dinafasbro 7:54am, 4 August 2011
I am using a Mac with a Plustek scanner, and found out that both Vuescan and Silverlight are not Intel Mac compatible (they are still running on rosetta).
Plus I found out that most of the features in this software are useless to me, I much rather scan everything flat, just being able to adjust scanners resolution and exposure and do all the sharpening/reversing the negative and color correcting (white balance) in Photoshop/GIMP
Is there a piece of software that can do that? Simply get me a tiff/dng from the Plustek?
Or maybe that's an idea for a project, and somebody would like to chip in?

I don't really mind paying for Vuescan $30, if it would have had a nice interface, work properly in OSX and have a simple one click button to turn off all the inside processing and preview the differences I make with the exposure levels
Ian Tindale 8 years ago
Does ‘Preview’ drive it?
flipperkoning 8 years ago
You can scan it as positives and then do everything else in Photoshop.
But remember that the scanner is just a camera and will do it's own thing with the negative, that i find you need to set the black and white points in the scanner software te get the negs at the right starting point.
mfophotos 8 years ago
get a Dell. I got tired of the versions of OSX that kept screwing up all my investment in peripherals. On top of that, they stopped supporting the non-Intel macs, so forget Apple for me.
mrbwa1 8 years ago
I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as easy scanning software. Honestly, though Vuescan is a bit clunky, it seems to be the best option. I have found that even when trying to scan flat though that I end up getting best results when doing minor tweaks in the scanning software first, rather than trying to do everything in Photoshop (mainly color balance is the big issue).

Perhaps since you have an Intel-mac you could dual-boot or run some ort of virtual machine with Windows XP. You should be able to get a hold of a copy of XP for next to nothing these days.
Hannu_E_K 8 years ago
For an alternative:
Has somebody here tried Linux based software?
Is there something viable?

Root cause for asking:
I am slowly replacing all the proprietary software that I have been using so far[1]... open office in use since some time. Gimp under the loupe, more to come.

[1] Because the most popular OS suppliers has a tendency to leave you out in the cold after some time.
JanneM 8 years ago
I wish there were. Or rather, there is scanning software for Linux — some quite good and certainly up to pulling a high-quality straight scan — but at least the Epson V700 does not seem to have a driver available that lets normal scanning software actually work with it.

I really, really want this too. Vuescan is, well, ugh. Let's say I'm happy they go the extra mile to employ blind people, but did they have to set them to design the software UI?

I already do everything except the scanning with open software; ImageMagick for the basic color and tonality adjustments (I have some scripts that semi-automates things), then gimp for retouching, cropping and finishing.
mfophotos 8 years ago
Actually, I have Vuescan Pro on Windows 7 for my Minolta Dimage II 35mm scanner, and I am very happy with it. I got the best scans ever from some recent work:
My daughter, Jorie.
I use Vuescan. I'm happy with it.
prickly money [deleted] 8 years ago
- There's a weird catch-22 situation with Linux software at the moment. If you insist on using open source - which I try to do as much as possible - then as hardware is getting more complicated, the less chance you have to get something open source (or even just plain free) which works correctly, since people don't have time to program (for example) good drivers. And while that's going on, vendors are closing the driver specifications to open source approaches with a view to making cash from the users' needs.

I like Gimp - it still gets a lot of stick I know, but it is soooo much better than pre-v1.0 versions now. I use that for almost all graphics work (only when work demands Photoshop do I switch). You can get some basic scanning done in SANE, but in many respects it is still clunky, particularly when the hardware you are using is more complicated. If you're using an old scanner, ironically, you may have better luck with it...

The best option I have still found with Linux and scanning is to get hold of VueScan, since it works brilliantly in all the distributions of Linux I have hooked it up to, and I can even get it to do it's thing in FreeBSD too. You will need to get advanced, closed-source drivers from somewhere though - Epson's ones are easy, but won't work with many Canon ones. One of the reasons I stick with Epson, by the way...

99.9% of all software I use is open source on my Linux boxes, but this is the one area I have yet to find a good replacement to proprietary software. I know there are principles involved, but $40-ish isn't too bad.
dinafasbro 8 years ago

Really? I thought the only thing that actually affects the scanner is the exposure value, at least when you are scanning at the scanners full 48bit..

I used Linux quite a bit, and wouldn't mind running it in a VM for scanning, does anyone know good (simple and unobtrusive) scanning software for linux that supports Plustek scanners?

I really am asking this question because I found quite a few raw photo processing options that are free, both the programs and libraries (like dcraw), and only two programs supporting Plustek and Nikon scanners(
prickly money [deleted] Posted 8 years ago. Edited by prickly money (member) 8 years ago
Depends on the Plustek scanner you have. SANE really only supports about 2/3 of Plustek models, and that's the fundamental part of the whole process (the backend, obviously). Big problem as I recall is that Plustek scanners are very Windows-oriented, and won't even work properly through Mac OSX.
simon meisinger 8 years ago
i can just repeat it again and again: don’t use a stupid scanner, your lifetime is way to precious!

shoot your negatives using a macro lense:
pushmi-pullyu 8 years ago
I use Image Scan on my Linux box.
Metrix X 8 years ago
simon meisinger wrote
i can just repeat it again and again: don’t use a stupid scanner, your lifetime is way to precious!

shoot your negatives using a macro lense:

For much less then the cost of your digital 5d and macro lens I can get a new hot off the press MF dedicated scanner and not waste any of my precious time with a digital DSLR :)

simon meisinger 8 years ago
… assumed you already own a DSLR, which most people do ;)

and how fast is the fastest scanner? a minute per negative? a DSLR needs about 1/250 seconds :)
N.R. 8 years ago
Bad news for the original poster - Plustek scanner will not work with Vuescan in MacOS Lion, their support insists on using the yet-unreleased version of Silverfast 8.

The Plustek drivers are built-into the silver fast. You can't use Vuescan, it says scanner driver not found.

You can read the note here:

Basically we (plustek owners on Macs) are stuck with Silverfast 8 (not yet released!) idiocy.
flipperkoning 8 years ago
When i let Vuescan do a batch scan with nothing selected or done to enhance the photo all shadows get blocked and shift to blue when the slide show detail in it.
So i scan a blank piece of developed film/slide and do the lock exposure and filmbase to gat a better first scan. Silverfast works better for me, but has no support for my Minolta Dual II scanner.
prickly money [deleted] 8 years ago
Image Scan works well from memory, but I haven't used it for a while. Again, problem for the OP since it is Epson-oriented if I recall, although I may be wrong. It definitely hooks through SANE though, so if it won't work through that, you've had it.
prickly money [deleted] Posted 8 years ago. Edited by prickly money (member) 8 years ago
The actual physical process of scanning isn't the only issue, but there are two we ran into frequently when experimenting with the technique you describe.

The first is that image format can be a real problem. If your DSLR is 35mm-equivalent, 'scanning' 35mm negs is a piece of cake, but other formats suffer. 6x4 is doable, but 6x6 and greater you really lose definition. 6x12 negs and large-format....? Forget it. And that's using a mounted camera to get it as steady and as well-lit as possible.

The second is that in my work (archaeology), I frequently encounter images which need to be sent to someone at a resolution higher than the average DSLR provides, typically for scientific publications. Numerous publishers have sent back files at the resolution you mention saying that it just isn't high enough standard for their printers. They're happy with computer-generated images from analyses in any format, but not with photos for some reason...

I think it is a really useful technique you describe for getting stuff on screen. We did something last summer to quickly transfer a ton of slides via email for viewing online, and we did abut three carousels in a day. I dread to think what that would have taken using the scanners we have.

So I wouldn't exactly call is wasting life. If you want to get images only ever to be looked at on a monitor, it works brilliantly. But if work revolves around getting high-quality images from film, scanning via a conventional scanner is still the best way to go if you're using film. It's also incredibly cost-effective when you move outside of 35mm - we use a large-format camera which cost about £500 and costs about £1 a picture to completely process of artefacts on a mounted table, considerably less than the price of a decent digital large-format camera.
Metrix X 8 years ago
simon meisinger wrote
… assumed you already own a DSLR, which most people do ;)

and how fast is the fastest scanner? a minute per negative? a DSLR needs about 1/250 seconds :)

No most people don't own full frame DSLR with a lens that can reproduce a medium format shot to quality I need to print a 24x24" print (which is about the limit of a cheap epson V500) If I don't need quality my local lab develops and scans for $4 per roll.

But I apologize to everyone but simon meisinger as I have strayed from the topic at hand.
nahanni•whisky™ 8 years ago
... both Vuescan and Silverlight are not Intel Mac compatible ...

you mean PLUSTEK drivers are not Mac OS X Lion compatible. it's your scanner manufacturer, not the third parties. it also suggests PLUSTEK may not be viable for long term support if they are the only gatekeepers to their drivers.

I don't really mind paying for Vuescan $30, if it would have had a nice interface ...

it's not rocket science, and with just a little bit of effort, it's easy to pick up. if you find yourself challenged by it's interface, you can pick up this book for an extra $20~$25 to assist you. far less than a dedicated course or training module. just say'n. :)
dinafasbro 8 years ago

I know its not a rocket science.
I've read the manual (although found it very confusing).
I feel comfortable using photoshop, raw photo processor, lightroom, camera raw and raw therapee, even bibble, and find Vuescan confusing.
I would not mind doing all the processing of the scan in the software that I know how to use.
As far as I understand (please correct me if I am wrong) the only things that software controls in scanner are exposure and resolution, why can't we have a software that lets us adjust those two things and give us a tiff/dng file with all the stuff that it scanned?
Kinda like a raw file on the digital camera, that can be adjusted with any other software piece

So the drivers for Plustek on macs are in Silverfast?
Silverfast didn't work on my Snow Leopard machine, but VueScan works... I have heard all the things about Silverfast support and decided to not even bother contacting them about the issue.
nahanni•whisky™ 8 years ago
exposure, luminance [tonal data], color, output format. these are successfully discriminated against to varying degree. the resolution is usually fixed by the input mechanism, but is interpolated through software. some programs license a better selection of interpolation algorithms than others.

... like a raw file on the digital camera, that can be adjusted with any other software piece

unlike digital sensors that use Bayer interpolation, a scanner captures
the RGB data for every pixel. single pass, three pass, whatever. you get the full monty. it doesn't make much sense to degrade the data so it can be interpolated from a RAW file. instead the user can save the data as either a (8/16bit) JPEG, or (8/16bit) TIFF file. Vuescan let's you save the scan data into a special kind of extendable TIFF called a DNG. the DNG wrapper lets the scan program separate the tonal data from the color data. using LR or PS one can then apply their own secret sauce. :)
dinafasbro Posted 8 years ago. Edited by dinafasbro (member) 8 years ago

Yeah I've used that DNG format, but with Vuescan I am still not sure how to set up the exposure properly....
What I was talking about is a simple software to get the straight out of scanner TIFF file, without any corrections, and ability to preview different exposure values, and use multiexposure)
when I manually change the exposure values in VueScan it doesn't show any difference....
Stuart Grout 8 years ago
I use Ubuntu but hadn't looked at scanning software for a couple of years as none of my scanners ever seemed to work.

Having looked at this thread I did a google search for my scanner, an Epson V500 Photo and downloaded the appropriate free software from www.avasys.jp/lx-bin2/linux_e/scan/DL2.do

Within 5 minutes I got my first scan.

It seems to be comparable to what I can get using the default software under Windows.

The windows version of a 35mm negative scan, I think I cropped and tweaked this with the Gimp.

The linux scanned version, uncropped but resized. No other tweaking done.

Hannu_E_K 8 years ago
avasys.jp/eng/site/ -
the above had me end up with block graphics (instead of letters) on the screen.

Now, that seems to be a usable option - all I need now is an Epson scanner (using a CanonScan 4400F currently).
Metrix X 8 years ago
It's not that Rocket science is all that difficult it's the consequences of making mistakes that is high!

It's Rocket Science by Metrix X
nahanni•whisky™ 8 years ago
dinafasbro 8 years ago
its epson only
""Image Scan! for Linux" is a scanner utility that makes it easy to obtain high quality images on Linux with your EPSON scanner"
JanneM 8 years ago
"it also suggests PLUSTEK may not be viable for long term support if they are the only gatekeepers to their drivers."

That is a major reason for me to want open drivers. You may have a perfectly good piece of gear, one that you've built your workflow around, only to have it become unusable because the software isn't supported any more.

If the drivers are open there is no technical impediment to have the hardware running for as long as you want.
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