Recommended Vuescan settings for colour reversal and colour negative scanning

I’m wanting to digitise a large number of 40 to 60 year old slides and lpan to use Vuescan with my Nikon Coolscan V ED, in preference to Silverfast and my Epson V700 (I don’t have a Coolscan driver for Silverfast). I will do post processing in either, or both, darktable or Rawtherapee. Any advice would be much appreciated.

The first issue that presents itself is the setting of the parameters (especially on the Input tab) in Vuescan. I have read both of Sascha Steinhoff’s books on using Vuescan multiple times and just become more confused on how to set it up. So, can somebody recommend a suitable set of parameters for scanning mostly Kodachrome, with a few Agfa slides too.

The second issue is that the slides have dust and scratches. I see some advice not to use the dust and scratch removal in Vuescan as this functionality impacts the image quality. So, where and how should I do dust and scratch removal? Steinhoff also talks about scanning in 64-bit RGBI mode, producing a raw file and then rescanning that in Vuescan to remove dust and scratches. Unfortunately no examples of how to do it are given. Is this double scanning a good idea? How does it work?

Later on I will be scanning colour negative film. Are there any special scanning requirements implied by negadoctor in darktable? Or in the equivalent in Rawtherapee (is there such an equivalent?).

I would not use VueScan to work on Kodachrome slides for two reasons:

  • The colour management of VS is not adequate because it only uses matrix profiles
  • dust and scratch removal “corrects” all over the place in darker areas. This leads to decreased contrast. I think it is not tailored to Kodachrome slides.

You just open the scan again in VueScan (set input to “file” instead of “my scanner”) and work on it like you would do during scanning. The advantage is that you only need to scan once. If you do not like the result you fall back to the linear scan and change parameters to you taste.

SilverFast, albeit it is also not perfect, is much better than VS for dust and scratch removal with Kodachrome. VS is okay for E-6 emulsions.


Thanks for this assessment. Since my portfolio of Kodachrome is extensive, I guess I’m going to have to buy a licence of SilverFast on my Coolscan, which gives sharper results, in my opinion, then the Epson V700.

I’ve only every scanned a few rolls.of Kodachrome, but vuescan did fine for me. I never use the dust and scratches correction, I do all that by hand.

of course the Nikon will produce much better images than the Epson! But before you buy a SF-licence, why don’t you look into the use of NikonScan, which provides ICE? There are ways to run it also under Windows10. And you can even use custom-made ICC-Profile, as described here, in case you are a lucky owner of a Kodachrome target.

Infrared-based dust and scratch removal is much more effective than doing that by hand. However, due to the fact, that the IR-channel does not only show the defects but also the darker parts of the scene, it is not trivial.


The idea of using Nikon Scan’s ICE under Win10 is most intriguing. Sadly I deleted my copy of the software a couple of years ago when I moved to the Fujifilm world. Is it still downloadable from somewhere?

I justed google “NikonScan download” and got to the download page of Nikon.


Yes, apologies for asking this rather stupid question: I found it for myself. Having installed it and got it working I am really surprised at how well it works, how much function it has, how well it is documented and therefore how much easier it is to use than Vuescan.

On the very first scan attempt with Nikon Scan it solved a problem that I have on over 100 slides. I had been battling with this problem for a long time, without a satisfactory solution (because of my own limited understanding/ability). Nikon Scan delivered an acceptable result (far, far better than any of my efforts) on the first pass.

So, very thankful for your suggestion.

In contrast, I downloaded the trial version of SilverFast 9. The resultant scan of the same slide as I used in Nikon Scan produced a result which, in colour balance terms, was no better than any of my own efforts, except in one respect: the scan output was so heavily annotated with a Silverfast watermark, which overwrote about 85% of the image pixels, that it was almost impossible to see the image subject! So that’s one sale that Silverfast themselves prevented!