Whenever I have new developed film to scan, I would quickly fire up the Epson scan software that came bundled with my Epson V700, never giving another thought to it and proceed to scan my film.
Occasionally though I find myself thinking of using the other software that came bundled with the scanner as well – Silverfast 8 (actually, it was Silverfast 7, I was given a free upgrade to it when they offered a limited time upgrade for their bundled Silverfast 7). It is not that I haven’t tried it, but every time I have, the results were less than I had hoped.
Disclaimer: This is not a exhaustive review of Silverfast 8 – this is just to show why my film scanning workflow is setup to still use Epson scan instead of Silverfast. I know of many others online who have mastered Silverfast, and I do hope to eventually learn how to use Silverfast.
If I was able to master Silverfast, it would streamline or reduce one step of my current work flow – photoshopping the scan results. I try not to do this often, but it is sometimes needed especially the work flow I have developed since buying film scanners.
Silverfast is considered the ultimate in film scanning software – the optimus toolkit if you will. It offers every possible control imaginable in the world of digitising film. That is where the problem comes in, it offers too many options and you find yourself quickly buried in choices, selection, settings, profiles, times of sharp masking, and etc. Where in Epson scan, it has only limited number of controls (levels, colors, sharpness, Digital ICE and etc) followed by a big button labeled “scan” – resulting a in a more streamline process.
Maybe I am looking at this in the wrong way, I am after all a software engineer and should thrived when given a wide range of selection, but sometimes too many options can cause the opposite to happen since it overwhelms the amount of work needed. In the end, I find myself just using the Epson scan.
Here are some examples,
Hopefully, through through using Silverfast, I can skip the post processing step which can take a bit of time, but as you can see in the following, sometimes the post-processing phase .
Here is a shot of the Epson scan after the post-processing phase.
Maybe I have to much high hopes for Silverfast, thinking it is the “be all, end all” solution for film scanning. That if I could master it, I wouldn’t need to do anymore photoshopping and just scanning would automatically produced the finished artwork envisioned when I took the photo. I should instead use it is like any tool to help me grab all the details needed and shouldn’t be expected to provide a finished product.
Even photos printed in the darkroom (both digital and analog) had been touched up and pro lab also touch up photos after scanning (or downloaded from DSLR) before printing the final result.