I use a LS4000 and LS8000, and prefer Vuescan over Silverfast and Nikonscan,
although on some slides Nikonscan is doing a better job compared to Vuescan.
As example very darkslides with small bright colored artifacts or so, here
Vuescan sometimes blows away the highlights were nikonscan is just fine. The
best of the two is experience, and after a while easily recognized.
I always look at my slides on a calibrated lightpanel using Schneider
Kreuznach loupes for checking them, a 3* for MF a 6* for 35m and a 10* for
looking into the finest details, checking grain and sharpness, but also for
looking in the darkest shadows. And yes its very hard to get every detail
out of your scan, if you are looking through these kind of loupes at your
slide on a lightpanel!
If you open a scan in Photoshop and you use the brightness slider in the
level tool in photoshop, and move it al the way to the left, making the
picture very bright, it will show you there is actually much more detail in
the dark area's then what you see in the picture with a normal brightness.
How do we get this detail out there without ruining the overall balance, the
answer is "CONTRAST MASKING" in photoshop. This trick is giving stunning
results. And often much faster then fidling around with your
scanner(software) settings. It makes use of a layer which is desaturated and
then inverted, together with an amount of Gaussian Blur and the an optacity
percentage of the desaturated and inverted second layer it will bring out
your details in the dark, the amount is trial and error, but with your
lightpanel beside your computer you can get very nice matches.
See for a nice tutorial this link:
> I could do with some help with setting up Vuescan (my prefered tool) or
> Nikon Scan (I'll use it if I have too) with a Nikon Coolscan IV ED to
> capture the full range of exposures that I've captured on my slides. Here
> is the scenario...
> I've just returned from Egypt with several rolls of slide film, The bright
> sun and deep shadows there have meant that a lot of the slides have
> significant dark areas and significant bright areas. Not surprising as
> latitude (the range of light intencities that can be recorded) on slide
> is not that great (only a few stops). Looking at the images on a lightbox
> the slides have recorded all the details I wanted in the shadows AND all
> details I wanted in highlights. In fact I'm very pleased with the
> BUT I cannot reproduce what I see on the light box in the scans. Either I
> can capture the detail in the highlight areas (in which case the details
> the shadows are lost) or I can capture the detail in the shadows (in which
> case the highlights are burnt out and the detail lost).
> So far I've tried in Vuescan setting black points and white points to 0%,
> I've tried adjusting the 'brightness' control in vuescan
> In Nikon Scan I've tried adjusting the analogue gain.
> Also in Nikon Scan I've tried adjusting the curves control.
> The results are always the same - I have to choose between having the
> shadows or the highlights correctly scanned. It is very similar to the
> problem photographs have when photographing contrasty scenes - you have to
> pick, either expose for the shadows or expose for
> Any advice or suggestions would be gratefully recieved.
> Ian M Butterfield