When I bought my Plustek film scanner it came with SilverFast SE Plus scanning software. Since this version of SilverFast is priced at $119 getting it with the scanner which cost around $350 seemed like a good deal. It’s clunky and the interface is hardly user friendly but it did the job, or at least it did until I scanned my most recent roll of film. While everything looked fine on the pre-scan the finished scan has a distinct purple/magenta tint.

SilverFast on the left, VueScan on the right

Normally when I scan I aim to create a tif file with as little adjustment as possible. I’m primarily looking to create a digital archive file and if I want to adjust it for display I do so later in Lightroom. So I was at a loss to understand what was happening. Resetting everything to ensure that no adjustments were being applied without my knowledge made no difference. Then I thought the problem might be with the scanner.

A quick online search revealed two things. First, plenty of other people using SilverFast had experienced the same problem, with some discussions going back as far as 2012. Second, there was an affordable alternative called VueScan. So I downloaded the trial version of the latter, scanned one of my negatives with it and like magic the tint disappeared. Better still, the interface while not exactly state of the art is a lot better than SilverFast. Best of all my impression is that the scans with VueScan are of a higher quality.

Since VueScan offers additional adjustment parameters I’m still experimenting to see which settings produce the most ‘neutral’ rendering but the VueScan version on default settings, provides a good starting point for further experimentation. The cool, slightly washed out tones could perhaps take some adjustment at the point of scanning but since my taste runs to a cooler look I find that this lends itself to easy adjustment in Lightroom (below). At only $50 with lifetime updates it was an easy decision.