Is my scanner "good enough"?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by TheMightyMice, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. TheMightyMice macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm about to start the task of scanning the thousands of family photos we have from the 90s, 80s, and down to the 50s.

    Here's what I'm confused about.
    Right now, I have a Canon MP620 multifunction flatbed scanner. I've scanned a couple photos and they look alright, but I have no idea if or how much better another scanner could be. I don't know if my scanner is "good enough". Not sure whether I should use it or buy another one.

    One of the photos I scanned looks like it has pixels missing. When I zoom in really close in photoshop, one or two pixels will be completely white. The photo looks like its snowing. It doesn't appear to be dust, as the dots are too uniform looking. The photo is from the late 80s, could this be the ink coming off the photo or just reflection from the scanner light?

    The photos I have are mostly 4x6 inch prints. I also have some 35mm negatives, but I will need another type of scanner for these. I feel lost when trying to choose one. :confused: Could someone point me in the right direction?

    I probably have to keep the budget of this project under about $400.


    Thanks for any help you have. :D
     
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #2
    Basically, you can't improve on what you already have. A 4x6 that's years old is gonna look like an old 4x6 when it's scanned. Odds are the color is already shot, and it has scratches and dust. The scanner is going to pick that up. Where good scanners excel in this situation isn't in the optics, per se, but in the bundled software. Nikon's scanners, for example, have some great software that can automatically do a great job of removing dust, scratches and correct the color. But you might already have software to do that, or prefer to just leave the photos alone.

    For slides or film you'll need something different. I have used the Canoscan with the included holders to get decent results, but with this media the best is a drum scanner, well beyond your financial limit.

    But there's a way to have the best of both worlds: consider a service. Outfits like scanmypics will scan your stuff and post results online; you then decide which ones you want. Given that in any photo collection there's a lot of chaff, perhaps that would fit in your budget. It's pretty easy to do and the results are great.

    Rob
     
  3. TheMightyMice, Jul 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012

    TheMightyMice thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    #3
    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for your reply, this is very helpful. :)

    So, if I were to scan a photo with the scanner I have now and also another fancy professional scanner, with the settings on natural (no auto dust removal, color correct, etc), the two scans would look pretty much the same in quality? :eek: Even if the photo was newly printed today?
     
  4. ChrisA, Jul 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    What you are seeing is "noise". Better scanners have less of that kind of noise

    The best way to do this is to bundle up all your photos and send them to a severs who will scan them using a $6,000 scanner and charge you about $0.25 per scan. It is not really worth it to do this yourself.

    What is your time worth? Every scan needs to be "dust busted" and color corrected. This takes a minimum of four to five minutes in photoshop. I've been using a company called "Scan Cafe" and they offer a good service, each photo is edited and corected in photoshop by hand. They do have a rather slow turn around unless you pay a little extra. What you might do is box up your photos into batches of 500 images and send a box in, then what it comes back send in the next box. Spend you r time doing what you can'r hire out: adding the names and dates and places and comments and keywords to each photo.

    Yes $400 is a reasonable budget for a scanner that can do prints. Film scanners cost a bit more. But $400 will pay to made 1,600 scans professionally done for you.

    ----------


    Not quite correct.

    The better scanners that can remove dust and scatches have a fourth color channel (infrared) and use a process that in licensed from Kodak called "ICE". The scanner will scan in visable color and then make a pass in IR. the software needs this extra data to work. So you just can't use a cheap multi-function scanner if you want the ICE feature. and you _REALLY_ want this. It saves 10 minutes of work per image at least. It gets it about 80% correct.

    As for restoring faded color, yes that is pure software and can be done with any scanner. The better software "knows" the rates at which the various pigments fade and can do a good job.

    Here is a Wiki article that is about 90% correct. Kodak calles this "ICE" but others who licenese this call it various other names, either way you want a scanner that has the fourth color channel. It works well, not perfect but good.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_ICE

    That said, not all scanning software is the same. Look up "VuScan" is really is worth getting
    Some features it adds is multiple pass scanning and color calibration using a standard color target.
    http://www.hamrick.com

    All that said, think again about outsourcing this job.
     
  5. Daremo macrumors 68000

    Daremo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #5
    Just adding in my 2 cents here, I would NEVER trust sending out family photos in the mail somewhere if by the off chance, something may happen in the mail. Look for a LOCAL place that may offer this service, or do it yourself. If you do, make sure your scan in your photos at least 300 DPI at 100% or larger. This will give you "print" quality. I ran a pre-press department for a commercial printer for years, and once you start to get the hang of correction in Photoshop, you can correct and save each image you scan in less then a minute or so each, if you don't have a lot of manual touch ups to do.

    Another suggestion, is scan all your images in as tif files, and NOT JPEGS. Don't use any compression, and you'll get the cleanest scan.

    I concur, Vuescan is great software, and can do much clean up for you during the scan. It will take some tinkering, but you can get good results on your own.

    Just be careful, and don't skimp on postage and insurance if you're going to trust the postal service with what could possibly be irreplaceable family memories.

    Good luck to you!
     
  6. TheMightyMice thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    #6
    Chris -
    Thanks for explaining that the white dots in my scans is scanner noise. I was wondering what that was and there's thousands of dots per images, so photoshopping them would be mind numbing.

    Also thanks for explaining ICE. It's looking like I should look into getting a new scanner, since I will have to buy something to scan the 35mm negatives I have anyway.


    Daremo -
    I agree with what you're saying about not posting the photos. I would feel very uneasy trusting the postal service and scanner workers with my family memories. Because of this, I'm going to take on the task myself. I would also like to learn how to and doing it a thousand times will give me the practice to get pretty good at it! :D

    Thanks for reminding me to save as TIFF and not JPEG too, I forgot about that.


    ---


    What do you guys think of the Epson Perfection V500 or V600?

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/496399-REG/Epson_B11B189011_Perfection_V500_Flatbed_Photo.html

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/647187-REG/Epson_B11B198011_Perfection_V600_Photo_Scanner.html

    They both get good reviews. Perhaps one of these would do the trick? :D
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #7
    The scanning service has done literally millions of scans and not lost one yet. I'd not worry about loosing photos. Lot's of people try this themselves and quickly figure out it takes a LOT more time than they thought. If you work full time at this, that is 40 hours a week, you might get only 500 photos per week done. How many do you have and can you spend 40 hours a week at this.

    Really it does take this long. Each photo needs to be removed from what ever it is in, you pre-scan and adjust the borders,scan, save to file then bring up some image editing program like Photoshop, then find something that is white in the photo to do a white balance. Adjust the colors (corect for faded color) Then you budget just the smallest amount of time to take dust off critical areas then you save it and add "meta data" like the names of the people and the place and the date. finaly replace the photo back in the album and remove the next one

    Can you do ALL of the above in 5 minutes? Likely not but if you could then you'd be up to 12 images per hour. After 5 or 10 hours of this you start thinking that $0.25 cents per image is darn cheap and sends a package out. If you are very concerned about the images use registered mail.

    "Everyone" starts like this, figures out it is not going to work then either quits or sends it out.

    While you are shopping one ESSENTIAL tool is a Wacom tablet. no one can "clone out" dust with a mouse. You absolutely need a pressure sensitive graphic pen tablet. Buy the version that has Adobe Photoshop Elements bundled with it. It is like getting a free tablet.
    http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-Bamboo-Capture-Tablet-CTH470/dp/B005HGBEZ2/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1343625654&sr=1-1&keywords=cth470
     
  8. Daremo, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012

    Daremo macrumors 68000

    Daremo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #8
    Depending on just how critical you want to be with editing, more times then not, running a simple "dust and scratches" filter in photoshop could remove 95% of the white dots, and this may be totally acceptable for you. I would certainly try some on your own first, and see how you like it. I for one, find it rewarding to do this sort of thing with my family photos. I'm not in any huge hurry, so it's nice to handle, and work on each photo. It gives me time to reflect on them a bit. It makes it more personal for me.

    I do however, see the allure to farming it out. It's not the scanning company I wouldn't trust, it's ANY package courier. No way would I trust irreplaceable photos with a delivery service. USPS, UPS, FedEx... No way. If I couldn't hand deliver them, I wouldn't do it. I'm sure it's a 1 in a million chance something might get lost or damaged, but I would never play odds with family photos I can't get copies of. That's just me. Maybe a touch paranoid, but I've been screwed in the past with packages.

    Also, be aware, the company "Scan Cafe" sends your photos to India to be scanned after you mail to them, so there's yet ANOTHER possibility of something going wrong in the mail.
     
  9. TheMightyMice, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012

    TheMightyMice thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    #9
    I bought a wacom tablet a few months ago for other work and haven't used a mouse in ages. So got that taken care of. :)


    I appreciate the fact that you guys are trying to help me with the scanning services, however I'm really looking to doing it myself. As Daremo said, I will find it rewarding and then I get to look at them all as I go. Despite the work load, I find projects like this interesting, fun, and rewarding.

    I'm thinking of buying the Epsom V500 or V600. They get positive reviews, it's within my price range, and it looks like they will provide the quality scan. I hope these scanners won't give scanner noise. They have ICE and auto photo fixing software, I'm more so going to do that with photoshop though.

    I wonder if they will also provide good 35mm scans.

    Do you guys have any thoughts on this? or other good scanners I should look at.

    There's also the V330. I'm a bit confused, because all these scanners seem to be very similar, yet differ in price from $70.

    thanks
     
  10. Daremo macrumors 68000

    Daremo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #10
    Another plus, The nice thing about doing it yourself the way you're doing it, is you're spending your budget on hardware, so when the task is complete, you still have a great scanner that you now own, and have the option to resell for some of your money back if you wanted to.
     

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