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Author Topic: Reproducing Old Photographs  (Read 13827 times)
latkins
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« on: January 31, 2007, 11:14:18 AM »
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I have hundreds of old photo prints but unfortunately no negatives for these. Is it possible to set up a tripod and take photos of these with my digital camera so that I can download them onto my pc? I realize the quality won't be great, but they would only be shared with family and I can't afford to have them reproduced professionally and can't invest in a flatbed scanner because I just purchased a slide scanner for the other half of my project, which was to scan thousands of 35mm slides. Any suggestions out there on a solution to my dilemma would be most welcome!
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2007, 11:20:20 AM »
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A flatbed scanner is a much better idea than rephotographing. Flatbeds aren't that expensive.
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RonBoyd
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2007, 11:45:46 AM »
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Is it possible to set up a tripod and take photos of these with my digital camera so that I can download them onto my pc? [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98542\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have found that photographing Prints is every bit as effective as using a scanner (I have a Microtek ScanMaker i900). Granted a Scanner is a little easier to use but the end result is the same -- both methods capture everything a print has to offer. (Assuming a 6mp camera -- I use a 7.1mp Canon G7.)

The most difficult steps in using a camera for this purpose is 1) holding the print and 2) getting sufficient amount of light. You have to build your own "tripod" to hold the camera parallel to the plane of the document. As far as light is concerned, I simply go outside and use the Sun -- any table will work to hold the "tripod" and the document flat. (Of course, this can be done inside with the Sun light through a window.)

Anyway, the answer is , yes.

Ron
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peterpix2005
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2007, 11:53:13 AM »
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Buy a cheap copy stand, use a couple of lights at right angles to the base and use glass to hold the prints flat. I have copied thousands of old photos that way

Peter
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2007, 11:56:48 AM »
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You'll have much less problems with reflectance, variable colour temperatures and maintaining sharpness by doing what Jonathan suggested: buy an inexpensive flatbed scanner. Once you have it, you would be surprised - you'll find yourself using it for other stuff too. Comes in very handy for all kinds of document preservation and transmission, especially combined with Adobe Acrobat.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Richowens
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2007, 12:09:54 PM »
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Jonathon is correct. One problem trying to photograph a photograph is flatness and light reflections. A flatbed will alleviate this. I am using Epson's 3170 for the very same thing, digitizing family photos from the late 1800's.

You can get their 3490, refurbed, which mine is, for $70 including delivery. I have had zero problems with their refurbed products.

Epson 3490


May I also recommend Ctein's new book on photo restoration. It is a gold mine of information and techniques.

Rich
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2007, 12:11:39 PM »
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Even a cheap scanner can give you better results than rephotographing. A 600PPI scan of a 4x6 print gives you 8.64MP of true RGB image data (as opposed to Bayer-interpolated), and there isn't the hassle of setting up the lighting and all that crap. And if the prints are larger, you can still scan at 600PPI and downsample the image file to a reasonable size, which pretty much eliminates scanner image noise. I've done it both ways, and a scanner is simply a better tool for the job.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2007, 12:44:47 PM »
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....................May I also recommend Ctein's new book on photo restoration. It is a gold mine of information and techniques.

Rich
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98558\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

While on the subject of books on restoration, not to be overlooked is Katrin Eismann's "Photoshop restoring and retouching 3rd Edition".
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
howiesmith
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2007, 01:09:52 PM »
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I have used both copy camera and scanner.  The scanner was far easier, producing a good digdtal file in one step.  I could do several without needing to adjust anything.  I even scanned two at a time a few times.

Multiply pass scanning and averaging works well.  Time really isn't a big thing because I can do other things while the scanner works away.  Changing origianls was very fast.

Using lights and a camera isn't as cheap as you might think, unless you already own lights with polarizer sheets, copy stand, etc.  

And, as pointed out befor, the scanner can be used for many other things.  I use mine a lot.  I also use it to color correct my monitor and printer.
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Richowens
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2007, 01:29:19 PM »
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While on the subject of books on restoration, not to be overlooked is Katrin Eismann's "Photoshop restoring and retouching 3rd Edition".
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98565\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Indeed, another excellent source of knowledge. I believe she is one of the pioneers in digital restoration.

Rich
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John Camp
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2007, 05:26:25 PM »
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There's a Wall Street Journal article today (Jan. 31) in the Personal Journal section on this exact topic, in which it says that many people are using scanning services to scan old family photos. They mention Shoeboxreprints.com as one service, which will scan as many as 1,000 photo for $49.95. Others listed include Britepix.com, Digmypics.com, ScanCafe.com and Scanmyphotos.com. Most of them have resolutions of 300dpi, Scancafe is 600 dpi. Prices are all over the place, with a high of 49 cents per pic. I'm a little nervous about letting my pics out of my hands -- maybe I'd send them a third, spread over the years, then another third, and then a final third...But if you have a lot of photos, and they're only for family use, a service woudl save you a major pain in the ass...

The journal article also quotes a couple of people who had the service done at a local store, so you might check the yellow pages...

JC
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larryg
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2007, 10:30:02 AM »
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In doing genealogy research I got a hold of many old family (tin types and more) photographs.  I used a flat bed scanner   (try scanning in color even with b&w images as you will sometimes gives better results).

I printed out each image and also copied all of the jpg files to cd and sent a copy of the cd to family members.

This was so simple to do without any camera setup.  Results were quite satisfactory.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2007, 01:35:26 AM »
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And, as pointed out befor, the scanner can be used for many other things.  I use mine a lot.  I also use it to color correct my monitor and printer.

That's one of the cardinal sins of color management, second only to thinking Adobe Gamma actually qualifies as a real monitor profiling tool.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2007, 09:45:31 AM »
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That's one of the cardinal sins of color management, second only to thinking Adobe Gamma actually qualifies as a real monitor profiling tool.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98823\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Nice to know.  I was simply following the bouncing ball instructions for MonacoEZcolor.  Sin that it may be, it seems to be working quite well for me.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2007, 04:28:43 PM »
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How does one use a flatbed scanner to calibrate monitor? Do you duct-tape the scanner to the monitor like a really big calibration puck? How do you compensate for the curved surface of a CRT?
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howiesmith
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2007, 04:37:18 PM »
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How does one use a flatbed scanner to calibrate monitor? Do you duct-tape the scanner to the monitor like a really big calibration puck? How do you compensate for the curved surface of a CRT?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98932\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

No duct tape.  I use foil tape.

Actually, if you really care, find out how MonacoEZcolor works.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2007, 04:48:49 PM »
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The last time I checked, one either did a visual comparison (like Adobe Gamma) or used a colorimeter when profiling a monitor wit Monaco EZColor. Neither method involves a scanner. What on earth are you doing with a scanner to profile your monitor?
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howiesmith
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2007, 04:56:02 PM »
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What on earth are you doing with a scanner to profile your monitor?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98937\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Are you really concerned/interested or just trying to cause trouble or demonstrate how smart you are?
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2007, 02:53:42 AM »
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You said you used a flatbed scanner to color correct your monitor. I'm just trying to figure out one would do that. It's not any part of the standard usage of MonacoEZColor, which you claim to use. If someone claimed they figured out a way to use cheese tortellini to cure cancer, wouldn't you be intrigued?
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howiesmith
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« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2007, 07:59:55 AM »
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If someone claimed they figured out a way to use cheese tortellini to cure cancer, wouldn't you be intrigued?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98987\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

No
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