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Old Jun 8, 2012, 03:42 AM   #1
Sue De Nimes
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A family photo achival project - what do I need?

OK - I am buying an iMac next week. (Top end 27" model)

I have a project I want to work on over the next while. I have several thousand pictures I want to archive. They are family photos which go back to over 100 years ago. Most of them are 1970s onwards but quite a lot of earlier stuff. I have a mixture of prints (in various states of repair) as well as 35mm and 120 films.

What I want to do is restore these photos as well as I can. I want to scan, remove cracks, tears etc and also restore faded colours. I want these photos to be achievable at the highest quality.

What software do I need and what hardware do I need? I currently have a Samsung SCX-4825FN multifunction device. I have come to the conclusion the scanner on this will not be up to the task. I have considered buying a dedicated film scanner and have looked at this. I have also considered buying a specialist flatbed for the prints that have no negatives (and for the 120s)

Software wise I have been considering Aperture. Will that do everything I need and is it the best bet? I have zero experience in this type of work. I am pretty IT savvy so I am happy to learn how to do things.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 03:50 AM   #2
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I'd break this down into a few steps

1) Capture. You will hate this. Sorry but that's the truth. I shoot some film and I hate the scanning phase. A single 36 exposure 35mm film can take a few hours to scan (). If you need to scan 120 films you are either looking at expensive pro-level film scanners or a flatbed. The scanner you linked to is 35mm only. I'd get on ebay and look for a used Epson v900. That's what I've got and I'm very happy with the results. I use Vuescan which I find works well

2) Repair. Depending on how rough your images are you may find that you don't need much here. If they are colour negative then the dust removal features of the scanner may work. Aperture might be usable for removing/fixing cracks and tears but I suspect you'll really want Photoshop or some sort of specialised tool

3) Enhancement and cataloguing. Aperture should be fine for this.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 04:04 AM   #3
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Before you get recommendations for the hardware/software you will need for the job, can I suggest that you consider editing down this collection of images... from "several thousands" to, say, the best 250, if only to save your own sanity.

The task you envisage is enormous. How much time are you willing to devote to it? Consider a tightly-edited collection of pix, and how interesting this might be to future family members... rather than a rambling, endless archive of family snaps of variable quality.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 04:09 AM   #4
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I agree about being selective. There is no point scanning thousands of photos if you end up only looking at 20.

Also have you considered paying someone else to do the scanning. They could deliver you high resolution TIFFs so you could do your own repair/enhancement.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 04:15 AM   #5
Sue De Nimes
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Originally Posted by robbieduncan View Post
I agree about being selective. There is no point scanning thousands of photos if you end up only looking at 20.

Also have you considered paying someone else to do the scanning. They could deliver you high resolution TIFFs so you could do your own repair/enhancement.
I have thought about paying someone else to do it but the costs rocket.

I don't intend doing this over a bank holiday weekend - I appreciate it will be a long process. It will be something to occupy me over the next few years.

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Originally Posted by robbieduncan View Post
I'd break this down into a few steps

1) Capture. You will hate this. Sorry but that's the truth. I shoot some film and I hate the scanning phase. A single 36 exposure 35mm film can take a few hours to scan (). If you need to scan 120 films you are either looking at expensive pro-level film scanners or a flatbed. The scanner you linked to is 35mm only. I'd get on ebay and look for a used Epson v900. That's what I've got and I'm very happy with the results. I use Vuescan which I find works well

2) Repair. Depending on how rough your images are you may find that you don't need much here. If they are colour negative then the dust removal features of the scanner may work. Aperture might be usable for removing/fixing cracks and tears but I suspect you'll really want Photoshop or some sort of specialised tool

3) Enhancement and cataloguing. Aperture should be fine for this.
1. When you say a couple of hours for a single 35mm film do you mean a complete roll or a single frame? I had been thinking about the plustek for the 35mm stuff and then selling it on EBAY to fund a flatbed for the rest.

2. Most of them are just going to be faded. There will only be a handful of older photos that need a lot of work. Can I do touchups in Photoshop Elements or similar and then import the photos into Aperture? Am I thinking about that all wrong?
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 04:51 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Sue De Nimes View Post
1. When you say a couple of hours for a single 35mm film do you mean a complete roll or a single frame? I had been thinking about the plustek for the 35mm stuff and then selling it on EBAY to fund a flatbed for the rest.

2. Most of them are just going to be faded. There will only be a handful of older photos that need a lot of work. Can I do touchups in Photoshop Elements or similar and then import the photos into Aperture? Am I thinking about that all wrong?
1. A complete roll. But I am scanning each individual image one at a time. I preview the set of 4 strips and then crop to each image and scan. I find this gives the best colour balance at the end otherwise the software/scanner try and balance across all images which does not look as good. This is using a v900 and vuescan

2. Yes. You can even import them all to Aperture and set Elements as your external editor.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 04:55 AM   #7
Sue De Nimes
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I can't see a v900 anywhere online. I have checked EBAY and zip.

Was that a better scanner than the current top end 750? Is there much of a difference? The v750 costs over 500 which is more than I ideally wanted to spend.

The v600 and v500 are available at a lot less. What sort of things would I lose out with going with one of those?

I have also been looking at the Canon 9000F which seems to get good reviews.

Last edited by Sue De Nimes; Jun 8, 2012 at 05:01 AM.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 05:04 AM   #8
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Sorry. I meant v700 rather than v900. The difference between the 700 and the 750 is reasonably minor, especially if you don't intend using the supplied software.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 05:19 AM   #9
Sue De Nimes
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Sorry. I meant v700 rather than v900. The difference between the 700 and the 750 is reasonably minor, especially if you don't intend using the supplied software.
What about the differences between the 700 and the lower end 600 and 500? What am I missing at the lower end? There is quite a big difference in price.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 05:24 AM   #10
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The v700 and v750 were created to be the best possible flatbeds for photo and negative scanning. When I was looking into this last year they were still the best option for a flatbed despite being over 5 years old. The lower end scanners don't offer the same output image quality. If you are looking for archival quality I'd say the minimum you can consider is a v700. I'm sure lots of people would say no flatbed can really claim this and you need dedicated film scanners. But one that supports 120 film will be more than a v700 most likely.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 05:27 AM   #11
Sue De Nimes
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If I am scanning with the v700 what sort of DPI should I scan at? Should I bother with Digital ICE?
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 05:33 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Sue De Nimes View Post
If I am scanning with the v700 what sort of DPI should I scan at? Should I bother with Digital ICE?
I suggest you go and read some tutorials about this. It's not something that anyone can give a simple answer to. ICE, for example, does not work with some types of input (almost any B&W negative for example). As to resolution. It depends. It's tempting to say the absolute max with multi-pass as you are archiving...
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 05:37 AM   #13
Sue De Nimes
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Will do
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 08:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robbieduncan View Post
I suggest you go and read some tutorials about this. It's not something that anyone can give a simple answer to. ICE, for example, does not work with some types of input (almost any B&W negative for example). As to resolution. It depends. It's tempting to say the absolute max with multi-pass as you are archiving...
Scanning at the absolute max dpi will create really large files(If I recall correctly hundreds of megabytes), while the optical output will not be better. Also the scanning time will be significantly larger.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 08:21 AM   #15
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Scanning at the absolute max dpi will create really large files(If I recall correctly hundreds of megabytes), while the optical output will not be better. Also the scanning time will be significantly larger.
I agree. As I said it's tempting to blindly suggest this. The implication I was trying to make was that the obvious/simple answer is not likely to be correct and research will be required.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 09:43 AM   #16
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Just thought I should add in that I scan 120 film using my Canon 8800f.

I have easily scanned 20mp plus with this. Normally I scan at something like 600dpi if it's a good photo (well good to me! )
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 10:52 AM   #17
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Hi Sue,

It's a task filled job, but very rewarding in the end.

1. As others have said, trim down your photos. You could do it as you go along as well. (ie. just take 1 photo of someone's birthday instead scanning more of the same event).

2. Epson scanners are great. V700 or V900 - fantastic.

3. Try to find a Nikon Coolscan 5000 if you can. It will do your negatives and filmstrips for 35mm (if you have filmstrips - so much better than paper for quality as the strips have probably been untouched so less dirt, nicks, scrapes etc.. on it). There's a higher end Nikon scanner as well which does larger negative formats.

4. Photoshop is your friend. Hands down should be your #1 priority. Simply the best for retouching.

5. A few books for retouching photographs - I bought Photographs - Restoration and Retouching by Katrina Eismann.

6. Wacom tablet. I used the medium size. Small one is really small. Using a mouse will take you a ridiculously longer time to edit any image. The Wacom has preset buttons to load common used keys (ie. contrast adjustment, retouching tools). Instead of my time being used looking at the keyboard, I'm looking at my images with my left hand on the presets and the pen in my right hand working incredibly fast.

7. Scan and store in TIFF format. I usually scan at 600 DPI on average. Sometimes 1200 if a client wants a larger print.

8. Use Adobe bridge to rename your files sequentially. Helps with organization - ie. for my current client, their albums are: Album 1 1976_001, Album 1 1976_002 etc..etc....

9. Scan your photos first then edit them. Copy your folders to another hard drive so you have a backup in case you screw up an image. Use Carbon Copy Cloner (it's free, but great to donate - fantastic app). You can back up a single folder. I use this and my client files are automatically backed up without me thinking about it.

10. Have fun.

You are right - it's expensive to hire someone to do this job b/c of the equipment you see above and as you'll find out, the time involved. I only do this if my clients are willing to pay and understand what it takes. In the end, it may seem like only images, but it takes a huge amount of effort and equipment to make it happen

Cheers,
Keebler
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 11:16 AM   #18
Sue De Nimes
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Thanks for all those tips. A lot to digest!

How will I get on with Photoshop Elements rather than Photoshop? For a home project getting Photoshop and Nikon scanning equipment is really beyond the realms of affordability.

I am considering getting the EPSON v700 but even that at 400 is a bit of a stretch.

I think initially trimming things down will be the way forward but ultimately I do want to be able to scan everything.

Last edited by Sue De Nimes; Jun 8, 2012 at 11:28 AM.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 12:42 PM   #19
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Photo editing and repair is a painstaking and complex process to do it right, especially if some of the photos are damaged. I never recommend PhotoShop for beginners simply because it's expensive, $700 USD, and has a very steep learning curve. Elements is something like $100 and should do the job of removing cracks, dust and scratches OK.

The extra most of the Epson flatbed mentioned by others is worth it. One tool for both the film and print scan needs. Other flatbeds are cheaper and come with film adapters but the Epson's are the only ones that will produce quality results.

Dale

Note: I spent an entire quarter of design classes just on photo repair in PhotoShop. Four days per week, three hours of instruction in the morning and three hours of lab in the afternoon.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 02:21 PM   #20
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Thanks to Acearchie who mentioned his scanner I found again the site which has good reviews on scanners. Check this. It also has some good points concerning the dpi and the 3rd party scanning software.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 02:32 PM   #21
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Something too keep in mind for a project like this is to name each file as it is scanned. Just running them through the scanner will give numerical file names that will only have to be changed later anyway. Think of it as the writing on the back of those photos in the family shoebox. People do still stuff photos in shoeboxes, don't they??

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Old Jun 8, 2012, 04:35 PM   #22
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I suggest that you talk to a local major photo retailer first. I recently did the same with a couple boxes of old pics that went back 100 + years. They did a better job with the scanning than I could as they had experience and professional scanners. I used PhotoShop afterwards were needed.

FWIW - I assume that you are following the iMac threads about a possible redesign/upgrade being announced next week/soon?
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 04:56 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Sue De Nimes View Post
OK - I am buying an iMac next week. (Top end 27" model)

I have a project I want to work on over the next while. I have several thousand pictures I want to archive....

Lets say "several thousand" means 3,000 images. Scanning alone can take 4 to 5 minutes per image. So you are into a 200 hour job just to capture the images to disk. Figure restoration will go maybe 4 to 5 time slower.

The best way to do this is to send the entire job off to "Scan Cafe" and let them do it for you. They might charge you maybe $1,000. OK that is a lot but a good film scanner if you buy a used one is half that price and what is 200 hours of your time worth?

Everyone thinks the job will go faster. I will not. For every image you have to remove it from its container, place it in the scanner, wait for the scan, then enter a file name and hit "save", replace the photo back into the container. Then adjust the color, white balance and exposure in the image and almost 100% for sure remove some dust and minor defects. If you can do all that in five minutes you are doing well. Then just do it 2,999 times more and you will have finished only with the capture phase.

This is the outfit I use. Good price and good quality. Not "over night fast" but 100x faster than if you did this yourself
http://www.scancafe.com/pricing

What I do is divide the work up and send in a few hundred images at a time. When I get the DVDs back with the image files on them I import the entire batch to Apple's Aperture and send out the next batch. Then while waiting for the next batch to be scanned I enter the what Metadata I can on the first batch.

If you DO buy a scanner the one feature you absolutely need is the fourth IR color channel that is used to implement Kodak's dust removal process. All the higher-end scanner license this from Kodak and market it under different names. It works well. I'd say it can remove 80% to 90% of the scratches and dust from a negative or slide. A huge time saver. For most 35mm negatives and slides 3,000 DPI is more than enough to capture the film grain. That works out to 13.5 megapixels per image.

Last edited by ChrisA; Jun 8, 2012 at 05:06 PM.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 05:51 PM   #24
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If I am scanning with the v700 what sort of DPI should I scan at? Should I bother with Digital ICE?
For most 35mm negatives and slides 3000 DPI will capture the film grain. Yes ICE works for color film scanning it will save you 10 or 15 minutes per frame. But ten with ICE you cn expect to spend some tie "dust busting" The best "dust buster" Ive found is the clone tool in Photoshop. Or maybe the "magic healing brush" on either case you really, really need a Wacom graphic tablet. If you do not already own Photoshop then buy the version of the Wacom tablet that has Photoshop elements bundled with it. It is like getting a free tablet for the price of Elements. NO, do NOT try and edit images like this with a mouse. Not unless you are good enough with a muse to sign your name with it and have it look like your signature.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 11:54 PM   #25
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Lets say "several thousand" means 3,000 images. Scanning alone can take 4 to 5 minutes per image. So you are into a 200 hour job just to capture the images to disk. Figure restoration will go maybe 4 to 5 time slower.

The best way to do this is to send the entire job off to "Scan Cafe" and let them do it for you. They might charge you maybe $1,000. OK that is a lot but a good film scanner if you buy a used one is half that price and what is 200 hours of your time worth?

Everyone thinks the job will go faster. I will not. For every image you have to remove it from its container, place it in the scanner, wait for the scan, then enter a file name and hit "save", replace the photo back into the container. Then adjust the color, white balance and exposure in the image and almost 100% for sure remove some dust and minor defects. If you can do all that in five minutes you are doing well. Then just do it 2,999 times more and you will have finished only with the capture phase.
I would re-read this and carefully consider what you are proposing to undertake. I think a lot of people vastly underestimate the technical skill and equipment required to undertake a project like this and truly get high quality, "archival grade" results. ChrisA's 200hr estimate is also probably after the 50-100 hours you will spend upfront learning how to properly scan a slide for optimal data capture as well, not to mention time spent researching and finding and then buying a good quality negative scanner... (as I recall, you can only buy them used so you have to hunt sites like ebay to get them). The time investment begins to really add up, and unless you are super gung-ho about learning to scan yourself, you will ultimately be doing a lot of work yourself at a rate of just a couple dollars an hour vs. if you had paid a professional service to do it for you.

I also think a lot of people set out to do it themselves and by the end the result is either subpar because they didn't have the best equipment or technique, or they get burned out/bored and quit before they get through all their pictures.

Have a professional scan your slides for you, I believe there is at least one slide-scanning service out there that will scan all your slides for free, and you only choose and pay for the images you want to keep (they let you preview all the scans online, and then you pick the ones you want as full-res files), so you can discard all the junk slides and not have to worry about having paid to scan them only to ditch them later. Once you have the digital raw data captured at "archival grade" quality, then you can spend your years poking away at metadata, organization, restoration, and editing. IIRC the rates for these services was fairly economical considering the quality of their scans and time saved.

Last edited by Ruahrc; Jun 9, 2012 at 12:00 AM.
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