View Full Version : Photo Scanner Options
02-16-2007, 03:50 PM
I did a quick search and I don't believe this has been previously discussed.
I've got boxes of 35mm negatives and prints which I would like to scan and save to my PC. What would be more economical and time-saving: purchase a scanner or send the negatives and prints off to a service and have them do it for me? I wouldn't mind scanning them myself. However I've heard that scanning pics can be a time consuming process.
Any scanner recommendations or online/mail order scanning services you like?
02-16-2007, 04:41 PM
I've got boxes of 35mm negatives and prints which I would like to scan and save to my PC. What would be more economical and time-saving: purchase a scanner or send the negatives and prints off to a service and have them do it for me?
Couple of things for you. It's simpler to just send 'em out. It won't be economical, but it will likely be less than buying two scanners - for prints and negatives, you need different scanners. I've been down this road . . .
A flatbed to do the prints, and a film/slide scanner to do the negatives. Some flatbed scanners will do slides and negatives very poorly. So don't bother getting one scanner to do both jobs. Konica-Minolta makes a very affordable and decent slide/film scanner in the $200-$300 range. Negative scanning is tedious; dust, scratches, and color management takes time.
You could also just take that $300 and spend it on a scanning service. But I would recommend locating a photo lab near you and just get pricing on scan services.
Sending your negatives out for scanning won't be cheap because your negs are most likely cut - as in you have a bunch of negatives that were cut into strips with 4 or 5 frames on them, right? Labs don't like to scan from cut negatives, so they charge a premium for it.
As for prints, you could probably get those scanned at a Kinkos or something. Or you might know someone with a flatbed scanner.
Afterthought: Color management software - you're definitely going to need something if you do you own scanning because scanners aren't perfect. They often foul up the colors a little and they don't provide much for sharpness; Photoshop (or something similar) will help greatly.
Hope it helps,
02-16-2007, 04:50 PM
Most calculations I've read say to figure $0.50 to $1 per slide, depending on quality. So assume you want a very good scan at 4000 dpi, and it's a $1 per slide . . .
Minolta has made some very well regarded scanners. . . the Nikon Coolscan IV or V, the Minolta Dual III, IV and Elite III, IV or a couple of the Epson Perfections (no idea about model numbers).
All my photos at my website were scanned with the Minolta Dual IV. It's a fine scanner, but won't do prints.
News: the local lab here wants $0.30 per frame on cut negatives. Here's a pricing sheet. (http://tempecamera.com/lab/lab_prices.html)
I don't think that's too bad actually. For a one-time job. They won't be high-res that you can make great prints from, though.
02-16-2007, 05:05 PM
I've never had a lot of luck scanning prints, so I went the film scanner route and deal with the neg directly
Me too. Prints get scratched soooo easily. Plus it seems like flatbed scanners crank the contrast so scanned prints look like junk most of the time.
Looks like you've learned the same thing I have about scanning slides: it's a good excuse to close the door, listen to music, and get drunk alone.
02-16-2007, 05:13 PM
I'm going to be scanning tons of old photos this year from both sides of the family.
I want to do this for posterity, not necessarily with an emphasis on high quality.
I'm starting out with an HP 3310 all-in-one and will eventually upgrade to something else when I am more familiar with the process.
I've got the Epson model kinda like this one. (http://www.steves-digicams.com/2002_reviews/epson_2450.html)
I can't remember which model, but that's the form factor.
This one actually does a great job of both print and slides. It uses a replacable top that is either opaque or has a light in it. It is this light that shines through the slide/negative and onto the sensor below, as opposed to the refletive method used for solid prints (where the light is shined from below, bounces of a picture and returns to the sensor). This takes care of the problem Mark noted, because you can't get a good image when bouncing light from below a negative, you have to pass it through just like making a print.
What's great about it is a couple of things:
1. It has 4 or 5 plastic templates for 2x2 slides, cut negatives, medium format slides/negatives and 4x5 negatives (I think). So you load up a tray, place it on the glass and close the lid.
2. The software is either really easy or more complex, depending on what you want to do. It has a one-touch mode for just scanning in some document or easy picture. It also has a lot of lattitude for fine-tuning slide scans.
I bought it for getting a bunch of slides into the computer initially and now it's mainly used for one off scans, so it has plenty of utility.
02-16-2007, 06:08 PM
Thanks guys, I appreciate all the input. You've all given me alot to think about over the weekend and to re-read your suggestions.
02-20-2007, 12:22 AM
One other option to look into. My dad (now 90) had a ton of 35mm slides from WWII to the present. To digitize them, he bought an adaptor for his Nikon digital camera and used that to take a picture of each slide and then save it as a JPG image on his PC. Now keep in mind, this process is one at a time and will take a while if you have a lot to process. In his case, he had plenty of time and has digitzed over 4000 slides now. :-) Pretty sweet! The quality of the images have been impressive.
PS. Sorry, I just re-read your post and realized you are asking about negatives and prints. With prints a scanner is the obvious solution. I still have a old HP 4C 1200 DPI scanner that works great. Negatives can also be scanned but you could send out the negatives and have them digitized professionaly if they are important.
01-05-2008, 04:26 PM
I'm glad I searched and found this thread. Thanks to everyone who has contributed here. I have taken on the lead for my family to scan in the family history so we can all have access. Everything from my Dad's early bull-riding photos in the 50s, WW2 pictures from my grandfather, and tons of prints from everything in between. Researching scanners is a lot of work.
A lot of us have old expedition pictures, maybe OJ can do a comparison on scanners sometime. :)
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