Best scanner options for old photos...

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by gpspad, May 4, 2015.

  1. gpspad macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    #1
    Hi...

    The new photos app finally got me off my butt to start scanning and archiving the old family photos. Many of them old b&w ones of low resolution.

    I have a very old E6 scsi scanner that still works, but not sure it will work with my mac mini. I can't find the FW to SCSI adapters anywhere.

    I started looking at the epson v550 or v600 scanners. Although the all the refurbished ones on ebay gave me some pause if they were any good.

    Any suggestions on a good mac supported scanner for this project?
     
  2. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #2
    The Epson V series scanners are very good both for photos and for transparencies. With that said, though, if you're going to be primarily scanning transparencies I'd suggest a dedicated slide scanner like something from the Nikon Coolscan Series(ideally a IV or V). For your own sanity, be sure that if you're buying something to scan transparencies, it has infrared "cleaning"(called Digital ICE by most makers, although Canon calls it FARE). Otherwise, you'll spend hours in Photoshop with the spot healing brush getting rid of dust and scratches.

    IMO, one of the best things you can do is invest in good scanning software. I'm a big fan of VueScan. It will allow you to do tricks like multipass scanning(to reduce noise on a "thin" negative or weak print) and the automated color restoration tools are great. If your scanner supports it, Vuescan will also allow manual focus, which helps a whole lot with slides.

    A lot of folks like Silverfast, but I've always been turned off by the fact that each license is tied to a single make/model of scanner. I keep two scanners connected to my computer all the time, and with Vuescan I can just select the one I want to use from a drop-down menu.

    Vuescan has a trial mode that lets you access all the features of the software, but will put big $ sign watermarks all over the output image so that at least you can get a feel for it before deciding if you want to buy it.

    One last thing-I'm not familiar with your particular scanner, but if it works well you might be better off buying an old Powermac G4 and SCSI card to run it. This is what I do with my SCSI scanner. SCSI support is excellent under OS X 10.4(Tiger) and there is a version of Vuescan(8.6, I think) that will run under it.
     
  3. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    #3
    These will work fine - did a huge project on 2 v500s and a v700 a few years back. For my purpose, using the basic epson scan software in advanced mode and turning everything (anything having to do with color/unsharp/etc) OFF worked best. I cleaned spots in Photoshop. Lightroom will do a nice job these days as well. Not sure how much repair you can do in Photos, but you can bring the old dingy photos back to life with ease these days.

    The software bunn suggest is fine, but I chose to repair after taking a good picture of the film/print. Just let the scanner do it's thing at 1200 or 2400 dpi.

    Good Luck
     
  4. gpspad thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    #4
    Thanks for the replies, I will really only be scanning prints first round.

    There may be old negatives around, but not a lot of 35mm cameras in the family. There may be negatives in the old camera small film roll format, can film scanners scan those?
     
  5. ColdCase, May 4, 2015
    Last edited: May 4, 2015

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #5
    If you got 100s of photos, it will take months to scan them in on a flatbed scanner, even doing four at a time like Epson scanners support. You may want to think about a document scanner, or one with a feeder. Lower optical resolution perhaps (600dpi) but these will feed a stack of photos in no time, you could be done in a day. Then spend your time repairing, if need be, and cataloging. I use an Epson DS-560 with good results. The USB only version is much less money.

    Use the SW of your choice to repair and catalog your images.

    If those photos are in poor shape or fragile, well good luck. Or if you think you need 6000dpi optical... then you are into the bigger bucks. Depends on how much your spare time is worth I guess.
     
  6. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #6
    127 roll film is the same width as 35mm, but there are some caveats. Because it is a roll film, it doesn't have the sprocket holes like 35mm. The registration is generally different than 35mm-both because the images are usually square and because some cameras the spacing gets narrower as you get closer to the end of the roll(this generally is not a problem on low end cameras, as they rely on a red window for the user to read the backing paper and stop winding at the right time, or on high end cameras where the increasing diameter of the film roll is accounted for). I've had no issue scanning 127 film in 35mm holders on my Canon flatbed, as it has no "apertures" for the film and the support rails don't extend to far into the film area. On the other hand, if you have a scanner where the 35mm holders have standard 24x36mm windows for the film strip, you will have problems.

    The other popular size back in the 50s and 60s was either 120 or 620 format film. 620 was a Kodak proprietary format, while 120 is a more standardized format that's still being produced today(I was shooting a lot of it a few years ago, and still shoot it on occasion). 120 and 620 are actually the exact same film-both are about 60mm wide-the difference was in the spool on which they were wound. Collectively, they are know as "medium format." Once off the spool, they are indistinguishable. There are three common image formats-645(6cm x 4.5cm), 6x6(square) and 6x7. Most old Brownie Box cameras and the like shot 6x6, as did the ever popular Rolleiflex(what I still use when I want to shoot medium format). The medium format film holders I've used have a "card" that used to support the film-be sure to use it or the film can bow badly in the middle.

    I think the Epson scanners you linked to can scan medium format(1 strip at a time) or two strips of 35mm. Epson made some flatbeds that could also scan as large as an 8x10 negative, and a whole bunch of slides or 35mm negatives at a time.

    One last thing-I mentioned infrared cleaning above. This is great technology, but don't use it on B&W negatives or Kodachrome slides. The silver in B&W film and the dyes in Kodachrome interfere with its proper operation. Color negatives and Ektachrome slides are fine.
     
  7. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #7
    I have a Nikon Coolscan V which is nice, but limited to 135 film. I was thinking on clearing up a blank negative to serve as a guide to smaller formats (fixed with Scotch tape), but I in doubt if it would work or cause any harm to the scanner.
     
  8. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    #8
    The 700 could do 24 35mm (4 rows) and had a holder for 2 med formats.
     

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