Q: Digitizing Slides & Negatives

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Floyd, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. Floyd

    Floyd Guest

    Hello all,

    Another photographer and I are about to create a website, where we can
    display, sell prints, etc. Though we have gone digital, there is a large
    archive of slides and negatives that we need to digitize. I have just begun
    to look around on the web at such services, and to price good scanners.


    Could someone who has been down this road give me any tips and/or
    share your experiences?

    Any help greatly appreciated.

    Thanx, Floyd Moore
    Floyd, Jan 8, 2005
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  2. Floyd

    chrlz Guest

    What's your time worth, and do you !have! much spare time? I have done
    a lot of film scanning, and it takes a long learning curve to get
    consistently good results. If you have a large number to scan at high
    resolution, you will need a fast scanner with batch scanning = money.

    I would look to a professional bureau first, but admittedly, good ones
    that don't charge an arm and a leg are very rare.

    Alternatively, why not get your archive scanned at a low-resolution
    first, for cataloging, and then get yourself one of the newer mid-range
    (ie not high speed) high-res film scanners? Then you can resign
    yourself to only scanning the images as you need them.. All depends on
    your business model I guess.
    chrlz, Jan 9, 2005
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  3. Floyd

    paul Guest

    Maybe consider an adapter for your camera which is a whole lot faster
    for getting tiny web images then send out as needed to have them done
    for actual prints. Scanning is slow tedious (or expensive) work.
    paul, Jan 10, 2005
  4. Floyd

    Rob Novak Guest

    I personally use a Minolta Scan Elite 5400 for my 35mm stock. It runs
    in the low $600's street. The Nikon 4000dpi equivalent (the Coolscan
    V-ED) is about $575. For web stuff, I typically scan at lower
    resolutions (300-400dpi) with no noise or scratch reduction. Same for
    index sheets. By doing this, I can batch-scan a 36-exposure set of
    slides or negatives in about 10 minutes (USB 2.0, 3.0GHz P4, 512MB

    When it comes to enlargements, however, I scan at much higher (2400+
    dpi depending on final print size) resolutions in 24-bit mode with ICE
    turned on - much bigger files and much slower scanning times.

    My recommendation would be a dedicated film scanner, batch scanning at
    faster speeds for cataloging, and only scan at max resolution/depth
    with retouching features when you need to make a production print.

    If you can afford it, a scanner with a slide feeder option (like the
    Nikon Coolscan 5000) would allow you to stack the hopper full, set for
    batch scan, and walk away. However, that's a $1500 setup.
    Rob Novak, Jan 11, 2005
  5. Floyd

    Mike Owens Guest

    Time vs. money. The less time it takes to scan them in, the more money
    it will cost in general.

    Thus, unless you have a large budget, I would go for the best quality
    within my budget. I use a Minolta Scan Elite 5400 to scan my negatives
    in. (I don't have very many slides.) It has high resolution and good
    output (other user's opinions will vary) but can be slow at full
    resolution with ICE, anywhere from 3 to 15 min. per frame. Mine seems
    to average around 8 min/frame. It's hard to beat for the price though.

    I agree with Rob about scaning index prints at low res. These would be
    good enough to show on the web. If you scan the full frame for an
    output of 800x600, the scan time per frame should be around a minute
    (no ICE).

    When someone orders a picture I would scan that at the full resolution
    (5400dpi) with ICE. This will give you an image around 7440x4960
    (cropping to just picture) and will save to a TIFF file of about 108
    MB. An equivalent PNG file will be from 50-80MB.

    If you do all of your corrections/edits to this max res file then you
    can resize it to create individual files for any print size without
    having to rescan. This saves a tremendous amount of time. (By the way,
    save an untouched copy of the original scan just in case.)

    Purists will probably tell you to scan for each desired resolution, but
    most people won't be able to tell the difference in a print, even if
    they use a loupe.
    Mike Owens, Jan 11, 2005
  6. Floyd

    Rob Novak Guest

    Wow - that's slow. It takes under 30 seconds per frame for me (even
    on my old Athlon box) with grain reduction and auto-color adjustment
    turned on (no ICE, though). That includes frame-to-frame transport
    Rob Novak, Jan 13, 2005
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