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Thread: Scanning resolution

  1. #1

    Scanning resolution

    Dear All,

    I am digitising a large photography archive, to be used in potential publications and exhibitions. The archive consists of several hundred black and white photographs taken in the 1940s-60s. Iím using the Epson V850 Pro flatbed scanner with either Epson Scan 2 or Silverfast SE Plus 8

    Although I have access to the medium and large format negatives, my preference is to scan from the prints (which are mostly 8 x 10 inches). This preference is mainly due to the fact that the negatives are not all in good condition, and I would also like to capture the photographerís darkroom adjustments.

    I have scanned similar photographs over many years, usually opting for very high resolution scans, scanning at 2400 dpi and resulting in scanned image sizes of well over 1Gb. This is to make sure that when I print exhibition sized prints, up to 1 metre in size, I am getting the very best image quality possible from the original photographs.

    However, the huge file size does dramatically slow down scanning and subsequent processing. It also means that the removal of dust and other marks requires much more work due to the increased resolution.

    I have three questions relating to this:

    1. Should I re-think my preference for scanning prints rather than negatives? Would I obtain a better technical quality from the negatives?

    2. Am I scanning the images at an unnecessarily high resolution? What would be the optimum quality vs size compromise?

    3. If scanning from prints, is there any particular advantage in using Silverfast over the Epson Scan software? Would I obtain a better dynamic range in the shadows or highlights in Silverfast?

    Iíd be very interested and grateful to hear the various opinions of the experienced users on this list.

    Thanks and best wishes,


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2020

    Re: Scanning resolution

    Silverfast SE Plus and higher (available at a discount for Epson v800/v850 owners) have the multi-exposure option available which theoretically extends the dynamic range of the final image.

    At least one reviewer claimed to get a higher PPI (2600 vs 2300) when using Silverfast over Epsonscan ( website).

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Re: Scanning resolution

    300 PPI is actual size of the 8 x 10. 7 or 8 times that is sort of overkill, IMO 600 PPI is plenty for an 8 x 10.
    I've only scanned a few 8 x 10s, however 3k in B&W of 5 x 7s and 3 x 4s, which were scanned at 1200.
    Scanned 26k in color A120s at 2400.

    If you need something larger from your original, there are software's that crop and enlarge portions (don't care for the PS option), using algorithms that are very effective.

    In the end, it's all dependent on your own requirements and/or preferences.

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