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  • Scanning lots of old photos

    My mother-in-law just gave us hundreds of old 4 x 5 photos of their family. I think it would be a nice surprise to scan all of them and post to a website.

    Any ideas on how I can "quickly" accomplish such a feat?

    I've yet to purchase any hardware or software, so I'm looking for a whole system solution.

    She MAY have negatives to some of the photos.

    Thank you so much!

  • #2
    You want to try and get a scanner with 4800dpi (not interpolated), and also with scanner attachments for negatives and slides.

    I would not waste my money on a slide scanner as they scan at 1800dpi which is way to low, there are slide scanners that will go higher and the price is higher to.

    Scanners that scan slides and negatives usually come with software to fix and convert images.
    Canon DSLR User
    Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22338756@N03/

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    • #3
      Are they 4x5 negatives? If so, you'll be looking at a high quality platten scanner. If they're all 35mm, though, you might look into something like the Nikon CoolScan line, which is a dedicated 35mm negative scanner capable of excellent resolution.
      Digital: Canon 1DMkii, EF 17-40mm f/4 L, EF 50mm f/1.4, EF 85mm f/1.8
      Film: Pentax LX, Pentax FA 50mm f/1.4, Pentax A 70-210 f/4, Pentax A 28mm f/2.8, Vivitar 2x Teleconverter, Vivitar 285HV
      my flickr page

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      • #4
        I bought an Epson Perfection V500 Photo recently, and I'm very happy with it. For best results, I use it in "professional" mode which is time consuming but worth it for small batches. For larger batches I would use some of the dummy modes in low(er) resolution to get them all on the computer. Then go back and re-scan the favorites at a high resolution. If you really have hundreds of old pics then you'll drive yourself crazy trying to scan them all at high res the first time. Just my 2 cents . . .

        And it works great for 35mm and 120 medium format, although I don't know if the high res center lens area meant for negatives would be large enough for 4X5. Probably so, but you'd have to check the specs.
        Nikon D80, 18-200, 105 macro VR, 18-55, 50 f/1.8; Tokina 11-16 f/2.8
        SB600 x 2; Canon A570 IS; Bonica XP Neon Underwater Strobe
        Film Cameras: Lomo LC-A+, Diana+, Canon AE-1

        OK to edit and repost pics for DPS forums!
        flickr; ihardlyknowher; My most interesting pics on flickriver

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        • #5
          slide & negative scanners

          Depends on what slide scanner mate. Mine, from Canon, a Canoscan FS4000US scans both negatives and slides from 1000 to 4000 DPI. Mine are alsways scanned in at the highest.

          Originally posted by RoyL View Post
          You want to try and get a scanner with 4800dpi (not interpolated), and also with scanner attachments for negatives and slides.

          I would not waste my money on a slide scanner as they scan at 1800dpi which is way to low, there are slide scanners that will go higher and the price is higher to.

          Scanners that scan slides and negatives usually come with software to fix and convert images.
          http://pa.photoshelter.com/c/jimbryant
          http://jimbryantphotography.blogspot.com/
          (1) EOS 1D MKIII (3) EOS 1D's, (3) EOS1D MKIIs', (1) EOS1Ds MKII, 14mmf2.8, 16-35mmf2.8, 28-70mmf2.8, 70-200mm f2.8, 300mm f2.8 and a 400mmf2.8, (4) 550 EX and 1 580E speedlite, and a Speed a tron studio flash system.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jake1729 View Post
            My mother-in-law just gave us hundreds of old 4 x 5 photos of their family. I think it would be a nice surprise to scan all of them and post to a website.

            Any ideas on how I can "quickly" accomplish such a feat?

            I've yet to purchase any hardware or software, so I'm looking for a whole system solution.

            She MAY have negatives to some of the photos.

            Thank you so much!

            I think she means the actual Photos, she said her Mom in Law MAY have SOME negatives.

            I just use my hp all in one, I really havent had the need to scan as many as you probably are. Sorry I don't know of any easy way to get them all done quickly.
            JRG1979
            Sites:flickr
            Gear: Nikon D90, Nikon 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S Nikkor Lens, Nikon 50 mm f/1.8D Nikkor AF Lens, Nikon SB-600 AF Speedlight Flash
            (Its OK to edit and re-post my pictures on DPS)

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            • #7
              [/QUOTE]]Whatever you get, scan at the highest resolution possible. Dont' worry about correction while scanning. It's easier to determine what makes the pics look best after the scan and post process it just like you do a photo. Then reduce the size to something reasonable (640 on the long dimension) for saving and copying to CD/DVD for the family.
              Last edited by Glen King; 03-15-2009, 10:59 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by RussHeath View Post
                I bought an Epson Perfection V500 Photo recently, and I'm very happy with it. For best results, I use it in "professional" mode which is time consuming but worth it for small batches. For larger batches I would use some of the dummy modes in low(er) resolution to get them all on the computer. Then go back and re-scan the favorites at a high resolution. If you really have hundreds of old pics then you'll drive yourself crazy trying to scan them all at high res the first time. Just my 2 cents . . .

                And it works great for 35mm and 120 medium format, although I don't know if the high res center lens area meant for negatives would be large enough for 4X5. Probably so, but you'd have to check the specs.
                First off... THANK YOU all for the good responses.

                Further research has shown that there are in fact hardly any negatives. I will be scanning 95% of them from original 4 x 5 photos. Photos are, on average, 20 years old.

                What about the actual process of scanning? Do you scan each photo individually / does anyone have experience with a document loader and photos?

                I've also heard of some folks using a "lightbox" and a digital camera - any experience?

                I would guess there are at least 250+ pictures.

                If I / we can come up with a good process, there are hundreds of other photos I'd like to scan.

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                • #9
                  If you're not scanning many negatives, then go with a flatbed scanner. The Epson I mentioned is great, but there are many options and some are quite cheap.

                  Document loaders exist for many flatbeds, and they are often purchased separately. Some "All In One" devices may be able to use the document loader for the scanner, although I would be a little hesitant to use them on old photos as the bending required for the document loaders may damage the originals.

                  Taking photos of the photos is a viable option if you have a good idea of how to light, but it will be time consuming and require individual photoshop work on each photo to clean up the edges (more so than scanning).

                  I would go with a moderate quality flatbed and learn how to load multiple shots per scan. If you get good at putting them on the same part of the scanner each time, you can probably crank them through fairly quickly.

                  Good luck!
                  Nikon D80, 18-200, 105 macro VR, 18-55, 50 f/1.8; Tokina 11-16 f/2.8
                  SB600 x 2; Canon A570 IS; Bonica XP Neon Underwater Strobe
                  Film Cameras: Lomo LC-A+, Diana+, Canon AE-1

                  OK to edit and repost pics for DPS forums!
                  flickr; ihardlyknowher; My most interesting pics on flickriver

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