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scanning old negatives

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  • scanning old negatives

    I've been looking into getting all my old negatives scanned so as to digitalise all my photos and have found it that expensive that I wondered if it is something I could do my self.

    Does anyone have any advice on what equipment I would need and how much it would cost?

    Also, if I got the equipment is there enough demand from other people wanting old negatives digitilised for me to make any money by offering a service?

    Many thanks, Duncan

  • #2

    I don't have a film scanner yet either, but might go this route at some point in the future (putting one on my mental wishlist ). There are a few related threads on the forum - a search might help if you haven't already done that.

    Here are a few links to them:

    Hope that helps and if you find one you just love please update this thread I might need the info if/when I actually do purchase one myself

    Last edited by mseigafuse; 04-21-2008, 11:55 AM. Reason: some of the links didn't work
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    • #3
      Being the last poster on the first thread, i should let you know that my scanning with the Espon V200 went very well. Some minor issues with colour but that was due to the slides and not the scanner.

      Great thing about it was the ablility to scan 4 at a time. Made the whole process a lot quicker.
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      • #4
        i have the canoscan 8600f and love it. a bit slow, but isn't everything about film slow? (not knocking it, i still shoot some film)

        here's a B&W negative that i developed and scanned:
        Bbopshee BW

        haven't fared so well with color negatives processed by your local 1 hour joint (and then scanned)...but the last two rolls i shot of color were pretty old.
        my flickr


        • #5
          I have the Epson 4490 Photo. I have to say that the results were not very impressive - but I had some rather old (not well kept) negatives, so I don't know if my results were indicative of the scanner quality. And yes, it's slow.


          • #6
            I have an Epson V700 Photo scanner at work. It can scan 12 negatives at a time. It does a pretty good job. I don't think the scans are as good as I get natively from my digital camera, though. If I remember correctly, I think we paid close to $1,000 for it.


            • #7
              At work I use several Epson 4990s (I try to have at least four running all the time). We've got a collection of around 150,000 archival negatives dating from 1903 through the early 2000s (when we went digital) that we're slowly working though. This scanner can do all of them, most of what we have are 5x7 film negative, but there are also a whole lot of 5x7 glass plates, a few 8x10 films, some 8x10 glass, 4x5 transparencies and negatives, some 120, a few thousand 35mm negatives and a variety of odds and ends. We do very high resolution scans, we're trying to pull out the grain in these films for archival purposes, and it can do that for everything but the 8x10s. I highly recommend them, especially if you've got medium format or large format negatives to scan. You can also do 8 of your slides, or 24 35mm negatives at a time.

              The reason why we use these is that we need a flat scanner for the glass plates. If you're not doing glass (which obviously can't be bent) it would be better to use a drum scanner, however drum scanners take some training to use effectively, and they're pretty expensive. You can find really good deals on them on eBay, but as with everything you haven't seen before you buy it, they're Caveat emptor.


              • #8
                There is a market for slide & neg scanning - along with the associated retouching. As you've discovered from your own experience, making money requires that the service be very expensive. It is probably a very ancillary business - not a main one.


                • #9
                  I have a Canonscan 8600f as well and I love it too. I haven't tried to scan any negatives yet but I have scanned 100s of old slides with it and it works brilliantly !
                  "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes ... Art is knowing which ones to keep."



                  • #10
                    There's a market there - but it's a small and tedious one. Usually, about 1-3 times a year somebody will drop 500 slides on you and want them all scanned. We used to charge something like $1USD for each slide or cut negative scanned, but that took into account that we'd be busy for a week trying to fit these things in between everything else we did. And believe me that was a huge pain.
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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the advice about the business side of scanning negatives. More or less as expected. I'm now thinking about a flatbed scanner to do the job and taking my time to work through my own negative collection. It is going to take some time but then I'm in no particular rush.