Scanner for Scanning Snapshot Photo Prints

Discussion in 'Scanners' started by Larry, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. Larry

    Larry Guest

    I'm looking for the "best" scanner for scanning old photo's - all snapshot
    prints with a maximum size of 4x6 - mostly smaller..

    By best I mean something that will help me do this job quickly, I must have
    a couple thousand old pictures that have been mostly sitting in envelopes
    from processors waiting to be put in albums for the last 20 years. I'd love
    to scan these all, but it would take more time than I have available with
    the scanner I use now.

    Is there any type of scanner that will scan these old photos quickly,
    automatically adjusting to size of the print and such? Has anyone done a
    project like this and have any recommendations?

    If not, is there any place on the internet, other than this newsgroup, where
    you can point me for more information on this type of scanning project -
    another discussion group or website perhaps.

    Larry, Jun 10, 2005
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  2. Larry

    Big Bill Guest

    Big Bill, Jun 10, 2005
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  3. Larry

    Jeremy Guest

    I've done this work, and the scanner is by far not the factor that takes the
    most time--it is the post-scan tweaking.

    I use an HP ScanJet flatbed scanner, which is no better and no worse than
    any other model that can do the job. But there is so much that can be done
    to enhance the image after scanning that you probably will not want to just
    scan them and store them in their unedited condition.

    Figure a minimum of 10 minutes per photo, for scanning, tweaking and burning
    to disk.

    Also, remember to store your original unedited scan files. They are the
    digital equivalent of a negative. In the future, as your skills or the
    functionality of your editing software improves, you may want to reedit
    those images and get much better results.

    Finally, I recommend that you do not let your scanning software make any
    kind of corrections at the time of the scan. Do no sharpening, cgange no
    brightness or contrast levels, do not adjust the color balance. Just take a
    baseline scan, set at default levels, and doo all the tweaking in your
    editing software. I have found Paint Shop Pro to be more than up to the
    task when it comes to enhancing old photos, and there are numerous tutorials
    on the web that will show you what steps to take.

    Keep the original scanned file in uncomressed TIF format, in case you decide
    to reedit later. Don't use a lossy format like JPEG. You may use lossy
    format on the edited version if you need to conserve file size, because you
    always can reedit your original TIF files in the future.

    For archival purposes, the original, unedited scan files are probably more
    important than the edited versions. Whatever condition your original prints
    are in, they will never be any better than they are right now. Your scan
    files should try to preserve as much of the image as possible, for long-term
    archiving. You have more leeway with the edited files, because you can
    always re-do them if you choose.

    It is not going to be a quick task, and you need to prepare yourself for
    lots of boredom. And, don't forget to handle the original prints wearing
    white cotton gloves, and be careful not to bend the photos, as older prints
    can easily crack or crease.

    Check for excellent hints on scanning.

    And you thought you could do it all in just a couple of evenings, eh?????
    Jeremy, Jun 11, 2005
  4. Larry

    Larry Guest

    Jeremy: Thanks for the comments, but about 10 minutes a picture is what
    I'm trying to avoid, that's why I'm looking for a speedier alternative. I
    have probably close to 2 thousand old snapshot photos and don't have 300
    hours to spend on the project. I realize I might be sacrificing perfection
    for speed, but I just want some way to look at and share these old photo's
    and feel some sort of scanning is preferable to spending time putting them
    in albums.
    Larry, Jun 14, 2005
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