Scanning & resolution

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by allmac, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. allmac macrumors newbie

    Apr 5, 2006
    Two questions from one new to digital photography:

    1) How would the digital "photo to CD" option compare to scanning from negatives? In other words, what is the best resolution that could be obtained when developing photographic film and having the developer at that same time create the digital .jpeg, .tiff, etc. files? (and is there better quality available from some of these processors, using different equipment?)

    2) Is this ranking of formats and associated "Best to Worst" resolution correct:

    Best/Highest resolution possible:
    4 x 5 film
    35mm slide
    35mm negative

    Good resolutions:
    scanned 35mm slide
    scanned 35mm negative
    10 megapixiel DSLR
    5 - 8 megapixel DLSR or "point & shoot"

    Lower resolutions:
    scanned photograph
    2-5 megapixel point & shoot
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  2. ksz macrumors 68000

    Oct 28, 2003
    San Jose, CA
    I ordered a Kodak PhotoCD once, but it was several years ago and I've since misplaced the CD. However, I can provide partial answers:

    1. Slide film is mounted in cardboard or plastic frames when it is delivered to you. If you look closely at the film itself, it might not be held perfectly flat inside the frame. When a warped-mounted slide is scanned through a scanner, the focus will be uneven and difficult to correct during post-processing. In my experience a good cardboard mount works best. I've had good results from Wolf Camera and Walgreen's, both of whom send slides out to a Kodak processing facility.

    2. If you're thinking about buying a Nikon Super Coolscan and the 50-slide auto-feeder, be extremely wary of plastic mounts. The auto-feeder regularly chokes on plastic because these mounts tend to be a bit thicker.

    3. Ideally, if you order a PhotoCD for slide film, the processing facility will scan your film BEFORE it is cut and mounted. If the facility has a high-quality scanner (drum scanner), the results will be superior to retail scanners.

    It's worth contacting a processing facility and asking them all the technical questions you can think of.

    Finally, there should be little if any difference in scanned resolutions between 35mm slides and 35mm negatives.
  3. Jimbowe macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2005
    Most non-pro labs provide small scans on their photo CD unless you can find someone providing the Kodak CD's. (Regular and Pro series scans). If you want larger scans, say 20 Mbyte for an 8x10 @ 300 dpi (approx.) you will probably have to pay a little bit extra.

    Your larger format film will provide you with a better scan and transparancy film will take you further than negative film.

    The best resolution scanner that I have used my self was an Aztek 8000, drum scanner. An 8000 dpi scan of a 35mm trans is 260 Mbyte, but truthfully, over 4000 dpi and your just scanning film grain. (Beyond the ability of the film to resolve the image.)
  4. Leareth macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2004
    In my experience scanning from color slides should not be done at more than 1,200DPI , where as negative reach the same point at 4000DPI...
    I spent some time last year archiving slides for a museum , I had to redo most of them because they were scanned at 4,000DPI (too blurry) and target size was original , so you had this high resolution 1" picture...grrr...
    I wish people would follow instructions...

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