I’ve been busy scanning lots of images with the Epson V700, trying out all sorts of software settings. The scanner comes with Epson Scan and SilverFast as the two software options. I was gradually getting the hang of these, but was never completely satisfied with the results. Looking at transparencies on my lightbox with a magnifying glass, I felt I saw more detail in the slides than in the scans (especially in the shadows). My first transparencies with the medium format Mamiya were all on Fuji Provia 100F, which I was given with the Mamiya camera, but although I prefer Velvia 50, I’m sure that hasn’t been the issue here. With black and white film the results were a bit better, and I was gradually working my way through recent films and mostly liking the results, though for reasons I can’t explain, they were not always consistent.
But I think I’ve now cracked it – and this is largely due to a change of scanning software. Yesterday I downloaded VueScan (in part on the recommendation of Tim Smalley, who bought the V700 shortly before me and from whom I’ve been learning a lot!), and the results are amazing. Transparencies look just the way I think they should, with incredible detail in all areas, and my first scan of a black and white image has worked well too. The interface is a bit clunky, but SilverFast is much worse (it looks as if it hasn’t changed much since Apple produced OS9!), and although I need to ensure I get to grips with all the settings, I’ll be upgrading to the full version at the beginning of the week. The VueScan images are simply better.
For example, here’s a section of a ruined chicken house in a village in northern Germany, shot on Velvia with the Mamiya and the 80mm lens, and scanned using VueScan – the rich colours are a combination of early morning sun and Velvia doing its bonkers colour thing… believe it or not, I’ve toned down the colours a bit in Photoshop. Even in this small jpg image, I think it’s possible to see that the shadows have considerable detail; the full size image is great. Clicking on the image will take you to the version on RedBubble, where clicking on that version will make it appear almost full-screen.
I find it really quite surprising that the scanning software can have such a huge impact on the end result, but going by my experience of the last few weeks, VueScan is definitely the way to go with the V700. I’m not quite there yet, but I think I’m now getting there.