Scanner for old prints

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by macmesser, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2012
    For some time I've been wanting to scan a large trove of family photos dating back scores but never had the wherewithal nor time. I now have a much better setup and want to take on this project to preserve as much of this stuff as I can. I remember as a very young child "editing" parts of the collection by simply discarding photos of people I deemed not attractive enough or too old or simply unknown. A lot of the weird black and white prints with curly edges went, too. I was trying to organize. Fortunately the carnage was stopped when I proudly told mom what I was doing and the collection continued to grow over the years, residing with and being fed by various siblings. Unfortunately most of the negatives are gone, so I need a good scanner to get best possible results with the prints, most of which are in the 4"X6" range. Aside from the majority of snaps there are some professional prints from various events. People here have discouraged others from similar projects but I gathered negatives were available while I have mostly only old prints which I'm hesitant to part with as they are irreplaceable. I need advice as to what kind of scanner I should get. I have an old UMAX flatbed with a SCSI interface which was a good one in its day but it's probably over 10 years old and hasn't been used in 5. If anyone can suggest a unit to get top results from these prints I'd really appreciate the input.
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    Epson V600, V700 and V750 are popular these days. I've been looking for a good flexile scanner, and the V700 is probably in the sweet spot. You can also get away with the V600 if you don't need the negative scanner so much.
  3. ChrisA, Nov 24, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012

    macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The simplest way to do this is to box up everything and send it to "Scan Cafe". They will scan it using high quality, professional scanners AND they willcolor balance and adjust each photo for 22 cents each.

    Lets assume you have 1,000 photos. Beleive me, it takes several minutes per image. You have to place it in the scanner, scan it and then it Photoshop do a basic color balance and exposure/contrast adjustment and then almost 100% certain some minor "dust and scratch busting". Figure 5 minutes per image after you get good at it. The first 100 or so will go slower.

    For the dust and scratch busting you absolutely need a Wacom tablet. Don't bother wasting time with a mouse (unless you are talented enough to sign your name with a mouse and have it look like you used a pen.) The smaller size per tablet is good enough.

    Scanning prints is un-demanding of a scanner. Which scanner you get is not so important. But you need the Wacom tablet. Buy the version that comes bundled with Adobe "Elements" if you don't already have it.

    You will also want something like Aperture to organize the library of digital images.

    For quality results the things that matter are (1) getting the color, exposure and contract "right" and this really does have to be done by hand and (2) You WILL need to "dust bust" using a clone tool or "healing brush" or the like. There is no way to automate this. You can spend an hour on a print but if you spend 3 minutes you make a huge difference

    Be prepared for weeks and months of mind numbing boring work. "nobody" ever actaully finishes these scanning projects. They always grossly under estimate the effort required.

    No NOT try any kind of automatic feeder. They always jam. Take the time to clean each photo with a high quality blower brush, clean the scanner glass. You can correct one image while the scanner scans the next. Auto feeders don't save time.

    Ok so you have 1,000 images. Spend $300 or $400 on equipment then spend 83 hours of your time and be done or just send them to Scan Cafe and pay them $220 and be done with it.

    Ok so maybe you have 10,000 images. You could spend 833 hours scanning them and you'd save the $2200 cost. But that works to $2.64 per hour. Minimum wage is $8/hour. Get a job as a "greeter" at Walmart. It pays better then scanning your own photos
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2012
    Thanks for the input. Definitely giving me serious second thoughts. If done properly this will be a bigger project than I have time for. Possibly more manageable if only selected images get corrected but this seems like too much to take on. Will look in to Scan Cafe (or similar). Still kind of spooked by sending these prints out for scanning.


    Thanks. Will check out those Epsons.
  5. macrumors regular

    Nov 24, 2012
    I would not look at ScanCafe. Through my Nokian membership, I had what I thought was a great discount from ScanCafe ($50 off). I sent off several Hundred Kodachrome slides for them to scan. What I received back was somewhat disappointing. I looked around and sent in a smaller sample to DigMyPics. DigMyPics scans were significantly better. In fact, I had DigMyPics rescan most of the scans ScanCafe scanned- they were that much better.

    I would recommend sending samples to a couple of scanning companies and compare the results. Be sure to look at the equipment they use for scanning and the options for image format delivery.

    I looked at the Epson V700 and V750. The best scanner on the market for variable formats (prints, slides, negatives).

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