Tag Archives: scanning

Tuesday’s Tip – Scanning 35mm Slides

It’s time for Tuesday’s Tip, a blogging prompt suggested by members of Geneabloggers. Last week’s tip was to review the information found on the website scantips.com in order to help you decide on optimal settings for scanning photographs based on your intended use. This week I wanted to build on that information a little and discuss scanning 35mm slides.

I don’t know about your family, but mine went through a phase in the late 1950s and into the 1960s where many of the pictures they took were in the form of color slides rather than prints. When my Mom passed these along to me, some were in little boxes but many were mounted in metal trays. (Apparently, there were at least two types of slide projectors, some that used carousels (rounded trays) and others that used straight trays. My family obviously owned the type that used a straight tray.)

Now even though my flat bed scanner can handle slides, I knew that scanning them was going to be much more of a hassle than scanning photographs, so I first wanted to see what they contained to see if it was going to be worthwhile. The slide projector was long since gone, so the first step was to remove the slides from the trays and then remove the little metal sleeves. In holding the slides up to a bright light to view them, I was able to get an idea of what was on them. As it turns out they contained  photos of my parents’ wedding and other various family events that were worth scanning.

In order to scan the slides, light needs to shine through them much like it does when they are viewed with the projector. I have an Epson Perfection 4490 Photo Scanner. It’s a flat-bed scanner which I purchased several years ago. Like many models of home scanners, it is designed to scan slides as well as printed photographs. However in order to scan slides, you need to remove the white panel on the lid of the scanner and use the appropriate plastic guide to line up the slides. Since I had no idea where my scanner manual was hiding, I brought up the online version to read the instructions. As it turned out, it was pretty easy to remove the panel and position the plastic slide tray.

The next step was to determine the scan settings, most importantly the scanning dpi. Since I wanted to be able to create decent-sized print quality pictures from the scans, I chose 3200 as the scanning dpi. In essence this means I could generate prints of at least 8 by 12 with a print dpi (or ppi) of 300. (Here’s where I would recommend going back to the scantips site for a discussion of dpi and ppi.). Just a warning, scanning at this resolution is agonizingly, mind-numbingly sloooowwww!! However if the slides are good quality and not blurry or otherwise damaged, the resulting scans are amazing. I have been able to open them in photoshop, zoom in to full scale and the detail and clarity is awesome! In the end, all of the time and effort has definitely been worthwhile!

Tuesday’s Tip – Know the Facts Before you Scan

This week’s Tuesday Tip (a blogging prompt suggested by members of Geneabloggers) deals with learning about the pros and cons of various scan settings before you start to scan your old photos. This is actually a topic that I originally researched back in the fall of 2009. At that time I was preparing to scan ancestor photos that my Mom had come across and passed along to me.

I decided to post about the subject now since it has been discussed quite a bit recently on the Legacy Family Tree User’s Group mailing list. It is also a timely topic for me personally as I am in the middle of another round of scanning. This time it is my own collection of pre-digital photos. Most of them are about 5-15 years old. (Okay, maybe some of them are even older, but they haven’t quite made it to vintage yet!)

In any case, scanning a large batch of photos, regardless of their age, most likely isn’t a job that you want to tackle more than once. So you want to make sure you have the settings “right” the first time. Back in 2009, when I was scanning my vintage photos, I started out having a few ideas about what would be good for scanning resolution, file format, etc. But as is typical, I searched the web to make sure I was on the right track and to get a feel for what other people were doing in this regard. As it turns out, the “right” settings are, at least in part, dependent upon the intended use of the scanned image (i.e. printing, posting to web, etc). [For my purposes I decided to use 600 ppi (or dpi) for the majority of photos and snapshot that I scan.]

When I first started round two of scanning I didn’t bother surveying the web again as I still remembered the information I gathered back in 2009. But then one of the posters on the Legacy mailing list mentioned a website called scantips.com. So I went to that site and, sure enough, it was one of the ones that I had checked out before.

It’s a great site, very well-written and very easy to understand. I actually wound up reading quite a few of the articles – some which seemed familiar and others which I think may have been added since I checked it out before. Anyway, if (or when) you decide to start a scanning project, scantips.com is definitely worth a read. The author of the website has a great discussion on photo resolution as well as the advantages and disadvantage of various image formats. So that’s my Tuesday Tip this week — get informed before you start scanning – and a great place to get that information is the scantips website. Hope it helps!!

Scanning Vintage Photos

One of my recent projects has been to scan vintage photos that I got from my Mom. She has been giving them to me in dribs and drabs for quite a while now, but recently she gave me a whole lot more. Most of these were from when she was growing up, but she also had some of my father’s family, some of my brother, sister and I growing up, and also some older ones from the early 1900s. Continue reading