computer adequate?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by malcom, May 22, 2005.

  1. malcom

    malcom Guest

    I brought a Toshiba laptop 2 years ago and happily used it until last week
    when I also brought a film scanner and connected the two together. I am
    generally a patient person, BUT I just can't handle the wait for the
    computer to process the scan. The scanner itself scans fine, then
    afterwards I have to wait 5 mins (for a 3700dpi scan) for the computer to
    finish processing the file. I know it is not the scanner causing the
    problem as I used a friends new pc and this processing takes a couple of

    The laptop is a Toshiba Satellite A10 and it's never caused me any hassle so
    I have never had to think about what is inside it. Can someone please tell
    me how I can find the relevent specifications of my laptop so that I can
    post them here for somebody to advise me on what I need to upgrade?


    malcom, May 22, 2005
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  2. malcom

    Tee Guest

    The Toshiba website:

    Select the A10 model (the number after A10- ) you have then you'll see a
    screen with many options for your model.
    Tee, May 22, 2005
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  3. malcom

    Craig Flory Guest

    3700 ? !!! Whew ... why so high ? If I scan, I scan for 250 ppi maximum ...
    at the size I need. Why do you need 15 times as many pixels per inch as I do
    ? I'm a professional portrait photographer and teach Photoshop too. Try
    scanning at much lower pixels per inch and your problem should go away.
    Craig Flory
    Craig Flory, May 22, 2005
  4. malcom

    Peter A. Guest

    You're scanning 35mm negs at 250ppi? Are you sure about that?
    Peter A., May 22, 2005
  5. malcom

    Marvin Guest

    The key parameters you should look for to help us advise you are the CPU speed, the amount
    of memory in your computer, and the size of the area on your HD set aside for virtual
    memory. You can find all this in Control Panel/System. Under the General tab, look for
    the name of the CPU and its speed, and the size of the internal memory. Then click on the
    Advanced tab and \oan Settings in the Perfomance box. Note the size of the Virtual memory.

    We may then be able to tell you what may be limiting the performace of your laptop. Most
    likely, it is the amount of memory. Observe the light on your laptop that shows whether
    the hard drive is working. If it is on nearly all the time between the scan and the image
    appearing, that is a good indication that you need more memory.
    Marvin, May 22, 2005
  6. malcom

    Ron Hunter Guest

    First, WHAT are you scanning at 3700dpi? Second, How large is the
    original? What is probably happening is that your scan in MUCH to large
    to fit in memory, and the program is swapping data to disk. This is
    VERY slow.
    A 4x6 picture scanned at 3700dpi would make a file of nearly 1 GB! If
    you are scanning a medium format negative, then 3700 dpi might be
    realistic, depending on the quality of the film, but nothing else short
    of an astronomical telescope image would be useful scanned at that

    For scanning prints, the MAXIMUM scanning DPI is 300dpi for color, and
    600dpi for B&W. Scans of 35mm film can practically go to about
    2400-2700dpi. Anything more is a waste of time, and storage.

    For more scanning information:
    Ron Hunter, May 22, 2005
  7. malcom

    Peter A. Guest

    Malcolm, download a little application called Belarc Advisor. It will,
    when run, give you a readout of your entire system in great detail.

    For info on choosing scan resolutions for film scanners, check out:

    Scanning a 35mm neg at 3700ppi would give you a very large file you
    probably don't need. A neg scanned at 2400dpi would give an image of
    3400x2200 pixels. Printing it at 300dpi would give you an 11 x 7 inch
    print, approx. The file would be around 22megabytes.

    The highest resolution the scanner is capable of might seem like the
    obvious choice, but that is not automatically the case. You need to
    select the scan resolution according to the requirements of the end
    product, be it print, monitor or whatever.

    The 'scantips' site, link above, rewards thorough perusal.
    Peter A., May 22, 2005
  8. malcom

    Stacey Guest

    Sounds like not enough ram and/or too much crap running in the background.
    Stacey, May 22, 2005
  9. malcom

    malcom Guest

    I've been using a macro lens to take photos of bugs then scanning at 3700ppi
    so that I can crop and enlarge the part of the image that has the bug in it.
    malcom, May 22, 2005
  10. malcom

    chrlz Guest

    Some interesting misinformation here:
    If you are teaching this stuff, then you would know that *film*
    scanning starts at about 2400 ppi, and goes up to 8000 ppi and even
    higher, if you are serious about it. Certainly film scans at 4000 dpi
    and higher are very useful if you are planning to print, say, an 11x8
    from a 35mm negative/slide. Ideally you should always scan at about
    twice the resolution you need, if that is possible.. (O:
    He did say he was scanning film. And print scans beyond 300 dpi can in
    fact be useful, as good quality color prints will resolve a bit higher
    than that. High quality black and white print material can certainly
    resolve to 1200 and even a little higher. I agree with those numbers
    for 'normal' medium quality use, but it's not that cut and dried.

    No it's not. As set out above, serious film scanning *starts* at 2700,
    and most folks nowadays use 4000 or 5400 ppi scanners.. Professional
    quality drum scanning goes up to 8000 and 12000 ppi even. Velvia film
    records up to 80 lp/mm, and to resolve that you definitely need over
    4000 dpi. More is required for black and white film. As the OP
    clarified, he is cropping and printing, so 3700 ppi is by no means
    overkill, and may even be too low... Certainly not a waste of time or
    storage in his case, assuming the scanner is capable of it.

    Anyway, back to the problem - it's almost certainly the RAM. The A10
    is a 256Mb machine i think, and that will be insufficient to deal with
    files of the size you are scanning. I would strongly suggest you have
    768Mb or 1Gb of RAM for this sort of work, as even 512 will be pushing
    it. Also, the Toshiba's are renowned for having a lot of memory
    resident software running, so if you can stop some of that, it may help
    - but I would suggest you get advice from a 'nerd'..!
    chrlz, May 23, 2005
  11. malcom

    Peter A. Guest

    Quite so. Further to that, use your preview/prescan facility to select
    the area of the negative you are interested in, so that only that area
    is scanned. Think of it as a pre-crop, if you like. This will save you
    from building a monster file, most of which you will dump anyhow, but
    all of which would have to be processed.
    Monster files need monster RAM.
    Incidentally, I run photoshop on a (HP) laptop, but I upped the RAM to
    1gig to give it room to breathe. RAM is very cheap at present and is a
    very cost-effective upgrade, and everything else running on your
    Toshiba will benefit as well.
    Peter A., May 23, 2005
  12. malcom

    Neil Ellwood Guest

    Passport photos?
    Neil Ellwood, May 23, 2005
  13. malcom

    malcom Guest

    The laptop is a 256 ram machine, I can increase it to 512 so I will try
    that. Cheers.
    malcom, May 23, 2005
  14. malcom

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Any way you look at it, he is scanning too high a resolution for the
    equipment he has. The computer doesn't have adequate ram, and I doubt,
    given the laptop he is using, that the scanner has that good an optical
    Note that I specifically stated these figures were for normal
    prints/film. NOT high quality professional stuff. Believe it or not,
    most of us don't USE such things, and if he DID, then I would expect him
    to KNOW the cause of his problems. Reference the site
    for specific information on just what is adequate, and what isn't.
    Ron Hunter, May 23, 2005
  15. malcom

    malcom Guest

    Ron, you probably have a point about scanning at too high a resolution, and
    there is definitely a problem with ram. As for the quality of the scanner,
    most people would consider the Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 to have good
    optical resolution?

    One of the reasons I suffer from a certain amount of confusion about digital
    photography and computers in general is that I have had several encounters
    with "teachers" that really should not be teachers. Think about that...
    malcom, May 23, 2005
  16. malcom

    chrlz Guest

    I don't want to nitpick *too* much, but...
    It sounds to me like he knows exactly what he is doing with regard to
    the scanning (if not to the computer requirements). If I was cropping
    into macro shots with a view to enlarging them for prints, I would be
    wanting 4000 ppi scans.. We don't know what the scanner is, but if it
    is anything like a mid-range (yes MID-range) film scanner, it might be
    something like the Canon FS-4000. There are many other 4000 ppi film
    scanners on the market, they are not particularly expensive, and in
    fact many *amateurs* are leaning towards newer models like the 5400 ppi
    Minoltas. 3700 is by no means an outlandish figure for film-scanning.
    Even scantips page for beginners on film scanning states that most
    films can resolve in excess of 3000 dpi, and his list of scanners is
    mostly populated by 4000 ppi models.
    Indeed, and that was the whole point of the original question - note
    the title. he wasn't asking whether he was using the right resolution,
    just whether the computer was insufficient. In terms of RAM, it is
    struggling, but that is likely his only problem.
    I do not make such assumptions. Many, many film scanners have
    resolution greater than that. If you limited the field to flatbed
    scaners with film attachments, then maybe that is true, but again I
    make no such assumptions.
    Umm, if you did, I can't see where. You only made two references to
    filmscanning, and they were:
    (interestingly, for a medium-format scanning you can use *less*
    resolution, not more, than for a 35mm frame, given a set print size.)
    I don't see anything there about it being "NOT high quality
    professional stuff", and as I said, I don't think a 4000 ppi film scan
    is any way restricted to "high quality professionals".

    I won't pretend to speak for 'most of us', but I do a lot of 35mm film
    scanning, and hang around a lot of photography sites and photographers,
    and 4000 ppi (and above) film scanners seem to be quite common. They
    are certainly quite affordable, and many photographers went that way
    instead of digital, before the newer affordable DSLRs began to appear.
    Again, I do not assume that someone who understands resolution issues
    and how many pixels he needs to do his job, will also be necessarily
    familiar with the computer processing requirements that entails.
    Are you satisfied with 'adequate'? I recommend the scantips site also,
    but it is getting a little long in the tooth and has not been updated
    in some areas. It is also very firmly aimed at beginners, and is not
    what I would recommend for someone who was having computer problems..
    chrlz, May 23, 2005
  17. malcom

    Stewy Guest

    Exactly what are you scanning at 3700dpi?

    If it's an A4 picture, that would yield around 43253 x 30562 pixels -
    about 1321 megapixels.

    I'm surprised the computer had the willingness to attempt to process
    such a huge file.

    Scanning at 3700dpi should only be used for items like 35mm film or
    positive images up to a couple of inches square, coins or small parts of
    your anatomy.

    If you want to try upgrading, I'd suggest at least a 3 or 4 gigahertz
    CPU combined with at least 5 gigabytes of RAM with no other programs
    hogging any part of this. An external drive of around 1 petabyte or
    larger, would also be useful in storing the image.
    Stewy, May 23, 2005
  18. malcom

    Craig Flory Guest

    Yes I do scan at 250ppi the size required. If I scan a
    negative or print for an output of an 11"x14", at 250 ppi, it is just fine.
    If I might crop later I'll scan at a bigger output size. Since my output to
    the color lab is also 250 ppi I won't need to make any corrections later. I
    am a professional photographer since 1966. I still use film.When I have my
    lab develope my film, and make scans which I download off the net, they are
    all at 72 ppi ... but in a large size image. I have never had scans from a
    pro lab more than 72 ppi.
    I will agree totally on all who have said he needs much more RAM. I
    have a gigabyte of RAM and soon will add more so I can buy & use the
    Photoshop CS2 upgrade adequately. Craig Flory
    Craig Flory, May 23, 2005
  19. malcom

    chrlz Guest

    Sighs wearily - why is it SOO hard for Craig and Stewy to realise that
    the actual FILM scan requires *thousands* of ppi???

    Let's go with Craig's example. You want a final print that is 11" by
    14" and 250 ppi.

    Tell us Craig.. (and read this carefully...)
    How many ppi will be required when a *film* scanner is set up, to get
    you enough pixels from a 35mm *film* frame?

    Here's a hint. The long side of your 11"x14" print requires 14x250,
    that's 3,500 pixels.

    OK so far? Now lets look at the FILM SCANNING process, which you
    obviously leave to your lab and you don't want to know about...

    The long side of a 35mm frame is roughly 1.5". 3,500 pixels divided by
    1.5" is about 2300 ppi.

    I repeat, 2300 ppi. And as anyone who scans images knows, it is best
    to scan at 1.5 or 2 times the required resolution to properly resolve
    detail (look up Nyquist..). Oh look, there we are, already wanting a
    film scan of over 4000 ppi, just so we can produce that 11"x14", 250
    ppi print.

    The fact that when you *print* the file you are using a much lower ppi,
    does not affect the file itself, nor what resolution it had to be
    scanned at *originally*. It's just a tag added onto the file - it's
    the number of pixels that is important.

    So WHEN SCANNING FILM, the lab, like the OP, will set the scanner
    resolution at a hell of a lot more than 250 ppi, for good reason. Yes,
    all these numbers inter-relate, but when you are the one actually doing
    the film-scanning, you set the film scanner to a resolution that will
    give you enough pixels. In this case that required resolution might be
    3700 ppi, but it might be 4000, it might be 5400....

    The OP *did* clearly say he had a FILM scanner..... Why do you think
    most consumer film scanners are rated at a true 4000 ppi? The OP's
    film scanner is rated at 5400 ppi..

    Ah, why do I bother... (O;
    chrlz, May 23, 2005
  20. malcom

    Craig Flory Guest

    I think you are not getting it. I just went into Photoshop CS and
    opened a scan from the lab. It is a size of 29.833 inches x 37.375 inches at
    72 ppi. Now we may be both talking about the same thing here. A size that
    large, at 72 ppi, is equivalent to much larger amount of ppi at a smaller
    print size. But all, and I emphasize all, scans from pro labs on pro
    scanners are @ 72 ppi. when getting back .jpgs. And that is how they arrive
    .... whether over the net or on a CD.
    He still needs much more RAM regardless. Craig Flory
    Craig Flory, May 23, 2005
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