Flatbed Scanner Questions

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FWIW, I'm on the same mission to scan my own, as well as family slides, negatives and pictures.

At the moment, I'm going to start with my Epson V500 with some slides. I'm just going to use the Epson Scanning Software and as starting point, using Film to Digital – Scanning Essentials 101 . From a reply to a post here, I also purchased Digitizing Your Pictures with Your Camera and Lightroom. I'm not planning on using my camera but found the reading of why to use a camera interesting. It does have some good points for organizing your collection. I have not got into the use in LR.

I have glanced at VueScan and SilverFast but have not found a compelling reason to use them until the Epson does not deliver.

A friend is lending me his V700 so I can do 12 instead of 4 at a time slide scanning. I understand the slowest aspect of it but am only scanning those images I feel I will do something with. The rest I'll just index as groups.
I will be curious to hear your experiences and what choices you make. As I am not sure which images will have value to others, culling is not going to be an easy task. That was why I am leaning towards some middle ground. Just wish I was retired and had some time to devote to this. Was a few years away from it, and with my retirement savings hit my market declines, I am probably a few additional years away. I am grateful I still have a job, but I have a number of health issues that tend to rob me of free time these days, so I am trying to reassess this project so it does not go untouched.

--Ken
 

sty2586

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My two cents to the task of slide copying.
Did you think about this version:

I did it similar but following another guy's experiences and had quite good results in very short time. The very detailed instuctions are there:

but they are German language, maybe Google translator can help.

Happy Easter from Vienna/Austria
Franz
 
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I will be curious to hear your experiences and what choices you make. As I am not sure which images will have value to others, culling is not going to be an easy task.
Well, I'm starting with my own images so it's easy to cull. However, with respect to the family treasury, I hear you about the challenge of culling. It will be awhile before I get there. Still in the early stages.
Just wish I was retired and had some time to devote to this
I retired about a year ago and didn't have time to tackle this while I'm was working either. Circumstances now give me more time at home to start.
I have a number of health issues that tend to rob me of free time these days, so I am trying to reassess this project so it does not go untouched
Sorry to hear that Ken. I have no serious health issues other than finding I'm slowing down. I'm trying to document everything so that if I don't finished, and someone else in the family feels so inclined, they have a starting point.
 
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My two cents to the task of slide copying.
Now these are a bit of brilliant Franz!Thanks for sharing.

That approach would work well for slides but not negatives or prints. Still, someone could likely set up a cottage business by building one of these then advertising slide copying services.
 

Klaas

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Two years ago I started scanning slides, negatives and prints and I faced the same problems as discussed here. I bought a slide scanner, a used Nikon Coolscan V ED. A flatbed scanner was already available. And now - what scan software for both scanners? I tested Silverfast and Nikon Scan for the Nikon Coolscan and Vuescan for both scanners. And finally - how to organize the thousends of files?

The old Nikon Scan software works fine, even with Win 10. But handling was a bit outdated. And what software for the flatbed and for organizing?

Silverfast is a not only a scan software but also it is for editing the scanned pictures. And this editing I found a bit too complicated. May be that it can deliver perfect results but it needs a lot of time to get familiar with it, I assume. With SF I wood have needed two versions for two different scanners. And what software for the flatbed and for organizing?

Vuescan works fine with both scanners, with slides, negatives and with prints. Only minor adjustments are possible, so it ist easy to use. From my point of view it is a scan software, and not more and that is, what I looked for. For editing a scanned picture another software should be used, specialized for editing and easy to use.

So my solution was the combination of Vuescan and Lightroom. VS for scanning, LR for editing and organizing. Worked fine for my meanwhile scanned 10,000 pictures. And about 10,000 others are still waiting.

I dind't use a camera for the task, I stayed with the two scanners, since in combination with a scan software dust and scratches of a slide or a negative can be wiped out autoamatically.

Klaas
 
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Two years ago I started scanning slides, negatives and prints and I faced the same problems as discussed here. I bought a slide scanner, a used Nikon Coolscan V ED. A flatbed scanner was already available. And now - what scan software for both scanners? I tested Silverfast and Nikon Scan for the Nikon Coolscan and Vuescan for both scanners. And finally - how to organize the thousends of files?

The old Nikon Scan software works fine, even with Win 10. But handling was a bit outdated. And what software for the flatbed and for organizing?

Silverfast is a not only a scan software but also it is for editing the scanned pictures. And this editing I found a bit too complicated. May be that it can deliver perfect results but it needs a lot of time to get familiar with it, I assume. With SF I wood have needed two versions for two different scanners. And what software for the flatbed and for organizing?

Vuescan works fine with both scanners, with slides, negatives and with prints. Only minor adjustments are possible, so it ist easy to use. From my point of view it is a scan software, and not more and that is, what I looked for. For editing a scanned picture another software should be used, specialized for editing and easy to use.

So my solution was the combination of Vuescan and Lightroom. VS for scanning, LR for editing and organizing. Worked fine for my meanwhile scanned 10,000 pictures. And about 10,000 others are still waiting.

I dind't use a camera for the task, I stayed with the two scanners, since in combination with a scan software dust and scratches of a slide or a negative can be wiped out autoamatically.

Klaas
This is a somewhat similar arrangement to some of the older equipment that I have. I picked up a Nikon Coolscan LS-40 a number of years ago, and it can still be used with VueScan under Win10. When I eventually get to scanning my own work, which includes negatives and transparencies, this will probably be where I start, although digital cameras have become reasonable alternatives for scanning. I like your work flow and will probably look at something similar. It looks like it is going to be a lot of work, more than I originally anticipated given the time required for good scans, so a wholesale conversion is probably not likely. Right now, I am trying to work out some reasonable approach to the prints at hand.

--Ken
 
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New member here with first post - hello everybody! Interesting that this thread from 2012 has been revived and is obviously still generating interest. There is lots of jolly good advice so far.

I have been doing a lot of scanning of old negatives so I wondered if a few tips born of experience might be useful. I have been using an Epson V750 scanner (flatbed with a light lid) for more than 10 years and it is still going strong. I learnt a few things from doing large batches of 35mm negatives, I started with about 15 years worth of photos of the local rugby club, so here is what I found. Of course your circumstances and needs will be different but there might be something useful here.

Number 1 - If you are doing a lot of stuff, have a good think before you even start about how you are going to organise the files. Whether you use folders or Lightroom keywords/collections just depends on your normal workflow. But what you need is a way to organise the stuff, and possibly relate it back to the originals in case you want to go back and scan again. If you have a draw full of unsorted unlabelled originals, it will be far better to organise it all first - the process of turning it into bits and bytes will be relatively low down the list of problems!

Number 2: If you have lots to do, you can decide whether to sort out what you want to keep earlier or later. I am a hopeless judge of what other people will find interesting, so I scan the lot. For that, there is no point in scanning at the best quality as it will take for ever, and then some, and will generate huge volumes of data. For high-resolution scanning to be worthwhile you really need to clean up the originals first. My approach was to scan at 1200dpi (one of the scanner's preset resolutions) and not bother about doing individual adjustments. The files that come out are around half a megabyte, quite dusty and fluffy, big enough to see what's there but small enough to be manageable. These just serve as an index of what you've got, then when you identify something interesting you can go full blast on the ones you really want. It may even be that the most cost-effective way to deal with that is to get them scanned professionally.

Number 3: If your scanner has holders for negs or slides, get hold of another one. Loading them up beforehand and emptying them afterwards can be a bit fiddly and time-consuming, if you have two you can be loading up the next batch while the previous lot is scanning, which can save a lot of time. Scanning is a slow and boring job, you don't want to make it take any longer than it has to. I just phoned up Epson and asked for one, the spare film carrier cost about a tenner if memory serves, and I think they are fairly easy to find on eBay.

Hope this helps ... John
 
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Great tips John, welcome to the forum!
 
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Number 2: If you have lots to do, you can decide whether to sort out what you want to keep earlier or later. I am a hopeless judge of what other people will find interesting, so I scan the lot. For that, there is no point in scanning at the best quality as it will take for ever, and then some, and will generate huge volumes of data. For high-resolution scanning to be worthwhile you really need to clean up the originals first. My approach was to scan at 1200dpi (one of the scanner's preset resolutions) and not bother about doing individual adjustments. The files that come out are around half a megabyte, quite dusty and fluffy, big enough to see what's there but small enough to be manageable. These just serve as an index of what you've got, then when you identify something interesting you can go full blast on the ones you really want. It may even be that the most cost-effective way to deal with that is to get them scanned professionally.
Welcome. In the spirit of wanting to measure twice and cut once, I had hoped to do proper scans for archiving and then pull derivatives fro posting with the family. It seems like an efficient, approach, but I suspect my output would be so little as to frustrate everybody. I am now seeking a workflow similar to what you are describing. Scan quickly and see what needs to be re-scanned with proper attention. it does mean doing things twice, but I may actually keep folks better engaged, and that is important as well.

--Ken
 
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From some recent tests, I realize I can likely cull slides on the slide reader light box but negatives need to go through the scan to see what they are.
 
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From some recent tests, I realize I can likely cull slides on the slide reader light box but negatives need to go through the scan to see what they are.
If you do not have a loupe, a 50 mm used in reverse will sometimes do the trick for culling slides.

--Ken
 
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Welcome. In the spirit of wanting to measure twice and cut once, I had hoped to do proper scans for archiving and then pull derivatives fro posting with the family. It seems like an efficient, approach, but I suspect my output would be so little as to frustrate everybody. I am now seeking a workflow similar to what you are describing. Scan quickly and see what needs to be re-scanned with proper attention. it does mean doing things twice, but I may actually keep folks better engaged, and that is important as well.

--Ken
Exactly. I think a key thing is that as photographers we are very concerned - perhaps too much so - with image quality. For most people they just want to see the pictures. As long as they can see the one of Auntie Mabel face-down in the wedding cake they will be happy! And if someone wants to make a print, or you discover a long-forgotten masterpiece, it is no great hardship to make individual high quality scans.

I forgot to mention software. I have been using the supplied Epson Scan software, and in "Professional mode" I find it fine. For bulk scans I just let it take all the default settings. I think it applies some fairly basic tonal adjustments. The only thing I normally do after preview and before scan is rotate them into the right orientation, then scan and save the results as 8-bit JPEG files. The Epson Scan workflow is OK, you tell it folder to save the scans into and give it a file name prefix and starting number and it just saves them with the numbers going up incrementally in 1's. I try to match the file name with the number on the side of the negative strip. This doesn't always work perfectly - sometimes if the negs are very thin it will miss some out and you have to adjust, and sometimes you want the numbers to be 001A etc. rather than 001 but these are easy enough to correct manually. LR or Adobe Bridge can automatically rename the files to stick an A on the end. I even found some very old negs which looked as if they were numbered for half-frame because the 35mm frame numbers went up in 2's - that was a pain as the scan software won't let you set that increment and I couldn't figure out how to automate it in LR or Bridge and had to do it manually.

For high quality stuff with 35mm slides and negs I use a very old Nikon Coolscan V with the Nikon Scan software. It is pretty slow but gives good results most of the time. I have used the Epson flatbed a very small number of times for medium format negatives and got astonishingly good results. I can't remember the details but I think I just let it take default options for tonal adjustment, scanned at something like 2400dpi and saved the result as 16-bit TIFFs which gives plenty of food for Photoshop to work on.

John
 

Roelof Moorlag

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My approach was to scan at 1200dpi (one of the scanner's preset resolutions) and not bother about doing individual adjustments. The files that come out are around half a megabyte, quite dusty and fluffy, big enough to see what's there but small enough to be manageable. These just serve as an index of what you've got, then when you identify something interesting you can go full blast on the ones you really want
Exactly what my approach was 10 years ago! I wrote a (dutch) blog about my experience with the Epson V700 and Epson Scan software (on my negatives).
 
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Exactly what my approach was 10 years ago! I wrote a (dutch) blog about my experience with the Epson V700 and Epson Scan software (on my negatives).
It sounds as though we were doing the same thing at the same time, Roelof! Once I got the workflow sorted out it worked really well, and several times since I have used it to to do (relatively) quick & dirty scans of batches of films.

John
 

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The one thing I am still trying to better come to terms with if I want a more convenient, but still decent scan, is 300 vs 600 PPI. @Conrad Chavez mentioned that most newer display are high resolution. If that is the case and 600 is actually a better scan than 300, then 600 is the choice. But, if 300 is really the limit of a print, is 600 on a high resolution monitor any better than a 300 at 200%?

--Ken
I have scanned photos from the past 100+ years and found the best resolution by trial and error. Start at 300 dpi by all means, but I found that even those old, Victorian photos have pretty good quality to them, so 600 (or more) has been fine. I would guess that most were taken professionally (if by itinerant photographers at the seaside), it was later that the quality dropped off as cameras became more ubiquitous and people took their own pictures (can be awful) and did their own processing (often pretty good).

I aim to get as many on the flat bed scanner as will fit and then tell the scanner where they all are, it doesn't take very long at all, once you get going.
 
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My readings suggest that the DPI/PPI to select will be based on any potential print size you want. From a DAM Forum (sorry lost link). Yes, if you are just producing thumb nails or for display on screens, the DPI can be lower.

"For example, my thought process would be, I want to make 12 x 18 in prints, on my injet printer, I usually print at 240 dpi on my inkjets (some like to print at 300 or 360 dpi and there are good arguements for each resolution). This requires one to need 2880 pixels on the narrow side and 4320 on the long side. I would go ahead and choose 3000 dpi as the resolution for the scan as that will allow you to crop out some of the rebate (there will likely be a black border on the sides of your scan). "
 
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I have scanned photos from the past 100+ years and found the best resolution by trial and error. Start at 300 dpi by all means, but I found that even those old, Victorian photos have pretty good quality to them, so 600 (or more) has been fine. I would guess that most were taken professionally (if by itinerant photographers at the seaside), it was later that the quality dropped off as cameras became more ubiquitous and people took their own pictures (can be awful) and did their own processing (often pretty good).

I aim to get as many on the flat bed scanner as will fit and then tell the scanner where they all are, it doesn't take very long at all, once you get going.
This was my thought as well. I used VueScan to do a few test runs to compare the same image scanned at 300 and 600. When viewed side-by side at the same size on screen, they both looked about the same. Now that does not account for post processing, down sampling or enlarging, but it does tell me that 300ppi is sufficient for quick viewing on the web.

--Ken
 
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My readings suggest that the DPI/PPI to select will be based on any potential print size you want. From a DAM Forum (sorry lost link). Yes, if you are just producing thumb nails or for display on screens, the DPI can be lower.

"For example, my thought process would be, I want to make 12 x 18 in prints, on my injet printer, I usually print at 240 dpi on my inkjets (some like to print at 300 or 360 dpi and there are good arguements for each resolution). This requires one to need 2880 pixels on the narrow side and 4320 on the long side. I would go ahead and choose 3000 dpi as the resolution for the scan as that will allow you to crop out some of the rebate (there will likely be a black border on the sides of your scan). "
My question with this approach, which common sense tells me is the preferred one, would be - is the IQ any different than upsampling an image with good software? I do not feel that I have enough experience with either method to make that determination right now. I have upsampled a few digital files for large prints, but the subject matter was very forgiving when viewed at close range.

--Ken
 
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is the IQ any different than upsampling an image with good software?
That's a good question. In this post, the author talks about his experience with my scanner and when to use upsampling software. The question that I don't have the answer to is how a scanner physically takes scan's at different DPI. The author seems of suggest a speed spot of around 3200dpi for the V500.

So, to your question, could the answer be the difference between the scanning DPI and upsampling be the former provides more information about the image rather than having to extrapolate?
 
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That's a good question. In this post, the author talks about his experience with my scanner and when to use upsampling software. The question that I don't have the answer to is how a scanner physically takes scan's at different DPI. The author seems of suggest a speed spot of around 3200dpi for the V500.

So, to your question, could the answer be the difference between the scanning DPI and upsampling be the former provides more information about the image rather than having to extrapolate?
Looking forward to reading the whole series of articles you linked to when I get a chance.

--Ken
 
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The old Nikon Scan software works fine, even with Win 10. But handling was a bit outdated. And what software for the flatbed and for organizing?

Klaas
Klaas - please tell me how you get the Nikon Scan software to work with Windows 10.

I have a Nikon 5000 ED and Nikon 4.0 software, and I have to keep an old Windows 7 laptop running, just for scanning.

Thanks very much,
Regards

Kelvin
 
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The main problem with Win 10 is that it refuses to recognise the driver - it says it is "unsigned". It is a bit of a faff to get it working but it can be done, I will dig around for my old notes later if nobody updates the thread in the meantime.

Nikon have done us no favours by dropping support fore these old drivers - and Windows doesn't help, every time it does a major update I have to go through the process of persuading it to accept the driver again.

John
 
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Thanks John.... it would be good to be able to get it working with Windows 10, although as I mentioned, I do keep an older Windows 7 laptop going for scanning (and I even have a Windows XP machine still running for Akai software on my 24-track Akai DPS-24 HD recorder !). It’s annoying when big manufacturers leave us in the lurch, when they discontinue products.....
 
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