VueScan and the CoolScan make a great friendship!

A few weeks ago I put on my Curmudgeon hat and griped about the fact that Nikon no longer supports the software on its wonderful CoolScan scanners.

And, I lamented the fact that I would have to purchase new software to use my CoolScan 9000 scanner. Which I did.

And, here I am to proclaim that I really like that software and find it to be a refreshing tool for acquiring digital images from film.

I bought the Professional version of VueScan from Hamrick Software ($79), installed it, and was right back in the game with my scans. The learning curve is short and not too steep; I am running at full speed with just a few scans to my credit.

VueScan provides complete control of the scanner, adds some new features that were never in the Nikon software (a calibration scan, for example), and it behaves well in all of the conditions I have tried.

I used the scanner and the new software for the first time while scanning my dad’s 75-year old negatives of the Golden Gate Bridge under construction. I was very pleased with the results and the performance of the software.

This is the VueScan interface window for Color. In this example I am scanning a photo of my father in his military uniform in the 1940s. The original is a Kodachrome transparency, which has a very different emulsion type than the various Ektachrome films that came after it. VueScan understands the difference, and once it is set to Kodachrome (notice that I have not yet done that in the controls), the color is quickly corrected.

Today I am scanning a number of 35mm black and white negatives, and using the scanner in batch mode for the first time. It seems to be working nicely, and it’s producing these batch previews in short order.

This is a preview of one of my dad’s medium-format negatives of the Golden Gate Bridge under construction. The Frame Offset value in the controls allows me to move the scan area relative to the image on the film. This was always problematic on the Nikon software; it’s slightly less troublesome in VueScan. The correction is relative to the current image, which requires a new preview when the value is changed.

I understand of course that the scanner being driven by VueScan is the same scanner I used to run with Nikon’s scanning software, but I’d like to think that Hamrick has learned a lot about the performance of the CoolScan devices, and has optimized the performance of its software to make them do the best possible work in the shortest amount of time.

This is a short-and-sweet blog. Thank you to Hamrick Software for making the transition to your software painless and effective. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

About Brian Lawler

Brian Lawler is an Emeritus Professor of Graphic Communication at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and currently Guest Professor at Hochschule München. He writes about graphic arts processes and technologies for various industry publications, and on his blog, The Blognosticator.
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2 Responses to VueScan and the CoolScan make a great friendship!

  1. says:

    I have a Nikon SuperCoolscan 5000 ED V and spent a lot of time with the VueScan User’s Guide trying to create high quality scans that are not processed. My goal is to make fine art prints and process in Lightroom 4, Photoshop Cs6 or Nik software. I am scanning 35 mm black and white negatives, 35 mm color negatives, Ektachrome and Kodachrome slides.

    My scans are OK but I am not sure I always chose the appropriate options. Do you have any suggestions or idea how I could e-mail or snail mail my documents and questions to VueScan?

    Thank you for any assistance you may offer.

    Have a great day!

  2. Brian Lawler says:

    Dear Mr. or Ms. Westerback,

    It’s odd that the VueScan people (Hamrick Software) seem to be so aloof. They make it clear in their e-mail when you purchase their product that they don’t want to hear from you, but they do seem to offer support and encourage feedback on their web site.

    I have never tried to contact them, so I have no experience with that. Have you tried contacting them online (they have a support page), or using Twitter (@VueScan)?

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