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    Thread: Digitizing old Photographs - Preserving Memories for a Lifetime

    1. #1
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      Post Digitizing old Photographs - Preserving Memories for a Lifetime

      Our fellow Gearhead Dev11 has a problem and he contacted me , i have some answers but i belive this is a problem that a lot of us have and so in the better interests of everyone .. here we go , I start with the problem statement Dev11 had for me , reproduced here verbatim. Thank you @%1;for bringing this up ..


      "I have many photo prints at home in my possession. Many of them are black and white, some with grayish and some brownish tone. Many are coloured but some are matt-finish and some glossy. Few photos have too much red/brown tint allover, I think they are called fuji-colour or something like that, though not sure.

      This is the collection maintained by my dad since his young age.

      I want to make digital copies of all these, at least of the memorable ones.

      I have an old regular flat-bed scanner, Astra 5800, which supports resolution upto 4800, I think.

      My request is, please guide me about the techniques involved in digitizing these various kinds of photos – a) B&W, b) Fuji colour, c) Matt-finished Colour, d) Glossy, Colour. Please also note that photos are in various sizes from passport size to 10”*12”.

      Q.1 – What resolution should I use to digitize a photo for a quality comparable to 8-10 megapixel camera?

      Q.2 – What resolution should I use to have a digital copy with manageable file size, so that normal details shouldn’t be missed. Photo should look good when viewed on the screen, either on 21” TFT monitor or 52”/42” LED TV.

      Q.3 – What resolution, Darkness/brightness/contrast/hue/saturation, etc should be set while scanning or should be processed with after scanning, for each of above types of photos, so that good colour and detail quality can be obtained."
      My answers

      Q1 - 600 dpi is what i have used and this is fine

      Q2 - At 600 dpi the file fize will be manageable, Looks fab on a 42 inch fullHD [1920 x 1080] LED TV , i have tried this out .

      Q3 - I used the default setting on my scanner , and later processed them manually to match the actual prints, Ideally , if you have the negative , i have had better experiences from scanning the negatives than the prints themselves.

      a) B&W, b) Fuji colour, c) Matt-finished Colour, d) Glossy, Colour.
      For these i did not do any different setting , but did notice that the glossy pictures had a better scanned output than the MATT finish ones.

      You cant do anything about the B&W and the Fuji colour ones you will have to scan them in as they are and then retort to digital processing, well there is but nothing that can be done in a cost effective or with minimum effort.

      Well i too had about 400 pictures to scan in and this was during the days after my graduation about 10 years back so sat down and did all the work to scan them in. sometimes i used to arraange mutiple prints on the same scan and then cut out and save individually
      Last edited by HELLSTAR; 5th Mar 2012 at 03:03.

    2. #2

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      Thank you HELLSTAR for taking efforts and guiding me.

      First photo of the collection was dated back to some 1965. My dad was an enthusiast and had a "small" box like camera. Though it was "small" for saying it a box, but "big enough to use as a box", to keep todays digital cameras, specially P&S, inside.

      That camera was disposed off long time ago, though with heavy heart. A roll film was used in that camera. Dad had done some successful changes in the mechanism of the camera and multiplied the no of snaps per "original exposure" to two-fold and four-fold, and that was selectable setting!

      This camera was with us for many years. I learned (??), actually started photography with this camera. Though it started without any professional guidance, I willingly used to find better angles of the objects with that camera, as nothing much could be done with that camera, as far as “me” of that time is concerned. And this skill (upto some extent) acquired and practiced on that camera is still with me and thats the end of my photography expertise.

      Dad had toured all over India with that camera and captured various kinds of views and moments. Many of the photos are now deteriorated but still many are in very good condition. I want to have this collection digitized so that Dad can easily watch those. For him, this will be like once again living in those moments. We, brothers and sisters also like to have those photos with us and digitizing the collection is a good solution available that today’s technology provide.

      As the photos are in thousands, outsourcing is not an affordable solution. I hope that I will be able to obtain the minimum required quality output from the scanner I am having at present. And further digital processing will bring the good out of the scanned image. But if I fail, I can go for equipment upgrad that can serve this specific need.
      Last edited by Dev11; 5th Mar 2012 at 13:50.

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      Hi All,

      I scanned some of my old memories with HP Scanjet G3110. Did some changes in preferrences/settings. Try to get the resolution above 600 dpi, that will fetch you good images. 1200 dpi would better.

      Once done, I then worked them on photoshop to correct damages and faded color.

      Just spend some time on photoshop basics and it is really easy to keep your photos in good prints forever.

      Let me know if I could be any help to anyone around.
      Thanks.

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      Quote Originally Posted by johnny03 View Post
      I scanned some of my old memories with HP Scanjet G3110. Did some changes in preferrences/settings. Try to get the resolution above 600 dpi, that will fetch you good images. 1200 dpi would better.
      At 1200 dpi, o/p file size is huge. For B&W, I would prefer scanning at 600 or lower in colour mode.

      Quote Originally Posted by johnny03 View Post
      Once done, I then worked them on photoshop to correct damages and faded color.

      Just spend some time on photoshop basics and it is really easy to keep your photos in good prints forever.

      Let me know if I could be any help to anyone around.
      Thanks! I never worked on photoshop. I don't have any clue to recreate clear photos (digital copy) from prints damaged/faded. These are mostly from B&W. Will try upload a scanned copy as a sample.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Dev11 View Post
      Thanks! I never worked on photoshop. I don't have any clue to recreate clear photos (digital copy) from prints damaged/faded. These are mostly from B&W. Will try upload a scanned copy as a sample.
      If you post on a sample image , i can try and give you a typical workflow .. but do remember that when scanned each photo will need to be treated differently

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