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Old Jan 26, 2006, 11:07 PM   #1
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The friendly neighborhood UPS man brought me my new Canon 8400F today, so now i'm faced with the big task of committing to archive all my photography of the last 10 years or so, and some slides that even pre-date me.

What i seek here is advice and/or opinions from other photo enthusiasts regarding
just how well I should do these... in short, what are the accepted archive-quality resolutions for scanning film, slides, and prints? On my old scanner, I'd always use 300 DPI for prints, saving to BMP (for an uncompressed copy archived on CD), then saving a half-size jpeg to keep on the HD. I'm wondering, now with better scanners, should I step that DPI up a bit, or do most consider it just silly to scan glossies at anything above 300?

Secondly, if 300 were a good DPI for prints, what should I be aiming for with my slides / film? I've test-scanned a few slides at 1200, and the results looked good, but honestly i figured it might turn out better at 1600 (or would you go higher?) Also, would 35mm film be scanned at the same resolution? (i figure the size is similar if not identical, but i haven't done a side-by-side comparison yet).

I figure I'll scan them into Photoshop CS, since a christmas present was a nice new book called "photoshop CS artistry", so i'll be able to do fancy layered color-correction in that, save .psd files to keep A) an uncompressed copy, and B) the original color under the layers of color correction. I know the files will be huge, but with the cost of blank CDs and DVDs so low, i'm honestly not concerned. Just -- does anyone think for some reason that it would be better to save an uncompressed copy in a different file format? if so, what/why? Also, should i bother scanning with 48 bit color, or is 24 perfectly fine for everyday pictures?

One last thing -- this one may be easy but i'm just confused. My parents had basically a bin of old pictures, along with the negatives, and i found a bunch of negatives that were at most half the size (i should say 'width') of the 35mm negatives i'm used to. The prints from these pictures end up being squarish, maybe 3.5x3.5 or so (i didn't measure). I have no idea what to even call this film format (i'm expecting to feel stupid when i find out). Any help is appreciated
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Old Jan 28, 2006, 10:00 AM   #2
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Congrats on the new scanner. Scanner's can be a lot of fun.

Many people will say that a 300dpi scan will yield best results and that anything more, is just a waste of time and space. I don't agree with this. I scan any print I'm trying to archive at 1200dpi and here's why.

If you scan an image at 300dpi and resize it larger, it will most likely look good, especially with how effective Photoshop's Bicubic Smoother resize method is. But if you scan an image at 1200dpi, there will be no mathematicalguessing of any kind, the scanner scans what it "sees," it doesn't guess what it would see. Now will an imagetruly have 1200dpi of information, no, but there's definitely more than 300dpi. Do a test and see, that's just how it is. Also, if you scan at 1200dpi, you will be able to get a print at least 4 times as large as the original and naturally, there will be a lot more information to be able to do some light or heavy cropping which really helps a lot of images taken with film.

As far as film goes, I scan most at 4800dpi, but will admit that 3200dpi would probably be sufficient with my Epson 4990, as it isn't a high quality scanner for film. The way I look at it, is what size print will a scan offer if it's sized at 300ppi. A full piece of 35mm film is approximately 1.42" x .94" or let's say 1.4" x .9" if I scan at 1200dpi, that only gives me a 5.6" x 3.6" image. At 2400dpi, it's a 11.2" x 7.2" image. A 14.9" x 9.6" at 3200dpi and a 22.4" x 14.4" at 4800dpi. My recommendation is to scan at least at 2400dpi. I scanned a few hundred slides at 1200dpi that I redid because they were not sufficient.

If you're seriously looking to archive, for the most part more is better, because you never know what you or someone else may want to do with a file down the road. You can always make an image smaller, but you can't create information that's not there...not truly at least.

As far as color space and bit-depth goes, it's a personal preference thing. I have my images saved as Adobe 1998 and in 16 bit (48 bit) color.

This is what works for me and what I recommend; find what works for you. Good luck! :-)
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