Scanning 35mm Film With Nikon Scanner

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Jason, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. Jason

    Jason Guest

    Hi all.

    I have just ordered a Nikon 35mm film scanner to convert all my old
    negatives to digital.

    The scanner is capable of scanning 4000DPI and although tempted to scan and
    save at the maximum possible settings, I am concerned about the huge file
    sizes. Therefore, I was thinking that I would scan at the maximum settings
    and then convert them to approx. 3500X2500 in Photoshop (obviously keeping
    the same aspect ratio at the originals), so that they would be roughly the
    equivalent to my digital camera.

    Any tricks/tips/advise from people who have already been there and done

    Jason, Feb 26, 2006
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  2. It depends on the end-use of the scans. If you are going to print them all,
    then sure, you'll have big file sizes, but I set my scanner to 1024 by 768
    and use these for slide shows on my PC. Can't be bothered with all that
    printing just to stick 'em in a drawer and forget about them.

    You mention "old" negatives. Surely you don't intend to print these all 10"
    by 8" and perpetuate your existing problem, namely that old negatives
    produce old prints, (which you probably already have, somewhere?).

    Dennis Pogson, Feb 26, 2006
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  3. Jason

    rafe b Guest

    This is being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

    You need every bit of resolution you can get, from 35 mm film.

    A gigabyte of fast DDRAM costs $80 nowadays.

    A fast, 250 gigabyte hard drive costs $100.

    Don't be silly. Upgrade your computer, and scan
    at full resolution. I'm quite serious.

    When you have finished scanning and editing
    your files, you *might* then consider saving
    them as high-quality JPGs before archiving
    them to CD or DVD.

    JPG is reasonable as a storage and archiving
    format. It's not reasonable for images that
    are still being actively worked on.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Feb 26, 2006
  4. Jason

    Jason Guest

    Yeah, I know where you are coming from. The only disadvantage is file size.

    I was also thinking about your post and was thinking that I really only ever
    print at 8X10 Max. so, why do I need to scan at such a high resolution.
    However, it makes sense scanning at the maximum setting as it will give more
    flexibility and allow me to crop if need be and still have a high res image.
    Jason, Feb 26, 2006
  5. Per Jason:
    Been there, done that.

    I wound up scanning at max rez, but saving as max-quality .JPG.

    The more technically-inclined and/or quality-conscious would probably save as
    ..TIFF or .RAW, then PhotoShop those images as needed - saving as .JPEG.

    For awhile, I saved to both .JPEG and .TIFF and archived the .TIFFs to DVD; but
    I never went back to them, so stopped doing that.

    Mine ran consistently under two megs per pic - many under 1,500k.

    I keep my data and backups on 120-gig external drives. Just got a 300-gigger
    to use as an additional drive for incremental backups.

    If drive space is an issue, you might just save the pix to DVD and use
    ThumbsPlus to organize them. ThumbsPlus' claim to fame is that it can remember
    which DVD the original pic is on and also let you see an abbreviated version of
    the pic without mounting the DVD.
    (PeteCresswell), Feb 26, 2006
  6. Per Jason:
    Two reasons that I've found:

    - Cropping

    - Zooming when viewing online

    IMHO, zooming is not to be under-rated. It's really nice to be able to just
    roll the mouse's thumb wheel and see more detail without the image breaking up
    too soon.
    (PeteCresswell), Feb 26, 2006
  7. Jason

    rafe b Guest

    I think of it in terms of the value of my time.

    Good scans take time, and time is money.

    The incremental time between a 2000 dpi scan
    and a 4000 dpi scan is small. Loading the
    film, setting up the scan, reviewing it in
    Photoshop -- these things take time.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Feb 26, 2006
  8. I've done many of my more recent scans (batches of old travel slides)
    at less than max resolution. When I'm scanning Ektachrome 400 from
    the 1980s, shot handheld, I really don't think I get much resolution
    advantage from the last few doublings of file size.

    On the other hand, part of my thought is that, when I've examined
    these on the monitor, if I find some I think are more than record
    shots, I may go back and rescan those few much bigger.

    The size of the file doesn't make that much difference in the overall
    time spent on a scanning-and-editing project, unless you have a
    seriously inadequate computer (although, as usual, the prices Rafe
    quotes for memory and disk are considerably lower than I've ever been
    able to find -- for memory and disk I'm willing to use, anyway). This
    could be an argument for scanning at max, or at least considerably
    bigger than you would otherwise. The slides will continue to
    deteriorate, fairly slowly if you store them carefully, and the
    digital files you scan *now* are therefore probably better than you
    could make in 10 years.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 26, 2006
  9. Jason

    Kinon O'cann Guest

    Why bother scanning at full rez only to throw away some of the info? Do
    yourself a favor; scan at max rez, and keep them there. Archive them at high
    quality JPEG files, after you've made all your alterations. Don't use JPEG
    as a working file.
    Kinon O'cann, Feb 26, 2006
  10. Jason

    rafe b Guest, David. Right now.

    1 Gig memory, Mushkin, DDR PC-4200. $78.

    250 Gig Hitachi Deskstar SATA, $104.50.

    Plus, newegg is a treat to deal with.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Feb 26, 2006
  11. Use ViewScan to do the scanning. Buy a few 250GB external hard drives
    to store the hiest res, uncompressed files on. That's what I did.

    I also hired an out of work friend to do all the scanning (4000 frames)
    for me.
    Barry Twycross, Feb 27, 2006
  12. Jason

    theo Guest

    Tag these read-only so to preserve your archive. Make separate
    directories for work in progress, finished product, albums/slideshows as
    in transfer to VCD/DVD.
    Good to find someone with nothing better to do with his waking hours than
    to take care of the tedious part of feeding the machine. You'll spend at
    least as much again of those hours later, by yourself, with cropping/
    corrections/ adding titles,frames,prettifing/ burning albums for
    all'n'sundry/ .... staring at your monitor rather than giving your
    interest to wife&family or TV or whatever you used to do .... I'm still at
    theo, Feb 27, 2006
  13. Jason

    theo Guest

    also subscribe and lurk on ng: comp.periphs.scanner and others of this
    interest, and browse web:
    theo, Feb 27, 2006
  14. Jason

    Hoshisato Guest

    Would you recommend scanning at 14bits instead of the default 8 bits?
    Most books recommends editing the images at the highest possible number
    of bits to allow better results when applying filters. Not all
    Photoshop Elements3 filters work at the high number of bits.
    Hoshisato, Feb 27, 2006
  15. Jason

    rafe b Guest

    If you have a fast enough computer and lots of RAM,
    go for it. 48-bit files are slower to deal with,
    at each stage of the processing. But they do buy
    you a safety factor if you're going to do significant
    tonal edits.

    As you mention, 48-bit files are not fully supported
    in all image editors, and not all functions (eg.
    in Photoshop 7) are supported for 48-bit files.
    So there's always a downside.

    One can also make a valid counter-argument that,
    with a bit of care and attention in the scan,
    48-bit files yield little or no practical or
    observable benefit.

    Long and short of it: the experts don't even agree
    on this, so decide for yourself. It's a workflow
    issue, and there's really no right or wrong here.

    Don't expect a miraculous improvement in your
    images from 16-bit files, unless you're the type
    that really cranks on the Curves or Levels tool
    in Photoshop.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Feb 27, 2006
  16. Jason

    Hunt Guest

    I'm with Rafe B 100%. I'd dedicate a removable HDD to just the archive disk,
    save the original TIFF's, and then save the PSD's that you will probably have
    in PS, leaving the original scans untouched. From that point, you can do a
    final save in whatever format suits your needs. If ever necessary, you can go
    back a step to the PSD (Layers, Adjustment Layers, etc.) and re-work them. If
    you ever REALLY change your mind, you still have the original scans to fall
    back on. After the TIFF's and PSD's are all done, I'd do a BU of these to
    whatever media you have/choose, just to be safe. You should never have to go
    back and re-scan, unless you find that there was a problem with a particular
    scanned image.

    Hunt, Feb 27, 2006
  17. Jason

    Jason Guest

    Hello 'rafe b'

    Just out of interest, what is your preferred choice of scanner?
    Jason, Feb 28, 2006
  18. Jason

    rafe b Guest

    Unless you're wealthy, Nikon. If you have a
    money tree or a fat inheritance, and time to
    spare, get an ICG drum scanner.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Mar 1, 2006
  19. Jason

    Jason Guest


    Jason, Mar 1, 2006
  20. Your film will degrade over time, and your digital files will not. I
    would scan at maximum resolution and color depth. Consider carefully
    which settings that you want to apply, as some may affect final quality
    in a both positive or negative way. It is a lengthy process no matter
    how you look at it. I asked the same question here last summer. I
    finally figured that DVD+/-R is cheap and that I don't want to lose the
    image data ... so I scan to get the best results possible.

    Having a high resolution scan offers you much more flexibility with post
    processing in photoshop, with less likelihood of introducing noise or
    artifacts into your deliverable image (i.e. 8x10 300dpi JPEG for
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, Mar 2, 2006
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