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Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives
Old 01-11-2007, 01:11 PM   #1
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Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives

What is the best scanning resolution for negatives? I thought the higher, the better. Yet my new scanner, HP Scanjet 4890, defaults to 200ppi and 300% scaling. When I insist on higher resolution (1200ppi, 100% scaling), it warns me that the specified resolution might not be optimal. Optically, it's capable of 4800dpi.

What settings give you the best results? Picture size does not really matter to me, as I don't plan to print larger than 8x10.

Thanks.
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives
Old 01-11-2007, 02:07 PM   #2
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives

I've got the 4890 as well. I haven't done slides and negatives except to try the scanner out when I first bought it (serious work is still on the prints), but I checked HP's site and there it says:

Quote:
# 300 - Scanning photos for archiving (storing a high-resolution master copy of your photo on your hard drive or on a disc)

# Above 300 dpi - Scanning slides or negatives for prints larger than 5" x 7"
When I first scanned with the 4890 I thought the 200 ppi resolution was small, but I decided to go with the software's recommendations and see how it worked out. I had no problems at 200ppi using Adope Photoshop CS and printing 4x6 and 5x7's. So far, my only experiment at raising the DPI was one old photograph that I was trying to fix a lot of problems with. I don't recall the resolution, but the effect was that I had a lot more pixels to mess with. It meant I could be more precise and subtle in making changes, but it also meant that I had a lot more pixels that I was forced to deal with. As for the end result coming out of HP software and the scanner - I didn't see much difference, but I think I used 300 so I shouldn't have expected too much I assume.

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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives
Old 01-11-2007, 02:32 PM   #3
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives

I did a quick experiment last night. Scanning one same negative at different settings:

1) 1200ppi, 100% scaling
2) 600ppi, 200% scaling

Both resulting files are of the same size and resolution (# of pixels). At first look, the picture quality is the same. But upon close examination of the least clear (most fuzzy) portion of pictures, the 1200ppi scan shows better quality.

Tonight, I will try another experiment using the same negative

3) 2400ppi, 100% scaling
4) 1200ppi, 200% scaling.

I expect the 2400ppi scan would be better.
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives
Old 01-11-2007, 05:21 PM   #4
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives

Do note that many scanners overstate their actual resolution and use interpolation or some other "guessing" tools either built into the scanner engine or the software that is supplied with the scanner. In some cases, the guessing produces a nice result...in others...not so much.
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives
Old 01-11-2007, 08:36 PM   #5
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives

Funny, I just ordered that HP scanner today. Got lots and lots of old photos, film and especially slides I want to convert for computer storage and use. Have any of you tried working with slides yet, and if so, how'd they come out?

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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives
Old 01-11-2007, 11:46 PM   #6
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives

An update: I tried 1200 and 2400 ppi for negative scan. Can't tell the difference in picture quality. So I'm now using 1200ppi and 100% scaling (no scaling).

El Guapo, the HP Scanjet 4890 has both hardware and optical capability up to 4800dpi, or so said the specifications.

Rich, I have tried slides too. At 1200 ppi, the results is very good. But the color is not as vivid as I would like. I have not played with color adjustment yet, so may be that's why.

So far, I'm quite happy with the new scanner, especially when compared to my previous 9 year old scanner with a serial interface.
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives
Old 01-12-2007, 01:51 AM   #7
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich
Funny, I just ordered that HP scanner today. Got lots and lots of old photos, film and especially slides I want to convert for computer storage and use. Have any of you tried working with slides yet, and if so, how'd they come out?
When I first bought the scanner I ran a few negatives and a few slides just to get familiar with the equipment. Since most of my photos are prints I've spent all of my time working with them and will get to the smaller number of slides and negatives later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
Rich, I have tried slides too. At 1200 ppi, the results is very good. But the color is not as vivid as I would like. I have not played with color adjustment yet, so may be that's why.
That, if I recall correctly, was similar to my experience. But I just scanned a few slides and printed them out without any tinkering just to see how well the scanner worked. In my work with prints I've found that the real correction work comes in when I use Photoshop Elements which is an incredible tool. My experimenting has started to take me back and forth between Photoshop and the scanner software and then forward to the printer software (Canon Pixma ip6600D). What I have found is that making certain changes with one program has better results than trying to make the same change in another program. Each program seems to do some things better than the others. For example, I learned that printing a photo from Photoshop Elements gives me bad results. But after fixing a photo in Elements, if I close that program and then open the Canon printer software and use that program to print (without any other modifications) the photo comes out much better. I have no clue as to why that happens, but I'm just learning by conducting experiments following the wild ass guess method (i.e., what happens if I do this?). Eventually I think I will know which program to use to get the best results for any particular step - although my understanding of why that is the case will be as clear as my understanding of elementary particles and string theory.
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives
Old 01-12-2007, 09:36 AM   #8
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
When I first bought the scanner I ran a few negatives and a few slides just to get familiar with the equipment. Since most of my photos are prints I've spent all of my time working with them and will get to the smaller number of slides and negatives later.
Once you've scanned them and touched them up, what's the next step?

How robust is the labeling & indexing system? For example, does the software let you create a photo DVD that can be searched for names or dates to display all the fourth-grade photos of your older brother? Or should all the photos stay on a hard drive that can be organized, searched & sorted with something like Picasa?

Only 18 months left until my in-laws' 50th wedding anniversary... during their pending Mainland move we'd have a great opportunity to surreptitiously scan all their 35mm slides and give them some sort of display hardware...
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives
Old 01-12-2007, 10:41 AM   #9
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Once you've scanned them and touched them up, what's the next step?

How robust is the labeling & indexing system? For example, does the software let you create a photo DVD that can be searched for names or dates to display all the fourth-grade photos of your older brother? Or should all the photos stay on a hard drive that can be organized, searched & sorted with something like Picasa?

Only 18 months left until my in-laws' 50th wedding anniversary... during their pending Mainland move we'd have a great opportunity to surreptitiously scan all their 35mm slides and give them some sort of display hardware...
What started as a project to put everything (photos/slide/negatives, videos and important documents) onto a collection of DVD's was not as simple as I originally envisioned. In short, Photoshop Elements has a cataloging feature that I have not fully explored. Some of that was because I started with the oldest photos and those needed the most work. Which, when I started, I decided was actually a good opportunity to learn all of the capabilities of the equipment and programs. But, the learning curve has humbled me a little, and I also got sidetracked learning the video editing program to make DVD movies.

All that to say "I don't know for sure". But Elements has the ability to add tags to photos so you can find them by keyword searches, and it also has the ability to have "collections". My brief look at the cataloging features made me say "looks pretty powerful" and "I need to learn the other features before I start doing this." I'll have to get back to you on the details of how well it works just as soon as I figure it out.

Here are guides & tutorials on the catalogue feature: http://www.adobe.com/digitalimag/ideagallery/

As to how to store - DVD or hard drive - I think that's best answered by how much space you need. External hard drives are cheap now and you can load everything on to one of those and have something the size of a large paperback book. For my purposes I am doing both, DVD's go to the safety deposit box while the external HD can be ready to go in seconds and will easily fit into my "get out of Dodge" bag.

Digital displays are probably the weakest element in the chain. I researched digital picture frames a couple of years ago when I bought one for my wife at Christmas. This past Christmas I killed a little time at Fry's and it seemed that was still the case. You can buy something okay for a reasonable price, or you can get something just a little better for a lot more money. The best display is on a PC with a decent computer monitor, but all the stand alones have to make compromises. You can find the same one I bought at Amazon by searching for ZIGA. It takes CF, SD, Sony, etc memory cards/sticks and does a good job of displaying photos in many formats and will do MP3 sound in the background as well as videos. You do have to reduce resolutions down if you want to make optimum use of the memory card. I really like this device and it's quite reasonable. The only drawback is that the viewing angle is somewhat limited. The more centered you are to the display the better the picture, and looking at is straight on I think the display is great.

If I get the right read from your past posts about the in-laws, their reaction will probably be about the same as what I got from my wife. "Oh, I love this. Wait, why did you pick that photo? Oh, I don't look good in that one, take it off please. I just love the frame, but you need help in picture selecting."
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives
Old 01-12-2007, 12:24 PM   #10
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives

Some reviews:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1926741,00.asp
http://pcworld.about.com/news/Oct052005id122858.htm

Suggest that using "original color" instead of "enhanced color" improves the results, and notes some shortcomings with dark prints. Several other lower cost scanners that produce better results with slides and negatives are noted, if you have the option to return it and get something else.

You might also google "hp 4890 forum"...pick through the results you might find someone discussing the optimal settings.
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives
Old 01-12-2007, 12:42 PM   #11
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Only 18 months left until my in-laws' 50th wedding anniversary... during their pending Mainland move we'd have a great opportunity to surreptitiously scan all their 35mm slides and give them some sort of display hardware...
Some sort of DVD would be nice to hand out. You could also setup a digital projector to do a slide show if you have some sort of event. We did that at my parents 50th with 35mm slides (1978 - pre digital).

How about something online? My son uses Shutterfly for his photos - he pays $15/yr or something so he can keep unlimited shots. There are a lot of options now for that. I have a set of online albums on my basement Web server running on a free PHP application called Gallery. I can throw up a new album after a trip; open one up for an event (like my FIL's 80th Bday) and let family members upload, etc. I assume some of the commercial offerings are better and include good search capabilities.
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives
Old 01-12-2007, 01:42 PM   #12
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives

Lots of nice 10+" digital photo frames around for a couple of hundred bucks...many take up to a 12GB secure digital card which would hold one hell of a lot of pictures sized to the frames resolution.

If you want to reallllly go upscale for the 50th...many new flatscreen plasma/lcd tv's take a usb 2.0 drive or secure digital card and will display pictures stored on the cards.

I've also seen little tv attached appliances that store photos and music and use a simple remote control. Heck, an xbox with Media Extender will do that or a hacked xbox will do that for not much more than the cost of a digital photo frame.

Something like this:
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product...v=&browse=&s=1

or this:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...3-20/ref=nosim

You can get 1-2GB SD cards for next to nothing after rebates these days. Give them one for each category or time period. Plug it in, watch the show.

Other good general purpose option is to produce the photos onto a PictureCD. Any dvd player will show them.

http://www.tedfelix.com/PhotoCD/picturecd.html
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives
Old 01-13-2007, 09:17 AM   #13
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Re: Optimal scanning resolution for 35mm negatives

I stand corrected:

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Guapo
Lots of nice 10+" digital photo frames around for a couple of hundred bucks...many take up to a 12GB secure digital card which would hold one hell of a lot of pictures sized to the frames resolution.
...or this:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...3-20/ref=nosim
That's just a little more than what I paid for a 7" Ziga frame two Christmases ago and seems very similar in capabilities. Nords, something like this would be a great idea for what you wanted to give the in-laws. I did something similar for my aunt last Christmas - sent her the frame with a memory card that I had already loaded with photos - she raved about how much she enjoyed it.

We've been looking at Plasma/LCD's in a general interest sort of way - I'll have to add the capability of displaying from USB or memory cards to my research and wish list.
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