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poor quality of scanned negatives

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  #1  
Old 09-13-2012, 07:27 AM
slick500 slick500 is offline
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poor quality of scanned negatives

Hi:
I'm involved with a book project. In my research, I have located a professional photographer that took b&w pictures at an event 50 years ago. He has the negatives and has agreed to allow me to use the photos in my book for a fee. I recently received a CD with the images of the scanned negatives but I am disappointed with the negative scans. The images I received are .jpg in format and about 280 KB in size each. This seems really small to me. One picture in particular, I can remember being able to read the inscription on a trophy when I viewed the negative with a magnifying glass, but on the jpg I received it is just a blur. I am going to go back and request that the scans be redone but I want to be as specific as possible about my requirements. He is an older gentleman who might not be totally up with digital technologies.

Questions:
1. I originally asked for 600dpi scans but he told me that 300dpi is fine for my book purposes. What dpi should I be asking for? Is 300 enough? Is 1200 overkill?
2. I received .jpg files. I assume I should be asking for uncompressed lossless format such as .bmp or .tif?
3. How big should a scanned negative image file be for excellent quality? How many MB about?
4. I am going to suggest that I am willing to pay to have the negatives rescanned on a state of the art scanner/company. What should I be looking for? What equipment should a provider have to give the best results?

Any other suggestions on how I might end up being able to "read the inscription on the trophy" requirement I have? What is the going rate for having high quality negative scans done?

Thanks for helping me out as I learn more and more.
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:03 AM
ksparticus ksparticus is offline
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Re: poor quality of scanned negatives

It all depends on what size you are outputting your book to.
When you open the files in photoshop and check the image size what size are the dimensions at 300 Dpi?
Normally you would want the image size to be roughly the same size as your output @ 300 dpi.
If you zoom into your current file @ 100% are you seeing grain in the file?
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:19 AM
slick500 slick500 is offline
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Re: poor quality of scanned negatives

sample2.png

Thanks for the quick reply. Pixel dimensions of image are 3000x2448 and document size is 10" x 8.16" at 300 pixels/inch in photoshop. 10"x8" seems fine for my book purposes but the image is missing detail that exists on the negative. I can read the plaque on the original negative. When I zoom in on the scanned image I received, I don't see grain but rather extreme blockiness. Attached is a small portion of the image to show you the blockiness.

Any instructions you can give me to pass along during the next scanning attempt are appreciated. If 300 dpi should be sufficient, what needs to be spec'd beyond dpi to get the detail I'm after?
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:28 AM
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Tony W Tony W is online now
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Re: poor quality of scanned negatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by slick500 View Post
I recently received a CD with the images of the scanned negatives but I am disappointed with the negative scans. The images I received are .jpg in format and about 280 KB in size each.
Questions:
1. I originally asked for 600dpi scans but he told me that 300dpi is fine for my book purposes. What dpi should I be asking for? Is 300 enough? Is 1200 overkill?
2. I received .jpg files. I assume I should be asking for uncompressed lossless format such as .bmp or .tif?
3. How big should a scanned negative image file be for excellent quality? How many MB about?
4. I am going to suggest that I am willing to pay to have the negatives rescanned on a state of the art scanner/company. What should I be looking for? What equipment should a provider have to give the best results?

Any other suggestions on how I might end up being able to "read the inscription on the trophy" requirement I have? What is the going rate for having high quality negative scans done?

Thanks for helping me out as I learn more and more.
From the sound of things it does seem that he has scanned at an inappropriate amount for negatives or slides - I would expect the file size to be much larger. I think that the 300dpi he was thinking in terms of print output whereas you want to actually record the maximum amount of information from the negatives and this would normally be around 4000 spi for 35mm and can be less from larger format.

However in your case for producing book illustrations you may not need to go as high as the above figures and I think this should be discussed with your printer based on the actual negative size and the reproduction size in the book

Some typical? examples of scanning for printing below may give you some idea:
Scanning 35mm (36.0 x 24.0 mm) requires a minimum scanning resolution of 2540 spi and when set at 300 dpi will yield a print size 12”x8” and a file size of 24.7MB @ 8 bit RGB
35mm = scanning resolution 4000 spi @ 8 bit file size 61.3MB!

Scanning 2¼" x 2¼ inches (image area approx 56.0 x 56.0 mm) requires the minimum scanning resolution of 1089 spi and when set at 300 dpi will yield a print size 8”x8” and a file size of 16.5MB @ 8 bit RGB

Ideally you should ask for Tiff particularly if you are likely to be doing some edits and resaving

EDIT: Just seen your reply and the attached image. This looks like jpeg artefacts caused by saving the image highly compressed as evidenced by the very small file size you quoted. Try again asking for Tiffs with max LZW compression
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:42 AM
ksparticus ksparticus is offline
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Re: poor quality of scanned negatives

What Tony said in the edit.

The file size you described is a good size.
Hopefully the images were not scanned directly into jpeg format and saved with low jpeg compression, otherwise all would have to be rescanned. Find out if he compressed them prior to burning the disk and ask for tiff's.

Last edited by ksparticus; 09-13-2012 at 09:56 AM.
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