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  • How to scan slides

    I am just starting in the photo retouching area and where I'm probably most clueless is in input and output. I've got a ton, and I mean a ton, of old family slides of which some I'd like to get on to my computer to retouch, fix, etc. Can someone be kind enough to lead me in the right direction? Oh, did I say I was clueless about this stuff? lol

  • #2
    Originally posted by imann08
    I am just starting in the photo retouching area and where I'm probably most clueless is in input and output. I've got a ton, and I mean a ton, of old family slides of which some I'd like to get on to my computer to retouch, fix, etc. Can someone be kind enough to lead me in the right direction? Oh, did I say I was clueless about this stuff? lol
    If you want to scan slides, your scanner should have this function otherwise you won't be able to scan them.

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    • #3
      Slide Scanning

      Imann, you are lucky to have all of those family photos on slides. Slide film emulsions from years ago if stored properly should be in much better shape than negatives. Images will likely be much easier to retouch because there will be less color degradation and fewer pinholes in the emulsion.
      If you are looking for the best results, I would highly recommend you purchase or borrow a true slide / negative scanner. Flat bed scanners which have special adapters to handle slides and negs do not do anywhere near as good a job. They do not have the optical resolution or the dynamic range of dedicated slide/neg scanners. If you are interested in a "previously enjoyed" scanner, there are tons of deals on Ebay. If you are looking at investing in a new one, there are many brand name excellent scanner. I would highly recommend looking at Nikon Coolscan. There are of course commercial services which will scan your slides for you. However, they auto level, auto color, auto sharpen, your output and your stuck with what you get. Often it is difficult or time consuming to undo machine generated corrections. If you have any additional questions, feel free to post.
      Regards, Murray

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      • #4
        i agree with mistermonday. here's the dedicated slide/negative scanner i use at home. i got it through Staples office supply for $129. this model is now discontinued, but here's the web site for it and for their line of scanners: http://www.scanace.com/en/product/1800u.php . do bear in mind that this ONLY does 35mm slides and negatives, so if you have other types you might want to look around more. the software is also a bit fussy at times. and, if you have another scanner on the same machine, there is a bug in Windows that may make one or the other not work right. so, those are the caveats on this particular model.

        all in all, it does a very good job, despite the somewhat buggy nature of the beast and i've been quite pleased with it.

        craig

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        • #5
          Let me be the first to suggest using a digital camera with good macro capabilities and a light table This one was done with a small P&S (as in cheap) sony dsc-p10 but had to be downsized from it's original resolution to upload. It all depends on what your output needs are. For image acquisition speed you simply can't beat a good digital camera vs. a scanner and I'd love to see what can be done with an SLR with decent glass.
          Attached Files

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          • #6
            Originally posted by videosean
            Let me be the first to suggest using a digital camera with good macro capabilities and a light table This one was done with a small P&S (as in cheap) sony dsc-p10 but had to be downsized from it's original resolution to upload. It all depends on what your output needs are. For image acquisition speed you simply can't beat a good digital camera vs. a scanner and I'd love to see what can be done with an SLR with decent glass.
            I have a Canon Digital Rebel 6.3mp. Awesome camera and I can't wait to see how it works when I learn how to take good photographs. I just don't have a light table and wouldn't know the first thing about doing it. It seems as though the scanners that are made for it are much easier to deal with that sitting there and taking a picture of each slide. I'd love to take a picture of one for you to show you what it was like but, like I said, I'd be entering this area blind at this point and don't know if my results would do it justice.

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            • #7
              To everyone else, I intend to buy what's necessary eventually I was just holding off until I got some practice/experience under my belt before I went and did any purchasing. Right now I am just dealing with an all-in-one HP OfficeJet G55. It's no longer made but I love it for what it does. It's just probably not good enough to scan or reprint photos for future customers if I get to that point. In order to do the slides, it sounds like I may have to do this sooner rather than later and make some decisions. I have a bunch of questions when it comes to both scanners and printers. For instance, while the scanners that handle slides sound great they may not be able to handle over sized photos that people want fixed up.

              Right now I am knee deep in Dan Margulis' LAB book. I'm sure most of you know of it and understand when I say I am going at a snails pace just to understand the stuff. LAB isn't RGB or CMYK by any stretch but, after getting through as much of the book as I have, it seems like a must. Anyways, the bottom line is it's taking a while for me to get a grip on things because, while I know photoshop fairly well, this area is taking me into areas that I had never dealt with before. For instance, I didn't even know Apply Image or Calculation Commands existed until getting into this.

              You guys seem very nice. Much nicer than other boards I've been on for PS graphics stuff. Usually if you are still wet behind the ears and ask a "stupid" question you will get abused and told that, basically, that question was too easy, go figure it out yourself. I'm sure you've seen that response. I never really ran into it cause I got on those boards after I had some experience but I see others who did and it stinks.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by imann08
                ...You guys seem very nice. Much nicer than other boards I've been on for PS graphics stuff. Usually if you are still wet behind the ears and ask a "stupid" question you will get abused and told that, basically, that question was too easy, go figure it out yourself. I'm sure you've seen that response. I never really ran into it cause I got on those boards after I had some experience but I see others who did and it stinks.
                imann -- you're right, most of us here HAVE seen that type of response elsewhere, and most of us agreed years ago NOT to let that attitude take root here. No one is born knowing any of this, and no one knows it all -- the nicer we are to the "new guy/new lady", the better the chance is that they will share what they know with us also -- plus it's just a lot more fun to be nice!

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                • #9
                  I have a good flatbed scanner with a slides adapter, good scanning software. and the result are rubbish. I have a good dedicated film/slide scanner and the results are excellent, but at a hefty price, including learning the scanner software.

                  A 35mm slide copier attachment for you Rebel is a resonable and inexpensive approach. Google "35mm slide copier" for lots of hits on sources and instruction. There are all kinds of outfits that scan slides cheaply like 33¢ each, and burn them as .jpg to CD...skip

                  http://www.superiorslides.com/

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by skipc
                    A 35mm slide copier attachment for you Rebel is a resonable and inexpensive approach. Google "35mm slide copier" for lots of hits on sources and instruction. There are all kinds of outfits that scan slides cheaply like 33¢ each, and burn them as .jpg to CD...skip
                    This looks like it could be a good and inexpensive idea to accomplish what I want. At least for the time being. Do you have any recommedations to make for my Canon Rebel?

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                    • #11
                      Using your Rebel with a slide attachment might suffice for a time, but a dedicated slide/negative scanner is a better long term solution for scanning hundreds of slides. I've just completed scanning well over a thousand old 35mm slides using a dedicated scanner and archiiving them on DVD discs. To get away from learning the scanner software, acquire the shareware app, VueScan. It automates everything for you.

                      For slides use a soft camels hair brush to brush the dust off each slide before scanning. You can then use a photediting app to finish cleaning up the remaining dust and defects. I use the makeover tool in PSP X which works extremely well for removing dust spots, much better than the clone tool. Some scanners use infrared to detect dust and help remove them from the scanned image but these require additional scanning and computation time and are more expensive

                      I am presently in the midst of scanning hundreds of rolls of 35mm b&w, and color negatives using the same scanner. Works well. Of course one of the problems with 35mm negative is color balance. Vuescan usually takes care of this well. If you buy a dedicated 35mm scanner, make sure that Vuescan will accomodate that model.

                      Check Wayne Fulton's Scan Tips site for some advice.

                      Bob

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                      • #12
                        Scanning Slides

                        Imann, since others are posting so many suggestions good suggestions I thought I would add a couple based on experiences, particularly if you do use a dedicated slide scanner.
                        1. Often there are fine dust particles on old slides and negatives. Often when you go to scan them, static charges make them cling even more tenaciously to the film. Moreover, while at 2400 or 4000 DPI, the scanners give you a fantastic image file, they also scan all of the dustspots as well. If you have a lot of small ones, you may spend considerable time with the clone brush afterward. So one thing you may want to consider is using a small air AC operated compressor like the kind used to fill up tires or for use in home workshops. Your local home depot can supply a standard $3 nozzle with a fine tip and a trigger. At 80-100 PSI it blasts the dust away like no brush can.
                        2. Every scanner manufacturer provides its own drive software with the hardware. The software provides you with the opportunity to adjust color, brightness, contrast, sharpness, and some other features prior to passing the scanned image file to you computer. My recommendation is turn all of those settings off. 3rd party software should not be necessary. Take the highest quality scan in the highest resolution that your scanner can produce, then make all of those adjustments in Photoshop or other image editing program. You should howver use the scanner's Crop window so that you can import the image area with only a small border which you can crop more precisely on your computer.
                        3. More expensive scanners (~$500) come with sophisticated s/w algorithms which can remove dust, scratches, and pinholes in the film. So like Nikon Coolscan (feature is called Digital ICE) do a fantastic job. They basically scan the filmm twice and where they detect surface anomalies they clone over the spots with good pixel data from adjacent areas. While they take twice as long to scan (1 min vs 30 secs per 35mm frame) they can save you an incredible amount of time trying cloning. I have hundreds of 35mm negative which due to degradation have significant amounts of pinholes in the emulsion. The extra investment paid for itself very quickly.
                        Good luck with your scanning project in however manner the choose to approach it.
                        Regards, Murray

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                        • #13
                          Mistermonday: Thanks for all the information. Alot of what you have said has also been said by things I have read so that just strengthens it. I will have to give it some thought. This is simply a task I offerred out of the kindness of my heart so it doesn't have to be done at all if I don't want to. It just seemed like a good idea. I didn't think that it would involve buying a new scanner specifically for slides. I do want to get into this though so I'm sure that I will eventually have too. Very cool of you and everyone else to help me out though.

                          The one thing that is mentioned by more than one is that I would have to clone the dust away. Couldn't blurring or using the healing tools be a more effetive means to accomplish this? Cloning just sounds a bit too brutal for something as small as dust. I haven't tried it out myself so this is just a thought.

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                          • #14
                            Imann, sorry I tend to use the term "cloning" loosely when referreing to eliminating dust spots and imperfections. You can use the Clone Stamp tool, the Healing Brush tools, or blurring but it depends on the image you are repairing and the size of the imperfection. Sometimes one will work better than the others. If you have a very sharp, very detailed area, blurring a spot in the middle of it will tend to be very noticeable and you would likely be better off with the Clone tool. The healing brush is sometimes the best solution but it sometimes has problems when the imperfection has a very different lightness level than the surrounding area as it will attempt to change the color but preserve the luminosity of the defect area. As you experiment with it, you will get the feel for which tool works best under what circumstances.
                            Regards, Murray

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                            • #15
                              there are also software programs and plugins that remove dust, scratches and noise. Neat Image is one and Polaroid's Dust and Scratch remover. these are automated detection routines designed to detect and remove unwanted 'noise' in an image.

                              craig

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