Whilst this post is a continuation of some issues raised in another thread, I think it probably deserves its own topic.
My first attempts scanning negatives using my Scan Elite 5400ll, put Dimage Scan first, Vuescan second and SilverFast last with regard to ease of use and color accuracy, within a reasonable time frame, of course.
I've since downloaded a more recent version of Vuescan which seems to have addressed a number of issues relating specifically to the 5400ll, and the order has now changed. Vuescan is by far the best, Dimage Scan second for an automatic scan with minimal adjustments, and SilverFast last again.
SilverFast's behaviour with negatives is a real puzzle. The prescans are not even in the ball park, not even near the ball park; in a completely different city in fact. There is clearly something seriously wrong here. The film type selections in Negafix seem to have no bearing on reality. They are completely inaccurate.
Reading Ian Lyons tutorial on Negafix, he mentions that the prescans can initially look way off because the crop lines might include the black edges surrounding the frame. Move the crop lines inwards and the color changes. Not so with my setup. Makes no difference to the over all color wherever the crop lines are. I've got no idea if this is another symptom of something seriously wrong, or if it's an improvement in the software to remove yet another pitfall that can confuse the amateur.
Of course, the big features of SilverFast are the numerous ways you can change color and color casts, and Negafix has added yet another range of color and hue adjustments. Given enough time, however bad the prescan may look, one can eventually knock it into shape. However, there's a major problem here, even if you do have the time. How do you really know when the colors are accurate? We can't tell by eyeballing a negative on a light-table.
On the issue of a scan into the ProPhoto color space looking redder than the same scan (with same adjustments) scanned into a smaller gamut color space such as Adobe RGB, this is indeed true with Silverfast and negatives, on my system.
Perhaps this is another clue as to incorrect settings somewhere. It's not just a case of the ARGB scan being less red. The entire color range is less saturated, including the appearance of the prescan, indicating that the 'numbers' have not changed with change of 'profile to embed' in the SilverFast CMS section. I'm getting an ARGB image with ProPhoto numbers. To get it looking right, as I initially edited it, I have to assign the ProPhoto color space in PS.
Nevertheless, whether I'm scanning slides or negatives, the prescan always matches the scanned result very closely, when opened in PS with whatever embedded profile I've specified in CMS.
I sure hope some of you gurus and SilverFast fans can shed some light on these issues. It's got me beat.