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  1. #1

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    Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    Hello! My mother was a long-time professional film photographer who traveled all over the world and published about 12 books. I inherited her huge photographic archive consisting of everything from B&W negatives, 35mm color slide, 120, 645, 4x5 color transparencies. 90% of her work are color transparencies. Her best work is on 4x5 color transparency.

    I am just beginning the process of archiving her library - and, I must say, it is a stunningly beautiful body of work. I am very excited about preserving my mother's legacy and I appreciate her on a whole new level as a photographer and artist.

    I also inherited her old Epson Expression 1640XL scanner which has the capability to scan all of the above formats. I tried the VuScan software with it and it works perfectly with the scanner.

    I am also a long-time film and digital photographer, but scanning is a relatively new process for me. Especially at any sort of professional level. Is this old 1640XL an adequate scanner for this purpose? I would like the best scans possible for creating large prints at some point. It's a huge undertaking and I'd prefer not to waste my time using inferior equipment that will only end up with mediocre results.

    I cannot afford a drum scanner (!) and I don't know if the newer Epson v800 is up to the task. My head is spinning with all the various resolutions, dpi, DMax. I was just about to sell the 1640, but then thought better of it when seeing that so many of the resolution claims by Epson were inflated anyway. Thoughts? Your input would be so helpful to me. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    If you are happy with the scanner in terms of performance, keep it, and then send off the important frames you want to print up to a professional to get the most out of them. This only becomes problematic if you need to scan hundreds of images at that quality level, at which point it would be cheaper to get a good scanner (but the Epson V800 will not give you great results on smaller formats), not to mention that the scanner operator is half the battle.
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  3. #3
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    I've been charged with managing massive scanning projects and the best approach is to pare down the lot in a critical stepwise manner.

    All slides can be viewed with a very good loupe on a light table. That has sufficed for editors for years. For negatives, scan at low resolution of the MF and LF media and just adequate resolution for 35mm. Lower resolution speeds the process greatly. Finally pare down the first pass. Choose the better for higher resolution scans.

    For the best loupe I defer to the group. You want one large enough that fatigue does not become an issue.

    Get back to us!

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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    I've been charged with managing massive scanning projects and the best approach is to pare down the lot in a critical stepwise manner.

    All slides can be viewed with a very good loupe on a light table. That has sufficed for editors for years. For negatives, scan at low resolution of the MF and LF media and just adequate resolution for 35mm. Lower resolution speeds the process greatly. Finally pare down the first pass. Choose the better for higher resolution scans.

    For the best loupe I defer to the group. You want one large enough that fatigue does not become an issue.

    Get back to us!


    Yes, I purchased a lightbox - a very thin one - and can easily slip it under all the transparency sleeves. It's fabulous! And fast! I have a couple of loupes already, so this works great. Thanks much!

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    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by SuzanneH View Post
    Yes, I purchased a lightbox - a very thin one - and can easily slip it under all the transparency sleeves. It's fabulous! And fast! I have a couple of loupes already, so this works great. Thanks much!
    You are welcome. Please consider the process of paring down the collection, especially if you are considering publishing the best. The rest of the films will last another 100 years or better. Plenty of time to make another pass over the collection. We do what we can in our lifetime.

    Very Best,
    Jac

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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    If you are happy with the scanner in terms of performance, keep it, and then send off the important frames you want to print up to a professional to get the most out of them. This only becomes problematic if you need to scan hundreds of images at that quality level, at which point it would be cheaper to get a good scanner (but the Epson V800 will not give you great results on smaller formats), not to mention that the scanner operator is half the battle.
    Yes - I think I'll just keep the scanner. I can do a lot of scans on it at once and can at least do some quick archiving and then, as you say, either purchase a good scanner or send out the best transparencies that I want enlarged. Thank you!

  7. #7
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    Hi Suzzane

    Use the scanner you have to digitize your mothers work and once this huge task is completed you will have a better idea and experience in the whole scanner, PS editing , archiving process.
    You will at some point know or conclude which images are important to print.. Then you can do selective high rez scans with a more appropriate scanner to make huge prints.

    Bob

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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    This makes a lot of sense. I HAVE the scanner....so why not? It's going to be quite a learning process for sure! There are tens of thousands of images and I've already started the process of looking at them on a lightbox and seeing what I have. I REALLY appreciate your post. Thank you.

  9. #9

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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    Hi Suzzane

    Use the scanner you have to digitize your mothers work and once this huge task is completed you will have a better idea and experience in the whole scanner, PS editing , archiving process.
    You will at some point know or conclude which images are important to print.. Then you can do selective high rez scans with a more appropriate scanner to make huge prints.

    Bob
    This makes a lot of sense. I HAVE the scanner....so why not? It's going to be quite a learning process for sure! There are tens of thousands of images and I've already started the process of looking at them on a lightbox and seeing what I have. I REALLY appreciate your post. Thank you.

  10. #10
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    The Vivian Maier archives were started this way and over time the selects were made.

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