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Thread: Flatbed scan print vs copy stand digital capture of print for website reproduction?

  1. #1

    Flatbed scan print vs copy stand digital capture of print for website reproduction?

    I wonder has anyone done any testing of the same picture in these different methods?

    Not for the purpose of generating a file for printing, or capturing all the information in the negative, but for quick digitizing to share on a website.

    It seems to me like flatbed scanning a print, even using weights like books to get the print as flat as possible on the glass, (Mostly talking 4x5 fiber contact prints here) would likely not result in as high a quality as using a piece of museum glass and rigging up decent lighting and a good macro lens, both in terms of flatness, and in terms of picking up less surface texture of the paper.

    I guess an important distinction to make is that I don't want to do all the burning and dodging over again in the computer...this is for negatives I never scanned before; if I was going to reprint with digital output obviously I'd make a proper scanner scan or camera scan from the negative...but just thinking more in terms of speed and efficiency and quality just for the screen.

  2. #2
    Pieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Re: Flatbed scan print vs copy stand digital capture of print for website reproductio

    I regularly scan 8x10 prints with an Epson V600 Photo. Flattened the prints in a dry-mount press, they scan well enough for web use. I have found that if there are deep blacks, they will pick up a lot of dust spots no matter how much you clean the glass and the wipe the print. Easy to clean up in PhotoShop.

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: Flatbed scan print vs copy stand digital capture of print for website reproductio

    If via copystand and camera, use a vacuum easel with perimeter (border) hold-down. No glass needed. You might not even need any vacuum drawdown unless the prints are seriously curled. A few days under a flat weight will cure that long enough for your purposes. It's also wise to have on hand a fresh roll of completely removable drafting tape. If you do use glass, you might need cross-polarization, another potential minor headache. You stated you want digital capture of "prints", not the inversion of the negative, which could be done in camera over a lightbox, but would, as you already recognize, involve a complete redo interpretation of that particular negative. But I'll leave it at that; the web isn't a Rolls-Royce quality medium anyway. I admit that I don't post images on casual forums like this one, but I do have lab precision copystand capacity to handle up to 30X40 inch full gloss prints, with a lot of experience doing that kind of thing; so the little prints you have in mind should be comparatively easy either option you choose.

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