When I had a Minolta scanner, I personally didn't find that third party software (Vuescan) gave me better scans than Minolta's software driver. I think the software you use to edit the scans has a lot more to do with the overall scanning experience. If it were me, I wouldn't do any editing or adjustment at all in the scanning software. Just use it to get the negative or slide scanned. Scan from inside your image editor and do any adjustments in there (or open the files in it afterwards). I like Picture Window Pro 3.5, myself. It's incredibly powerful, and it has full 48-bit file functionality. Scan in 48-bit mode (the files are much larger, but you are much less likely to lose any quality during the editing. Leave sharpening (which you really have to do) until last, and if you save, say, a screen-sized copy of the photo for web display or something, sharpening it again a little after you've saved it, using unsharp mask. If you are scanning B&W, scan it as colour, and then you can easily use the colour adjustments for each colour channel selectively. Don't just desaturate or convert to greyscale.