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Nokorola
5-Jul-2012, 12:33
Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum, but I hope to stick around for many years.

I am looking for a cheap way to scan hundreds of 5x7 and 8x10 negatives as an act of goodwill for my local library. These negatives are a range of ages, but mostly from the late 20s until the late 50s. I have been putting this project off for about two years, and now that I've started I've come to realize just how difficult a process it is. I have an Epson Perfection 2400 Photo scanner that I was given, and while it works, as several of you may know, it is made to scan slides and 35mm. I have tackled this issue as much as possible, even improvising a holder, but the fact that the b&w negative setting only scans an image roughly two inches wide is seemingly insurmountable. For some test scans and some particularly important negatives I've traveled down copy and paste road and pieced the negatives together from multiple scans. This gives a mostly effective negative (see attached), but is very slow, and is therefore no way to tackle the remaining several hundred negatives.

So anyway... I was curious if anyone knows of an inexpensive scanner that I could use, as the few I've researched are nice(such as the Epson Perfection V700), but bottom out at about $500, a hefty price tag for a small-town public library and/ or a college student.

Any help with my predicament would be greatly appreciated, and until then, I'll keep grinding along with what I have.

Thank you sincerely for any help,
-Phillip

ps.
I was toying with the idea of taking an older/free scanner and cutting/disconnecting the portion of the cable that illuminates the scanner head, and then lighting the bed from above. Is this even worth attempting, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

76698

Corran
5-Jul-2012, 13:11
Well cheap option #1 is to rig up a diffuse light source and photograph them with a DSLR. Quick and effective. Not the best quality unless you go to greater lengths but for simple archival purposes it should be fine. If they are color negs though it can turn messy fast trying to get rid of the orange mask.

#2 is one of those cheaper Canon scanners that would do 8x10. I think they have one that big anyway.

rdenney
5-Jul-2012, 14:23
To what purpose will the scans be applied?

There are very cheap used scanners with transparency adapters that have an optical resolution of, say, 1200 spi, that could be used to make images for web display or for printing in a catalog at smaller size. Even prints (for mechanical reproduction) at negative size would probably be decent. But if you want an archive record as a backup for the real thing, it's going to take a much more significant investment.

For example, I once owned an Acer 1200UT flatbed, and I used it for making many scans of medium and large format negatives printed up to about a 2 or 3x enlargement, and it did okay. It lacked the dynamic range for slides, but for negatives it was acceptable. I'm still displaying some of those images on the web. It was $99 when I bought it (ca. 1999) and I doubt something like that would get more than 20 or 30 bucks now. For 5x7 and 8x10, the quality would be acceptable for many purposes.

Rick "but it must have an illuminated transparency adapter for scanning film" Denney

Jim Jones
5-Jul-2012, 15:13
I tried improvising a light source for scanning 4x5 negatives on a cheap Mustek. The results were poor. Perhaps disabling the internal light source would have helped to get reasonable highlight contrast. Considering the time required to scan several hundred negatives, an Epson 700 might be efficient and reasonably economical. Maybe you can find a volunteer with a suitable scanner and farm the job out.

Lenny Eiger
5-Jul-2012, 16:50
The question is, what if you succeed? What will you have left the library? Are they looking to create a catalog for the web? Are they looking to archive the images for future generations? Will they ever want to make a print? When the paper dies, what will they have? And most specifically, will it be at the level of quality that they need?

Goodwill is admirable, but I think you need to answer those questions first. If all they need is a catalog and will never want anything else, then the digital camera idea is fine. If they want a scan, then one has to ask why they want a scan. Back when I was knee-high to a grape, my Dad would say to me, "If you're not going to do it right, then don't do it at all."

If you answer the questions in one way, you could be doing them a disservice...

Good luck,

Lenny

Light Guru
5-Jul-2012, 17:04
Check put the hp g4050

http://www.amazon.com/HP-SCANJET-G4050-HP-Scanjet-G4050-Photo-Scanner-L1957A/dp/B000LZIGIC

jp
5-Jul-2012, 17:10
If other people want the things scanned, they can pony up the money for an epson v700. You might not have it, or the budget might not have it, but I'm sure someone does. Put a plan together and ask for a v700.

Brian Ellis
5-Jul-2012, 20:01
A used or refurbished Epson 4990 (predecessor to the 700/750) does a very nice job with 4x5 and 8x10. I'm not sure of the cost, maybe $150-$200. They turn up on ebay and elsewhere occasionally.

sully75
5-Jul-2012, 20:27
4990 would be a good bet. I have a 4870 which is similar but slower (and cheaper).

Honestly, this is really, really slow work. To do a good job is very exacting. After you do a 100 negatives you will understand. The pictures you are scanning will become a lot less interesting to you when you are deciding whether or not to scan them. You will be tied to the scanner, because each scan takes a few minutes, so if you step away from the desk...no scanning. Don't want to discourage you, but I hope those negatives are really awesome. And yeah, that the library has a specific use for them.

Or if you can figure out how to do the DSLR thing, that would be much, much faster.

Nokorola
5-Jul-2012, 20:34
The question is, what if you succeed? What will you have left the library? Are they looking to create a catalog for the web? Are they looking to archive the images for future generations? Will they ever want to make a print? When the paper dies, what will they have? And most specifically, will it be at the level of quality that they need?


Therein lies the issue, they don't know what they want, they'd rather wallow in it for 20 more years until it's all crinkled plastic, or the nitrates burn the place down. I'm looking to get reasonably good scans of even 300-800 dpi so that the photos survive in any form. Scanning at ultra-high res would be great, but I'm just looking toward a future where they can be viewed at all. You've given me some good ideas, thanks for the help.


Rick "but it must have an illuminated transparency adapter for scanning film" Denney

As I just said, 1200 dpi is higher than I'm scanning them now, and they're plenty big for my main goal which is to see that this group of several hundred images of local history don't fade away with no record at all.


Well cheap option #1 is to rig up a diffuse light source and photograph them with a DSLR. Quick and effective. Not the best quality unless you go to greater lengths but for simple archival purposes it should be fine.

The DSLR option really isn't an option at all unless someone wants to gift me one of them, as they're just as expensive as the scanners.


Thanks for the input everyone, I'm going to look around and see if I can stir up some interest. If not that HP G4050 looks like the type of scanner I was thinking of, so I'll proabably find the $100 and get that.

-Phillip

Oren Grad
5-Jul-2012, 20:53
A 4990 refurb would be excellent value for not too much money.

Prepare a time budget for the project. Think about how much time it will take you to do each scan - not just the scan acquisition, but also any negative handling and any post-processing needed. Think also about overhead for developing and implementing a labeling and filing system so that somebody else can actually find them, realize what they are, and make good use of them at whatever point in the indefinite future.

You say there are hundreds of negatives. Are you prepared for the project to take a few hundred hours? Spread over how much time? If not, is there a way of prioritizing a subset of negatives that are especially worth the trouble?

If you think it through at the start, the odds are higher that you'll scale it in a way that's practical and complete something coherent and useful, rather than running out of steam in the middle with a partial set of scans.

Frank Petronio
5-Jul-2012, 20:56
To make a decent scan for online viewing I still need 10-15 minutes per image even for something mediocre. I've tried to rush it faster and it doesn't work out - and I have been scanning, sometimes professionally, for 20 years. I'm probably several times faster than you are....

So do the math before offering more than you can do.

If you really want to preserve a treasured image, the ultimate thing you could do is to photograph it properly with 4x5 or 8x10 film.

Jody_S
5-Jul-2012, 21:13
Epson 4990 or HP 4890, used or refurbished. 10-15 mins per scan sounds about right.

Jim Jones
6-Jul-2012, 06:03
Phillip, If I had to do such a job with a minimum of time and equipment (and quality!) I'd improvise a light table and use my old Canon PowerShot A590 (or comparable camera) that focuses close enough for 4x5 subjects and produces fairly decent 2400x3200 pixel images. You could record the entire lot of negatives in the time it takes to do a few of them right. Maybe in the future someone with a proper setup and lots of time can do the job better.

gth
14-Jul-2012, 18:53
Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum, but I hope to stick around for many years.

I am looking for a cheap way to scan hundreds of 5x7 and 8x10 negatives as an act of goodwill for my local library. These negatives are a range of ages, but mostly from the late 20s until the late 50s. I have been putting this project off for about two years, and now that I've started I've come to realize just how difficult a process it is. I have an Epson Perfection 2400 Photo scanner that I was given, and while it works, as several of you may know, it is made to scan slides and 35mm. I have tackled this issue as much as possible, even improvising a holder, but the fact that the b&w negative setting only scans an image roughly two inches wide is seemingly insurmountable. For some test scans and some particularly important negatives I've traveled down copy and paste road and pieced the negatives together from multiple scans. This gives a mostly effective negative (see attached), but is very slow, and is therefore no way to tackle the remaining several hundred negatives.

So anyway... I was curious if anyone knows of an inexpensive scanner that I could use, as the few I've researched are nice(such as the Epson Perfection V700), but bottom out at about $500, a hefty price tag for a small-town public library and/ or a college student.

Any help with my predicament would be greatly appreciated, and until then, I'll keep grinding along with what I have.

Thank you sincerely for any help,
-Phillip

ps.
I was toying with the idea of taking an older/free scanner and cutting/disconnecting the portion of the cable that illuminates the scanner head, and then lighting the bed from above. Is this even worth attempting, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

76698

I have to say this is pretty sad.

You mean to tell me there isn't enough civic pride in your town to come up with a measly $500 for decent new scanner, when you are volunteering to do the work??

And these are historical 90 -60 year old negatives, at least of some value for the local town. That is not the US of A I know!!

If you can guarantee me your not shaking us down for your own project, pm me with your address and I'll send you $50 to start with and then bring your hat to the next town council meeting.... there maybe some other fools around here willing to take the bait too....

Kuzano
14-Jul-2012, 19:22
Points well made.

Have a friend who uses an Epson 4990 and the Epson software. He's tried the V750 and sold it to recommission his 4990. Occasionally found "refurb" on Epson site. Don't mistake the 4490 for scanning. Medium Format only for 4490.

Agree on HUNDREDS of hour at 4 scans per hour for LF. If you plan ANY editing change to summary of 30 minutes per scan.

Job from HELL!!! at a church nontheless. So many more productive things you could volunteer at your church to help people in need.

The images are probably more secure and archival now in their current format. They will necessitate more care as digitized files in the future.

Do not archive them to CD or DVD, until you fully understand how optical media is starting to fail. Search and read internet articles on CD ROT and DVD ROT. Once the images are digital, they will reguire future transition to newer media as it develops. Don't save them to the "Cloud". Sites fail and discontinue operation.

Who is going to be responsive for the security of digital files after you digitize the archive. By default... YOU!!!!

NO matter what course is taken here... Do NOT destroy the original media. It may be the only means by which the original images may be recoverable in the future. If the purpose of all this is to eliminate the originals...huge mistake.