Vuescan Software


VueScan is inexpensive third party scanning software which supportsmany (if not almost all) film scanners, and many flatbeds too.Visit One feature is that if you don't have any drivers for your scanner, and if your scanner is supported, in many cases it will work. Try the free trial. There are versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Hamrick Software's VueScan Professional is very well suited to create linear scans of slides and negatives since the professional version of VueScan features a special RAW output mode. To create suitable scans you first have to select the input tab and to choose either slide or color negative from the media pulldown list. Photo Scanning Software VueScan helps turns your aging boxes of photos into timeless, shareable memories VueScan is the worlds most widely used scanner software. It works with over 6500 scanners, even scanners that don't have a driver from their manufacturer anymore. Download VueScan today to get the most out of your scanner. VueScan is a standalone program. A TWAIN interface is not provided, it instead accesses the scanner hardware directly at low level. VueScan is often faster than the scanner's original software, both scan and focus. You can still use the scanner's original software if desired.

VueScan's major claim to fame is its simple and accurate colorcorrection from color negatives. This is often difficult, and VueScangenerally makes it easy. VueScan supports the scanner's special hardware,like batch scanning, auto-focus, any infrared channel for dust andscratch suppression, and multi-scan to reduce scanner noise in the darkareas of slides. VueScan can often multi-scan with scanners that do notsupport this, using multi-pass scans. VueScan can often retrieve the fullbit depth of data from scanners that otherwise only output 24 bits.

VueScan is a standalone program. A TWAIN interface is not provided, itinstead accesses the scanner hardware directly at low level. VueScan isoften faster than the scanner's original software, both scan and focus.You can still use the scanner's original software if desired.

Selecting negative film type helps correct the specific orange filmmask color, and VueScan provides over 200 film types. But it's a harderproblem because any irregularity in film exposure or film processingshifts the color balance of the film. Correction of color negative filmis rather difficult in general practice, but VueScan specificallyaddresses this problem.

VueScan is an easy program to use, it is largely automatic, and itsdefaults are preset for the goal of achieving best results with the mostaccurate color. If it seems difficult to use, you're likely diddling toomuch, trust it more, try the defaults. All you really need to set is scanmode and perhaps film type, and it can do the rest. You can size thepreview and histogram window as large as you like.

Vuescan Software

You may sometimes want to tweak Brightness to affect midrangebrightness (VueScan Brightness works as a multiplier to Gamma, same asany histogram Midpoint control). But otherwise, the main tone setting youmay want to change is the Color Balance. Depending on the image content,one of these may be better than the others.

White Balance adjusts the RGB settings to try to make the image lookwhite, often very desirable. Auto Levels adjusts the RGB settings fromthe histogram maximum data values, which then map to white. If the scenelighting was sodium lamps or an orange sunset, Neutral probably worksbest. Images without neutral colors such as gray or white, perhaps imagesof all green foliage or flowers, may not like White Balance mode, butmore nearly typical images (people and places) likely will love it. Thenthe Auto Black and White Points clip away the specified percentage of thetotal pixel values. VueScan's defaults clip minimally, if at all, toretain the full data, to NOT discard shadow detail, giving all the rangethat a negative can give, perhaps a flatter image than you are used to,but it's all there.

You can set the Auto Black and White Points for greater contrast byclipping more, say 0.5% at Black. My own preference is to use thedefaults for its magic (good color balance), and tweak contrast later inPhotoshop (retaining that data allows choices). For typical scenes,following up with Photoshop Auto Levels (0.5%) is often fantastic. Thatclipping often enhances image contrast and colors perfectly, butsometimes it's the wrong thing to do. It does discard some shadow detailthat VueScan tried to retain.

VueScan is not an image editor; you can use Photoshop for that.VueScan's strength is to provide very good color, easily. That is nosmall feat, especially from negatives.


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Screenshot of Vuescan with a prescan of a slide in progress.

You can also watch a video version of this tutorial on YouTube.

I also have a video tutorial showing how to use RAW Files from Vuescan.

I use a Nikon LS-8000ED scanner with Vuescan software. The information that I give below should work perfectly for any Nikon Scanner, and should be pretty close with other film scanners. I use Vuescan, rather than Nikon's scanner software, because Nikon stopped supporting Nikon Scan years ago. It tends to be unstable on later versions of PowerPC OS-X and Windows, and may not work at all on the Intel Macs. My instructions below are for the Professional Version of Vuescan, using the advanced control set. Vuescan's Mac and Windows versions are identical, so these settings work on either OS.

Vuescan is a very powerful program with a lot of settings. The controls are divided into several tabs. These are the settings that I use for scanning color slides and transparencies.

Explaining the settings:

Why I use the settings that I use.

Input Tab

-Media This tells Vuescan what type of film you're scanning. For color slides and transparencies, there are actually two choices that will work. You can choose IMAGE or SLIDE FILM.

Vuescan's instructions say that if you choose IMAGE, it will try to make the scan look as close as it can to the colors in the slide; and if you choose SLIDE FILM, it will try to make the scan look more like the actual colors in the scene. I have no idea how the software would know what the actual scene looked like, but that's what the Vuescan Users Guide says.

In actual practice, I can see no difference between the two settings. In earlier versions of Vuescan, I did get different results, and for some images I liked the scans using the IMAGE setting, and for some I preferred the SLIDE FILM setting. In the current version, I see no difference.

I used IMAGE for this tutorial.

-Batch Scanning: This allows scanning more than one image at a time. See my Vuescan Batch Scanning Tutorial for directions.

-Preview resolution: Set this to 677 DPI. The software makes the preview large enough to see on your screen. It doesn't need to be high resolution, so scanning for screen resolution makes the preview scan faster. The Prescan is just needed so you can set the cropping of the scan.

-Scan Resolution: Whatever your scanner's highest is. My Nikon does 4000dpi. Don't scan lower thinking you'll make smaller prints. You'll regret this deeply when you decide to make a larger print and have to rescan and redo ALL your post-processing, dodging and burning, retouching, etc.

-Auto Focus: Always (if you scanner offers this..flatbeds don't usually). On the Nikon scanners, you can choose a pont on the image for the autofocus mechanism to lock on to. This should be a detailed area, not a flat tone. If you use autofocus only on the prescan, it may focus on an area without much texture and reduce image sharpness in the final scan.

-Fine Mode: If you use a Nikon scanner use this. Some Nikon scanners, such as the LS-8000ED, have a bug that produces banding in the final scan. Fine mode increases scan time a bit, but eliminates the banding. I don't think this is needed for the last generation Nikon scanners, like the 9000ED and 5000ED.

-Multisampling: This improves dark tone noise in dense slides. It also increases scan times. I don't use it for photos that are mostly light or middle tones, but ones with lots of dark tones, or that are underexposed, can benefit from it. Try 2 or 4 times multisampling as a starting point. Note that 2x sampling doubles scan times and 4x quadruples them.

Filter Tab

-Infrared Clean: Infrared cleaning removes dust and scratches. You should try to keep your slides scratch-free and you should clean them as well as you can before scanning, but this does work well for those with scratches or embedded dust.


I use the LIGHT setting most of the time. The high settings reduce fine detail resolution, especially the HEAVY setting. The tradeoff is worth it to save a very badly damaged film. The LIGHT setting does not impact image quality.

The Infrared Clean does NOT work with Kodachrome film, and should be turned off when scanning Kodachrome. It works fine for any E-6 films.

-Restore Colors/Restore Fading: These are for old faded films. RESTORE FADING fixes loss of contrast and RESTORE COLORS fixes color shifts that happen when color films fade.

Cisco vpn client download windows 7. -Grain Reduction: I don't use this, it reduces fine image resolution. Film has grain, that is the nature of the medium. Don't like it? Shoot digital.

-Sharpening: I don't use the sharpening built into Vuescan. Sharpen in your image editor (photoshop, lightroom, etc.). The sharpening tools in most editing software is a lot better than what's built into Vuescan.

Color Tab

-Color Balance: For most things, I use the NEUTRAL setting. You can try the others and see you like one of them better.

-White and Black Points: Set white point and black point both at 0% to avoid clipping of highlights and shadows.

-Leave Curves and Brightness settings at default

-Output Colorspace: For color scanning, you have a choice of output colorspaces, like sRGB and Adobe RGB(1998). The color gamut of color film is much wider than the sRGB colorspace. I use Adobe RGB(1998).

-Film Type: This option only shows if you set the Media Type to Slide Film. The choices are Generic Slide Film, Ektachrome, and Kodachrome. Choose Kodachrome for that film. For other films, try Generic Slide Film or Ektachrome and see which works best for your film.

Output Tab

-Printed size: Scan Size, 100%. You'll get a file the size of the negative (about 1x1.5 inch for a 35mm neg) at whatever resolution you scanned at.

-File Type: TIFF.

-Tiff compression: None. TIFF Compression is lossless, meaning quality is not reduced, unlike JPEG, which does lose data to reduce size. However, TIFF Compression does not save much file size and makes the file open and save slower.

-Tiff File Type: 48 bit RGB.

Vuescan Software Update

The Final Scan:

As you can see in the screenshot above, the final scan is a little flat looking, and the color balance is a little too cool. Lets open it in Photoshop and fix that.

By applying some curves adjustments we can increase the contrast and fix the color balance. I have a Curves Tutorial if you need help with this powerful image editing tool.

After color and contrast correction. A beautiful photo!

If you have read my Black & White Scanning Tutorial, you'll notice that the slide film scan required much less adjustment in the final editing than negative scans do. This is because film scanners are made for the wide density range of a color transparency. Negatives, BW or Color, have a lower density range, and are lower in contrast than transparencies are. This makes them scan in looking very flat

Vuescan Software Windows 10

The knowledge that I am sharing took many years of study and practice to attain. If you find it valuable, please donate through my Paypal button below. My creative work is how I support myself and my son. Thank you!

©2021 Christopher Crawford

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