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Last post Author Topic: digitising slides  (Read 9116 times)

brahman

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Re: digitising slides
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2013, 07:45:29 PM »
Yo! Brahman here! Looks like this is a topic I can contribute something to!

1.) IMHO: Forget photographing! OK - it *is* the fastest method, BUT you will also photograph all the scratches, dust, faded color etc. and have no really good way of removing it.

2.) You need a scanner than has a separate INFRARED lens, that can do a separate infrared scan to catch the dust and scratches. Why? Because a slide is tiny. You don`t look at it in this tiny form, though, you blow it up! And when you do this, like in "Honey I Blew Up the Kid" any dust spec will grow to monster spec.

The infrared scan will detect the specs and scratches, and tell the software where to fix the scratch. Therefore, they will get fixed only at the spot where they occur. You can do this manually, but believe me, you only want to do this if you work for Vogue.

I have attached two videos showing this method (using an older version of Vuescan, the more recent ones have even improved the dust removal process). The video with the long title you may want to watch several times to really see the big problem specs that are removed, because the slide is very busy.

Yes, there is some software that will try to do post processing and try to detect the specs and scratches without infrared, but it is
a.) unreliable (no infrared markers to use)
b.) will overdo the fixing and over soften (like in washed out detail soften) the entire image.

You can either buy a dedicated slide scanner (for dedicated I would recommend the later Plustek models) or any Epson and Canon flatbed scanner which has this dedicated infrared lens. The more recent ones have an LED lamp and need no warm up time.

If you buy a dedicated one you will usually get better picture quality, but I (as opposed to many other people) do not favor buying a used dedicated slide scanner, because they have more sensitive mechanical parts than flatbed scanner and you cannot know what condition these mechanical parts are in and when the scanner will fail.

I have just recently sold my recent Canon 9000F flatbed for really good money and bought an old 5200F flatbed for very, very little money (~20$) and am still very happy with its speed and slide quality. Very sufficient for holiday snapshots, but of course not for high quality arthouse photos.

3.) The better the software, the better the end result and the less time you will need. At hamrick.com you can buy Vuescan Professional, which lets you save RAW scans.

Certainly, this is the best way to start out: Make 64bit RGBI (=Red, Green, Blue, Infrared) RAW scans, which INCLUDE the infrared channel (saving it in the file, so there is no actual dust removal *processing* while you scan). Just feed the slides into the scanner and make assembly line scans while watching TV etc.

This is the fastest way to scan since almost no processing is happening (which slows down the scan due to additional CPU time) and one can do all the processing later (every single slide, or all of them as a batch).

When I started my slides, I did not do RAW scans with the result, that I needed to rescan ALL my slides again after I learned how to process them well (this can be a steep learning curve). BTW Vuescan will also freshen up the faded colors so that you will think the 40 year old photo was shot just recently.

My Canon 5200F has 2400x4800 resolution and I scan with 2400 for slides. My Canon 9000F had 9600x9600 resolution and I scanned with 4800 for color slides. Believe me, the results were not very different. The explanation for this is very technical and would definitely be outside the scope of this post. Any good Epson or Canon flatbed with infrared will probably do, though I would stay away from the really old ones, since scan technology has improved a lot in this millennium.

Another tip: *Sort* the slides beforehand in a quick visual process using an old projector or viewer. Most of them are probably not worth keeping. Select the good ones in a fast selection process, and only scan those.

Also, consider using a scan service, they will usually do a decent job (if they use Vuescan - most do - you could ask them for RAW scan files including the infrared channel, so that you can process them yourself with Vuescan per your gusto later). But find out if they ship to India or China or really scan them locally, just so that you can assess the risk of losing the slides in the mail.

That is my 2 cent worth of advice in a very compressed form.

Good luck! :)
Regards, Brahman
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 08:02:08 PM by brahman »

IainB

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Re: digitising slides
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2013, 08:59:49 PM »
@brahman: Thanks! I learned some things there...

mathiasree

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Re: digitising slides
« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2013, 10:50:07 AM »
I have a huge collection of 6x6 negatives and slides, most of them outdated product shots; I discarded hundreds, but in between were shots of studio setups and people on site which I liked to keep.
I  placed negatives and slides on a cheap lightbox and photographed them with a canon A1200 in macro mode - a really low-end point-and-shoot, but the results were surprisingly  acceptable.
The autofocus went nuts, so I used a simple clamp fixture to keep the camera in position and shot about 250 repros. Not High-end, but it did the job in "no" time.
If you have no ligtbox, a pane of glass from a picture frame with a sheet of semi-transparent paper will do.
For "post-processing", Picasa did a very decent job. 

dc2010

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Re: digitising slides
« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2013, 02:05:44 PM »
If you have 35mm film in general to scan and a smartphone, you might want to check out the Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner. Hmm, looks like they're out of stock at the moment but I imagine they'll have them back before too long.

I got one when they launched it as a Kickstarter project. Works pretty well, at least as long as you're dealing with strips of negatives or unmounted slides - the limiting factor is really your smartphone's camera. I have an iPhone 3GS and the scans are pretty good. It's certainly a lot faster and easier than either the old, old AcerScan SCSI flatbed with transparency adapter that I had way-back-when or my current Epson PhotoPerfection flatbed with its transparency accessories. Is it perfect? No, certainly not - mounted slides just aren't going to work with its design, for example, and I'm sure that a really high quality dedicated photo scanner in the hands of a pro will get much better results - but I'd say that it's got those little 5MP flash scanners beat at the very least, especially for the "average Joe" who just wants a reasonable quality archive of old vacation photos. Scan everything yourself, set aside the cream of the crop as you go, then either pay to have those best ones done professionally or redo them yourself at a higher quality. Honestly, most of your friends and extended family really don't care whether they have your amateur photos from your grade school field trip saved at all because they're never going to look at them. The friends at your class reunion might want to see them but probably don't care if they're archived at high quality. You yourself, if you're honest, probably don't need archival quality scans of ALL of your negatives. I know I had to admit that as I started chipping away at my own huge bins full.

The real "fun" comes if someone in the family had a Kodak Disc camera.  :'( Not fun at all!! I'm not sure whether anyone will still reprint the photos from the original discs and the prints that we have suffer badly from both fading and colour shifting. Scanning the discs is difficult and the quality is really, really poor. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with those. Two family weddings and several major family vacations and all I've got to work with are my mom's Kodak Disc photos.  :o

Target

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Re: digitising slides
« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2013, 08:32:15 PM »
lot's of interesting opinions, led me to do a little (!!) bit of research on flatbed scanners...

interesting thing is that for all intents and purposes they are the same as a digital camera!

I'm aware that I'm generalising, but they both use a CCD, the real difference appears to be that scanners are designed to operate under closely controlled circumstances (fixed light source, fixed focal length, etc) whereas a camera is quite the opposite (ambient lighting, variable focal length, etc).  Scanners use a series of mirror's to direct the scan to the CCD, whereas cameras have high quality lenses and sophisticated control mechanisms

Given that, and the fact that a slide is a very small image, I'm wondering why flatbed scanners seemed to be accepted as providing 'better' results.  Granted most 'slide scanners' are relatively low res, but I'd warrant very few flatbed scanners would qualify as high res so substituting a high res 'camera' (ala the 'wolverine' 'branded scanners quoted above) should theoretically provide 'better' results

Of course software could be a big factor in this, but considering that the same software can (most likely) be used in both situations I think it's safe to take that out of the equation.

any thoughts?

Shades

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Re: digitising slides
« Reply #30 on: July 14, 2013, 10:43:30 PM »
I have seen the results of a scanner that could only scan slides...A guy I knew, who had a pron-site for "special" tastes, bought one for about 2000 euro's, because he could get his hands on a boatload of vintage material (this happened around 2000). After a slide was processed, which took it sweet time I might add, the result was a 2500x1600 picture as crisp as would have been taken yesterday.

The scanner itself was not much wider that the slide itself, not longer than 5 slides laid after each other and its height was about 10 slides stapled on top of each other. The software that came with the scanner did the real "magic", though. You do get what you pay for in scanner land.

Target

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Re: digitising slides
« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2013, 11:34:01 PM »
I have seen the results of a scanner that could only scan slides...A guy I knew, who had a pron-site for "special" tastes, bought one for about 2000 euro's, because he could get his hands on a boatload of vintage material (this happened around 2000). After a slide was processed, which took it sweet time I might add, the result was a 2500x1600 picture as crisp as would have been taken yesterday.

The scanner itself was not much wider that the slide itself, not longer than 5 slides laid after each other and its height was about 10 slides stapled on top of each other. The software that came with the scanner did the real "magic", though. You do get what you pay for in scanner land.

hehe, given the time lapse we're probably talking about the same sort of 'scanner' that goes for about $50 these days ;D ;D ;D

gotta be grateful to all those early adopters :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:

brahman

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Re: digitising slides
« Reply #32 on: July 15, 2013, 10:51:52 AM »
@target please read my post above regarding infrared dust cleaning, this cannot be done with a digital camera

This 2000$ scanner (if it was a Nikon) actually may go for more than 2000$ today, since they were excellent, are not being produced any more, and are still in high demand.
Regards, Brahman

Target

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Re: digitising slides
« Reply #33 on: July 15, 2013, 05:59:45 PM »
@target please read my post above regarding infrared dust cleaning, this cannot be done with a digital camera

This 2000$ scanner (if it was a Nikon) actually may go for more than 2000$ today, since they were excellent, are not being produced any more, and are still in high demand.

how does dust cleaning in software compare to actual dust cleaning, ie carefully dusting/cleaning the slides with isopropyl alcohol and a microfibre cloth?

granted there are 'high end' scanners that are built specifically for this type of work (eg drum scanners), but they can be deemed out of scope for this exercise due to their 'rarity' and high cost (mostly the cost ;D ;D ;D) - remember I said earlier that this could be a throwaway piece of hardware

tomos

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Re: digitising slides
« Reply #34 on: July 16, 2013, 04:31:16 PM »
^I think you often wont get the dust off the negatives/slides without damaging them, or worse again, the dust/scratches are part of the image itself.
Tom

brahman

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Re: digitising slides
« Reply #35 on: July 17, 2013, 01:11:45 PM »
When you handle slides and negatives there are two things to watch out for:

1.) Removing rough dust (necessary even if you use infrared capable scanners)
2.) Not adding any more blemishes in handling

Nr. 1 is best achieved with canned air or an air bulb and possibly a very, very soft brush - though I would recommend touchless and only use a soft brush on foreign matter like hair that clings electrostaticly or otherwise to the surface.

Nr. 2 is avoided by using cotton gloves and a pair of *plastic* tweezers at all times when handling slides and negatives.

As I said, today infrared scanning does not mean expensive any more for consumer quality scans. I bought my Canon flatbed scanner with this capability for $20.- at ebay. Is'nt that cheap enough for a throw-away piece (though why throwaway? - you will still have a great flatbed document scanner even after the project)?

I would NOT advice to use a microfibre cloth on slides, especially not on old slides, which tend to have a surface flaking problem anyway.

Some high end scanners allow wet scanning with special add-on equipment, but it doesn't sound (from what you have posted so far), that this would be for you. Therefore, I will refrain from posting any more about it, since this is a whole new and extensive topic by itself - though definitely not for casual home users.
Regards, Brahman

Tinman57

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Re: digitising slides
« Reply #36 on: July 17, 2013, 08:00:07 PM »

  I always use compressed air and womens blush application brush which is super soft

dvally

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Re: digitising slides
« Reply #37 on: July 28, 2013, 10:35:36 AM »
I also had the same problem with my collection of slide photographs that I took with my Canon A1, AE1 and AT1 cameras back in the late 70's and early 80's. I have over 400 slides from Europe when I was there. I still have my Kodak slide projector, but I really wanted to digitize the slides so I didn't have to drag the projector out when I wanted to review them.

I tried a couple different inexpensive film scanners such as the ION Slides 2 PC, however I could not find one that satisfactorily captured/reproduced the quality of the original film slide. Granted, the quality I am speaking of was from 40 years ago and looking at it from today's perspective was not the greatest. However at the time the Canon A1 was professional quality and the resulting photos or slides were grade A.

I looked at flatbed scanners to accomplish this, but I didn't want to get a scanner that was jack of all trades and master of none. So - after reading reviews of many different solutions, I purchased a Plustek OpticFilm 7600i SE for converting my slides to digital images.

The scanner also included Silverfast ISRD software as part of the purchase. This is "finishing" software to remove scratches and optimize the photo's after scanning. I must say that this scanner has been by FAR the best purchase I made to restore my photo collection from film to digital. The default scans needed 'almost' no correction. On a few occasions, I had to use the scratch removal process from the Silverfast suite. I will try attaching a sample that I digitized.

Insbruck-Austria-1980.jpg

I will say that the scanner was not cheap (around 400 dollars) at the time I purchased it, not sure if it's still available for purchase but if not I am sure that Plustek makes a replacement for it. I have digitized my entire slide collection and can now view or process them further anytime I need to.

The slides I have represent an irreplaceable time in my life and I am glad I purchased a dedicated scanner to restore those memories to digital clarity and ease of viewing.

DVally