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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Scanning your old photo collection...
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12/21/2007 01:29:36 PM · #1
I am getting ready to undertake the project of scanning all of our family photos. I'm talking about hundreds and hundreds of photos from all sides of the family. I know any way I go with this is going to be time consuming and probably take months.

I'm sure others have done this before, and I would like to get some tips. What kind of scanner did you use? I would like to get a decent self-feeding scanner I can dump photos in and leave alone, but I don't want to spend more than a couple hundred dollars.
12/21/2007 01:53:28 PM · #2
I have a Fujitsu sheet fed scanner for office tasks. But it is not the type of machine one should be using for photos. I also have a very high quality Epson scanner 1640XL and have used that to scan prints. The result it good. I have many hundreds - thousands - of family photos and can understand your desire to have digital copies. My thoughts are:

- Often after time has elapsed, one can make a selection of the best photos to scan and that might well be only 2% of the original number. An eclectic good quality selection would be much better that crooked low quality sheet fed scanner renditions.

- Depending on the camera and lens you have in hand, you can also take photos of the photos and crop etc. But again, it is an eclectic collection rather than a mass conversion.

- If you have negatives, then rent a Nikon Coolscan and you can automate the scanning on the negative strips.

Just 0.02 cents.
12/21/2007 04:12:57 PM · #3
I started this a few years ago and it's stalled big time. It's incredibly painfully time consuming but I use a neg scanner (Nikon 5000ED). I also scan a full tilt for the good ones (@2000dpi for the so so stuff) cause I don't really ever want to do it again. For me this works out @120Mb per slide, so you fill disks like nothing once you get going.

I know some flat beds let you do this but my flat bed always got bad results... they have improved since I bought my FB though.

Another option is to find one of those lenses with a backlit slide projector on the end... not sure of prices and available mounts but some fit on the end of lenses and others are specific. Not a bad option and potentially a LOT faster the scanning.

On the flip side... the detail in some of the slides is amazing. Negs are okay but really nothing like nice slides.
12/21/2007 05:17:52 PM · #4
Originally posted by robs:

On the flip side... the detail in some of the slides is amazing. Negs are okay but really nothing like nice slides.

The detail and resolution of slides and negatives *should* be about the same if they are of similar speeds (which affects grain size).

If you have negatives and don't want to print bigger than 11x14 or so, Costco will scan negatives to disk for about 29¢/each, plus $2.99 for the archival-quality CD. The files end up about the same size as those from a 6MP camera.

If you can still find a shop which can scan to Kodak Photo-CD format (not "Picture-CD") that will probably give you a bit bigger maximum-size file (the format provides 5 sizes), but I don't know if anyone does this anymore.

If you're scanning prints, set the resolution of your flatbed so you end up with a file at 300dpi at the final print size, but try and make it an "even fraction" of the scanner's "native" or optical (not interpolated) resolution if scanning at less than that maximum to reduce file size. For example, if the scanner has 1200 physical pixels (sensors) per inch, try to scan at 300, 400, 600, or 800dpi; if the scanner's resolution is 2000, scan at 500 or 1000dpi.
12/22/2007 12:21:43 AM · #5
Originally posted by GeneralE:

The detail and resolution of slides and negatives *should* be about the same if they are of similar speeds (which affects grain size).


Interesting - Not what I saw but you might be right. Almost all the slides are KodaChrome though... I seem to recall it's quite different from most other slide film (and had to be developed differently). There were a few boxes of other stuff and they keep badly compared the KC (these are going back to the early 60's so are getting on now). When they nailed the exposure it's amazing, but if it's under-exposed, it's far from good without some post processing.

I don't know the ISO but assume it's 64, so it's got a few stops on most of my negs which would have been 400 mostly (dunno why, I liked it for a long while), so you might be right if I had any negs @64.
12/22/2007 12:42:31 AM · #6
I have been copying my old slides, most are E64 or K Chrome 64, and find that my Fuji S3 Pro will reproduce the slides well enough to see the grain before the pixelation starts to show when enlarged. I am using a professional slide copying stand (Chroma Pro, $ 40 on eBay ) and one of my Micro Nikkor 55mm lenses with a 13mm extention tube. The M Nikkor has a flat field optic configuration, which keeps distortion to a minimum, as well as good focus all over the slide. . I set a custom white balance for the light quality, and it works well. I do touch up with a little color correction and PP later as necessary. I figure that it takes about a minute per slide.
With a couple of lights and a sheet of non reflective glass, it makes a good copy stand for prints too.
12/22/2007 08:54:23 PM · #7
Check this out. In case you have negatives or slides. A family memeber bought this and says it works great.

//www.hammacher.com/publish/74083.asp?promo=electronics

Message edited by author 2007-12-22 22:14:39.
12/22/2007 10:34:01 PM · #8
I just read an article about using a macro lens and a light box for slides.
Using a tripod to mount your camera over your light box; using the macro lens to focus straight above your slide (illuminated by your light box)- shot in RAW at about f8 using a cable release.
I must admit I'm dubious but the guy who wrote the article claimed it was an excellent result.
I'm curious to try it myself. I've tried copying slides with a slide copier (on a film camera) and also using a canon D1250U2F scanner but have never been happy with the results.
12/23/2007 12:45:25 AM · #9
[thumb]624790[/thumb]
Here is an example using a Fuji S3 Pro, a Micro Nikkor 55mm plus extension ring. The light source is a slide copier called "Chroma Pro" which is just a glorified light table/box with a post for holding the copy camera.
I think that the original was shot with a Canon 35mm f2 FD, on a TX or FTB. Hand held with E 200 or maybe E 64 slide film. You can see the grain in the slide in the white part of the cropped image which is in the comment box with the image posted.
I hope this helps with the question about using a light box and tripod, which would be only a little more trouble than using the Chroma Pro, which has a slide holder on it.
You would want to make a mask to hold the slides so that the light coming around the slide would be eliminated. There are also copiers that use a flash with diffuser to eliminate white balance and camera shake issues. A modified enlarger would do a good job with this task too.

Message edited by author 2007-12-23 00:51:31.
12/24/2007 10:53:15 AM · #10
My father recently finished just such an undertaking. It took him about a year to complete.
Thousands of slides and photos (spanning about 30+ years).
The slides was the (relatively) easy part - the scanner (an Epson. Can't remember the exact model off hand) came with a tray that fit right in the scanner bed, held about 12 or so slides and software that automagically converted the slide scans to photo size.
The photos, he did each one individually. Ouch.

He scanned, and my mother sorted and organized by year, subjet (kids, vacations, holidays, etc).

Message edited by author 2007-12-24 10:55:43.
01/02/2008 07:45:29 AM · #11
Originally posted by fischerfotographik:

My father recently finished just such an undertaking. It took him about a year to complete.
Thousands of slides and photos (spanning about 30+ years).
The slides was the (relatively) easy part - the scanner (an Epson. Can't remember the exact model off hand) came with a tray that fit right in the scanner bed, held about 12 or so slides and software that automagically converted the slide scans to photo size.
The photos, he did each one individually. Ouch.

He scanned, and my mother sorted and organized by year, subjet (kids, vacations, holidays, etc).

I have an Epson Perfection 2450 Photo that's about 4 years old. It has trays for slides and negatives. It also has the ability to recognize multiple photos on the scanner and scan them individually. This was very helpful. It took me two weekends to go through about 1000 pictures/negatives. Good Luck!
01/02/2008 08:54:30 AM · #12
I did the same thing myself a couple of years ago. I used a HP flatbed scanner (I am not entirely sure of the model right now, but could check if you wanted) it has an automatic feeder and came with the adapter for scanning negatives. The feeder made all the difference.

It took me months, but I think it was worth it, I use adobe photoshop elements and have each member of the family tagged. This allowed me to make photo boards for each of my siblings which my mum really loved. It also made it much easier for me to make a scrapbook of our family for my sister when she was struggling.
01/03/2008 01:34:14 AM · #13
Originally posted by jjared:


I have an Epson Perfection 2450 Photo that's about 4 years old. It has trays for slides and negatives. It also has the ability to recognize multiple photos on the scanner and scan them individually. This was very helpful. It took me two weekends to go through about 1000 pictures/negatives. Good Luck!

That is exactly the model they have (I just happened to check it on New Year's when I was at their abode).
01/03/2008 01:40:34 AM · #14
well i did this and you should be able to do about 200 photos an hour. start out by scanning in 4 photos, in photoshop whatever size the photo is, 3x5 or 4x6 make that your new window, once the photo is scanned in through photoshop, drag it into the 3x5 or 4x6 window you created. drag the photo to the first photo, save your jpg, then drag it to the second photo, and save and so on, works good if you zoom out a bit, also another way to do it would be to crop out the first photo, save then go backwards in your history and crop the next photo, and so on. all this should be able to be done while scanning, and if not, scan on one computer and send them over the network to the other computer
10/17/2008 03:31:27 PM · #15
I use the Epson V200 photoscanner which ( so far ) has been excellent.

It only does four slides at a atime though so a big collection might take you a while!

It’s great fun scanning all those old family photographs and slides on to your PC. It gives you a chance to reminisce about the good old days while you’re doing it. I find it difficult sometimes to remember exactly where some of the photos were taken though. Not a problem if whoever took the original is still around and has a good memory, but otherwise it can be tricky.

There is a new site started where you can post images taken from old slides and photographs if you can’t remember where they were taken.

You can post the image in the forum and hopefully someone will recognise the location.

Check out “Where’s this? “ at //wheresthis.proboards.com
10/17/2008 03:55:17 PM · #16
I don't know if this a project you want to do yourself, but this is worth looking into.

//www.ScanMyPhotos.com

The site looks a little corny, and I haven't tried it myself, but the New York Times did a write up of it here:

//www.nytimes.com/2008/08/14/technology/personaltech/14pogue.html?scp=1&sq=photo%20scanning%20company&st=cse

Good luck.
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