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Textured originals

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  • Textured originals

    I use a digital camera quite frequently in my work. Many of my customers give me old snapshots that were printed using "matte" finish. This type of finish produces a pattern of white dots when scanned, so I photograph the image instead. I use the macro setting, and a copy stand to get the best shots.

    I've also used the camera to shot overly large photographs, and then piece them together.

    In these instances, I've made several comparisons, between a scan and photograph of the photo, and in most cases I go with the photograph.

    Everyone has been more than pleased with the results.

    Oops, the camera I use is an Olympus 2020.

  • #2
    GOOD info Vikki!! I shudder when I have to scan the textured photos. That is an excellent tip.!!! Did you build your copy stand or purchase it? Tom


    • #3
      Building a Photo Copy Stand

      Speaking of copy stands...

      I was browsing the Internet and found this site with instructions on how to build your own.

      Build an inexpensive photo copy stand



      • #4
        I purchased mine - no woodworking skills here. Plus, I like having several adjustment levers, to make sure everything is on the correct level.
        Regarding "leveling", instead of using a mirror as that site suggests, you can purchase a very small, round level. I think I got mine from Home Depot.
        I rarely use bulbs. I setup in front of a window, adjust my camera settings, and use my remote (so I don't have to use the flash).
        The only drawback, and this is minor, is that I can only do this during the day.


        • #5
          T. Paul, Thanks for the link---looks like I am going to get to play with power tools again!!! Hope I will still be able to count to 10 using using my "counting aides" without having to take off my boots! Tom


          • #6
            Vikki, do you notice any problems with artifacts such as noise etc, when using the camera, and do you find that you must sharpen images imported into your image processing program more than from a flat bed scanner? What is the megapixel count of the 2020, around 3 or 3.25 isnt it? Sorry about all the questions, I am simply addicted to knowledge!!Some day some of it is actually going to stick between my ears! Tom


            • #7
              Very interesting thread. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent trying to find the "definitive" answer on how to scan those "satin-" or "linen-" finish photos. My friend who was involved in Operation Babylift (see that story over in Critiques) has about 40 photos that she took herself which really need to be archived.

              In the process of trying to figure out the best way to get a digital image, I have bought two additional scanners. (Thank God for eBay!) I was told that 1200 optical dpi scanners (which I had one of) pick up too much texture, but that 600 optical dpi wouldn't pick up as much. Not true from my experience. I bought (and returned) one of the ultrathin CanoScans on a recommendation that because of the CIS technology (as opposed to most scanners' CCD technology), the lack of any depth of field would help eliminate the "white dot syndrome". Again, not true in my experience. I tried a polarizing sheet at any number of different angles (both the sheet and the photo) to no avail. I tried velum and wax paper - also to no avail. The only thing I haven't yet tried (and which I will try on one of my OWN childhood photos) is vegetable oil or glycerin (glycerin is water based, so much easier to clean up!) rubbed onto the face of the photo to "fill in" the nooks and crannies. I have to try just so I know if it actually works or not, but there's no way I'll do that on anyone else's photos!

              In addition to trying everything I could think of with scanners, I had 35mm copy negatives made at three different high-quality photo labs in town because I wondered if I should just purchase a copy stand and do that on my own. (I have a film scanner, so can scan the negative directly.) As it turned out, one of the labs did a scan/print for free to show me the quality and I have to say that the contrast and detail in the shadows was MUCH better from the scan. It was not particularly crisp however, and after purchasing the same scanner used by that lab, I realized it's because they had the descreening value set all the way up. (Blurs out the white dots, but also the detail in the photo.) It doesn't look too bad when printing the 3x3 photo in the same size, but I'd really like the option to enlarge some of them and so far I haven't found a way to do that without the "texture" getting in the way of the actual photo.

              SO, that's a long-winded way of saying that perhaps I need to ask some of my friends if they have a 3M-pixel digital camera that I can try. (I don't have the $$ to go out and purchase one for myself.) Perhaps a digital camera would produce better results than a traditional 35mm copy negative?



              • #8
                Guess what folks. Yesterday, I threw away a copy stand that I made. It was very much made like the link plan. The difference was that instead of making the sliding arm, I used a black pipe "T", which had to have the threads filed out so that it would slide on the vertical piece of pipe. A hole was drilled through the side of the "T", and it was threaded to accept a T-bolt. This was used to secure the camera support so that it wouldn't slide down once it was in position. In fact, I think I still have the pipe parts in the garage. If anyone is interested in seeing what I'm talking about, I'll take a shot of it to display for you. I made mine around 1980 or so, and I *never* had to worry about the camera being in line with the photo. It was rock solid, and weighed a ton! Most of the time I used lights at a 45 degree angle to the print. All of the images that I sent in to the archives were copied on this stand. I used a 35mm camera, a 645 camera, and a 4 X 5 camera on the stand for copy work.


                Now you know one of the things that was in the walk-in closet!



                • #9
                  Tom - I can get a "zero compression", 5 meg TIF (1600 x 1200) with the camera. It's hard to answer the sharpening question... I don't believe it's that much softer than a scan.

                  To tell you the truth, like Jeanie, I've tried everything without luck, I have to be satisfied with this.

                  If I can find two comparison shots on my system I will post it, otherwise, it may take me a week to get to it - if you're interested.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Vikki
                    If I can find two comparison shots on my system I will post it, otherwise, it may take me a week to get to it - if you're interested.
                    I for one am VERY interested! Whenever you have time would be greatly appreciated! -Jeanie


                    • #11
                      Hi! I have been trying to find a way of working with these papers also.They were very popular years ago and now some labs are using lustre paper as their standard matte. The reason being proffs can not be copied well.

                      I've had some luck scanning and using gausian blur then usm. It can be hard to blend though.


                      • #12
                        ED!!!! ARRGHHHH......Oh well, domestic tranquility has priority but aint it the truth that you will never need something until you throw it away? JEANIESA, Before shelling out big bucks for a 3+ megapixel unit which will probably still pick up the textured paper anyhow, have you tried using soft illumination of the picture by putting cheese cloth over the front of a directional light then taking a shot?( As in cheap clamp lamp type--lets not get too fancy) Perhaps by manipulating the lighting you could eliminate the texture caused problem. I dread working on those types of photos as I have not been able to find ANY WAY using a flat bed scanner to eliminate the texture or even reduce it much without degrading the scan. Another thought; Have you tried placing a sheet of clear glass between the photo and camera--perhaps with that and lighting manipulation it might soften the texture somewhat. Just a few mildly disoriented musings---Thanks, Tom


                        • #13

                          Sorry, I wasn't very clear on the results with the copy negative. In fact, the copy negatives had NO reflection at all from the finish. I'm almost sure the labs used polarizing filters on the lights to reduce glare on the photo finish. The problem with the copy negatives was that the resulting contrast was even worse than the already near-non-existent contrast in the original photos themselves. Specifically, the copy negatives couldn't pick up the details in the shadow areas. And, because the contrast and sharpness is so poor in the original photos, the copy negative only exacerbated those problems.

                          So, what I'm hoping is that perhaps the digital camera won't have the same restrictions on contrast that film does and can pick up more of the detail in the photos. Don't worry, I'm not going out and buying a 3MP camera! I've GOT to have a friend SOMEWHERE who will let me borrow one - I HOPE!



                          • #14
                            OOPS....I misunderstood. We of the bovine persuasion sometimes fall victim to that ailment! Keep us informed of your quest results! A solution to that problem would be greeted with cheering and dancing in the streets! OK, the VIRTUAL streets. Tom


                            • #15
                              There will certainly be dancing and cheering in my PHYSICAL street if I ever figure this out! -Jeanie


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