Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

zoran

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 30, 2005
3,835
63
I have quite a few old printed photos i wish to digitise in order to save them from age wearing out. What would be the best way in your opinion to do so? Buying a flatbed scanner on one hand might do the trick but on the other hand what will i do with it once finished? Would you agree that taking shots of those printed photos with a dSLR might just do the trick? If you have any other options/ideas plz id be interested to hear them out :)
 

mollyc

macrumors 601
Aug 18, 2016
4,306
22,317
I have used a dSLR to take photos of select old photos and restored them via Photoshop (remove scratches, tears, etc.). I guess it really depends on how many photos you have to do.
 

adrianlondon

macrumors 68040
Nov 28, 2013
3,308
3,778
Switzerland
What quality do you need? I just used my iPhone 6S (notes / scan / photos) to digitise a bunch of old photos. Some cropping, maybe vignette, maybe white balance, sometimes even that auto-enhance thingy and done. I spent much more time googling stuff trying to work out where a 30 year old photo was taken so I could add a GPS location than anything else. That was more for the nostalgia of it, and to enjoy "walking around" using google streetview, than because I actually need GPS tags.

I've still got the original photos, so I could always re-digitise them with better equipment in the future. A scanner gives the highest quality (compared to using a camera, even a decent dSLR) but is tedious and none of my photos are really worth that effort :)
 

zoran

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 30, 2005
3,835
63
Well if i was to scan them, i guess it would be better to be scanned in a print quality, incase i want to print them. My main concern is the Scanner purchase... is it worth the money for purchase, and then what will happen to the scanner after im done?
 

adrianlondon

macrumors 68040
Nov 28, 2013
3,308
3,778
Switzerland
Scanners don't cost much. You could always sell it to a friend after telling them how useful it is for scanning old photos, after which they can do the same to one of their friends etc etc :)
 

akash.nu

macrumors G3
May 26, 2016
9,862
11,925
Depending on the quality you’re after, this might be all you need.


 

adrianlondon

macrumors 68040
Nov 28, 2013
3,308
3,778
Switzerland
There was a test done, and PhotoScan reduced the quality of the photos taken. Using the Notes/scan option also straightens the photos (i.e. you don't need to hold the phone totally parallel to the photo) so I switched to that method. However, the google one is easier as it always recognises photo edges whereas the native Apple version often can't work out where the sky ended and my white table started :)

 

tizeye

macrumors 68000
Jul 17, 2013
1,770
15,322
Orlando, FL
Get a scanner...you will like it and find incidental uses in the future. Also, freestanding flatbeds are superior to the "All in One" printers that include a scanner. I have used a camera to directly copy a photo or slide (also required an expansion tube), while OK, lighting and color shift was a major issue. In fact today, if digitizing an oil painting for giclee reproduction too large for the scanner and not wanting to stitch scans, will still use a Sony with it's 42mp sensor and a macro lens to minimize lens curvature and at least 2 photos, one of which has a color reference chart for adjustment.

When I digitized my parent's entire pre 35mm slide collection and miscellaneous negatives, my Epson V100 was not up to the task as limited to 35mm on the slide and negative side, prints immaterial as the platter size supported. Misunderstood the local camera store when enquired about copies and sounded reasonable. When I showed up, learned that the quote was for prints only and there was an additional charge for the digitizing...which also meant that they were inkjet prints, not photo chemical prints. Quickly did the math and quickly realized on the digitizing cost only, they paid for my scanner upgrade as the V100 was also having a problem with Windows 10 upgrade. I have always gotten consumer grade scanners as pro level are way too expensive with marginal gains. Ended up getting the Epson V550 ($199) as it was capable of medium format slides and negatives. The less expensive V350 ($129) would have done fine except was limited to 35mm.

While the major project is behind me and my brother and sisters appreciated the files of our parent's slides, do I still use it? Absolutely, about once every two months...but at least I have it. Typical uses are 1) random pictures wife wants scanned, and more likely, 2) scanning documents to pdf for attachment to an email as no-one has a fax machine anymore - and readability is far superior to fax, particularly re-faxes. And then there are those carousels of my 35mm slides dating from the 1960's that I don't even want to think about full digitization...but occasionally pull a slide or two that supports something I am working on.

I guess it comes down to the "quite a few photos" and if you want to have the longer term availability. The formula is # of photos x cost of professional digitizing (local or online vendor) greater than or equal to the cost of the scanner. Of course the online vendor would require mailing irreplaceable photos and potential loss which is another issue.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: AllergyDoc

fathergll

macrumors 68000
Sep 3, 2014
1,587
1,050
I have used a camera to directly copy a photo or slide (also required an expansion tube), while OK, lighting and color shift was a major issue. In fact today, if digitizing an oil painting for giclee reproduction too large for the scanner and not wanting to stitch scans, will still use a Sony with it's 42mp sensor and a macro lens to minimize lens curvature and at least 2 photos, one of which has a color reference chart for adjustment.


I had some pretty amazing results using a Pentax K1 in pixelshift mode for digitising photos and paintings.
 

BobD2

macrumors member
Aug 9, 2008
47
4
Massachusetts
For digitizing film (slides or negatives) you can get good results with a DSLR. There are many youtube videos that demonstrate a variety of techniques:
If you have a high quality macro lens and a high quality, high megapixel (> 24 megapixels) camera, your results will likely be better than with most currently available dedicated film scanners.
For larger prints, a good flatbed scanner would probably be best.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zoran
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.