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How good are scanned negatives and slides?
Hi.

I don't own a digital SLR but have many slides and negatives that I would like to transfer to the digital format..

My query is just how good would an scanned image (using a quality film scanner) be from a slide or color negative when compared to one taken from a digital SLR camera..

Would the digital camera's image be that much better than the scanned image due to extra processing, dust etc involved?..

Comments (10)

It depends on several things: 1. Quality of scanner. 2. Quality of images. 3. How much time you want to put into it..

I have a cheap ($300) negative scanner it takes 35mm negative film strips and slides, and produces ~4 megapixel pictures. Output seems to be about as good as pictures from a 4-5 megapixel digital camera, but I have to clean up contrast / brightness / dust for just about every picture..

There are much, much better scanners available if you have the budget for them; even at the $300 level, the choices have probably improved..

I've found that most negatives which produced good prints will also give you good scans (with a little work). However, sometimes I'll find that a negative for a good picture produces a very bad scan. Color negative film has a lot more tolerance for exposure error than color slide film or digital sensors do so perhaps the exposure was bad on these negatives, and the print lab just did a good job of hiding that!.

Even with strip loading, it is a pain scanning a large volume of film negatives. But once you have copies of them in digital form, you'll be glad you did...

Comment #1

These http://www.pbase.com/tonysx/back_in_the_ukand these http://www.pbase.com/tonysx/algonquin_scans_.

Are all scanned images. The scanner was an old(ish) Epson 3200 and you can certainly buy a much better scanner nowadays. Asking the difference between a.

Digital SLR and a scanned image depends too much on the vast number of variables. You should be able to produce good scanned results from even a flatbed scanner of quality. There are brief details of the scanning process I used on the Pbase gallery headings...

Comment #2

With the assunption that the film or slides are in good condition, the scanned results can be great. you will get better results from a scanner that is made for slided/film. than a do-all scanner. I currently have a nikon coolscan v which is a silde/film only and it does great work..

The following were slides that were taken as late as 1981 most were shot in the 1970's. the only pp was to crop slightly to get rid of the 4 rounded corners and maybe auto levels in pe5-6. other than that they arecas they came fom the scanner. the collscan makes 131mb tiffs from slides..

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The top shot was in banff N.P. in 1979. I petted the wild bighorn. the other shots are from us natiionalarks in the western usa taken in either 1978 or 1981...

Comment #3

Slide scanned to approximatly 3300x7000 resolution using a konica R1 Super 1400 mini-lab (my local photo store scanned it). Reduced 50% for the web..

Minolta SRT-101 ,58mm f1.4,Kodak 64 slide filmHolloween 1969Very large size here: http://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen/image/38628156/original.

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I'd say the old slides hold up pretty good!My 5D at ISO3200 will give a more detailed image, though..

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Bossier City, Louisianahttp://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen..

Comment #4

Tom_N wrote:.

It depends on several things: 1. Quality of scanner. 2. Quality ofimages. 3. How much time you want to put into it..

I have a cheap ($300) negative scanner it takes 35mm negative filmstrips and slides, and produces ~4 megapixel pictures. Output seemsto be about as good as pictures from a 4-5 megapixel digital camera,but I have to clean up contrast / brightness / dust for just aboutevery picture..

I've got an Epson RX630 - flat bed scanner with film scanner built in to the lid. So it's not as good as a dedicated film scanner. You do get Newton rings on heavily curved negs, also focus is not necessarily 100% precise. On the other hand, with a good neg - see end of post for an example..

I've scanned a lot of my old negs and slides, but where I want a "perfect" scan of one of my best shots, and the scan I did myself was for some reason not good enough, then I'll pay a lab $5 or so to do a scan. But these are few and far between, I get good 8x10s at least out of my scans from the Epson..

I've found that most negatives which produced good prints will alsogive you good scans (with a little work). However, sometimes I'llfind that a negative for a good picture produces a very bad scan.Color negative film has a lot more tolerance for exposure error thancolor slide film or digital sensors do so perhaps the exposure wasbad on these negatives, and the print lab just did a good job ofhiding that!.

Yes. My B/W negs have mostly produced excellent scans. I suspect this is partly because they have been filed for decades and are not perfectly flat .

But colour can be a problem. I've got these great colour prints from years gone by, then I scan the neg and oh whoops, the colour balance is shocking! The lab covered for me when they made the print..

Getting great scans from colour negatives can be a lot harder than from B/W..

Even with strip loading, it is a pain scanning a large volume of filmnegatives. But once you have copies of them in digital form, you'llbe glad you did..

What he said ^.

I've done about 7,000 negatives so far. I've got about 2,500 slides to go plus another 1,00 or so negs .

But it's just fantastic being able to pull up all the old photos on the PC, give CDs "from the old days" to friends etc..

And rediscover shots like this, that I'd forgotten about years ago....

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Comment #5

Have a look:.

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/.

There are captions telling you which is DSLR and which is a film scan. It's been my experience that with the film scan you can get a larger file, but it would not actually be better than a (good) DSLR one. Removing dust and scratches is an endless nightmare...

Comment #6

I have a Minolta which did a good job, until I got tired of doing it. In fact, if I hadn't had major surgery and needed something to do while recuperating, I probably would have only scanned 100 or so, before getting tired of it all..

You can have services do the job. Pop Photo's December issue has an article touting a service called ScanCafe,http://www.scancafe.com, which costs $.24 each..

If you want digital images, using a digital camera is lots easier and cheaper than film..

Http://www.pbase.com/oldhiker..

Comment #7

Do any of you have advice on scanning negatives vs pictures to reprint 4x6 and possible crop to make family albums?.

Am I wrong to think that I could crop in on a small child, after scanning, and blow it back up to 4x6? Or improve the poor lighting?.

I experimented with a borrowed RX620 scanner (has a negative strip scanner accessory), and found the dust VERY frustrating, and the pics not very clear. There is no way I could ever get through all our childhood pics..

Didn't see any difference when I scanned at 2400dpi, 3200dpi, or 4800dpi. The scanner listed 2400 as it's maximum resolution, so maybe that's why..

How much was that Nikon Cool Scan?.

Thanks,.

Amy..

Comment #8

Once you scan a picture you have a digital picture file of some type, usually JPEG, just like one taken with a digicam. You can do anything with it yiou want; my Minolta scanner came with a version of Adobe Photoshop Elements. You could cropt it, or brighten it, change the colors, etc.http://www.pbase.com/oldhiker..

Comment #9

.. because to date, no DSLR can match the resolution of lossy desktop scanned 35mm film as shown in the results of this test..

Http://www.fototime.com/83CD0F60DCB3981/orig.jpg.

Unlike most of the other comparisons ,you can review the setup and results in my album a http://www.fototime.com/inv/7FA2D97823BDBD6 and actually verify these results for yourself..

I've also included some medium format in there that is even still farther into the future before it is even matched..

TimSR wrote:.

Hi.

I don't own a digital SLR but have many slides and negatives that Iwould like to transfer to the digital format.My query is just how good would an scanned image (using a qualityfilm scanner) be from a slide or color negative when compared to onetaken from a digital SLR camera.Would the digital camera's image be that much better than the scannedimage due to extra processing, dust etc involved?.

Of course Canon itself published a white paper stating that the best latitude reached by even their king of all DSLRs is only as good as slide film...

Comment #10

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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