Newbie question: Scanner recommendations - I have inherited a couple of thousand negatives and phot

Discussion in 'Scanners' started by awhiteford, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. awhiteford

    awhiteford Guest

    The negatives and photos I inherited come from the period between the 1920s
    to early 1960s and are black and white. There are a mixture of sizes in
    both the negatives and the photos.

    One lot of negatives are 7cm by 4cm (2.75 by about 1.5 inches) with two
    pictures on each of this sized negative. The other size is 6cms by 6.15cms
    (2 by 2.25 inches) with one picture on the negative. There are a number of
    negatives which have been taken at night and have "120 or B20" written on
    the folder they're in.

    The photos include a range of sizes from 4cm by 3cm (1.5 inches by less than
    1.25 inches) and 3.5cms by 4.25 cms (1.5 by 1.75 inches) to the large family
    portraits eg 21cms by 16cms (8.5 by 6.5 inches) or larger. These are all
    black and white. They appear to be in pretty good condition, have been in
    original camera shop envelopes and most aren't badly marked or creased.

    Apart from scanning those I also want to scan the family photos I've taken
    over the years or been sent by other family members. This includes a couple
    of thousand negatives or photos from the late 1960s on in a mixture of black
    and white and colour.

    I've never used a scanner for this sort or amount of work before.
    Recommendations on the best scanner to handle this task appreciated. By
    best scanner I'm thinking of ease of use for scanning multiple small
    negatives and photos and a reasonable quality output which won't require too
    much fiddling. I've looked at a couple of scanners with inbuilt negative
    handlers and am wondering how well these work. Would they be suitable for
    the older style negatives and mixed sizes I have? I would like to scan
    multiple negatives or photos at once so I don't spend the next 10 years of
    my spare time scanning. Is this possible and if yes, what equipment do I
    need to manage this?

    I would also appreciate any tips about best handling this amount of work ie.
    how best to set the scanner up for this, do I want highest level quality
    scanning or am I likely to take much less time for a reasonable output if
    I'm not too fussy. What sorts of differences will I get in the scanned
    material with this approach? I have both Photoshop vs 7 and MGI photsuite
    vs 8.05 - haven't used either of these previously which one of these is best
    for working with the scanned photos/negatives?

    Thanks all

    awhiteford, Dec 12, 2004
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  2. awhiteford

    Mike Guest

    Recommendations for that amount of scanning I cant do.
    as for software use photoshop 7.
    I've scanned all sorts of sizes on my scanner
    everything, 110 films 26mm slides and the old kodak photo disk
    from the late 70's using a canon 9900f
    Mike, Dec 12, 2004
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  3. Hi Anne,

    Considering you need to scan 1000s of negative you should consider a proper
    film scanner.

    Not cheap but apparently pretty good is the Nikon CoolScan 8000ED.

    Some reviews at -

    Alan Rutlidge, Dec 12, 2004
  4. awhiteford

    Nige Guest

    nice scanner but won't do the job required unless it can hold single
    negatives of weird sizes.

    For the photos, any half decent flatbed should be ok, but you may need a
    flatbed with neg scanning abilities for the weird sized cut negatives. I
    have many family negs from similar period and a lot of the single negatives
    are not 120 roll film, but all sorts of weird sizes.

    Whatever is possible, it's going to be a big job.

    Nige, Dec 12, 2004
  5. The alternative might be to approach a digital scanning lab for a quote.
    With such a high number of negs to scan professional drum scanning might be
    the better option. I'm thinking not only the cost of a good film scanner
    but the time to scan them involved. Of course if personal time isn't an
    issue I suppose doing them by hand is entirely feasible and economical.

    I'm no expert on the Nikon 8000, but I'm sure it comes with a range of fixed
    and adjustable masks for 120 roll film. Having scanned both transparencies
    and negative on a flatbed scanner with a proper film adapter unit I can
    assure you it is a time consuming and tedious process I'd rather not have to
    do again.

    Alan Rutlidge, Dec 12, 2004
  6. awhiteford

    Nige Guest

    yep, worth the exercise to know what it would cost to compare against the
    cost of buying something(s) and doing it yourself.
    agreed! I've got thousands of scans done this way.. but they've been done
    over many years :)

    Cheers, Nige
    Nige, Dec 13, 2004
  7. awhiteford

    Rob Guest

    You can use a flatbed with a transparency adapter for all these as the
    resolution will not be that good off the old cameras. Get a FB with
    2400dpi think you will find this suffices. You can do multiple scans in
    one hit and divide them up in PS.
    Rob, Dec 14, 2004
  8. awhiteford

    Roger Guest

    My LS5000 ED with the bulk feeder didn't cost a fraction of what it
    would have run to have over 20,000 slides and negatives scanned.
    I have a film/negative capable flat bed (HP 5470c) and a dedicated
    slide/film scanner with the bulk feeder (Nikon LS 5000 ED).

    Having slides and or negatives scanned runs a good 50 cents each
    locally. Some places run closer to a dollar. Either figure makes
    having more than a few scanned quite expensive, but as Nige says,
    scanning is very time consuming. It's time consuming even with the
    bulk feeder. Then you get to edit/process them, develop some sort of
    naming convention, and figure out what to use for a storage medium. might help a bit.
    It covers a good part of the decision making involved in scanning a
    lot of images.

    Although my HP does a reasonable job on slides and negatives, it comes
    up far short of the quality in the LS5000 ED, so I'd use the flat bed
    for that type of work only if the dedicated one had quit working.

    I started a project of scanning "the old family photos" last March. I
    have all the slides done and about 2000 negatives left to go (an

    I still have two large boxes of very old prints that range from
    tintypes to the petrified cardboard. Those boxes are at least 40#
    each, maybe quite a bit more.
    I had about 8 to 10 thousand done on a small scanner. I re scanned
    those along with the rest after purchasing the LS5000 ED

    When working on a batch I usually use the computer to work on
    something else from web browsing to programming. This lets me do the
    scanning more conveniently. Maybe not as fast, but still, it involves
    less work.

    Good luck,

    Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
    (N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
    Roger, Dec 14, 2004
  9. awhiteford

    Roger Guest

    On Tue, 14 Dec 2004 13:46:00 -0500, Roger

    The original post wasn't up when I made my previous post (strange how
    the posts rarely show up in order) so I'd add the Nikon LS 8000 might
    be worth looking into .

    Actually, although not a great scanner, but popular, the old HP S-20
    would probably do any of the photos and negatives up to 5 X 7" or
    about 13 X 18 CM

    I doubt you'll find a flat bed that will do a good job of scanning the
    negatives of odd sizes. Mine has a film holder and that is size

    I'd do a search on scanners to see what is available. would be a starting place to list all scanners
    then do a search on the specific scanners to find one with the
    characteristics you want.

    Another approach would be to contact one of the big retailers such as
    B&H, or one of the big retailers on your side of the pond, and tell
    them what you are after.
    in the UK

    A google search on scanners film and print, returns over 1.5 million
    results so there is a lot of material out there.

    Good luck

    Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
    (N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
    Roger, Dec 15, 2004
  10. awhiteford

    awhiteford Guest

    awhiteford, Dec 18, 2004
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