(translation of French language review)

"The software of choice to download your images"

How many times have I been fed up with my scanner and its drivers? I've given up counting the time that I've spent asking myself if I was ever going to (just once!) get the scan that I wanted. Each time I would get something different to what I wanted. Sometimes too light, sometimes too heavy or at other times not clear enough etc.

It can generally be said that the software supplied with scanners is not really up to the job. I would even say that regularly, they aren't user-friendly and totally ill-adapted to the clueless user.

So the day that Sophie, my partner came to ask me to scan the pictures for her sociology licence, I said to myself that there must be a more practical solution for scanning.... and, by some miracle, I found it! All very well, but for more than 200 euros I wasn't impressed. It was whilst browsing on Macupdate.com that I found THE solution. Regularly, very regularly, I saw a programme being brought up to date. Its name? VueScan 8.1 xx (I'll save you the last two numbers of the edition because at the time of the publication of this, they will have already be out of date).

What can I say? Here is a programme that merits all your attention - I now consider it as a piece of "essential" software. All the more so as it knows how to adapt to its user: it's very simple to use with a great 'step by step' mode, or, on the other hand it can become a true programme for professionals.

Installation

Before starting your VueScan installation you need to look on the development site to check that your scanner is compatible with the software. But don't panic, it can manage more than 400 scanners.

The Colour menu

It's this menu which really shows the difference between the software provided by the scanner manufacturers and other more specific programmes. In effect, VueScan allows advanced management of colour: you have the choice of colour balance to apply to your document (either with predefined options or manually), you can modify colour saturation as well as their contrast, you can also apply different profile colours according to your scanner or the printer that you're using (as well as for your type of screen).

Remarks

So, VueScan can effectively replace the software provided with your device. Especially if it's a Canon - in effect, Canon Toolbox is a true disaster.

One of the principle qualities of VueScan is the ability to directly treat the digitalized images in 'raw' files. That allows you to save time, because all the modifications, for example the white balance, don't necessitate a new digitization. You can equally calibrate your scanners very easily by using the function found under the 'scanner' menu.

Not having a scanner which can download in multiple sessions, I wasn't able to test this function. Despite all this, the developer assures that this function, is available on certain scanners which have an introductory sheet / manual.

Like I already mentioned, those of you who use VueScan, I advise you to regularly cast an eye to the updates on the site, because it is rare that any week will pass without a new version of VueScan. Above all you have to salute the responsiveness of Ed Hamrick, for responding to emails as well as correcting the eventual bugs which can appear in his software.

In conclusion, I have to talk about the price again. The version tested here is the professional version for $89.95. There's also a normal version for $49.95 which doesn't allow you to use the RAW functions of VueScan, or to calibrate the software with the ICC profiles. Last but not least, I must point out that VueScan is developed on Mac OS X but equally for Linux and the obscure world of Bill Gates. Very nice performance.