Having formerly proclaimed my dislike for living in the past, I now spend my time sitting in front of a ancient Powermac G4 using Heidelbergs last iteration of software, Newcolor for my Primescan drum scanner. Why the about face?
Having mounted up forty odd chromes of various vintages, I spent a small age setting up each scan in Silverfast. Many hours later, reviewing the scans it was very clear that despite setting and confirming focus on every frame at least half the frames were soft! Not cool.
It's often been noted, Silverfasts focus problem. The solution always put forward is use the software that came with the scanner. Enter my dusty G4 and Newcolor (sic).
Newcolor looks funny by modern UI standards. But after spending an afternoon in it's company it became blindingly obvious the software was vastly superior to Silverfast in it's layout and function.
Above all it prizes productivity - doing a batch of 40-50 slides felt painless. Even allowing me to set specific apertures for specific files, a feature I sorely missed in Silverfast.
Missed focus, not as yet!
At what cost?
Up until mid last year there was no way of fully disabling some form of USM sharpening. No longer is this the case. Using a profile tweak and settings designed for colour negatives, one can now scan without any sharpening.
The other complaint is mostly do with pulling a 'raw' scan from the scanner. In this regard Silverfast still has the edge. But carful profiling and keeping the image data from the scanner in it's native PCS Lab colour space and converting later in Photoshop to a more appropriate editing space (Chromespace, DCam etc...) has allowed me to pull scans that are comparable to Silverfast - all without missing focus. Also the native software makes the scanner sound different. There's a little ease in as the drum comes up to speed. it feels gentler.
I've grown rather fond of OS X 10.2.8 - The last system Newcolor can run under. It's an OS from a time when Apple very much where out to prove there worth. Check my instagram to see a few scans...
Some recent scans of last years life. Hand printed RA4 from Labrynth. Hopefully the basis of a new book / show.