I've recently just bought an Epson Perfection V330 to scan my B&W negatives (being charged $15 a roll by the lab is way too much) so that I can do some light post-processing in Lightroom or Photoshop and possibly print some of them.

I've tried using the provided Epson Scan software for Mac and it works alright, with my only qualm (aside from the horrible interface) being that the dust removal feature doesn't seem to work very well. I took a look around the Internet and found VueScan and SilverFast which seem to be the top choices.

I tried a demo of them and the software dust removal feature isn't significantly better to warrant me forking out the extra cash. So I'm wondering whether there's anything else these application provide that sets them apart from the provided Epson Scan software?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Dust removal is performed using infrared light; this will not work on a black-and-white film regardless of software because dust is indistinguishable from silver particles on film. \$\endgroup\$
    – Imre
    Aug 19, 2012 at 16:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have bought both VueScan and SilverFastAll. The bundled Nikon software for my slide scanner has not been upgraded in at least 5 years. I had to buy the 3rd party software to have it work at all using either Windows 7 or OS-X Lion. I love VueScan and the support is great. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 19, 2012 at 19:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @imre that would be a good answer to the question, why don't you promote it? \$\endgroup\$
    – Francesco
    Aug 19, 2012 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @imre, are you sure? Yes, they use infrared light. But they should be able to adjust the focus plain and be selective as to what is at the film position and what is above it. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 19, 2012 at 22:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let's settle this: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/26404/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Francesco
    Aug 20, 2012 at 8:57

2 Answers 2


This totally depends on the bundled software.

My old scanner had really horrible software that required me to follow something like 7 configuration steps in order to scan negative film - and repeat those steps for every single scan, even if I scan several pieces of negative film in a row.

On the other side, some high-end scanners come bundled with SilverFast (that by your own research is one of the leading 3rd party apps).

The fact that something costs extra, is more complicated or looks nicer doesn't automatically makes it better, if bundled scanning app does everything you need (or at least does it as well as the 3rd party apps) than you don't really have any reason to use anything else.

On the other hand, if the bundled app is crap it's better to replace it than to live with it's limitations.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You talked about the number of steps required to get the scanning job done. But other than that are there any benefits specialty softwares have over bundled ones? (from output quality, time required etc.) I've just started shooting film and am still new to developing and scanning so I wouldn't be the best person to judge the stuff I got now (after all it may be something that I got wrong as opposed to a problem with the scanner or software) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 20, 2012 at 16:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jon2512chua - it took about a minute to follow the steps to setup the scanner for negative scanning (each and every scan), the scanner could scan one strip of film at a time, I have a box with around 1000 film strips -- those 7 steps were a deal breaker for me, I never got to evaluate the quality \$\endgroup\$
    – Nir
    Aug 20, 2012 at 19:19

I like the broad hardware and OS support, nice license, and rapid update cycle, of VueScan - it runs on all the desktop machines in my home, and talks to all the scanners.


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