Scanner recommendation for images?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by anewman143, May 11, 2014.

  1. anewman143 macrumors regular


    Jan 18, 2008
    Found boxes of old family photos that I'd like to scan - don't mind doing it myself. Although there are largely prints, I also have 35mm negative and maybe 2 dozen kodachrome slides.

    I have a simply Canon flatbed for documents, but doesn't strike me as the best for images...

    Suggestions? I know there are sources that I could ship them to, but I don't mind doing it myself. Not really sure what a realistic budget/bang for my buck would be and would appreciate any advice.

  2. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I have the Epson V700. This is a flat bed scanner, with inserts for film. It's very highly rated for a flat bed. The film inserts are fiddly, and are not designed for doing production work. However, you'll be fine with a dozen or two slides. Depending on how many negatives you have it may or may not be too labour intensive. It will definitely be fine for the photos themselves.

    I've found that there is no great software for scanners in general. The ones with the most features are bears to learn. And the ones that are easy to learn are lacking features. I would love to be corrected on this - but that is my experience. The one I settled on is VueScan. One of the good features is the auto scan. Basically, it scans - pauses - scans again - pauses - scans again etc. etc. So, if you have a bunch of similar photos of a similar size you can stand there and just swap a new photo in for the just scanned photo. It's amazing how many photos you can do in one session that way.

    VueScan is a very powerful interface for the scanner - and lets you control and tweak all sorts of settings. But you will need to spend some time reading and practicing and getting to understand some things first.

  3. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    I did the same for 4000 photos using a Canon LIDE 200 flatbed scanner. The scanner software let me put multiple photos on the glass at the same time and it automatically separated and cropped them, saving lots of time. Still, I took me about a week or two going hours at a time.
  4. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    One recommendation is to NOT go crazy on resolution. Photograph prints have an inherently low resolution. I have heard about 200 - 300 dpi. Scanning much over that will only give you large size files, with no additional information. I would probably not go over 400dpi scanning.

    OTOH... Negatives and slides have a lot of resolution. Scanning at 2400 - 4000 dpi is ideal.

    If you have lots of photographs with the negatives still in the envelopes (that is what I had)... you will get much better (and much slower) results from scanning the negatives... however, you will probably want a much more expensive dedicated negative/slide scanner which has a 4th light channel (IR) for automatic dust removal.

  5. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I did a test with my ScanSnap 1500. I set it to photo mode and scanned in a print. Cleaned it up a little bit and reprinted it on photo paper at the original size - 4"x6". Looking at the two side by side I couldn't tell which was the original. Using my 8x loupe I could see differences. Decided that for a lot of my old pix it would be sufficient. It was a lot faster than a flatbed.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Scanning prints is easy and you don't need an expensive scanner. Scanning negatives and slides is MUCH harder and yo do need more expensive equipment.

    Dust and scratches are a huge problem when film scanning, You need a small brush to clean the film and even then some time in Photoshop to clone out the defects. Expect to spend about 5 minutes per image for very basic "dust busting and color balance"

    It is never cost effective to scan your own film. Even if you already own a nice film scanner it is very hard to do more than 10 frames per hour because of the need for hand correction in Photoshop and film handling and hand cleaning with brush and a can of compressed air. So if your time is worth minimum wage ($7/hr) you are working for 70 cents per frame. These are services who do it cheaper and you don't need to spend up front on a scanner. (look up scan they will scan and apply some hand done corrections for $0.29 per frame)

    Good scanner software helps. It's not all the same. The best systems are color managed where you can scan color test target to calibrate the system. Look up "VueScan" software at This software can get good work from an older scanner
  7. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR

    I have a Nikon CoolScan 5000 ED and also the mounted slide feeder. I paid $1500 new for the pair several years ago... and now see that completed listings on Ebay are well over $2000 for the scanner, and $800 for the slide feeder. This is the only piece of electronic hardware that I ever owned that went up in value at all... and who could of guessed it would double in value!

    I disagree the need to use photoshop... and the time commitment. It did take a very long time to do my several thousand slides & negatives... especially the negatives. However... most of it was hands-off scanning. We would just keep the scanner set up... and several times a day, we would walk into the office and feed in another negative strip. Hence... it was essentially being done in very small chunks of our time... typically just a few seconds at a time.

    Slides were even easier. I would load in a full box of slides (24 or 36 exposure)... and come back an hour or so later an it was done.

    The advantage of such a high end scanner is that you do not need to worry so much about dust and stuff... because the digital ICE with the 4th color channel essentially erases any dust or scratches. I was pretty amazed with the results.

    I did do some color correction afterwards, but using Aperture... it was trivial to color correct a single slide... then use Apertures "lift" and then "stamp" corrections to entire projects (or even multiple projects) at a time. Trivially easy.

    Now... if I tried to do this with a low end scanner without the 4th color channel... or heaven forbid... a flatbed scanner... I never would have completed the job in my lifetime.

  8. ItWasNotMe macrumors 6502

    Dec 1, 2012
    This. Brilliant kit, if expensive. As post states can take a long elapsed to scan but you are off doing other things

    But for only a couple of dozen slides the high end slide feeder is a waste of money; should come with one (the MA-21) that handles individual slides.

    Note also that Nikon dropped support for its own software on 64 bit systems,2/r_id/116678

    So, 10.4.x, or earlier than Windows 7, or 3rd party such as Vuesan
  9. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I agree that it is a waste for a small number of slides or negatives. I did about 30,000 or so slides/negatives so for me it was worth it. I also now have another big batch to perform... this is from a now deceased uncle who was the "family photographer" for decades. My brother sent me 3 medium size boxes of slides to scan. He personally scanned my Uncles photos (rather than negatives) using a ScanSnap S1500M. That is extremely fast. I did the same thing with any photos for which I didn't have negatives.

    For software, I use VueScan. It supports the CoolScan 5000 ED quite well.

    For me... it did take a very long elapsed time. Measured in years. However... it was very much a "background job" that didn't take much dedicated time.

  10. Nismo73 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2013
    I did a bunch of slide scans (about seven carousels) with an Epson V550 and they came out good. Have done some old photos, but haven't gone too crazy with that yet. I might wait until the fall now when it starts getting cold again, and I'm spending more time inside.

    But the Epson comes with some decent software, however I did not try to get all the dust off, so any pics that I want super clean, I just did some dust removal in LR5.
  11. Dana Beck macrumors member

    Dana Beck

    Jun 13, 2010
    Blackwell, OK
    The mention of "old family photos" and scanning brings to mind a point that was covered at one of the Photoshop World sessions last year: if the photos are really old, you don't want to scan them a gazillion times, as the scanner light is damaging to the photo over time. Although I do scanning all the time for real estate websites, I had not heard this before, but it did make sense to me, and, if I remember correctly, it was Brian Hughes whose session it was. Since he is head of the Photoshop product at Adobe--and the session was on scanning--I figured he might know what he was talking about. Anyway, it gave me a heads-up. YMMV.
  12. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I just finished a project involving 7000 family photos. They were a mix of slides, color and b&W negatives. I used a Epson V600 and was very happy with the results and the workflow. I also used photoshop to clean up the images.
  13. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    The V 5,6,7 series are very capable. Did a 40k plus project with a 700 & 2-500s 2 years ago. 3 Macs, so I didn't have to wait. In fact, I had to really move to keep up with all going at once. The best results were to leave every adjustment off & clean dust post scan.

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