(The example pictures are taken from the Ai Studio version. Lower versions offer a smaller scope of settings so that description may differ from what you see on your screen.)
SilverFast has a series of settings that you should define before launching the preview scan. These instructions refer to Manual mode in SilverFast, which you can recognize by the red icon of the Workflow Pilot. If you see the blue Workflow Pilot symbol after startup, click on it to change to Manual mode (red icon).
A flatbed scanner with a transparency unit gives you a choice between transparency and reflective scans. In this case, "Reflective" refers to the scanning of photos on paper. Select "Transparency" for scanning slide positives, Kodachrome images and negatives, either framed or on film strips. (Transparency is found by clicking on the "Reflective" icon and selecting from the drop down menu. Kodachrome and Negatives are found by clicking on the "Positive" icon.) For transparency scans on a flatbed scanner, it is important to remove the cover of the transparency unit.
On a pure film scanner, it is only possible to scan transparent material and the Reflective mode is not available. On some film scanners, the film holder type can be selected in the software instead.
Next, select either positive, negative or Kodachrome; the "Kodachrome" setting being reserved for the SE Plus and Ai Studio versions only).
"Positive" is the setting used for the normal positive slides. Select "Kodachrome" for the special slide film from Kodak - often identified by the "card frame". The selection automatically loads a special color profile which prevents the usual blueness that Kodachrome images would otherwise acquire when scanned without this special feature.
If you have selected the "Negative" setting to scan your negatives, the Negafix dialog will have opened simultaneously as an additional tool.
In the Negafix dialog you can choose a film from a wide selection of manufacturers and different film typed with different ISO values. This ensures that the orange mask of your film strip is correctly removed during its transformation from negative to positive. When using our HDR and HDRi raw data formats, this information is saved for later processing. If you film type is not listed, select a similar film type or use the standard profile:
Film type: Other
In the Expert section of the dialog in Ai Studio, you can also edit the profiles or create your own profiles. Open the dialog's Expert section by clicking on the mortarboard.
Select the color depth as the final step before the preview scan. The color depth describes the number of bits per channel. Color images are comprised of the three color channels R(ed), G(reen) and B(lue), each with 8-bit data or 16-bit data. Black and white images are managed with one channel with 8-bit or 16-bit data. This delivers the different color depths that can be set in SilverFast. The greater the color depth the larger the resulting file.
SilverFast displays the input values to the left and the output values to the right of the arrows. If only one value is present, the input color depth corresponds to the output color depth.
SilverFast always uses the largest possible color depth that a scanner offers and also uses this for internal calculations. Depending on the SilverFast version, an output with 16bit per channel or with 8bit per channel is then possible. All versions offer 16bit for raw data scans, but only Ai Studio allows both 16bit raw data and 16bit for processed images.
16-bit data provides a higher range of color gradations (65536 per color channel) in comparison to 8-bit data (256 color channel). SilverFast therefore handles your images with 16-bits per channel. If you wish to continue editing your images after scanning, select 48-bit color depth for 16-bits per color channel so that you can also still access the full range of color gradations later on. Once the settings are to your satisfaction, output the images with a 24-bit color depth for an 8 bits per color channel. For digital images that are not going to be edited further, 24-bits is the most common color depth.
48>24bit is the standard setting in SilverFast. This setting reflects that SilverFast fetches the maximum data (48 bits total, 16 bits per channel) from the scanner, processes it in 48-bit and then outputs the image with a total of 24 bits (8 bits for each of the three color channels Red, Green and Blue).
SilverFast internally uses the 48 bits of the input and reduces to 24 bits for the final image.
SilverFast internally uses the 48 bits of the input and also outputs the final image with 48 bits.
The 16 bits per channel output from the Ai Studio version is available for the file formats that support 16 bits: TIFF, PSD and JP2. Please note that not every image editing program can process 48-bit images.
For color images, select the 48-bit option in order to obtain 16 bits per color channel. Select 48>24 bits for images with an 8 bits per color channel, which all image editing programs can read as standard.
For your black and white images, select 16 bits accordingly for the maximum output, select 16 bits accordingly for the maximum output data and 16>8 bits for data with maximum compatibility. SilverFast offers the 16>1 bit option for line art.
SilverFast also offers some HDR and HDRi raw data formats. If you select one of these raw data formats for the output, your image is saved with the full 48-bit data volume without loss of quality. No optimizations are performed for this, and all functions for editing your images are deactivated for the scan. Your images reach your computer as unchanged and as original as possible. This means that negatives are saved as negatives without being converted and slides look much too dark in basic image viewing programs. No gamma correction is applied to these raw data formats. Instead of gamma 2.2, these files are saved with gamma 1.0.
These HDR and HDRi images are intended for later processing in SilverFast HDR (Studio), which is able to access the full data volume of these raw images. Furthermore, this original data remains unchanged by the HDR (Studio) software during editing. The HDR (Studio) software saves the setting you have made for each image in addition to the image data, without affecting the actual original data. This workflow can therefore be described as "non-destructive" or lossless.
In comparison to the HDR format, files in HDRi format contain additional data from the hardware based infrared channel that the HDR (Studio) software can use to remove dust and scratches with precision. This allows complete image processing to be performed on another device, at a later time and irrespective of the scanner. The full 16-bit data is always used for the raw data format: 64-bit HDRi for raw data of color images including the data from the infrared channel or 48-bit HDR for raw data without infrared channel. 32-bit HDRi is used for black and white images with infrared channel and 16-bit HDR is used for raw data without infrared.
This lossless raw data format can be accessed via the Workflow Pilot by choosing the archive workflow. Accordingly, the combination of the Ai Studio software and the HDR Studio software is known as "Archive Suite".
You can find more on the subject of "Archiving with Raw Data" here:
Some of the basic settings have now been made, and the preview can be launched.