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Want to share my experience here to install two scanner related Silverfast 8 software packages on the same PC which allows to work with two scanners. I am currently using the Plustek 8200i scanner with Silverfast 8 Ai Suite and the Epson V850 with Silverfast 8 SE Suite. The start page of the software has a dropdown menu to select from multiple installed programs/scanners, but it is not straight forward to get there, and the current manual has nothing in there how to correctly install two or more Silverfast 8 versions for different scanners: 1. Do not install Silverfast 8 from the CD - the versions are not the most actual ones, and you can only run Silverfast 8 for two (or more) scanners with exactly the same updated version. Do not try to install from the CD and do not use the update function within the program at this point - it won't work correctly and will only lead to hiccups with the other version. Also, you need to install both Silverfast 8 versions into the same hard drive directory to make them work in parallel. 2. Download the most actual versions directly form the Silverfast home page. To do this, registration of the software is a requirement. After registration, you need to enter the provided serial number which came with the original CD of the program - do not lose this number! This allows you to get on the Silverfast website with downloadable software versions for the specific program version (for example SE Pro) which was purchased most likely in combination with the scanner. Download the latest version into a directory to install from on the hard drive. Repeat the whole process for the Silverfast version of the second scanner - register it also, enter its serial #, and download again the latest version - it must be the same version code as the first one! - of this specific Silverfast 8 version. 3. Choose any of the two (or several) downloaded Silverfast 8 programs to be installed in a provided directory. After installation, select the other version to have it installed into the same directory as the earlier installed version. Then start the program with the provided Silverfast 8 desktop link - it will open the start page (assuming the scanner(s) are turned on) and have both scanners in the drop-down list to select from. After selection, the specific version of Silverfast 8 fitting to one of the scanners will start. 4. Updates in the future. I didn't experience this myself yet, but I asked this question to the support team of Silverfast. Supposedly you can run from now on the internal update function which will now automatically recognize that two (or more) Silverfast versions were installed in the same directory. I was told that there is no need to download the latest upgraded version again directly from the homepage.
I'm considering the hitherto unthinkable: switching from Vuescan to Silverfast. I just want some opinions from users of Silverfast. Background: I've been pretty satisfied with Vuescan the last few years. But one scenario in particular exposes a problem I keep having trying to export totally flat, linear, color-negative scans: when the entire image is high-key (over-exposed or simply an image that's intentionally just one narrow section of the full tonal range), I find that pretty much nothing I do will give me a scan that is correctly flat and at the same time only fills the correct part of the histogram. Instead of this, the tones get redistributed across the entire range of the histogram - which gives a highly contrasty scan where the opposite is what I intended. There may be workarounds - if you know how to fix this let me know - but my aim is to always simply export the flattest, linear, most neutral *batch* scan without needing to tweak output on a single-image basis. I find ColorPerfect, PhotoShop and Lightroom are all better at manipulating color and contrast etc than Vuescan, and I'd prefer to keep the scanning software out of the image-manipulation process, as far as possible. This is where my experiments with the latest Silverfast demo come in: the output scans are all much flatter, and maybe more boring. But that's what I want! They also sometimes seem to find slightly more color 'nuance' in things like masses of leaves in a forest of trees. This is a difficult thing to be sure about, as the color is influenced by the tonality. Anyway, the extra bonuses are that the scans are much faster. They also have slightly sharper characteristics at 100% view - though they don't actually extract more detail than Vuescan at 4000dpi (so possibly just USM - if so, I'd love to know how to switch it off, as I don't want the software to do any pre-processing). I'm still looking and comparing the two softwares, and I'm not sure yet, but there are definitely things that bother me about Silverfast: - the price-gouging structure - the censored support forum (and the often dismissive tone of the 'help') - the crazily unintuitive and unhelpful (and downright ugly) interface - this gets in the way of everything. - the program often does something (like a prescan) when you simply close an interface element (like the frame-finder function) - the lack of any in-depth documentation - apart from a third-party book that they sell(!!) you on their site - the general feeling that the company don't give a **** about their users I'd like to hear from people who use the software - especially with scanners like the Coolscan range - and are actually happy with it (or unhappy for specific reasons).