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Scanning slides

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by m@rk, Jul 22, 2004.

  1. m@rk

    m@rk
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    I currently have about 1500 slides some of which are 30 to 40 years old which I would like to get onto my computer.

    As I see it, I have a few options

    1. Buy a film scanner but once I have scanned all the slides, it would be redundant.

    2. Buy a flatbed scanner with a slide holder but I already have a flatbed (although it won't do slides).

    3. Buy something I saw online that holds the slide in front of your digicam lense so you take a picture of your slide at whatever resolution your digicam has (costs less than £30)

    4. Use a slide scanning service but these look very expensive for this number of slides.

    So suggestions please? What is going to be the most cost effective way of getting these slides converted to digital at a reasonable quality without spending loads of cash and without ending up with redundant hardware?

    Thanks
     
  2. Garrett

    Garrett
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    I had an old flatbed scanner that came with a scsi isa? card when I had to replace my MB I could not get one with a isa? slot. The options were buy a pci/scsi card or buy a new scanner. I went for the new scanner. It is hell of a lot faster than the old one and also does slides and negatives. Guess what I suggest.

    Do you have a mate that you could ask and maybe give him something for his time?

    Or buy (second-hand?) a film scanner and sell it afterwards.
     
  3. LV426

    LV426
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    I expect the best results would be obtained from a dedicated film scanner, but, as you say, this would be throwaway afterwards.

    Next, I guess that a flatbed with a film/slide adaptor would produce similarly good results. Although the film/slide feature itself would be redundant, you might well have invested in a better flatbed for normal scanning - in order to do small things like slides, they have to have a very high optical resolution.

    They are also arguably better than a dedicated item because you can scan several slides at once and use the supplied software to separate them into files - this will be a huge timesaver.

    Somehow I have a huge doubt that an adaptor for a digital camera will produce good results - a similar device used with a film camera produced results that were always too contrasty. Plus you have the problem of getting a light source of suficiently neutral colour.

    When I get around to doing this for myself - it will be a flatbed.
     
  4. Garrett

    Garrett
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    Very high 9600 dpi.
     
  5. LV426

    LV426
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    9600dpi. Really?

    Given that

    a) respectable results both onscreen and on paper can be had from pictures taken with a regular digital camera of (say) 3mp - or 2048 pixels wide

    b) a 35mm slide or negative is (guess) about 1.25 inches wide

    then my assumption would be that similarly useful results (admittedly, not to the same detail as the original film) would be got from a scanner with (say) 3000dpi resolution.
     
  6. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I use an HP Scanjet with the slide/negative attachment.
    Quality is generally very good and a raw image comes in at 50MB.
    The problem is however, every single bit of dust is picked up and the initial image looks terrible.
    It also takes 6 minutes to scan per negative.
    It requires many hours of cropping and editing just to get a reasonable master TIF file for archiving purposes.
    I have several thousand negatives so it's a task that I tend to pick away at now and again.

    If you want quality, my suggestion would be to go for a dedicated film/slide scanner with ICE software.
    The end results will be better and it will be a lot quicker.

    If you're not that bothered about quality/speed, get a flatbed scanner with attachment.
     
  7. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Agree with Brogan!
    A flatbed will be good (I know as I use one for negs) but a dedicated film/slide scanner does give far better results (a proffessional phtographer friend has done a few comparisons for me) but will cost from about £200 for a half decent one new. Second hand would be a good option as you would loose only a little when you come to sell it after you have finished with it.
    If you do not need exceptional quality then a fair quality flatbed with the film/slide attachment does give very good results for standard sized prints or viewing on a PC screen/VCD etc. You then have the advantage of a faster USB2.0 scanner and almost certainly better quality for other scanning.
    I would advise ignoring the 'attachments for a camera' type accessories as I've never seen any good results from these.
    I have also seen a lightbox that you sit ontop of a flatbed that throws a light through the neg/slide and should give good results, although I've never seen it in use.

    nigel suggested that you can scan more than a single slide at a time on a flatbed, well not with mine. On mine I have a plastic slide/film holder that fits on the glass and has a small opening to let the backlight through the neg to the scanner that is only big enough for a single neg. I'm sure this is not just on my scanner, but also certainly not on all of them so worth checking if you want to 'batch scan' your slides.

    Mark.
     
  8. LV426

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    Several slides in one pass is definitely a feature of several models I've seen.
     
  9. Garrett

    Garrett
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    9600 dpi is a bit over the top (I was giving an example of how high they go), but I found slide a sharp medium especially if using 25 asa film, so 9600 does facilitate very heavy cropping. I one scanned in a negative and it took ages and took the best part of my computers memory up.
     
  10. LV426

    LV426
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    Well, yes, at that resolution, I guess it would. A 1024x768 bitmap is a little over 2gb in its raw state. At 9600dpi you are (roughly) taking this up by a factor of 10 in each direction - which takes it to 200gb raw file size. Ouch!
     
  11. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I scan my negatives at 2400 resolution which, as a negative is 1.5 inches x 1 inch, gives me an on-screen resolution of 3600 x 2400.
    This results in a 25MB raw TIF file with a total of 8.64 Mega Pixels (more than any digital camera on the market today).
    This takes 6 minutes to scan.

    If I then want to print it out at say 300 dpi, I get an image size of 12 inches x 8 inches.

    For prints I scan at 600 resolution which gives exavtly the same file size, mega pixels and printed size (600 is 1/4 of 2400 and a print is 6 inches which is 4 x a negative).
    A print takes about 1 minute to scan.

    After scanning, I straighten them (if necessary), crop and rubbish and convert them to PNG (which is a lossless form of compression).
    This typically results in masters of about 10MB which can then be converted to JPG and reduced in size for normal on screen viewing, emailing, etc.

    You first need to decide what physical size you would like your final images to be, based on their dpi.
    That will then determine what resolution you scan at.
     
  12. BAD Dave

    BAD Dave
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    Brogan,
    I see you have a Pioneer plasma screen!
    How do jpgs look on screen? What resolution works best?

    Is there any difference between jpgs viewed via the plasma media box and those viewed through a DVD player (as jpgs, not VCD)?

    I am thinking of buying a plasma screen at some point and viewing jpgs on screen is an important consideration since it will have a high WAF (Wife Acceptability Factor).
    Thanks,
    Dave
     
  13. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I've never viewed jpgs from a DVD so can't comment on that.

    I have however viewed jpgs on the plasma direct from the PC connected to the VGA port and also using the flash card plugged into the media receiver.

    As long as you have a decent video card in your PC and a good connection, there's no difference in quality.
    It is however, much easier to use the PC as the plasma will only accept images on the flash card in a certain format and you will need to use a program like TV Writer to make any images edited on your PC compatible.

    For that reason, I just use the PC and a program like ACDSee to view images.
    Obviously if you want to have full screen shots then you need to make sure your images are 1280x768 (or a multiple thereof) but I just crop and edit them to whatever looks good for the image.

    Photos take on a whole different perspective when viewed at 50" and it's certainly better than looking at them on a monitor or on 6x4 prints.
    You can also put together slide shows of themes for when you're just listening to music, etc.
     
  14. Ger

    Ger
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    I have just got into scanning old slides belonging to my father's family (some go back to the 1910's and are in pretty poor shape, so I want to get them done before they disintegrate completely!) and am having some problems with resolution. I have a Canon scanner, with a backlight for slide/negative scanning, but can't get the resoltion right. I used 600dpi and 1200dpi and couldn't see any difference between the two (ie. zooming in to check on the fine detail, there doesn't appear to be any difference).

    Can anyone make any recommendations on the resolution setting? Also, which is the best format to save pictures in, BMP or TIFF? I have a 320Gb external HDD (freed it up expecially for this) that I can use to store master copies, so storage space shouldn't be too big an issue.

    I am scanning them (about 600 in total) mainly for archiving. I will be printing some of them and hopefully putting all of them onto a DVD slideshow.
     
  15. ush flynn

    ush flynn
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    are you sure about that, you think one scan can take up a whole big hard drive?
    think not mate

    Dedicated scanners come with holders or adaptors which will scan each neg one by one or in single pass and create separate files, just like a flat bed.

    9600dpi scanners reach this by software interpolation, you dont usually see much more than 5400dpi on a dedicated scanner in the consumer range

    Dedicated scanners hold decent value on auction sites, so initial spending may be high but once your done with it you will get over 60% back which isnt too bad i think

    Recomendations would be the minolta dimage elite 5400 and the nikon coolscan V, both have software and hardware to help remove dust and scratches you cant see with the naked eye.
     
  16. baldrick

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    I also have a reasonable pile of negatives to digitize! I have an Epson 1650 scanner with negative/slide scanner capabilities and it doesn't do too bad a job although comparing the scanned negative to the scanned print always shows the print to look better?

    Another problem as has been mentioned is the dust and dirt on the negatives. Is there any way to clean negatives? I'm assuming you'd need some kind of chemicals?

    I was also considering getting a film scanner off e-bay, scan my archive and then sell it on, but a quick look a few weeks ago showed that a lot of people are replacing their old SCSI machines?

    Do any film scanners automate the procedure at all, or is it manually scanner each frame? My Espon will let me do upto 6 negatives at time....
     
  17. baldrick

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    Any one fancy going in on a proper film scanner? ;)

    That would be the best solution, if 3 or 4 people bought an shared one then sold it on!?!? The cheapest Nikon is about £550...
     
  18. md644

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    My thoughts (for what they're worth):

    IMHO a dedicated film scanner would get you the best image quality, although flatbeds have pretty much caught up in terms of resolution they often lag behind in dynamic range.
    No idea how much a second hand film scanner would go for on ebay, but presumably if you bought one and did the scanning, then it could be re-sold on ebay for a similar price.

    Dust and scratches on negatives - look for a scanner with ICE3, the scratch and dust removal feature of this really does work well (on colour negs/slides), as does the ROC (Restoration of Colour) facility. Most film scanners have this, I think some flatbeds might have it now (not really up to date on scanners).

    Time - scanning to get the best quality takes time (someone mentioned 6 minutes) - 1500 slides at 6 minutes is 150 hours work. Quite a substantial chunk of anyone's time. I have a Nikon LS40 which is pretty good (2900 ppi), but 6 minutes is about the right figure for the scan (plus a fair bit more than that for removeing the flaws the ICE3 misses, colour corrections etc). And that's for fairly recent slides/negs. But then maybe I'm very (or perhaps too) picky....
     
  19. baldrick

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    I think getting the pictures on to a PC is 90% of the battle. If I want to use a picture for something then I can go in a clean it etc... but I would like to get the best quality scan I can and if possible clean the negative before I scan!

    I'm going to make do with my PB for a while but I'm thinking it won't be too long before I can be persuaded (by me) to get a nice 20" iMac for RAW/TIFF work and storage and just have iPhoto'd JPGs on my PB....

    In the meantime I will gather together all my negatives and potentially strip out the frames I'm not bothered about....
     
  20. Ger

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    I have used "Pec-12" products to do this and they worked quite well. Don't know if they are sold over here, but got my sister to buy them for me when she was in New York (check here for the product details and shop where she got it for me). It works well (with some lint free cloth) and is made for this kind of job. The only problem is that it takes ages to open the slide frame, take out the slide, clean & replace x500!!.

    I agree. Once that is done, you have a good/original backup. If you want to print or email the picture, just touch it up then.
     
  21. baldrick

    baldrick
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    I've just been reading about the Epson Perfection V700: http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/interactive/Epson V700/page_1.htm

    It seems to be quite a good review and he rates it as virtually better than a dedicated film/negative scanner! The real perk with this is that you can batch scan upto 24 35mm negatives at a time...

    It can be had for £350 from Savastore.com
     

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