Scanning Old Snapshots for Archiving

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by TN, May 21, 2004.

  1. TN

    TN Guest

    Hi Folks -

    What's the best scanning method to get digital images from hundreds of odd
    sized color and black & white photos? I have boxes of old family photos and
    am contemplating archiving them all digitally. My goal is to do it fairly
    quickly, but also have a quality result.

    I there a scannner with a document feeder that's gentle enough and flexible
    enough to do this job, or is the only way doing it one at a time in a
    painstaking manner? My fear is, this a project that could take months.

    Any ideas?

    TN, May 21, 2004
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  2. If you really want to job done well, it is a one at a time job.

    Even if the scanner were to scan them quickly, you still have the
    problem of naming and sorting the image files.

    In real life, I find that some just don't scan as expected and need a
    little tweaking of the scanner settings to get a good original.
    Joseph Meehan, May 21, 2004
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  3. TN

    Bowzre Guest

    Do them one at a time, or in small groups. File naming and cataloging will
    be easier that way. And yes, this will take a while. If you're in a rush,
    hire somebody to do it. But scanning tons of old photos is very

    I've done a bit of this, and usually place as many small photos on the glass
    as I can, and move the scanning area until I've scanned them all, and then
    move on to the next batch.
    Bowzre, May 21, 2004

  4. I've just been testing Dimage Capture PC which tethers the Minolta
    Dimage A1 or A2 to a PC, so that you can mount it on a copy stand and
    shoot hundreds of images in rapid succession - depending on the file
    size and the speed of the USB 2.0 connection (you really need a fast PC
    and USB 2). It does not need a card in the camera so the speed is not
    'hobbled' by a CF card I/O procedure.

    It seems to work extremely well whether by tungsten or flash and the
    viewing screen on a computer monitor is really quick to use. With the
    zoom lens and a fairly high copy stand (or tripod and easel to hold the
    prints) you could be doing one or two a minute, and you can set the file
    name for each series - just type in 'Mumandad' and it will serial number
    all the pictures until you change to 'Familydogs' and then to

    David Kilpatrick, May 21, 2004
  5. TN

    Mindful Guest

    I too am just starting to do this. I am scanning at 300 dpi and cleaning
    up in PSP or Photopaint. Any tips on workflow folks could pass along?

    Mindful, May 21, 2004
  6. TN

    ERich10983 Guest

    I'm doing this right now for family photos going back into the late 1800s. No
    one in my family ever threw away a single photo, preferring to glue them into
    oversized scrapbooks and filing into big envelopes.

    So far, I've done about 1000 with another 2000 or so to go from my mothers
    collection. I spend about 3 hours a day on it and expect another couple of
    months work by the time I get to the point of organizing. I periodically dump
    everything to CDs and DVD in case of a system failure. I do simple organizing
    into just a few files at first but then can do finer organizing later using
    Paint Shop Pro Imagefile to transfer individual shots in the thumbnail page to
    a specific folder. Trying to do that while scanning is just too confusing.

    Anyway, it's a good thing to do. Everyone in the family will now have access to
    all these photos instead of only the person keeping that particular shoebox.

    Earle Rich
    Mont Vernon, NH
    ERich10983, May 21, 2004
  7. TN

    stewy Guest

    If they are those small 'prints the same size as the neg' variety, my advice
    would be to arrange as many as possible on a flatbed, scan at around
    400ppi - 600 or 800 if you thave enough RAM, then use photoshop. simply use
    the duplicate feature, then crop, level with the ruler tool and recrop.
    Scanning is pretty boring and there's no real way to speed up the process.
    stewy, May 21, 2004
  8. I don't think there's one that's good enough for mixed odd-sized
    photos. HP has a 4x6 auto-feed scanner, but I haven't used it myself,
    and have heard one person report trouble with feeding reliably.

    Your choices, I think, are flatbed, or a digital camera on a copy
    stand. It's easier to hold them flat on a flatbed scanner. The
    camera is considerably faster. I've done mine on my flatbed scanner.
    David Dyer-Bennet, May 21, 2004
  9. TN

    filmscan Guest

    Mutually exclusive. A quality result means one at a time scan at about 600
    DPI, save as a tiff for later treatment in Photoshop or PSP 8 or using
    Vuescan, and checking each image. There is NO document feeder that is likely
    to do it well.

    Are the photos mounted, and if so, how are they mounted? How old are they?
    Many years old and they may well be very dry and brittle, making handling
    even more problematic. Are any faded? If so, that too needs to be

    If you have enough money, it may be better to pay someone else to do the
    work, and likely you are looking at no more than 10-15 scans per hour when
    all is said and done, NOT including a lot of fix up of the scans.
    One at a time or you will end up with junk...
    Very possible if there are enough photos.
    Patience is a virtue :)


    Toronto, ON, Canada


    Copyright retained for what it is worth. If this is illegal
    where you are, do not read it. Trademark also retained.....
    filmscan, May 23, 2004
  10. TN


    Dec 13, 2008
    Likes Received:
    The best way is ...

    Photograph them with a high quality lens at 200mm in direct daylight. I like staging them in a white ice chest in the yard. Shoot from a tripod and fill the frame. Takes time but you can build a system and make it go faster. Only pick the photos you really want, copying all of them is a lot of work, do you need all of them? Edit. You will be amazed at the results. I am doing this for clients and they love it. --Hugo
    hugo24k, Dec 13, 2008
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