6
Another question from me (Q3): is there an easy way to switch between the Curves and histogram (IIRC: BW Graph) displays, rather than jumping in and out of Settings? I'd quite like if they were both available. I used to use the histogram, and set the black and white points; currently I'm using the Curves, although I find the controls rather hard to understand and manipulate compared to some other implementations (including Silverfast).

EDIT: I should add, I'm using Vuescan Pro Mac version, with the More option!
 
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#7
And another (Q4): most that I've read on scanning suggests some sharpening is required, and Silverfast includes a couple of sharpening options, although I've not much experience in using them. Is there a sharpening option in Vuescan? If so, I've missed it... If not, I guess some sharpening in post is needed (Aperture, in my case)...
 
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#8
And another (Q4): most that I've read on scanning suggests some sharpening is required, and Silverfast includes a couple of sharpening options, although I've not much experience in using them. Is there a sharpening option in Vuescan? If so, I've missed it... If not, I guess some sharpening in post is needed (Aperture, in my case)...
There is an option for 'unsharp mask' in Vuescan under the 'filter' tab, but its way way too aggressive and unfortunately has no options to fine tune the level of sharpening that it applies. Whenever I've tried using it the result looks way too overshapened with halo's etc and the grain much more prominent. Do it in PP as you will get a much better result.
 
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#9
I scan to JPEGs rather than TIFFs because of the file sizes.
I scan to TIFF then convert to JPEG using Lightroom as part of post. I see it as the equivalent of capturing a RAW image from the scanner, i.e. giving me more options than I'd have otherwise. That said, I don't tend to do much in post so I'm probably just bloating for the sake of it. :)

I output JPEGs at anywhere between 80-100% quality, depending on the subject and whether I see anything I don't like in the preview. That said, I now have a whizz-bang PC with a proper graphics card and display instead of the laptop I've been using for the past few years and I've already seen a big difference in images I previously thought were ok.


... does anybody know if it's possible to batch scan medium format using Vuescan with an Epson 700?
It works ok for me but that's on a Canoscan 9000F so probably doesn't help much. According to the user guide, the option is only displayed when the scanner is capable of batch scanning; I've just tried setting it up with my scanner switched off (no options displayed) and then on (batch options available).
 
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#10
Sorry Chris I've no idea but does anybody know if it's possible to batch scan medium format using Vuescan with an Epson 700?
As a previous answer, it appears VueScan makes batch scan available if the scanner supports it or input is set to 'file'.
I can't get it to display with my V700.

It shows when using my Coolscan V though.
 
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#11
I scan to TIFF then convert to JPEG using Lightroom as part of post. I see it as the equivalent of capturing a RAW image from the scanner, i.e. giving me more options than I'd have otherwise. That said, I don't tend to do much in post so I'm probably just bloating for the sake of it. :)

VueScan can be set to output RAW files (DNG) these can then either be further edited in VueScan or Lightroom or similar
 

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#13
As a previous answer, it appears VueScan makes batch scan available if the scanner supports it or input is set to 'file'.
I can't get it to display with my V700.

It shows when using my Coolscan V though.
Yes, I've got a Coolscan IV and i can batch scan on that but it doesn't seem to be an option for the 700 scanning mf film, which is a real shame and time consuming.
 
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#14
I haven't actually tried and confirmed this yet, but I've just set :
Crop tab / Crop size to 6*6 cm
Then clicked Multicrop to Auto
The Input tab then displays a Batch option. :banana:

I'll experiment more later if I get the chance
 
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#15
Yep,

That works a treat on the V700, only tried one strip and more experimentation required, but at least it's possible.

Oh, I set the Multicrop to MF
 
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#16
I can get it to work using Epson's own software but I can't get the MF batch to wotk properly in Vuescan, the first frame scans ok then the rest have bits of the frame or frames split in half. Still working on it.
 
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#17
I can get it to work using Epson's own software but I can't get the MF batch to wotk properly in Vuescan, the first frame scans ok then the rest have bits of the frame or frames split in half. Still working on it.
Found this elsewhere and it works for me on my Epson 4870, obviously for different formats you need to make some adjustments.

In the crop tab > Crop size > 35mm Film
then Multi Crop > 35mm Film
Uncheck > Show multi outline

In the Input Tab > Batch Scan > all

Hit preview
You will see all the frames.
Now there will be a Box under Batch Scan with the frame number in in. Press the up button and you will see the crop box appear around each frame as you go.
Adjust the frames on each neg as you want.
If they are all in the same relative position, set the first one and then go Crop > All frames.
Hit Scan
 

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#18
Found this elsewhere and it works for me on my Epson 4870, obviously for different formats you need to make some adjustments.

In the crop tab > Crop size > 35mm Film
then Multi Crop > 35mm Film
Uncheck > Show multi outline

In the Input Tab > Batch Scan > all

Hit preview
You will see all the frames.
Now there will be a Box under Batch Scan with the frame number in in. Press the up button and you will see the crop box appear around each frame as you go.
Adjust the frames on each neg as you want.
If they are all in the same relative position, set the first one and then go Crop > All frames.
Hit Scan
That's brilliant David thanks, I'll give that a try next time I scan.
 
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#19
VueScan can be set to output RAW files (DNG) these can then either be further edited in VueScan or Lightroom or similar
I don't know why I never thought of doing that :banghead:
Right, I've tried this and I can't say it's a raging success. Capturing the DNG has certainly worked and the images load into Lightroom in no time (no conversion or non-native interpretation required, at a guess). However, if scanning negs then the DNG image is of the negative, not the converted positive and it appears that the only way to get the positive image is to reverse the tone curve, which in turn means that exposure and other adjustments work backwards to what you're used to.

This is only a minor problem for B&W negatives but if you're scanning colour, it can take some time fiddling before you get a reasonable image with no orange colour cast. Adobe Camera Raw apparently has 'negative' as an option for tone adjustments, which leaves all the sliders working as normal, but that works with Bridge or PS, not LR on its own (which is what I have).

Overall, I think I'll stick to saving the files as TIFFs; any conversion is done by VS and it's a more conventional workflow.
 
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#20
Well, if I'm honest, I've never used this feature myself... :giggle:

However the VueScan Bible - which I can't recommend enough - devotes at least five pages to RAW files. So, you will forgive me if I don't quote it all.

However some observations :

Scan v camera RAW
Despite common file formats like DNG you should not mix scan RAW with RAW files from digital cameras.
RAW scans have features like an infrared channel that a RAW file from a camera never has.


Lightroom can't use Infrared clean for example, apparently Apple Aperture didn't implement the full DNG spec so can't read VueScan DNG files (no surprise there !)

The VueScan workflow would be :

Input/Task - scan to file choose RAW.
Source - your scanner

Then

Input source file - the RAW file previously scanned
apply filters
 
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ChrisR

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#21
I've been scanning a couple of rolls of Tri-X, and I was surprised that during preview scanning with Vuescan, the image I could see building up looked sharp and contrasty, but when done it changed to softer and flat. That might partly have been due to there being no preset for Tri-X in Vuescan, and I got better results saying the film was Tmax-400, developed in Tmax, CI=0.5 (whatever that means). Anyway, I went searching on here and found a thread where a similar question was asked by @NickT , and the ever-knowledgeable Samuel (@s162216 ) replied:

Set {white balance} to 'neutral', that way only the black and white points are set, and if you go to the 'image' menu and then click on 'graph B/W' a histogram will come up which allows you to set the black and white points using the two markers on it. Turn 'pixel colours' (under the 'colour' tab) on so that you can see if anything is clipping when you adjust the points, try to set them so that nothing is clipping as that way you'll have the most information available from the scan. You'll probably also want to add in some contrast as well (its better to this afterwards in Photoshop though in my experience).
However I usually just tend to set it to 'none', and then just do all of the above in Photoshop etc by setting the levels and then adding in some contrast as it gives me much more control over the final result.
Certainly seems to have worked and the second roll is much more pleasing than the first. That is eminently fixable in Aperture, I guess, although my PP skills are pretty crud!
 
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#22
By the way, the latest version (9.5) of Vuescan seems to have some nice improvements, with more info available on the Input tab (maybe it was there before and I never saw it?). There's also a cool customisable incremental file name, so I can call my first image 1502BLCLBW01+ and it will come out without the plus, but the second will end with 2 and so on! Again, someone's sure to tell me it was there before but I hadn't spotted it.

(Why the bonkers file name, you might ask? Anal over-complexity seems a likely explanation!)
 

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#23
There's also a cool customisable incremental file name, so I can call my first image 1502BLCLBW01+ and it will come out without the plus, but the second will end with 2 and so on! Again, someone's sure to tell me it was there before but I hadn't spotted it.
Yes, that's been there for ages but one thing I've noticed since the update I haven't been able to copy a file name from outside Vuescan and paste it into the Vuescan filename box, anybody else found this?
 
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#24
Well, since so many of us use Vuescan for scanning....
Or not? Having just lighted on this thread as a new explorer of Vuescan but with a longer experience of film scanning, I'm surprised at the paucity of responses.

Q4 from @ChrisR: most that I've read on scanning suggests some sharpening is required, and Silverfast includes a couple of sharpening options, although I've not much experience in using them. Is there a sharpening option in Vuescan? If so, I've missed it... If not, I guess some sharpening in post is needed (Aperture, in my case)...

A4 from @s162216 : There is an option for 'unsharp mask' in Vuescan under the 'filter' tab, but its way way too aggressive and unfortunately has no options to fine tune the level of sharpening that it applies. Whenever I've tried using it the result looks way too overshapened with halo's etc and the grain much more prominent. Do it in PP as you will get a much better result.
I wouldn't normally think of sharpening in scanning software, at least for initial output. My workflow's always been to scan for maximum information, & I'd suggest that final output for other purposes is better done in Photoshop or its 'equivalent'. Sharpening should be done at the moment of final export for a particular purpose, rather than to a file destined to be an archive resource. I'm saying that sharpening is output size related - there's no 'one size fits all' solution.
 
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#25
Agreed, I don't use the sharpening in VS at all. I've set up a LR preset for 35mm Tri-X (as that's all I'm shooting at the moment) which applies a standard amount of sharpening, contrast and the like when the images are imported. Bit of trial and error on a few images as samples is all it takes to come up with a generic set of adjustments, saves time when you're tweaking each image rather than applying the initial changes to each one. Also means that you can revert to the original scanned image should you want to for any reason.
 
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#26
The VueScan sharpen filter is a bit of a blunt instrument.

I think it's really designed for applications where no PP will be applied, say PDF production.

Otherwise it's best done in a 'proper' editor as stated above.
 
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#27
Hi all. I have a lot of old family pictures to scan, from across a few generations.

Are there any recommendations as to what resolution to scan for what type of print?

The types of prints I have vary from consumer 6x4 and 7x5 prints from the 80's and 90's; polaroid type prints from the 70's; approx 8cm square black and white prints from the 60s; small 5cm square points from the 50s; and large (circa a4 size prints) from the earlier part of last century.
 
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#28
Or not? Having just lighted on this thread as a new explorer of Vuescan but with a longer experience of film scanning, I'm surprised at the paucity of responses.
Yes, there has been much less interest than I expected. It turns out that many folk use EpsonScan with their Vxxx scanners. And since it doesn't stay on the front page, there are threads set up with individual questions. :(

I wouldn't normally think of sharpening in scanning software, at least for initial output. My workflow's always been to scan for maximum information, & I'd suggest that final output for other purposes is better done in Photoshop or its 'equivalent'. Sharpening should be done at the moment of final export for a particular purpose, rather than to a file destined to be an archive resource. I'm saying that sharpening is output size related - there's no 'one size fits all' solution.
I certainly gave up on sharpening with Vuescan, and do it in Aperture if at all. However, it's an area I don't understand at all well, and in particular the "sharpen for print" option seems harder to understand. Since I'll eventually have to get used to some other post processing package, I'm not worrying too much about it at this stage.
 
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#29
Hi all. I have a lot of old family pictures to scan, from across a few generations.

Are there any recommendations as to what resolution to scan for what type of print?

The types of prints I have vary from consumer 6x4 and 7x5 prints from the 80's and 90's; polaroid type prints from the 70's; approx 8cm square black and white prints from the 60s; small 5cm square points from the 50s; and large (circa a4 size prints) from the earlier part of last century.
If you're scanning from prints rather than negatives, the scan resolutions on your average all-in-one flatbed should be fine. My rule of thumb would be 300 ppi (*) times whatever enlargement factor you wanted. So if you wanted your 6*4 to reprint as 12*8, then scan at 600 dpi. There's always an issue as to how much information there is in the print, but if they are decent optically produced prints you might be surprised. (*360 ppi for some Epson printers, perhaps?)
 
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#30
If you're scanning from prints rather than negatives, the scan resolutions on your average all-in-one flatbed should be fine. My rule of thumb would be 300 ppi (*) times whatever enlargement factor you wanted. So if you wanted your 6*4 to reprint as 12*8, then scan at 600 dpi. There's always an issue as to how much information there is in the print, but if they are decent optically produced prints you might be surprised. (*360 ppi for some Epson printers, perhaps?)
Hi Chris, I have an epson v500 - would the above recommendation still apply?
 
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#31
I don't have mine to hand to check, but assuming it scans prints across the full flatbed width, then yes, I think so... just checked the manual, yes! Just looked at some old prints I scanned and I think they must be at 600 ppi. Mind you, it's easy enough to scan a few and have a look; try various resolutions and see where you're getting no return for better resolution (so much depends on the original print). You may have problems with faded colours; Vuescan has some options on the Filter or Color tab, I think, again worth experimenting with.

If you have the negatives you can get much better results.
 
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#33
I certainly gave up on sharpening with Vuescan, and do it in Aperture if at all. However, it's an area I don't understand at all well, and in particular the "sharpen for print" option seems harder to understand. Since I'll eventually have to get used to some other post processing package, I'm not worrying too much about it at this stage.
With most home scanners, I would definitely be sharpening somewhere along the line, preferably in Aperture/Lightroom and not at the scanning stage, to get it looking closer to the actual negative.

One of the reasons that I ultimately abandoned Aperture though is because I think its sharpening tools and output are far inferior to Lightroom.
 
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#34
Fair enough, though I wouldn't recommend scanning at less than your printer resolution, or if you print it will end up smaller than the original!

I based my own thoughts on photographing a good quality 100-year-old 10*8 black and white print, at 12 mp resolution, and being completely boonswaggled by the detail I could see.
 
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#35
One of the reasons that I ultimately abandoned Aperture though is because I think its sharpening tools and output are far inferior to Lightroom.
Thanks RJ; I'm putting off the transition as it's not something I want to cope with until I have to, and because I don think LR supports my favourite brand of non-film camera as well as it should.
 
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#36
because I don think LR supports my favourite brand of non-film camera as well as it should.
Hmmm... no idea regarding this, as I'm only shooting film, but would be a legitimate concern. That said, I now regret ever even using Aperture and wish I had moved over to Lightroom much sooner.

Individual mileage may vary, however.
 
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#37
Hmmm... no idea regarding this, as I'm only shooting film, but would be a legitimate concern. That said, I now regret ever even using Aperture and wish I had moved over to Lightroom much sooner.

Individual mileage may vary, however.
I don't regret using Aperture, it made my transition from iPhoto much easier, and it has done pretty much everything I wanted it to do. I have sometimes thought, maybe it would have been better to have bitten the bullet way back and moved from iPhoto to LR, but then I try to avoid thinking like that!
 
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#38
I use Windows and am gradually grappling with Vuescan 9 for my scsi film scanner. Previously I used the very functional Nikon Scan which had a better interface and controls (especially curves) and the option to output a genuine NEF raw file. But I can't get Nikon Scan to find the scsi-connected scanner on W8 (which connection was a black art in itself). So it feels a bit like the best of a bad job at the moment, though that may sound ungenerous.

But Vuescan is definitely a bargain!
 
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#39
I both hate and love Vuescan for its myriad tickboxes. I usually just set the film type and let it work everything out for itself, with some cleaning if it's a colour film. I do love its ability to shuffle the film back and forth in my 35mm scanner though - it means I can offset to scan the longer Xpan negatives.
 
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#40
I use Windows and am gradually grappling with Vuescan 9 for my scsi film scanner. Previously I used the very functional Nikon Scan which had a better interface and controls (especially curves) ...
Vuescan does have curves, choose them in the Prefs tab... I'm getting better at using them now.
 
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