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Negative Lab Pro

Joined
Jul 22, 2012
Messages
50
Location
Cheshire, CT
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
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Yeah, I just have to set my mind to it. Lately I've been occupied with dusting off my sewing skills for mask making. I've got a lot of work to do in LR even adding keywords and develop adjustments to my best photos for the last 5 years covering about 10 great travel vacations. Just haven't gotten to it yet. Digitizing old photos and negatives has been on the list even longer.

I've been thinking about getting an Epson scanner or the Nikon ES-2 with an adapter for my camera or maybe both to give me more options. Do I really need Silverfast software if I'm going to use LR or PS? I may try out Negative Lab Pro after seeing your results.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,142
Location
Fort Myers, FL
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
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Classic
I've been thinking about getting an Epson scanner or the Nikon ES-2 with an adapter for my camera or maybe both to give me more options. Do I really need Silverfast software if I'm going to use LR or PS? I may try out Negative Lab Pro after seeing your results.
I don't particularly like Silverfast but lots of people love it. I did like Vuescan but I found I could generally do a better job with Photoshop for positives, and for negatives it is a bit easier than photoshop but not really better. Faster maybe.

What you need is driven in part by what you have. If you have stacks of old photos without negatives, a flatbed scanner (I think) is easier than trying to use a copy stand. Unless the photos are large -- if more than 8.5 wide you either need an expensive flatbed or a copy stand. If you have lots of slides, I think the ES-1 is ideal (the ES-2 probably almost as good but it looks slower as it needs a carrier I think). No software other than lightroom required, it's REALLY fast and easy with slides, most of the time is in cropping once in lightroom, and maybe touching up exposure.

Now if you have large negatives (say 220 size) it's a whole different thing, as you need either special holders, a copy stand, a special negative scanner, or a flatbed scanner -- and then you might find VueScan or Silverfast helpful.

Inventory, and google a bit to see photos of people's setups. I'd also suggest in the inventory apply some judgement -- my old photos (without negatives) were almost entirely from an instamatic or brownie or something and were in poor focus. I wanted to keep many of them (lots I tossed) but putting huge effort into a perfect digital copy of an awful quality photo wasn't worth it.
 
Joined
May 17, 2017
Messages
10
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Intermediate
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Classic
I'm using an Epson V500 scanner for my photos, and I'm waiting for the Nikon ES-2 to become available for my slides. After I had scanned about 95% of the photos in my first batch (about 3400 photos) I found negatives for most of the photos. I might use the ES-2 on the negatives of the more important photos to see if I get better results than the scans. I found the Epson Scan software that comes with the scanner to be good for photos, but others like VueScan better. When I looked at Silverfast a couple of years ago, the version you purchase is tied to your scanner. If your scanner breaks and you get a different model, you have to buy a version of Silverfast for the new scanner.

I'd suggest getting the book "Digitizing Your Photos with Your Camera and Lightroom" by Peter Krogh and taking a look at website scanyourentirelife.com. The website is more about scanning photos, but has some interesting thoughts about organizing and file naming.
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2012
Messages
50
Location
Cheshire, CT
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
I will take the earlier advice and pull everything together before making any final decisions. I know I have lots of photos of my children growing up that I want to save but I'm not sure they are in good enough shape to digitize. They have been in albums since the 80's, the kind with "sticky pages" under plastic (I didn't know better then) and the few times I've pulled a photo out in recent years, it has diagonal lines throughout from the pages. I think I still have all the negatives so my first step will be to match negatives to prints, at least by years. Then I'll work on digitizing the negatives and only do prints where there are no negatives. In all cases I do plan on culling first and only doing the best.

I didn't realize Peter Krogh had a book on Digitizing. I'm a big fan of his Organization book so I'll definitely look for it.

Thanks all.
Mickey
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,142
Location
Fort Myers, FL
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Classic
I think I still have all the negatives so my first step will be to match negatives to prints, at least by years. Then I'll work on digitizing the negatives and only do prints where there are no negatives. In all cases I do plan on culling first and only doing the best.
I hope you were more organized. I've been finding negatives all split up. I just found a second roll from the night of my son's birth, the first I did a couple years ago, this was in a separate box. Who knows how they got separated. And probably 5% or less of the negative sleeves are labeled.
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2015
Messages
353
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
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Classic
Scanners vary from about $100 to $1200 in the common range, with $200 getting a pretty decent one (US pricing).
On this, a number of years ago I bought an Epson V500 as a general scanner/copier and one with attachments for slides and film. Unfortunately, the slide scanner only takes 4 slides at a time. A friend lent me his V700 which takes 12 slides at a time. A great time saver especially when I'm initially performing quick-and-dirty scans to thumbnails for review. So, balance price with capacity relative to your volume.

But you need to train yourself to be a digitizer before you dive in fully. Experiment, practice a bit on a small (but representative) sample, figure out what works well, what you can get good at, all the while you are also organizing
I found this advice invaluable. Also, ensure you experiment with POST processing if you are going that route. Most scanners will allow you to select a limited number of adjustments when scanning. If you are just going from scan to file to print, make sure you understand how to use these. If you are going into something like LR then there is no need to use any of the controls except maybe dust control. Epson has a nice ICE technology.

Also understand how to name the scanned files. For some reason, in my youth, I mixed up slides. This has led to many more separate 'batches' in order to load everything into LR properly. My workflow involved loading, scanning, then numbering each slide in a batch to match it's file name suffix. The slide numbers from the developer would not always be of value.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,142
Location
Fort Myers, FL
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
Also understand how to name the scanned files. For some reason, in my youth, I mixed up slides. This has led to many more separate 'batches' in order to load everything into LR properly.
I'd also recommend creating a keyword for each box of slides or sleeve group of negatives (I label each roll with a number, and then each sleeve with a decimal, e.g. sleeve 103.3 is the 3rd sleeve of roll 103). I then put in the roll number (only) as a keyword when I image them in. Or box number for slides. I figure I can look through a roll or box, but this gets me close enough if I ever want to go back to the original.

Alternative #2: Through them out after imaging. But I'm a pack rat. ;)
 
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