Archiving Old Photos - A Newbie Question

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by amitstei, Jun 9, 2006.

  1. amitstei

    amitstei Guest


    I have decided to scan my 35-mm printed photos to my computer, and then
    get rid of the printed ones. For that sake, I have bought a new Canon
    4200F scanner. In the bundled software, I can scan up to 3200 DPI
    (optical). I have several questions:

    1. In order to get the best quality; is it better to use the negatives
    instead of the printed pictures? It takes much longer.
    2. What is the preferred scanning resolution? (Keeping in mind that
    some time ahead I would be willing to print these images)
    3. In what file format (e.g. JPG) is it preferable to store the images?

    3. Would you consider Canon 4200F sufficient for archival proposes, or
    should I spend more money on a more professional one?
    4. The scanner is bundled with Arcview Photostudio 5.5. I feel this
    software is rather cumbersome to use and am ready to spend on a
    professional and convenient software package. My budget is around $500,
    can you recommend any?

    Thanks a lot in advance!
    amitstei, Jun 9, 2006
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  2. It's much better to scan from the negatives if you have a suitable
    scanner. A dedicated film scanner, like a Nikon Coolscan-V, say. On
    a consumer flatbed, even if it claims the have the ability, the
    results are usually pretty marginal.
    Snapshot prints rarely have any information beyond 300PPI. To be
    really safe, maybe you should scan at 600PPI (but that makes the files
    4 times as big).
    I'd never store my master copy in a lossy format (if I had a choice;
    jpeg comes out of the digital cameras in many modes).
    Don't know the model, but generally most scanners do well enough with
    opaque originals. But scanning the negatives is better, and that
    takes a specialized scanner.
    If photography is an ongoing hobby, bite the bullet and get into
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jun 9, 2006
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  3. Please reconsider getting rid of your prints. You may find that they
    are the only truly long-term "storage" you have.
    Phil Stripling, Jun 9, 2006
  4. amitstei

    Scott W Guest

    I would not get rid of the printed ones, you might at sometime decide
    to re-scan or you might loss the digital files.

    All most all of the time it is far better to scan the negatives if you
    have a film scanner. There is both more range in the negative and more
    detail then you are going to see on a typical 4 x 6 print. I do have
    some negatives that are in such bad shape that scans from the print are
    This depends on the print, no less then 300ppi and sometimes a bit
    If you are scanning prints then jpeg at high quality will likely be as
    good as tiff, since there is not much range in a scan of a print. If
    you are scanning film you have to take more care if you are saving as a
    jpeg since a scan of film can have a fair bit of dynamic range. The
    jpeg format is not nearly as bad as what some people believe but saving
    as tiff is safer. Note you can batch convert from tiff to jpeg if at
    some point you decide you really want them as jpeg and not tiff.
    A cheap print scanner will likely do fine, but if you get a film
    scanner make sure to get one that has digital ICE, this removes most of
    scan defects from dust and scratches.
    You might try Photoshop Elements, it is a scaled down version of
    Photoshop and can be had for well under $100.

    Scott W, Jun 9, 2006
  5. amitstei

    Jim Guest

    Never ever discard the originals.
    The negatives of course. There is one less chance for bad things to happen.
    4000 dpi for negatives. 300 dpi for prints.
    Not really important. Store all files on archival quality media (the gold
    variety). The plain discount kind won't last, and all of your effort will
    be wasted.
    Jim, Jun 9, 2006
  6. amitstei

    BobF Guest

    Prints are usually pretty poor quality, even the best are no match for the
    negative or slide. Most prints are barely as good as a magazine...

    You need special software such as FARE or something, not sure of the name now!
    It came with my Canon 5000f scanner. It scans the negative a few times in
    different light and can remove the dust in software, since dust reacts to light
    differently. This doesn't work on prints.

    I also have a high priced HP scanner, but it is no match for the Canon in doing
    slides. Don't let the numbers in the ads fool you, stick with a Canon or Nikon
    scanner. HP should stick to building scopes...
    You should try a few different scans of the same negative and see for your self.
    I seldom go over 1200, or under 600, but it depends on the cropping I plan to
    do. 2400 is the max of my Canon as far as I know... don't bother with
    'extrapolated' scans.
    If you have room, use TIF or similar. If you use JPG, you must set the program
    to save the absolute minimal compression, or the largest file size. This is ok
    if you don't plan to ever re-save them or re-work them.
    You need the FARE software bundle... I think... it's not listed in my computer!
    It comes with the better Canons.

    As far as archiving goes, save the data on SEVERAL different media, CDr, DVDr,
    and get yourself an external HD as well. It's not fun to put in a CDr and get a
    'file cannot be read' error!
    Most people use Photoshop. Elements 4 is around $100, but takes time to learn.
    Check out this pic, I scanned it in the Canon, it was a half-size 35, very very
    tiny slide! This pic is un-edited, as is from the scanner. The original is
    better then this web version... they cut it down somewhat...
    BobF, Jun 10, 2006
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