Scanning Film Images into Digital Files

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Michael, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. Michael

    Michael Guest

    I would like some suggestions as to the "Pros" and "Cons" of different
    ways of getting Film Images into Digital Files.

    I currently still shoot all in film (not yet ready for the switch to
    digital - waiting for the cost of the high-end SLR digitals to
    come-down). I don't shoot a lot of rolls, probably about a dozen a
    month or so. Mainly recreational (landscapes, family shots, etc.) as
    well as a bunch of "sports" shots of my kids playing sports (soccer,
    hockey, basketball, etc.).

    I get my film developed by A&I photo by mailorder since I was not
    happy with the local "2-hour crap labs" and A&I give me beautiful
    prints (and enlargements if I want them) almost every time.

    Anyway, I want to be able to get SOME of the photos I take into
    digital format, mainly so that I can either post them up on a site
    like "OFOTO" so that other people can view my images and order their
    own prints. THis has lately become a big requirement since other
    parents want to get copies of some of the "sports photos" I am taking
    and putting them up on "OFOTO" is probably the easiest way (they view
    them and then just can order them themselves).

    Anyway, back to the issue. There seems to be several different ways
    for me to get my photos into digital format, all with "Pros" and
    "Cons".

    1) I can send the film to "OFOTO" to get developed and they will
    "Scan" my negatives for me. This is CHEAP (costs only about $4.00 to
    develop my roll and scan it in) but I only get back my negatives (no
    prints unless I order them)and I am pretty much stuck with trying to
    view a low-res image on the OFOTO site. I can't download it to work
    on it in Photoshop or anything. And they don't give you the option to
    download a "Full Resolution" image. You can only download the "low
    res" images posted on their sites.

    2) A&I has an option that when I send them my film, they will scan it
    into 4 to 5 Meg "TIFFS" using "Medium-Format FrontierScanning". THis
    costs an extra $10 per roll, and they state that it is only good for
    up to "4 x 6" prints. However, someone else told me that these images
    should really be fine even up to 8 x 10 printing as long as I am not
    doing "Commercial" work (which I am not).

    3) Another option is to look into using the Kodak "Picture CD" or the
    "Photo CD", which are options if I get the film developed by Kodak. I
    haven't looked into the costs or resolutions yet.

    4) I can buy a "flatbed scanner" and "Scan my Prints". I have no idea
    how good the images will come out this way or anything about the
    "technology" behind doing this (what type of scanner, etc.)

    5) I can buy a "Film Scanner" and scan in my negatives. Again, I
    don't really know a lot about this, and how much it costs and how good
    the resolution will be.

    My questions:

    Given all the above options, what is the "best method" to get my film
    (all color negatives only) into digital images given the type of
    pictures I take (no commercial prints) and quantity (a dozen or two
    dozen rolls a month).

    Thanks!

    Michael
     
    Michael, Sep 11, 2004
    #1
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  2. Have you asked A&I if they will make a photo cd? That would be your
    easiest option.
    Next I would see if a local photofinisher will take your developed
    negs and make a photo cd after you have A&I do the original developing
    and printing.
    Scanning prints will be very disappointing.
    Scanning negatives for web-sized display requires a medium performance
    scanner. Less than $300.
    Scanning for enlargement to 12x or so requires a top performance film
    scanner in the 4000+ dpi range. Nikon and Minolta make such models.
    About $800.
    Visit scantips.com for a good discussion of what the tradeoffs are.
     
    Robert Feinman, Sep 11, 2004
    #2
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  3. Michael

    bob Guest

    (Michael) wrote in
    The images won't come out as good as they would with a film scanner, and
    the film scanner you buy won't do as good a job as the ones your photo
    lab uses. Since you're happy with the results you get from A&I, it
    doesn't make sense to me to change that just to help out other people.

    Since you're basically talking about making photos available for friends
    for free, I'd say go with what's easiest, which might be the flatbed
    scanner. Especially if you can think of any other uses.

    The problem is if you're doing a dozen rolls a month, that's 36 pictures
    every other day, which is a lot of scanning.

    You could try Wal-mart. Mine does a good job, but probably some others
    don't. They will process the film, and for an extra $3 they will scan the
    images and burn them to CD. Then you can make copies of the CD and other
    parents can take the CD to walmart and get their own prints. Walmart uses
    the Frontier printer/scanner system too.

    Bob
     
    bob, Sep 11, 2004
    #3
  4. Michael

    macro Guest

    Generally, the scanner at your neighborhood photo shop is better than the one
    you want to own.
     
    macro, Sep 11, 2004
    #4
  5. Ah...but does the kid operating it know how to use it? There has been a lot
    of misinformation in this thread. I suggest that the OP ignore it and look
    into independent testers.

    Start here... http://www.cameras-scanners-flaar.org/
     
    Gene Palmiter, Sep 12, 2004
    #5
  6. The scanner at my neighborhood photoshop is a Nikon LS4000. If you
    don't less you get 60 meg files (4000 dpi) for each image at $1.00
    each. Part of that $1.00 includes any necessary cleaning. They will
    scan at lesser resolutions.

    What you get when you go to any store, or mail order house varies
    widely. You need to check ahead of time as some just stick in what
    ever you send and give you snap shot quality while other go the
    archival route complete with cleaning.

    Me? I have a Nikon LS5000ED with the SF-210. With what I've saved so
    far I not only could have paid for my scanner, but my D-70, the
    lenses, Photoshop Elements, Photoshop CS and thrown in a nice, but
    small new car.

    OTOH I've been in here scanning almost daily for an hour or two since
    last Winter. (I'm retired)

    Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
    (N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
    www.rogerhalstead.com
     
    Roger Halstead, Sep 12, 2004
    #6
  7. Michael

    Paul J Gans Guest

    Is that the secret? I've wondered how I can get my collection
    slides scanned while holding down a day job...

    ---- Paul J. Gans
     
    Paul J Gans, Sep 13, 2004
    #7
  8. Michael

    Ron Baird Guest

    Hi Mike,

    Since you are talking about several rolls of film 12-24 (18) I would
    consider getting a good film scanner. Check eBay for discontinued scanners
    like the Kodak RFS scanners or the 3600, or others with similar features.
    For a good price you can scan your own negatives and slides. Scans at a
    real 3600 dpi or interpolates up to 4800.

    http://www.kodak.com/go/professional

    At the same time, if you are selective, you may want to consider using Photo
    CD. This is much different than Picture CD. You can review them both on
    the Kodak site at

    http://www.kodak.com/go/photocd
    http://www.kodak.com/go/picturecd

    Photo CD converts your image into a multi resolution PCD file. You can then
    open it into one of five selectable resolutions.
    Picture CD is scanned to a 1536x1024 JPG file.

    There are other scanners but they may be a bit pricey so, the used
    reference.
     
    Ron Baird, Sep 13, 2004
    #8
  9. Michael

    Ron Baird Guest

    Hi Mike,

    Since you are talking about several rolls of film 12-24 (18) I would
    consider getting a good film scanner. Check eBay for discontinued scanners
    like the Kodak RFS scanners or the 3600, or others with similar features.
    For a good price you can scan your own negatives and slides. Scans at a
    real 3600 dpi or interpolates up to 4800.

    http://www.kodak.com/go/professional

    At the same time, if you are selective, you may want to consider using Photo
    CD. This is much different than Picture CD. You can review them both on
    the Kodak site at

    http://www.kodak.com/go/photocd
    http://www.kodak.com/go/picturecd

    Photo CD converts your image into a multi resolution PCD file. You can then
    open it into one of five selectable resolutions.
    Picture CD is scanned to a 1536x1024 JPG file.

    There are other scanners but they may be a bit pricey so, the used
    reference.

    Ron Baird
    Eastman Kodak Company
     
    Ron Baird, Sep 13, 2004
    #9
  10. Michael

    Ron Baird Guest

    Hi Mike,

    Since you are talking about several rolls of film 12-24 (18) I would
    consider getting a good film scanner. Check eBay for discontinued scanners
    like the Kodak RFS scanners or the 3600, or others with similar features.
    For a good price you can scan your own negatives and slides. Scans at a
    real 3600 dpi or interpolates up to 4800.

    http://www.kodak.com/go/professional

    At the same time, if you are selective, you may want to consider using Photo
    CD. This is much different than Picture CD. You can review them both on
    the Kodak site at

    http://www.kodak.com/go/photocd
    http://www.kodak.com/go/picturecd

    Photo CD converts your image into a multi resolution PCD file. You can then
    open it into one of five selectable resolutions.
    Picture CD is scanned to a 1536x1024 JPG file.

    There are other scanners but they may be a bit pricey so, the used
    reference.

    Ron Baird
    Eastman Kodak Company
     
    Ron Baird, Sep 13, 2004
    #10
  11. Michael

    AK Guest

    I would recommend against a flatbed scanner for scanning the negatives,
    though what you could do is use a flatbed scanner to scan the prints of the
    pictures you want to digitize - I think you'd be pleased with the quality. I
    use an HP 5PSE that I bought years ago for about $50 to scan the odd picture
    or two, and the results can be pretty spectacular. This also has the
    advantage of being pretty fool-proof - what you see is what you get.

    If you want to scan the actual negative, you can go with a lower cost
    scanner than suggested here and get superb results. I use the Minolta Dimage
    Dual III, bought about 2 years ago, and, I think, now superceded by a
    version with higher resolution. My one does 2880 dpi, and the results are
    excellent, permitting blowups as if I was printing off the original negative
    or slide in a darkroom, to 8 x10 easily, and, for my taste, even 13 x 19. I
    believe I paid round $399 for my scanner.

    But using a negative scanner requires some expertise to get the exposure and
    levels right - you do need to know what you are doing to get a quality
    digital version of your original image.
     
    AK, Sep 14, 2004
    #11
  12. Michael

    Ken Weitzel Guest

    Hi...

    I recently used one of the picture makers for the first time
    and was astonished at the quality and ease of use. So much
    so that my printer is now retired from 4x6's.

    I used a machine (.25 cdn each) that "sent the pictures
    upstairs" to be picked up an hour later.

    The fellow beside me was using another type (.67 cdn each)
    that had a scanner attached to it, and I think was
    spitting out prints while he waited. He was scanning old
    prints and his prints were almost unbelievable.

    So... given the incredible number of us who want to
    scan old slides, I wonder if not a great business
    opportunity for someone like Kodak? Attach a
    true slide/film scanner to the same machine, and
    sell us (for not too much) burns of scans?

    Just thinking out loud...

    Ken
     
    Ken Weitzel, Sep 14, 2004
    #12
  13. Michael

    Igor Guest

    1) I can send the film to "OFOTO" to get developed and they will
    They are typically very low resolution scans. I find them unacceptable
    for anything larger then 4 x 6
    That's weird. 5MB file only good for 4x6? They are definately doing
    something wrong...
    If that someone is willing to reimburse you for the money ill-spent,
    go for it..
    VERY, VERY BAD!!!
    Best option IMO. I bought the cheapest scanner I could find 4 years
    ago (HP PhotoSmart s20) and to this day it produces excellent results.
    I have printed up to 11x14 with outstanding result. About a year ago I
    check on eBay and HP s20X was going for $99 NEW!!!!

    There IS a downside. two dozen rolls would take a LONG time to scan.
    Look into newer/more expensive scanners, they probably much faster. I
    wouldn't know, because I have never used any other ones.


    Good Luck!
     
    Igor, Sep 14, 2004
    #13
  14. Michael

    Michael Guest

    I use the A&I "prepaid mailers" to get my film developed and prints
    and then add an additional $10 for a "Frontier Scan".

    This is what A&I says on their web site about their CD Scans that they
    give you when they develop a roll of film for you:

    "What is a Frontier scan?
    Frontier Regular Scans can be made from negative or transparency film.
    We provide 5-6 MB TIFF files for each image, along with a thumbnail.
    This size is suitable for web display, small format printing and 4x6
    prints. These scans cannot be used to make larger prints. Higher res
    scans are available at our standard prices by mail, but not by
    mailer."


    Here is the link to A&I:

    http://www.aandi.com/index.html


    Here is the link to this comment about their "Frontier Scan".

    http://www.aandi.com/faqppm.html#cd

    I typically get a CD containing my images in actually about 6 MEG
    "TIFF" Files.

    Any comments on what they are doing and the quality of these images?

    Michael
     
    Michael, Sep 18, 2004
    #14
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