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Scanners, pictures and software (oh, my!)

Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:01 pm

Recently I’ve learned a lot more about scanners and scanner software than I really wanted to know. Part of that came from some help I got here on scanner software.

In that earlier thread I shared a little of my experience in doing my project and I was going to update that but as I started writing it kinda got out of hand and trying to post it here won't work well due to length and some pictures I want to embed. Still, it seems worth sharing a bit of it because I’ll bet a lot of you have the same shelf full of photo albums and closet full of shoe boxes with slides, negatives and loose prints.

So, if you're interested I'm going to post a series of articles on my blog. First two in the series are up and more will follow like this:

Part 1. Buying a scanner.
Part 2. Scanner software and setting up a workflow.
Part 3. To calibrate or not to calibrate.
Part 4. Project notes and ‘lessons learned’

Yeah, that's why I didn't post it here but if you're interested in the subject of scanning pictures, negatives, etc., you might find it helpful--at least that's my intent.

Re: Scanners, pictures and software (oh, my!)

Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:16 pm

Updated to include part 3 on calibration. Sharing what I found out and what I ultimately did about it. The link is in the post above.

This is probably the most relevant piece for most folks here, discusses color calibration of a scanner but concludes calibrating your monitor is more important.


Re: Scanners, pictures and software (oh, my!)

Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:24 am

I really appreciate how you dig into things, do the research, and then share you findings here with everyone. The old adage "good decisions are based on good information" applies and its nice to make informed decisions and have you as a resource here on the forum. I am at the infancy stage of scanning the family picture archives, dating from the early 1900's to present and it seems like a daunting task right now. An area of concern is scanning the photos directly from the albums / scrapbooks. Many of the pictures are glued or pasted into plain black paper scrapbooks. I am afraid if I try to extract the pictures it will ruin the albums, which should be preserved as the descriptions and storylines are wriiten in white ink. While some of the books are bound together with a string so I can remove the individual pages, most of the scrapbooks do not have removable pages. The Epson 600 scanner only has a maximum scan area of 8.5" x 11.7" so I wont be able to scan the entire page of the typical larger scrapbooks. I have not experimented with scanning the pictures directly from the books yet as my parents are the caretakers of the albums and live 5 hours away.
This is a long explination leading up to my question, but have you scanned directly from albums and did it impact the quality of the scanned pictures? I am anticipating that it should only impact the time factor with zooming in on the picture to set up the scan and not the result of the scanned image.

Anticipate that I am going to have to break the project into small pieces and try and group pictures into decades. The archive organization runs the gamut from the scrapbooks fairly sequencial to the proverbial shoeboxes of slides, photos and negatives all helterskelter. If I can break it down into small doses then I might be able to elicit help from the parents to at least sort the shoe boxes by decade.

Re: Scanners, pictures and software (oh, my!)

Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:32 pm

Do you already own the Epson 600? It's a good one but the Canon I bought is limited to 8x11 on the bed, too. In my search I didn't find many scanners these days that go larger and they tend to cost a lot more. It wasn't a priority for me, but I didn't see many (even the 700/750 is that size).

I did scan some pictures without removing them from the pages but only when I couldn't get the pictures off the pages yet I could take the book apart. That worked fine although sometimes I put it on the bed twice with different orientations to get everything. In just one case did I have an album I couldn't get apart without destroying it and destroying it wasn't an option. That was painful--the scans turned out okay, but I had to rig a way to hold the book flat and in place on the bed with the top as closed as could be done. Doable but slowed things dramatically.

That took too long for me to want to go that route unless I absolutely had to. Those pictures (and the album) had better be worth it because it takes a long time to get them done. At first, I was reluctant to destroy the album in the process but I quickly decided that preserving the pictures was important but the album had to be expendable if necessary. After all, when you've got the scans you can make a new album/picture book for anyone who wants it--without the scans that's not possible.

Don't forget you also should get information about the pictures--if the albums have good labels you may be okay. Otherwise you need as much who, when and where info as can be supplied.

Good luck -- it's a daunting project but satisfying to get even some of it done.

Oh, yeah, for anyone who hasn't checked the blog, the whole 4-part series is posted. I'm tied up at work and traveling a bit, but I still intend to post some examples and specifics on old picture scanning.


Re: Scanners, pictures and software (oh, my!)

Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:18 pm

Okay part 5 of the series is posted--this is getting to book length!

In this one I've posted some lessons learned scanning film, in my case mostly 35mm slides. It's going really well and I'm happy with the results. But it takes a lot of time and I've encountered a 'gotcha' which seems to limit the quality of the scan done on the flatbed.

Hope it will benefit someone else!

Re: Scanners, pictures and software (oh, my!)

Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:22 am

I've added two more posts in the last 10 days or so.

One is some more notes about scanning prints, postcards and newspaper clippings.

The latest one, Canon9000F vs. Nikon Coolscan V ED is more information, with some examples, about scanning slides. There's an analysis in there of why I'm a little disappointed with the Canon's performance but why it probably makes no economic sense to "fix" it by getting a dedicated film scanner.


Re: Scanners, pictures and software (oh, my!)

Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:14 pm

In the last couple days I've moved all the image scanning material to my other blog and I've added two more posts on the topic of image scanning. I corrected the links in the prior posts here so they should point to the right spots.

The whole series is now found here: Image scanning.

In the most recent post I report on the results of an experiment I did making another comparison between my Nikon film scanner and the Canon flat bed when scanning 35mm slides. I did that because of some information I ran across that basically said that the way I was doing the scans was probably hurting the results. The question was whether it was enough to matter.

It was. 8)

This is one time I really don't mind being wrong because I'm now getting better results!

In the near future I'll add a post with my results of investigating the online scanning services and of trying out one of them. (Spoiler alert: you can get quick, quality and cheap but you have to choose no more than 2 of them at once.)

Oh, by the way, the image in the post is a shot I took of our daughter in 1979 when she was almost 4. Same age as her son, our grandson--my how time does fly :!:

Re: Scanners, pictures and software (oh, my!)

Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:22 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your experience and knowledge, Dick. I've already learned so much about scanning from you and you've been so very helpful to me in my recent humongous projects. I can't wait to dig into your latest but am going to wait until I have some dedicated time for doing so.


Re: Scanners, pictures and software (oh, my!)

Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:54 am

I don't know if everyone has seen this little gadget. It may not be top of the line as far as scanners go, but it gets good results when you are away from home and a family member has a picture that they won't let you borrow.

My only connection to the Flip Pal Scanner is that I've bought one and have used it in a number of different settings.

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