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Thread: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

  1. #41

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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    Thank you!

  2. #42
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by SuzanneH View Post
    People give drum scanners away? I guess I don't know enough about them and am probably looking in the wrong places or don't know what to look for. I was looking at all the new Hasselblad, etc. ones and my jaw hit the table when I saw the prices. haha. I don't know if you'd be willing to share how to find one of these cheap, but, if so, I'd love to find out! As far as the "problem"...I guess it's simply that I'd eventually like to make large prints out of my mother's work - maybe a gallery show one day?? But if I'm going to take all that time scanning, I'd like to get as much bang for my buck - money and time-wise. Thanks much!!!
    I have rented out my workstations on a monthly basis to estates to high and low rez their archives to competent , responsible people.
    I see you are in Los Angeles, I can probably bet a few bucks and win that there are places, people in your city that do the same.

  3. #43
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by SuzanneH View Post
    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!
    Back to the first post... Suzanne another possibility is to show this work to a competent curator to see if there is potential for the body of work. These curators if inspired have the capabilities to find funds to bring significant work to the public. As well place the work in the hands of technicians to scan and sort for you.

    I have scanned over 300 high resolution scans of a Mennonite Series, after the son of the photographer did 10,000 scans of his fathers work via dslr capture.

    This is a lot of work, energy and financial investment and you would be wise to show the collection to some of the right people in your area.

  4. #44

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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    One more quick thought before I start my print session in the darkroom...

    I don't think you mentioned what percentage of the images are 35mm in slide mounts vs. larger formats or unmounted. If a large percentage of your collection is 35mm mounted slides, you might take a look at this scanner:

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...Scan_6000.html

    It's expensive, but it batch scans 50 slides at once. You could blow through your scanning and then resell it for likely 75% of the expenditure. I don't actually have experience with this scanner but have heard good things. That's what I would do if it were me.
    Thanks for the tip! So far, most of her images are 120 color transparency. Mostly unmounted. Also, a large amount of 4x5 color transparency. I'm only about 10% through looking at the images, so if I run across a huge quantity of slides, I'll keep this in mind. Thank you!!!

  5. #45

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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    Back to the first post... Suzanne another possibility is to show this work to a competent curator to see if there is potential for the body of work. These curators if inspired have the capabilities to find funds to bring significant work to the public. As well place the work in the hands of technicians to scan and sort for you.

    I have scanned over 300 high resolution scans of a Mennonite Series, after the son of the photographer did 10,000 scans of his fathers work via dslr capture.

    This is a lot of work, energy and financial investment and you would be wise to show the collection to some of the right people in your area.
    This is a wonderful suggestion. Living in Los Angeles - this would probably be easier for me than for most people. As I make my way through the work, I can start thinking about this. My mother was quite a "photographer of all trades" - she did aerials, underwater photography, architecture (this is where she made her $$$), landscapes and traveled to all the continents of the world. On top of that, she did beautiful still-lifes, collections of various kinds, calendars, notecards, books. So, it's very hard to pigeon-hole her as far as who would be interested in curating her work. But....that's a problem for another day. Thanks for your kind and thoughtful responses. Very appreciated.

  6. #46

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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by koraks View Post
    We're talking about an archive of tents of thousands of images, mostly transparencies, and I understand in various formats. The issue of scanning quality has been discussed quite extensively already, but I think a much more relevant issue is that of the time investment. With this archive size, the real question becomes: how much do you value your time and to what extent do you find the process of digitization enjoyable (i.e. does the activity have inherent value)?

    Of course, technical quality of the scans as a function of the intended purpose (how much detail and/or enlargement are required) is a qualifier for any chosen method. The chosen method must of course match the intended purpose and yield sufficient quality for this. As this is not explicitly stated (or I missed it in reading the posts, sorry if that's the case), it's a bit of an unknown factor.

    As to the matter of time investment, I think it makes sense to compare the different workflows in terms of how much time they cost per image, as Jim Andrada also hints at. Then determine how much you value your time - does the time you spend on digitization come at the cost of your own work, or in other words: are there opportunity costs? Or is it time that you'd otherwise spend idling around and you can afford to invest the many many hours without any penalty on your private or professional life? Depending on this, it may be worthwhile thinking about what kind of investment in equipment would be justifiable to set up this operation. Taking an extreme: if technical quality is relevant and your time is pressure, it may be worthwhile investing in a high-resolution digital medium format system (at a large to gigantic cost) if it saves you a lot of time in the long run and your time is precious - provided you can handle the investment. If your time is less precious, technical quality is paramount and you actually enjoy the process, a drum scanner may be a viable option. Any approach to digitization will have its own profile in terms of capital investment, time per image and ease of use. Comparing the different methods and using your own personal requirements (image quality, available time, valuation of time, willingness to perform more complex vs. more simple tasks) is the only way to reach an answer as to what is the best approach.

    In terms of workflow, arguably the easiest/quickest approach would be digitization through photography on a kind of 'digital copy stand' setup, which you can highly standardize for a given format, allowing for very quick capture of images. You will lose little time waiting for a scanner to do it's slow work and most of the time spent will be on actually handling film and pushing the button - i.e. you have little idle time. Depending on the camera system used, reasonable to very high quality levels are possible. But this will obviously also influence the capital investment required.

    Drum scanning is at the other end of the spectrum in terms of time investment and ease of use, with mounting, dismounting and waiting time being fundamentally different from a camera capture approach. Capital investment really depends on how easy you'll get your hands on a working drum scanner setup - taking into account the fact that most drum scanners out there have been around for years or decades and getting maintenance services and spare parts may be a challenge.

    Scanning with a flatbed scanner, at least for sheet film, is an obvious choice, with the process of mounting relatively straightforward, but especially at higher resolutions, you will spend quite some time sitting idle, waiting for the scanner to do its thing. Since you already have a quite capable scanner, capital investment may be close to zero, or still very manageable if you opt to buy a new 'prosumer' grade scanner like the V800 or 850.

    Depending on the number of originals in different formats, it may or not may be worthwhile to differentiate between them and use different approaches for each format, and acquire different equipment for it.

    In any case, the essence of my post is that given the size of the archive, technical quality is only one of the parameters to consider and taking into account the time investment is very relevant.

    Edit: an example to make clear the impact factoring time and the value of time can have could go as follows (many assumptions made and quite arbitrary ones at that). Suppose you compare scanning to digital photography as a means of digitization, and you take 20,000 4x5's for which you save 4 minutes per image by photographing them, and you value your time at a very conservative $20/hour, you'd already justify a $25k investment in equipment to save this time. You see, with the number of originals you're facing, it is really worthwhile overthinking the entire project and determine which approach is feasible and justifiable to you.
    What an outstanding and thoughtful response. Thank you. I'm going to come back to this post often. You have put in real, quantifiable terms what exactly this would take and suggested factors that I hadn't considered - time being the biggest one. Also, my greatest fear (did you read my mind?) was that all MY work and what I'm trying to accomplish in this life would get put on the back burner. I really need to figure out how to balance all of this. However, after the 10th anniversary of my mother's death, it was time to sh*t or get off the pot if I was going to preserve her legacy in any meaningful way. Thank you again for your very thoughtful response. I appreciate it immensely. : )

  7. #47
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Scanning Huge Archives - Help!

    Suzanne - you may want to post some images here over time, this forum is populated with a very giving community and a community that crosses many Genres of style, and experiences. The curators I speak of do not necessarily need to be in your home town.
    Two prime examples of photographer work that has come onto the art scene in a very big way would be Vivian Maier of course, but also Fred Herzog from Vancouver.
    I wish you well in your efforts to bring your Mothers work to the forefront.

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