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Family Photos - Large Digitizing Project

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  • Family Photos - Large Digitizing Project

    My uncle recently and finally found our grandmothers box of photos. There are 100's of old photos dating back to 1880's up to the 1960's.

    I am planning to scan all the photos at 800 dpi and save in TIFF format.

    Would 800 dpi be sufficient or overkill in scanning all the old photos at such level? The print size of any future reprints will be limited to nothing larger than an 8 x 10 if that large.

    The tin-types will be going to a local photo restoration for preservation and digitizing.

  • #2
    Re: Family Photos - Large Digitizing Project

    Print quality is generally considered 300 dpi. If your max print size will be 8x10, then your scan should be 2400 x 3000 px. You did not mention the size of the originals. So if they are 4 x 5 you will need to scan at 600 dpi. If they are 4 x 6, you will still need to scan at 600 dpi so you can crop down to an aspect ratio of 8 x 10. If the originals are already 8x10 then 300 dpi is all you need. I suspect some of the older images may be 3 or 3-1/2 in on a side. Most scanners have settings for 300/600/1200 but not 800 or 900, so you will likely need to scan at 1200 dpi for the smaller ones.
    Regards, Murray

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    • #3
      Re: Family Photos - Large Digitizing Project

      Why not forward-plan and scan at the maximum possible DPI? Other than time, are there any reasons to not?

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      • #4
        Re: Family Photos - Large Digitizing Project

        Originally posted by lorienjohnson View Post
        Why not forward-plan and scan at the maximum possible DPI? Other than time, are there any reasons to not?
        If the original photos are large and you scan at the highest DPI, the resulting file sizes will be enormous. Anyway, it has been a year since decsurvey posted this thread and hopefully the job is complete or well on its way.
        Cheers, Murray

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        • #5
          Re: Family Photos - Large Digitizing Project

          The project is almost complete. I have a few photos left as well as quite a few rolls of 8mm, super 8mm, and 16mm family movies I am looking to get transferred.

          I scanned the photos at 600, 800, 1000, and 1200 depending on size and damage.

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          • #6
            Re: Family Photos - Large Digitizing Project

            Congratulations on the progress! Just a heads up... I ran through a major digitizing project several years ago when 300/600dpi were considered high. Most of those photos are useless for archival or restorative purposes now.

            For my personal archive of ~1,000 photos I've kept the inferior scans as a just-in-case backup. For all of my new scans, 2400dpi is my bare minimum. I'm still rescanning everything. It's slow, it requires multiple hard drives, and it's worth it. My priority is the storing and archiving; only a few get printed. Most of my prints are for clients' projects.

            Having said that, if reasons other than space/time exist for not scanning at higher resolutions then I'm all ears... it's a pain!

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