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Old Mar 15, 2005, 4:07 PM   #1
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15 March 2005

Hello everybody!

I'm loooking for advice on a couple of things:

1. I have a big box full of old family photographs, mostly black and white, some of them sepia, dating back to the late 19th century. Now I need to make copies for my kids. Would a digital camera do as well with these as a flatbed scanner? Seems to me that would be the way to go, since I would still have a useful piece of equipment when the job was finished. I doubt I would have much use for a scanner afterwards. Nevertheless, if the scanner would produce noticeably better quality reproductions, then I'd seriously consider that route.

2. Are there different methods of image stabilization? Is it always built into the lens, or do some cameras have it in the camera body? Is there reason to prefer one kind over the other?

Suggestions appreciated, thank you.

FrankM Toronto Canada

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Old Mar 15, 2005, 4:34 PM   #2
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In my opinion, you would be better off with the flat bed scanner. You can get a fairly decent one for $100-150. The advantage would be that the cover on the bed would help to hold the photos flat. Old photos sometimes have an annoying curl to them.

If you choose to use a camera, you will either need to purchase or improvise a copy stand. The stand will hold the camera in one fixed position above the photos being copied. The base needs to hold the originals flat so will need a sheet of glass to lay over the prints. Then you need something to light it with. There should be two sources of light and they should shine from the sides so there is no reflection in the lens.

You can buy a copy stand which has all these features but what will you do with it when your project is finished? The scanner has many uses, not all photographic. You can use it to scan documents and many other things.

If you add up the pros and cons, I think the scanner wins by a landslide.

With regard to your second question, the only IS system I have heard of is built into the lens.

Cal Rasmussen
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Old Mar 15, 2005, 4:41 PM   #3
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FrankkM wrote:
Quote:
2. Are there different methods of image stabilization? Is it always built into the lens, or do some cameras have it in the camera body? Is there reason to prefer one kind over the other?
The Minolta's have them in the body... They should both work the same except when in the lenses you can 'see' as well - In the body the magic just happened to be stored away to memory directly

A benefit of having IS in the body is that all your lenses including the 'El-cheapo' ones will have IS as well - not just a specific IS lens:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_.../maxxum7d.html
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/a2.html
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Old Mar 15, 2005, 5:27 PM   #4
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I'd also vote for the flatbed scanner method. I scanned a big boxful of my Mother-in-Law's 19th and early 20th century photos. I burned some CDs and provided them to family members who are into geneology. It's a time consuming exercise, but well worth the effort.

The stabilizer thing can be either in the lens or the camera. There are lots of high end point and shoot cameras with the feature. As previously mentioned, there's a new model Minolta (the only DSLR so equipped) with stabilization built ino the body. I have a Canon Pro90IS with stabilization and it works pretty well. My EOS 20D doesn't have stabilization, but my EF-S 17-85IS lens does. Either works, but IS is no substitute for a fast lens. Stabilization can't freeze motion, though it can help in low light situations where the subject isn't moving much.
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Old Mar 15, 2005, 5:41 PM   #5
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Scanner is the way to go. Once you tune it up the process became semi-automatic - not like with camera. Plus scanner provide distortion-free pix, to achieve "almost distortion-free" shoots from camera you need to invest quite a bit of money into proper lens.

I believe that in-lens IS produce better results. But you have to pay extra for each lens and some of them never done in IS version - here where in-body method better. Keep in your mind that IS will not guarantee 100% result - only tripod does. IMHOIS only helpful when shooting hand held with long tele - i.e. sports, wildlife etc.
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Old Mar 15, 2005, 8:30 PM   #6
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Hey, get a 3-in-1 printer.

I picked up a HP PSC 1315 at Staples for $90 on sale.

The HP PSC 1315 scans at upt to 19200 dpi, which is way beyond what you'd ever need for a photo. Scanning at 300 DPI is a piece of cake, only at half the maximumvertical resolution that the scanner is capable of.

The printer also works as a copier (essentially a home photocopier, in either black and white or color copies!)

I also use the HP PSC 1315 as a photo printer. You can swap in a photo ink cartridge and print 4 x 6's or 8 x 10's.

Not too shabby for $90.
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Old Mar 15, 2005, 9:26 PM   #7
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A scanner will definitely give better results. If you have negatives it might be worth getting a photo flatbed. B&H has the Epson 2480 photo flatbed for $100 delivered. 2400 PPI optical isn't the best for negatives, but it is usually better than scanning the photo. http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/artic...,117057,00.asp

I think HP has a $20 rebate going on the 1315 so it might be even cheaper. It has a 600 PPI optical scanner – the other numbers are just fluff. But that is sufficient for photos. You generally find better speed with the higher resolution scanners and the Epsons are usually pretty quick. That is important if you are scanning a lot of photos.

Edit: I forgot to mention that a scanner can be a handy thing to have. If you have a color printer it makes it into a color copier. You can use it to send faxes, copy receipts for rebates etc. You might find more uses for it than you imagine.

If you are referring to non-DSLR image stabilizers it doesn't seem to make much difference whether it is in the lens or body. They both work about the same.

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Old Mar 19, 2005, 3:23 PM   #8
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19 March 2005



Thanks to all who kindly took the time to offer advice about my scanner-or-camera dilemma.

Scanner was the first choice of almost all of you, and that's the way I went. A Canon 4200F is now churning out very good quality files and I have to agree that using it is a lot easier than a camera would have been.

So thanks again. If I need a camera sometime, I'll just dig a little deeper.

Cheers!

FrankkM
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Old Mar 19, 2005, 6:00 PM   #9
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FrankkM...

You NEED a camera, believe me! :-)

Actually, there are some pretty good cameras are available for not much money. Think about taking pictures for the next generation!

The only bad thing about having a digital camera is that it can become habit forming. Glad the scanner is working out for you.
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Old Mar 19, 2005, 6:25 PM   #10
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ffrankk, how about posting some scans, like to see the results!
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