Scanning Pictures -dpi help?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by welders4mac, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. welders4mac macrumors member


    Aug 11, 2007
    The Great White North

    I have a collection of "old school" (lol) photos I want to scan. I am wondering what is a good dpi setting. No, I will never need a door size picture, nor can I see myself ever wanting more than a handful to be printed 8X10. I see that 100dpi may be not adequate enough, however 2600 would be overkill <overmurder> too!.

    thank you in advance for any helpful information you can provide

    w4m :apple:
  2. adrianblaine macrumors 65816


    Oct 12, 2006
    Pasadena, CA
    For scanning things like you are describing, I tend to do 200-300 dpi.
  3. faxao macrumors regular

    Feb 20, 2008
    Milano, Italy
    My HP 8180 is defaulting at 200 dpi which I think is a good compromise between quality and speed.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    A lot depends on the quality of the photos and what kind of camera they were shot with and how they were printed. It also depends on how you want to further process them.

    The industry standard is that "photo graphic quality" is 300 DPI for print that will be viewed while held in the hand. If the viewing distance is longer the DPI can be smaller.

    Scan at 300 if you are going to make size size prints with the files

    If the prints are of very high quality (this means yu can see more detail using a magnifying glass then by eye) then you can scan at higher resolution proportional to the enlargment ratio. Scan a 4x6 at 600 DPI if you intend to print it on 8x12 paper. But few snapshots will withstand this much enlargment without looking blurry.

    If you are going to process the files in Photoshop, say to corect them for color, contrast and exposure or to remove dust and scratches then scan at higher resolution and higher bit depth. then you would otherwise.

    If this is a valuable archive and you don't know what you are going to do with the files scan then at higher resolution and bit depth to preseve you options.

    People who are saying "low-res is good enough" are likely only viewing the image on-screen, not as photographic (not ink jet) quality prints. for that you need at least 300 DPI at the printed size.

    To print at 8x10 you need 8*300 x 10*300 pixels. or 2400x3000 pixels. To make the math easy, lets say you have a 1 inch square original photo. You would need to scan at 3,000 DPI. Yes that sounds like a lot but if the original photo is a color negative then 3,000 is about the perfect resolution. Negative can have that level of detail. But few print ever do.

    One more thing.. if you happen to have the negatives you will get MUCH better results scanning those than the paper prints.

    Figure what your time is worth. You can outsourse scanning for not a lot of money. I'm paying about $0.30 per image and so far have had many thousands of images scanned. When I do the work myself, I'm works for about $4 per hour. Better to send them off
  5. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Your HP is defaulting to standard FAX resolution.
  6. jons macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2008
    Shoot for 300.

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