Scanning/digitizing old Photographs

Duke

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Feb 19, 2012
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Anyone had any success with this? I have an HP Photosmart 3210xi All in one printer scanner. It seems to do ok. I use adobe acrobat as the software. The jpgs I get are fine, but it takes too much effort to get there. I have to tell it to scan, tell it to be jpeg, do a prescan and then resize to the photograph instead of the entire white area with just one small pic in it. Just friggin' takes forever. I went and looked at some of the options at Staples last night and am not sure I would be picking up something better.

I was really going to town on some of my grandfather's old shots but the time/clicks and typing per scan have won out and I threw in the towel about a year ago. I am hoping to hear one of your success stories so that I can get/do what you use and start again.

Duke
 

Dave

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Scanning is simply a time-intensive process to do right. Better scanning software can help some, but it's just the nature of the beast. If you're running a Mac using Image Capture to communicate with the scanner can help... HP and Epson bundled software typically leaves much to be desired.
 

wnorton

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Jul 28, 2012
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Scanning is simply a time-intensive process to do right. Better scanning software can help some, but it's just the nature of the beast. If you're running a Mac using Image Capture to communicate with the scanner can help... HP and Epson bundled software typically leaves much to be desired.

Ditto.

I've tried many things and there is no easy way. It take TIME.


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wnorton @ Southern, UT
 

HomerJ

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Jan 19, 2012
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If you have access to a Universities computer labs you could use their scanners. I know at USU we have scanners that can scan multiple pictures at once. They have these big (2' x 3') flat bed scanners that you can load a bunch of pictures in (as many as you can fit). The software recognizes each photo as a separate image and saves them as individual files. If you don't have access to a University there might be some libraries or other places might have these type of scanners.
 

Duke

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If you have access to a Universities computer labs you could use their scanners. I know at USU we have scanners that can scan multiple pictures at once. They have these big (2' x 3') flat bed scanners that you can load a bunch of pictures in (as many as you can fit). The software recognizes each photo as a separate image and saves them as individual files. If you don't have access to a University there might be some libraries or other places might have these type of scanners.

No university here in Idaho Falls and now you have made me homesick for USU. LOVE that place!! Thanks for the tip though.

yes, what I am hoping to find is something where I just feed them in one after another and it auto scans and saves, then spits it out the other side. I visited some electronics stores yesterday/today looking and it appears that such scanners are around for documents, but just aren't around for photo quality...at least not around here.

I do have some special contraption for my old slides too. All these years that I have been taking slides and thinking that they would be better for long time preservation and yet my slide scans are about 1/10th the quality of the picture scans. Bummer for me.

I can just see a similar forum 60 years from now and one of my grandkids (if I ever have any) posting that he/she is wrangling some old family DNGs and trying to convert them to the current, 3D R2D2 type projection being used then and is annoyed that they are so time consuming to work with.

(I'll spare all of you the story of my old video transfer and save it for another thread)
 

xjblue

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Duke

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I used the Plustek Optic 7200, which has been replaced by newer versions like the 7400 for my slides. I haven't messed with it in years but was unhappy with the results. I would guess plenty of the problem was user error, but this is an example of what I got. Lots of dust noise no matter what I did.

Untitled-42.jpg
 

Dave

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Slides are a pain because you're working with such a small image source. That means you have to scan at higher resolution to achieve reasonable output sizes. In the process, dust and fibers will be enlarged.

For any sort of scanning it's very important to keep the scanning bed and source images as clean as possible. I usually wipe down the bed of the scanner with a lint-free microfiber between scans and also gently wipe or blow dust from pictures/slides.
 

Mike K

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Jul 6, 2012
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My coworker was just telling me today about a Fujitsu that he got for his mom. It's apparently fast and does the job well. I can get the model* if you want. Down side, it was pricey - like $600 or something. Maybe you could sell it when done and recoup some of the $?

*Edit: It was a Fujitsu 6110.
 

Duke

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I think the slides can wait. I'll get into those when I am retired maybe and don't have to deal with the two job thing getting in the way of my photography. Of course, that is also the plan for a full frame camera, some good lenses, etc.
 

pstm13

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My coworker was just telling me today about a Fujitsu that he got for his mom. It's apparently fast and does the job well. I can get the model if you want. Down side, it was pricey - like $600 or something. Maybe you could sell it when done and recoup some of the $?
I have a Fujitsu Scan Snap at work. It ROCKS! I can go through a shoe box of old photos in 10-20 minutes.
 

Duke

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Thank you. do you know which model? Based on your post I looked on the net and found a buttload of different Fujitsu Scan Snaps.
 

pstm13

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I have an S500 that is 5 years old (Mac version). Make sure you get the one for your OS. It scans double sided images very very quickly. I put together presentations at work with literally thousands of pictures. A lot of them are scanned in by hand. I do a stack at a time and it is the best part of the project. It's not perfect so you need to make sure it gets all the pictures. However, my older version is fast. I can't imagine how quick they are now. I would rate it 8.5/10 or higher.
 

gnwatts

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Slides are a pain because you're working with such a small image source. That means you have to scan at higher resolution to achieve reasonable output sizes. In the process, dust and fibers will be enlarged.

For any sort of scanning it's very important to keep the scanning bed and source images as clean as possible. I usually wipe down the bed of the scanner with a lint-free microfiber between scans and also gently wipe or blow dust from pictures/slides.

Slides or negatives are actually better for scanning, as you are scanning an original image. Scanning an enlarged print is one more generation away from the original (the enlargement) , hence additional degradation. My suggestion is to bite the bullet and send your transparencies/negatives to a company who has a professional scanner. I am not up on the latest hardware (barrel scanners used to be the best) so you can do some research. Then you get a cleaned up (dust free if you pay for it, or you can do it yourself) hi-res file for your use. Expensive, but if the image is great it might be worth it.
If you want something fine, then a less expensive machine geared toward mass production might not be what you need.
 

John Goering

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Sep 30, 2014
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Any updates to this thread? I've been playing with scanning Kodachrome 25 that I was rather fond of in the old days and the results are more than miserable on either my flat bed Epson or the Primefilm slide/film scanner using CyberView. Ready to spend some $ for something else but remain unconvinced that there will be any real difference in the results.
 

andyjaggy

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Dec 2, 2013
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I had a dedicated Nikon Coolscan film scanner for about 5 years. It made scanning film a breeze, and the results were spectacular. I sold it a few years ago because I needed the money, but I regret selling it at this point. Nikon no longer makes them and they are now very expensive. If you have the cash you can't go wrong picking on up, though it seems there are some other companies who have stepped up to fill the void.

Flatbed scanners seem to do okay, but are a lot more labor intensive to get god results from. Wet mounting, adjusting the height of the film, since most flatbeds are designed to focus slightly above the glass of the scanner, so your film is usually out of focus.
 

Duke

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OK, I have made some progress. After searching around a bit I found a scanner that is specifically for easy, quick photo scanning. It is the Kodak P570. It can only do photos 5x7 or smaller. Its not for that special, 10x12 of Grandma's wedding or anything, but seems just right for the boxes and boxes of old "snapshots" that I want digitized. This thing is much faster and easier than my previous attempts. Tonight I just did a quick scan of 75 photos. I am happy with the quality, understanding that these pics are from a point-n-shoot.

Here is a very boring video someone posted showing a similar scanner. skip the first 1/3.

 

Curt

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Feb 1, 2014
Messages
403
I also have a bunch of slides that I want to digitize and don't have access to a scanner and don't think I can persuade my wife that a scanner would be a good investment so I've been experimenting with taking pictures of the slides. Unfortunately I don't have a dedicated macro lens but I've got some extension tubes and using a tube with a telephoto lens allows a close enough focus to get the slide to fill most of the frame. I read somewhere that a good uniform light source for doing this is a laptop screen and I'm finding that works pretty well. I clamp a slide onto a stick sitting on the keyboard and take a picture using about f11 so that I can be fairly certain that the slide will be in focus. But I'm finding too that this is fairly time consuming process mostly due to post-processing -- fixing white balance, getting rid of dust, trying to adjust exposure and compensate for dynamic range. I've gotten some acceptable results and the price is right!
 

Duke

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Feb 19, 2012
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I also have a bunch of slides that I want to digitize and don't have access to a scanner and don't think I can persuade my wife that a scanner would be a good investment so I've been experimenting with taking pictures of the slides. Unfortunately I don't have a dedicated macro lens but I've got some extension tubes and using a tube with a telephoto lens allows a close enough focus to get the slide to fill most of the frame. I read somewhere that a good uniform light source for doing this is a laptop screen and I'm finding that works pretty well. I clamp a slide onto a stick sitting on the keyboard and take a picture using about f11 so that I can be fairly certain that the slide will be in focus. But I'm finding too that this is fairly time consuming process mostly due to post-processing -- fixing white balance, getting rid of dust, trying to adjust exposure and compensate for dynamic range. I've gotten some acceptable results and the price is right!

Certainly an Idea I didn't even think of :) and I think you are a bit crazy as that would seem to take huge amounts of time, but were I to go this route I believe I would project it onto a screen and take a shot of that. However, I'm guessing that is out because....perhaps you don't have a slide projector as those are certainly hard to comeby these days eh? :) i know I don't.

Many photogs seem to buy these types of scanners (slide or prints), scan their work, and then sell that device. Ebay has plenty. And, you can resell when done. Just food for thought. Its how I got mine for photos anyway :)
 
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