"No documentation, bad support, expensive"
Version: SilverFast Plustek Scanner Software 8.0.1 r37
According to many, very good scanning algorithms, though Vuescan is certainly as performant and much cheaper
- Very expensive (to use to its full power, you need to buy the full vertsion at several 100s of €€€)
- Completely outdated user interface
- Virtually no documentation
- Bad support
- Moderated/ censored user forum
LaserSoft (developper of this softyware) may have developped a very performant scanning technology, the implementation of it n SilverFast is completely anihillated by several factors that you should add to your review, to give customers a fair and complete overview, and avoid anger and disappointment.
Your recview describes the "simple" WorkFlowPilot operation mode, but as soon as you want some more functionality, such as batch scanning, you need to deactivate WorkFlowPilot and you are dead in the water. Why? Because the program's user interface is so badly designed ans so counter-intuitive, that ir is barely usable. WorkFlowPilot is OK for occasionally scanning a single photo, not for batch-scanning entire film rolls on a Reflecta RPS 7200.
And this is my main reproach to this software:documentation is virtually nil. There is a 15 pages (!) "Quick Installation Guide". From those 15 pages, 4 pages are devoted to the cover, legal stuff and self-acclaiming. Then 2 pages on installation and "serialization", and 8 pages on working with the WorkFlowPilot and a cover. A lot of space is used to tout functions like "Gradation" (basically tone curve), "AACO" (!), basically congtrast and tonal corrections, "GCC" (Global Color Correction), USM (shatpening), GANE (noise removal), ... all functions that a serious professional of serious expert will prefer to execute in Photoshop, Lightroom of the like. Don't forget this software costs a hefty 500 EUR (for a Reflecta RPS 7200) and can be used only with one single scanner model. At this price tag, it is not a tool that will be bought by beginners. Additionally, there are some other documents about "Image to Web" (3 pages including cober, aboutb exporting scans directly from SilverFast to Flickr and the like, who is going to do that?), JobManager (4 pages including cover, does not work with WorkFlowPilot), ADF Scan (6 pages, documention does not match my version of the software), Focus Control (4 pages) and that's it! The video tutorials are very basic, just an explanation of thev use of each button, and the video for the JobManager is still showing an old version (SilverFast 8 has been out for nearly 3 years, now).
Limited documentation, but you think OK, there must be a wide community of users worlswide ready to help, so you head for their forum. ALL posts (even the edition of a typo) are moderared, and many are simply censored. Even for a simple question about using the software (not a bug, not a complaint, just a legitimate question), they open a ticket with the support hotline!
Back to your review: tou compare SilverFast to the basic scanning software shipped with the scanner. I think it would be more correct and useful to review it compared to VueScan. Despite a very spartian user interface and documentation, VueScan has several afvantages: costs a fraction of he cost of SilverFast, fast and responsive answers to problems and bugs, licence can be used for all scanners you have, and is documented by a very well written book "The VueScan Bible", by Sacha Steinhoff".
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