For new and old - how to scan photos for indiamike

#1 May 15th, 2003, 17:28
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  • Alan D is offline
#1
Some posts in this thread may seem out of sequence as this thread has been merged with another.

I must buy a scanner and post some of my pics of India. There must be some steam engines among them. Problem is the pics from the 60's and early 70's are all on slides. Will it be possible to scan these or do I have to have them printed first?

Can anyone recommend a good model or will any old scanner do the job?
Last edited by steven_ber; May 16th, 2003 at 15:16..
#2 May 15th, 2003, 17:34
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Alan - all of my pictures are on slides as well. I use an Epson scanner with slide attachment - it cost a fortune three years ago, but they're about a third of the price now.

Just have a tour around your local computer store. You should be able to get one for a hundred pounds or so. What make? You won't go far wrong if you get one of these.

One point to be aware of - if you have a computer older than around 5 years - is the connector the scanner sports. Most newer scanners use the Universal Serial Bus, which is a faster interface than the older parallel port. If you have no USB connections on your machine (check the manual. or look on the back for sockets without screwable securing posts), you must get a scanner which allows a parallel port connection - often sharing it with your printer.

Last edited by Midnite Toker; May 15th, 2003 at 20:42..
#3 May 15th, 2003, 20:31
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choose carefully

Alan, I have a Hewlett Packard Photo Smart S20 that I bought many years ago and I don't recommend it. It scans very bluish, and only a lot of user unfriendly adjustments can improve this. It makes a lot of unwanted noises and spooky self-cleanings, and if you touch it, it resets. It rejects slides with thicker plastic mounts. It is incompatible with the new computer technologies as they appear, so I have had to download patches a couple of times, after consulting users forums to figure why things didn't work.
So get a different brand or model and, before you buy, do check on compatibility and mount acceptance ... how do I get out of this one?
#4 May 15th, 2003, 22:55
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Are the 'cheap' scanners (£40) good value? and can they (or other scanners) do the following:-

Scan a picture/document and increase/decreace the size of the 'image' instantly to get it to the right size to post on this site?

If i scanned a document, would i then be able to edit the document with microsoft 'Word'?
Last edited by steven_ber; May 16th, 2003 at 16:13..
#5 May 15th, 2003, 23:13
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cheap scanners seem to work ok to produce the jpg quality stuff you need for posting, and I think most scanners will include a simple software program for manipulating the prints. The cheap ones don't do slides however.

It's taken me a bit of practice to get scans to the right size for posting -- I never read the 'read me's' so it is always somewhat trial and error -- and still not sure why crisp prints come out a bit fuzzy, unless it's just the resolution.

maybe one of our more proficient photographer/scanners could do a thread on dealing with photos for use on net.
#6 May 16th, 2003, 00:37
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#6

Cheap scanners are fine!!

I'm using a old Hp scanjet which cost about $50 when I bought it about 2 years ago.It does the job just fine.
It's a flatbed scanner so no slides I'm afraid but it will scan photos or documents up to a resolution of 600 hundred DPI (dots per inch)
The magic ingredient in producing nice sharp photos with a small file size is the image editor you use there are many good ones around (waiting for "software junkie" tips here MT)
I personally use Adobe Image Ready. Very simple to use. just open the image or import it straight from the scanner!! and click optimize for web tab.
You will then see the output file size on the bottom of the image window (also a approx download time using various modems). If the file size ie still too big then you can just use the optimize tool bar which appears automaticlly in the upper right of the screen to "fiddle" with the image file size, using nothing more than a sliding switch to decrease or increase the file size. The software automatically ajusts the image to best possible settings for the file size you have chosen.
So simple even I can do it
As far as scanning goes I generally scan at about 300 DPI then size the file with image ready for the finished result.
Scanning at higher resolutions sya 600-1200 can produce silly file sizes of many megabytes and whats the point of that unless your seriously into graphic printouts. Your average printer/monitor has a resolution output considerably lower than this and it takes an age to scan/print images at high resolutions.
The above software is available from Adobe software or at you friendly local peer to peer site, know what I mean!!
#7 May 16th, 2003, 02:00
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#7

Lightbulb For new and old - how to scan photos for indiamike

There's a lot to say about scannning, but don't let the intricacies of it put you off trying to scan a few of the pictures you have of India and posting them in the gallery on indiamike.com

First of all, buy a scanner.

Then look at the best way to use it. Most people scan at too high a resolution for Web publishing. Your new scanner will probably have some sort of image editing software, which is a fairly essential addtion to the machine: it lets you crop (just like chopping with scissors), resize and change brightness, contrast and colour balance in the picture. You will need to install this software separately from the scanner interface software. Software varies in what in can do, so read the documents that came with yours. Even basic software will do the things above - start simple.

For editing text documents into an application like MS Word you will need OCR (optical character recognition) software. It's beyond the scope of this thread to talk abouut OCR, but most new scanners come with a basic one like Scansoft Textbridge.

I recommend this site for good information about scanning - it has plenty of illustrated examples, and you can find links to other resources.

Get scanning!
Last edited by Midnite Toker; May 16th, 2003 at 16:03..
#8 May 16th, 2003, 02:11
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Steven, to answer your second question, whenever you scan something, it goes in as a "picture". To turn it into "words", you do something called OCR (optical character recognition), which usually comes with scanner software, and is available bundled with lots of other programs, maybe even with your Word.

When you do OCR, if the letters are not totally legible or are in a strange font, the OCR program will make mistakes, and give you some gibberish, like o's in place of e's, and a few @ $ # etc. For instance, if you scan http://astalavista.box.sk/ (not that I know what that is ) you might get httpV/astalavista.box.sW. But then you can edit those out in Word yourself. You follow?
#9 May 16th, 2003, 02:29
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Re: For new and old - how to scan photos for indiamike

Quote:
Originally posted by Midnite Toker


Most people scan at too high a resolution for Web publishing.
That would be me - I`m your basic pixel junkie..
Working on my problem.

I bought a forty quid flatbed some years ago, expected a toy - and was amazed. The scanners I used in cybershops to post during my last trip was probably in the same range - blame the results mostly on the wetware & labs.

For slides you will need 2000+ dpi resolution (since you are going to blow up the resulting scan ) . There is a dedicated budget film scanner from Microtek (€ 200) at 1800 dpi ; probably okay for web only but don`t expect any good printouts.
I have no experience with the trannie trays , use a Minolta scanner with good results .

When scanning to post here , I start with a high resolution image and then rework it to a 144 dpi image (copy size) , which is the screen resolution x 2 , this gives a good image in the enlarged mode.
Software : some scanners (like Canon - combines good reviews with a medium price tag) comes bundled with Photoshop Elements - a good selling point. Easy to start with , but with a lot of the features of the fullgrown program at hand when you want to play more. You can download a trial version of it at the Adobe site.
There are also some good freeware out there like the GIMP or Satori
#10 May 16th, 2003, 02:38
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thanks, toker, scanners are dirt-cheap now and are often even 'thrown in' with a computer purchase. Slightly more intimidating than, say, programming a VCR, but doable with determination.

my original problem was using the 'web picture' setting which was a real low res scan and the shots looked horrible when posted -- i moved up to 300dpi with 256 colours and found that these seemed to work better after manipulation in a program that came with my computer (Kai's Photo Soap) -- the scanner and comp are 4+ yrs old and there are better programs to work with, for sure. The finishing step for my program is a pixel slider to chose the final product -- it doesn't use inches or cm -- and that's why I always wind up checking the size of the image in k's to see if it fits. I'm always slightly surprised by the result, but go back and try again if it is too big (over 250k for gallery, or 50k for a regular post) I'm sure that I'm driving Mike nuts with all the pictures I've been posting lately to improve my new skills but haven't got the PMOD yet .

While on the topic of scanning -- why is the Jeep still there? needs bumping folks -- still waiting on cyber's big wheel steam loco's and jjacquemain's truck wreck shots!!
#11 May 16th, 2003, 14:33
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#11

Scanners

Sorry -m2- , didn't mean to hi-jack your thread on Royal Enfield Bullets. I was expecting a short reply or two but it just grew! I really should have posted in another thread.

Indiamike, would it be possible to shift the off topic posts to this thread so that all the info is in one place?

Thanks to all for the useful information you have provided.

Just another question though - most of my slides were taken with a small half frame camera. Does this make any difference?
#12 May 16th, 2003, 16:24
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Alan - half-frame shouldn't be a problem if your scanner has a transparency adaptor. The scanner I had before my Epson was a super cheapie, but it still had a selection of mounts included for scanning different sizes, up to 5" x 4". Best check in the shop, though, to be absolutely sure yours includes half-frame.

-m2- there's a formula on the scanner site I gave for determining the final image size from the pixels you have at a certain colour depth. 256 colours is still pretty low if you are using that still. You want at least thousands of colours (16 bit), and ideally millions of colours (32 bit). 256 looks like a dog's dinner on anything other than simple graphics. It's especially bad on pictures of people, because you get about five colours for the flesh tones! The newer scanners all claim to scan at 48-bit depth. Since most editing software won't handle this (Photoshop will, I think), it's more a selling point than a real asset.

Incidentally, I'll just remind anyone who hasn't checked my bookmarks of a great tutorial site for Adobe Photoshop. It's called Photoshop Lover and is crammed with tips.

Scapppy Hanning!
#13 May 20th, 2003, 19:11
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#13

Scanners 101

( Just reviving this thread with an interesting factoid: )

The interface called TWAIN, which is what most scanners operate through to connect to your computer, stands for "Tool Without An Interesting Name"
#14 May 21st, 2003, 02:26
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thanks, toker -- will try that -- as the 'web scan' setting was 72dpi with 'web colour' looked so bad, thought I'd move it up, but thought the higher colour numbers would create a larger file than could be handled -- Ill try a rework on today's pic and delete the worse one after I see them side-by side.
#15 May 22nd, 2003, 13:40
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#15

More scanning basics

I'd better clarify what I wrote about scanning at whatever resolution. Whether you scan at 72dpi or 1200dpi is actually irrelevant - what matters is the image size. What I meant to say was that most people use a very high dpi setting on their scanner which results in an over-large image size to manipulate. Your number of pixels is what gives you the final image size you'll see on the screen.

Obviously, printing is a different matter, but the pixel size and final file size should be the thing to look at. There's a lot more to say about this, so this page on the "Scanning Tips" site I already mentioned will explain better than I ever could.

-m2-, I'm not sure what you're scanning as an original. If it's a print of standard size then 250dpi should produce a large enough file to allow for some cropping. As vistet mentioned, though, this resolution for a transparency will result in a tiny file that won't give you much headroom to manipulate. The "1200+" dpi setting will result in a chunky number of pixels and about a 4MB file size (uncompressed) which should certainly be enough.

Another feature I find immensely useful is the strangely-named unsharp mask tool. Most reasonable image editing programs have an unsharp mask of some flavour - it can create the illusion (and it is only illusion - there's no way of adding detail to a picture that is slightly fuzzy) of a better definition. This is also - confusingly - incorporated into the scanner interface as "interpreted resolution." So you might have a figure of 9600dpi - this is interpreted by software after scanning by applying an unsharp mask to the image.

Still confused about resolution? Go to this page and scroll down to the pictures of the balloons. They all look the same, don't they? Now note the different scanning resolutions used!

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