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InactionMan
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-11-17, 10:29

So I'm going to start scanning and archiving all the old pictures collecting dust deep inside the Inaction Family archives and I need advice on a scanner that can do the whole film/slide scanning. What kind of price am I looking at for a consumer/prosumer level scanner? What specs do I look for?

I have an old flatbed that I can use for pics that have no negtives so feel free to chime in on what resolution I should scan at. I doubt I'd ever need to print these any larger than 8X10. What software do you photo gurus use to restore old/damaged photos, I have PS Elements-will this suffice? (some of my grandfathers WWII pics are in pretty rough shape and I really want to fix these up). And they are also pretty small - about 4X4. So yeah, advise away.
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LoCash
Rest In Peace
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2004-11-17, 11:21

There are a handful of decent scanners out there, flatbeds, that also have transparency adapters and what not. I believe the ones that accommodate film scanning have a tray underneath the flatbed part to that. Look at spending maybe between $400 and $600?

For your purposes 300 dpi should be completely acceptable. Aim for between 300 and 600 dpi. The smaller the image the higher dpi you'll want to use so you have enough data to enlarge it should you choose to at some point.

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torifile
Less than Stellar Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2004-11-17, 11:50

I think that you should scan at as high a resolution as your scanner can handle. If you're archiving, you want to be getting the best possible image so that down the road you can do as much as possible with the image. You never know and you can't go back once the pic has deteriorated. It's just a few extra kb but you might appreciate it later.
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Majost
monkey with a tiny cymbal
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Lost
 
2004-11-17, 13:04

Quote:
Originally Posted by torifile
I think that you should scan at as high a resolution as your scanner can handle. If you're archiving, you want to be getting the best possible image so that down the road you can do as much as possible with the image. You never know and you can't go back once the pic has deteriorated. It's just a few extra kb but you might appreciate it later.
That's good advice in general... but scanning at full resolution is so dog-gone slow! And, I've scanned 1200 and 2400 dpi photos before - the resulting file is so exorbitantly large that no program can handle it without 8GB of RAM. I mean, if you're scanning a 4x6 at 1200 dpi, you're looking at 4800x7200 pixels... that's absolutely unnecessary for general archiving IMO. Of course, with slides and film, it's a different story, since you're starting with such a small image you'd want a very good resolution.
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FFL
Fishhead Family Reunited
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Slightly Off Center
 
2004-11-17, 13:42

$600?
Dude, you must drive an Infiniti or something....
Epson has some nice prosumer-level stuff that scans negatives. This
http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/c...s&oid=46048265
lists for $99, I'm sure you can find it cheaper online or at the local big-boxer.
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BuonRotto
Not sayin', just sayin'
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2004-11-17, 14:13

My flatbed Epson 3170 has good negative and slide holders for its flatbed, and it actually does a good job with them. The software is kind of sucky, but the results are very good, especially if you take the time to ajust the color a bit yourself. It has photo restore algorithms that essentially take out some orange/red from the images and sift some colors cooler. It can overcompanesate sometimes, and sometimes the contrast is a bit high, but the results are good even if you don't tweak the settings. Like I said, the software is clumsy, and that's the main drawback.

For scanning prints, there's really not much point in maxing out your scanning dpi because the prints only have so much detail in them as a result of the film grain and the print grain. I wouldn't see a reason to go higher than 600 dpi for a print because anything more is just dividing the grain into pixels, adding a lot of file size and not picking up more detail.

If these are negatives or slides, then 3200 dpi, the max of this Epson does pretty well, though you can probably go a bit higher and pick up a little more detail, but the cost of sch a thing is much greater too. I have been scanning my film at 2400 dpi, roughly 5 Mp I think, and they look very good. You will see plenty of color variation (grain, speckles) when you zoom in close, color areas aren't as uniform as with a digital camera in most cases, but I think you'll find that prints up to 11 x 14 look really nice and sharp without seeing any of this color variation in the pixels.
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InactionMan
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-11-17, 15:04

So about 600dpi for prints and 2400-3200dpi for film. Buon, how does your scanner handle negatives? You say it's got a holder but I can't really picture it. If I recall, all the negatives we have are sliced in groups of 4 pics, do these scanners only handle one negative at a time or can it do a bunch at once.

Thanks for the replies.
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BuonRotto
Not sayin', just sayin'
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2004-11-17, 15:25

The scanner is surprisingly good with negatives. They've turned out well so far. The default color correction is good if a bit high in contrast, and color sync tends to make the images a bit blue. Naturally, the scanner has ICE and all the other fixer-upper technologies for dealing with scratches and color fixing, plus you can adjust color manually by histogram (level), curves or sliders. The software is TWAIN compliant, though there a rough patch for a time where the software wasn't playing nice with Image Capture. My complaints about it are with the software UI -- looks bad (half-ass Aqua) and is sluggish to react, the preview window has some quirks, and the auot-crop feature is a bit too aggressive. Most of the software outside of the actual scanner app are worthless IMO. I don't know if they're all bad, but I just don't use them. Still, though the UI isn't so hot, it's usable, and once you figure out a workflow, you don't have to worry too much about it.

The 3170 comes with 3 film/slide holders. They're pretty low-tech, but actually I think that's a good thing, less to break or. You just place these things on the flatbed in one corner, and either slide in the film strips or droip the slides into the holes for them. here is the film negative holder, as an example (image from a replacement parts company). There's one holder for medium-format film (one exposure at a time), one for slides (4 slides at a time) and one for film negative strips -- 10 frames at a time IIRC. Oh, and it can scan multiple items, either prints or negatives, at a time and save them as separate files.

OK, here is a page at Epson with a bunch of .pdfs about the scanner and info on the film holders.
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