The manufacturer describes VueScan as a powerful scanning program that works with
most scanners to produce high-quality scans that have excellent color fidelity. I
describe it as a great, inexpensive application that resurrects that old scanner
you haven't used in three years. VueScan is a stand-alone application, no TWAIN drivers
needed. VueScan communicates directly with the scanner and takes advantage of the
advanced hardware capabilities of most scanners on the market today. It is best known
for it's simple and precise color correction when working with color negatives. You
can do batch scanning and produce color-balanced and cropped images. VueScan can
also perform multi-pass scans on scanners that don't normally support multi-scanning.
You can download and try VueScan for free. Until you purchase a license, all images
will contain a watermark. VueScan is available in a Standard version for $59.99 and
a Professional version for $99.95 for single-user licenses.
Single-user licenses may be used by one person on four computers or multiple people
on one computer. If you buy a new scanner in the future, you can use VueScan with
it for no extra charge and you won't need to use a new program with your new scanner.
The developer has been known to upgrade this application three and four times in
the same week. Very rarely does a week go by that an upgrade is not offered.
Standard vs Pro
The Standard version of VueScan includes one year of free upgrades. The Professional
version offers unlimited free upgrades and adds the ability to save RAW scan files,
ICC profile support, and IT8 color calibration.
All printers, monitors and scanners have slight differences in their ability to show
colors. Manufacturers create default settings or ICC profiles of their hardware to
be used by imaging software (VueScan, Photoshop, etc.). ICC Profile support helps
your scanner, monitor and printer produce the best possible color-matched image.
From crayon drawings to water colors to professional photos, VueScan Pro uses the
ICC profiles to produce the best approximation of all colors.
IT8 targets are standard samples created by Kodak and other film and paper manufacturers
under controlled conditions of how colors should appear on their materials. VueScan
Pro allows you to generate your own ICC profiles if you own one of these targets.
This will allow you to calibrate your own scanner and printers using VueScan.
For both the standard and pro version, if your scanner supports Infrared cleaning,
you can virtually remove dust, scratches and fingerprints from tarnished film. The
film is scanned a second time using an infrared light to illuminate the imperfections.
Then VueScan combines the two scans resulting in an image that is nearly flawless.
It doesn't get much simpler than VueScan. Just a quick download, and then move the
new application to your applications folder. VueScan does not change anything on
your computer, nothing is installed in your operating system and it never interferes
with other scanning software. In order to remove the watermark from scanned images,
you will need to purchase a license and enter a serial number.
The hardest part of maintaining the software is keeping up with the frequent updates.
But even if you miss one or two updates, the latest update will always bring you
VueScan often offers features for your scanner that the original scanner manufacturer
left out of their software. My scanner is four or five years old and was developed
pre-OS X. I had stuck it in a closet when I went OS 9 free and knew there wasn't
much of a chance of the manufacturer developing an OS X version of their software.
Then I started hearing about VueScan and downloaded a trial version. It has supported
OS X from day one and is compatible with OS 8 and 9 also, along with Windows and
Linux versions. In my experience the normal OEM scanning software is usually developed
to be used as a means to copy, fax or input text documents into your computer using
OCR software. Photo support is generally minimal and used as a reason to buy their
Pro or Deluxe software. VueScan offers features that allow you to adjust settings
such as white point, black point, brightness levels for red, green and blue channels.
It also supports a long list of more advanced settings that will interest the imaging
VueScan Simple Options
The default settings for
VueScan are so right on that it takes a lot of the mystery out of scanning. The developer
of VueScan has been working with photography and scanners long enough to know what
scanner users need in order to get the right image file; hence, the defaults are
set to the most commonly used settings. If you switch from scanning a photo to scanning
a magazine or to scanning text, all of the default settings are adjusted and give
you almost perfect results. On the rare occasion that you do need to make adjustments,
VueScan gives you complete control. VueScan does automatic cropping and white/color
balance, making the amount of manual adjustments needed minimal. I usually just use
the basic guided interface and trust the settings. Clicking on the Advanced button
allows you to view and change the various optional settings. If you make a lot of
adjustments and find yourself lost, just select the Default Options in the file menu
and the defaults are reset.
VueScan Advanced Options
VueScan provides a simple approach to scanning, while at the same time offering advanced
settings and features that a true scanning professional will appreciate.
One of the newer features in VueScan is "Scan from Preview". Normally when
you scan, you are presented with a preview image, then you adjust the area you want
to scan, make color adjustments, rotate the image or any other adjustments. After
making your adjustments, you do the actual scan and wait while the scanner does another
pass over the image and sends that to your editing program. With Scan from Preview,
you make all of the adjustments to the preview, accept the changes, and it is immediately
sent to your editing program without another pass from the scanner.
One of the most powerful features in the Pro version of VueScan is that you can save
the raw scan data in a file (using "Output|Output raw file") when scanning.
These raw scan files can then be reprocessed later without needing to re-scan the
actual media again. With this feature, you never need to scan the same physical image
twice. This is really convenient for scanning professionals that send the scanned
image to others for editing.
If you're scanning many images in one session, the most efficient way to do this
is to scan each image once and save the raw CCD data in a file. Once the raw CCD
data is stored in a file, you can re-process the scans in a variety of ways without
needing to re-insert the image into the scanner. This minimizes the opportunities
for the film to get dusty, minimizes film handling, and is the fastest way to re-process
all the scans if you decide you want to use different options for the scans.
One of my favorite features is the Copy to printer setting. Copy to printer works
just like a regular scan as far as scanning and cropping your image. Instead of sending
the scan to another application for editing and then printing, VueScan sends it directly
to your printer. If you need more than one copy, just enter the number in your print
dialog box. If all you need is a copy, you don't even have to save a file - just
scan and print.
Because VueScan is a stand-alone application you can't scan directly from your graphic
editing software. You have to first open VueScan to perform the scan and set it to
either save to a file or send it to your selected editing application.
VueScan is developed with images in mind and doesn't offer any OCR support, so you
may still need your original scanning software if you need OCR capabilities.
VueScan vs OEM
The most obvious question with regards to VueScan is why purchase scanning software
when your scanner already comes with its own software? For me, the answer is quite
easy. Because my scanner is old, and its drivers were not updated for OS X, VueScan
was my solution for using my scanner on OS X, and was less expensive then purchasing
a new scanner. VueScan also supports advanced features that most OEM software does
OEM scanning software generally comes with a very basic selection of optional settings.
For the most part these options are adequate, but for image scanning, especially
restoration of old photos, OEM software is limited in what it can do for you. VueScan
fills this gap for a very decent price. VueScan's advanced settings allow you to
create "new images" from negatives, slides and old photos that often times
will look even better than the originals. The Pro version offers more advanced features
and settings that give you the ability to edit, create and produce high quality images
without having to hire an outside imaging professional.
VueScan is an easy to use feature-full scanning application that can be used by the
resident hobbiest to create great images from old photos or by the professional photographer
in need of color-matching not often found in OEM scanner software. It's also great
for those with old scanners and software that never got ported to OS X. With native
OS X support, VueScan saved my five year old scanner from being tossed in the trash
barrel and left room in my budget for other "gotta have" geek stuff. On
top of that, VueScan features gave me a whole new set of scanning options, allowing
me to create high quality images from negatives, slides and old photos. The Pro version
offers more features, such as raw scan files, ICC profiles, and IT8 color calibration,
in addition to unlimited updates. Whether you are looking to support an old scanner
on OS X, are serious about your photo scans, or have professional needs for high
quality scanning, VueScan is definitely worth a look.
- Much cheaper than buying
a new scanner
- Supports over 350 scanners
- No TWAIN drivers needed,
means less memory used and faster scans
- Precise color matching
- No plug-in support for
applications like Photoshop
- No OCR support
4 1/2 out of 5 Mice