Hi Ray, yes I am aware of those options, but I haven't activated them, because I live in "mortal fear" of things that say something like "Reset ALL" when "all" isn't fully defined and their challenged documentation doesn't help much. I've had in the back of my mind that there could be gremlins lurking in the deep dark corners of the software ( of which there are many) just waiting to skewer me for being over-zealous with the commands.
Anyhow, now that you have taken the risk of de-mystifying it, that's great, I'll be less fearsome. (Perhaps a bit irrational in the first place - after all, just a few more minutes of head-scratching to get things back on track in case all-#### breaks loose; but I just have so many of these legacy negatives I want to finish scanning, that I try not to get bogged down, while still mastering the thing enough to get the quality I want - which by and large I have.)
The ProPhoto dialogue I'm having with Lasersoft - and they have NOT yet been able to either replicate or resolve - is an attempt to put a bit of icing on the cake just in case I can eak-out a bit more in-gamut values that the Epson 4000 can handle. Of course you are absolutely correct that it makes nonsense of image adjustment in Silverfast if what I see in their prescan window doesn't end up looking the same in Photoshop - that was the basis of my original complaint to Lasersoft. I am open to the (perhaps remote) possibility that the problem may not be Silverfast - it could be model 1 of the 5400 scanner - that is why I got into the idea of producing RAW files and working them in LAB using ProPhoto space, to see what misses out on what. But I haven't tried it yet. The 5400-1 specs do not list ProPhoto as a supported working space, but it does support something called "wide gamut RGB" which may - or may not - be the same thing. Minolta tells me the scanner itself would not clip colours within the ProPhoto work space. Let me ask you - does the 5400 model 2 explicitly support ProPhoto?
I agree, in respect of its fundamental performance Silverfast is a VERY good piece of software, underneath all its quirkiness and poor quality documentation. I especially like the grey triangular "pipette" for achieving colour balance where there is something (or some things) in the image that definitely should be true grey. Also, its colour wheel is handy for some balancing work, and the mid-range exposure setting "L" is quite powerful at rescuing seemingly hopeless negatives. Sometimes I find this stuff really is good (if not essential in case of heavily under-exposed negatives) to use before getting the image into Photoshop, but I remain convinced there is nothing out there that fully competes with the scope, depth and flexibility of Photoshop's colour and luminosity adjustment tools.