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Scanning vs Digital camera for archiving photos

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  #1  
Old 12-16-2008, 03:07 PM
ogee ogee is offline
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Scanning vs Digital camera for archiving photos

Over Christmas I hope to copy a number of old family photos. I can either scan them or copy them with a digital SLR camera. I think I read somewhere (here or somewhere else), that using a digital camera and indirect light is consider the better option. Any opinions? And if a digital camera what would you use as a light source (keeping in mind we do not have any equipment, save the camera and tripod).
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Old 12-16-2008, 03:15 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Scanning vs Digitial camera for archiving phot

something like this would be ideal, the lights should be at a 45 degree angle to the camera:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Copystand.html
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Old 12-16-2008, 04:40 PM
DigitalPhotoDoc DigitalPhotoDoc is offline
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Re: Scanning vs Digitial camera for archiving phot

We use to own a custom lab and hade all the equipment to do it right. Now I'm forced to do without. If I need to do a camera scan I will shoot on a cloudy day or in the shade of a neutral colored building (you don't want reflective colors from blg or trees) on the north side if possible. Shoot raw with a grey scale card, then process for true color.

Hope this helps.

DPD
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Old 12-16-2008, 05:02 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: Scanning vs Digitial camera for archiving phot

Ogee,
I have often recommended splitting the task into various groups. When you have large numbers of photographs, it is very unlikely you will ever retouch the majority. Those can be shot with a camera to preserve the image. If you ever were to retouch them, the technology of that day would likely be able to do a very nice job regardless of the image. Shoot in color even if they are b&w. Shoot at your highest resolution.

The ones you know are special or you will likely retouch should be scanned. This preserves the most color, detail and perspective to ensure you can retouch them now with little trouble or headache.

During the photographing session, start by taking a few sample shots. This allows you to adjust the white balance, focus point, etc to ensure the best shot. Only after examining your samples should you continue. You will find that the largest obstacle to photographing them is not the lighting, but keeping them flat. Unfortunately, there is not a good means of doing so with products on the market. I have actually found it easier to make a small stand out of wood or cardboard and manually align the images. If flat, it goes real fast. I don't worry about the crop or alignment as much, as that is easily adjusted later in software. But, the perspective problem with a non-flat image is more time consuming. So, I toss all those curling images in another pile and ask a family member to uncurl them while I shoot the others.

Hints: adjust your camera to focus on center spot (since its flat surface), single point exposure (to ensure it doesn't capture another light source), and use a 1 or 2 second delay for the shutter (to avoid shake).
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Old 12-16-2008, 05:32 PM
RobJ RobJ is offline
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Re: Scanning vs Digital camera for archiving photo

TommyO,
Just how do your family members uncurl those old photographs?
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Old 12-16-2008, 05:39 PM
RobJ RobJ is offline
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Re: Scanning vs Digital camera for archiving photo

Here is a statement from Matt Kloskowski's Book "Photoshop Elements 5, Restoration and Retouching"

" without getting too technical, a scanner uses light when it scans your photo. Some photos, especially old ones, have a reflective coating on them that doesn't turn out too well on a scanner. So, you'll need another way. Taking a photo of a photo is it."

Does anyone find that taking a photo of a photo results in a better digital image than scanning?

Thanks, Rob
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Old 12-16-2008, 05:42 PM
RobJ RobJ is offline
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Re: Scanning vs Digital camera for archiving photo

Has anyone used the Beseler copy stand that PixelZombie provided a link for -- results?

Thanks, Rob
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:29 PM
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0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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Re: Scanning vs Digital camera for archiving photo

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobJ View Post
Does anyone find that taking a photo of a photo results in a better digital image than scanning?
Thanks, Rob
Maybe not better on ALL pictures but definitely better on some! And most definitely faster!

Better or not is going to depend on how you set up your lights, if you need Polarized filters, and if you are trying to get rid of reflections ...
A comparison of Photographing versus scanner for silvering can be found here
Depending on the paper texture, with proper lighting it can also be reduced a lot by photographing, but may still need some tweaking with software later..
Scanning in different directions may also help with paper texture as explained here

Keep in mind what Tommy said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyO View Post
The ones you know are special or you will likely retouch should be scanned. This preserves the most color, detail and perspective to ensure you can retouch them now with little trouble or headache.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobJ View Post
Has anyone used the Beseler copy stand that PixelZombie provided a link for -- results?

Thanks, Rob
That Copy setup is fairly typical.. Mine (way before digital)... had a vacuum base on it for holding copy flat, could be tilted vertical or horizontal and always produced excellent results.. of course a flat field lens and shooting in medium format film help a bunch also...
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  #9  
Old 12-16-2008, 08:31 PM
RobJ RobJ is offline
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Re: Scanning vs Digital camera for archiving photo

Thanks very much. This thread has been very helpful.

RobJ
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  #10  
Old 12-16-2008, 08:41 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Re: Scanning vs Digital camera for archiving photo

A few tips:

Sometimes sitting the tripod on the floor with the camera looking down means that the legs get in the way. Instead lay the tripod on a table with the end with the camera on it protruding well over the edge of the table. Remember to place something heavy on the other end of the legs, like a building block or that old set of encyclopedias that you always wondered what to do with

Find the guy who builds heating and air conditiong duct work. Get from him a large sheet of the sheet metal he uses. Mine are about 11 x 14 or so. Paint it flat black. Go to either a hobby store or a sewing store and get a roll of the magnets they sell. The ones I have are about 1/2 inch wide, maybe 1/4 inch thick and the roll was several feet long. Cut into strips and lay them along the boarders of the original.

One can photograph threw glass, but its tricky.

When using a camera, always keep the other lights in the room VERY subdued.

I like to shoot when the camera is tethered to a computer, the larger image size on the screen is much better for chimping and my software allows me to fire the camera from the computer there by solving the vibration problem.

Hope this helps.
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