Digitizing Photos/negatives/slides

Chervil

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#1
I was going to put this in the photography thread, but think there is most likely more traffic on this one.
I have a very large number of old photos, 35mm colour slides and negatives, going back over 50 years, that both my dad and I took.
At the moment they are stored in the garage and attic. For some time I have been promising myself that I would digitize as many as possible. I do realise that this is a long term task, but have promised that I will make a start this year.
I have looked at several different scanners, and they all seen to have pros and cons. Has anyone undertaken anything similar and if so is there any advice/recommendation on any particular type?
I know I am looking at several different formats and sizes of pictures that I need to scan, and think that this is where I may come unstuck.
 

Total

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#3
I undertook the very same task years ago when my dearly departed Father passed away. He was an avid photographer mostly recording his much loved family.

Most of his photos were 35mm colour slides which were digitised using a Hewlett -Packard scanner which came along with a holder to accommodate 6 slides at once which made the process a lot easier. Scanners/technology have come along way since I did this and of course with it, more choice. Automatic sizing/recognising and bordering scans make the process so much easier for slides as well as prints. My software (which came with my scanner) also automatically straightened multiple prints when laid on the scanner.

All I can advise is take your time choosing your intended scanner, but more importantly, the software that should come with it that can make or break an enjoyable experience and be prepared for an emotional roller coaster when you digitise your Fathers photos. Think about how you save the files to your computer with a well thought out, structured filing system. It'll save you much time in the future when looking for certain files/pictures.

Finally, be prepared to allow the final costing to include some sort of backup, ie external (or internal) drives to store your precious memories, in fact I did a double back up to two separate hard drives to make sure all my hard work was doubly safe. Enjoy. :)(y)
 

Chervil

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#4

Chervil

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#5
I undertook the very same task years ago when my dearly departed Father passed away. He was an avid photographer mostly recording his much loved family.

Most of his photos were 35mm colour slides which were digitised using a Hewlett -Packard scanner which came along with a holder to accommodate 6 slides at once which made the process a lot easier. Scanners/technology have come along way since I did this and of course with it, more choice. Automatic sizing/recognising and bordering scans make the process so much easier for slides as well as prints. My software (which came with my scanner) also automatically straightened multiple prints when laid on the scanner.

All I can advise is take your time choosing your intended scanner, but more importantly, the software that should come with it that can make or break an enjoyable experience and be prepared for an emotional roller coaster when you digitise your Fathers photos. Think about how you save the files to your computer with a well thought out, structured filing system. It'll save you much time in the future when looking for certain files/pictures.

Finally, be prepared to allow the final costing to include some sort of backup, ie external (or internal) drives to store your precious memories, in fact I did a double back up to two separate hard drives to make sure all my hard work was doubly safe. Enjoy. :)(y)
Total,
Thanks for that. The slides go back to when I was a baby and chart my growing up for a number of years. I also took a lot of slides when I was a young teenager. The rest are mine from the last 30 years, until I went digital.
We printed a lot of our own pictures, in the kitchen, with the bulb replaced with a red one.
The real problem I have, apart from the number, is the various sizes of the prints. I think I will have to start by sorting and measuring and then deciding on the best option, with an understanding that I won't be able to copy all of them. Luckily I think there are a lot of negatives as well.
Re storage, I am in a similar situation with my own digital photography and store them on two external hard drives, my son introduced me to Google storage over Christmas, which also seems the way forward.
 

Somersetlad

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#6
For photos a decent flatbed scanner will be ok, the one on my printer does a reasonable job, but not exhibition quality. Flatbed scanners with transparency hoods for slides and negs are virtually useless, they don't have the resolution and can't handle the contrast ratio. You need to get something like a minolta dimage, nikon coolscan or a plustech, the cheap ebay type are just cheap digital cameras looking at the slide against a light. I have heard of people using old fashioned (ohnar?) slide copiers on dslr's and getting good results, once they've got the exposure sorted. Then you need is scanning software with dust and scratch removal, and a lot of time, hi res scans are slow and you may need to do each one several times to get it right, then once you've got a jpeg (personally I prefer TIFF) you can crop/resize/colour correct to your hearts content, or until you lose the will to live. Finally you need to enter all the details and filenames into a database, so you can search for an image. There's loads of advice on the photographic forums.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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#7
I am in the middle of doing exactly the same thing. I only have 35mm negatives and am using a scanner that I got from Aldi, their Silvercrest brand. Doing a good job. The software allows for some adjustment of colour balance and contrast. Though any tweaking is rarely needed.

For prints I am just using the scanner on top of my printer.

Well worth the effort for the sake of all the memories the photos invoke.

While in the process I am discarding those photos that have no meaning. Random zoo animals and landscape scenes etc. that have no memories attached.

I am also storing family photos in multiple folders. So for example if I have a photo with The Boss and our two children that gets saved into four folders, one for each person and one "family". Photos of house renovations and improvements go into a "House" folder, same with cats and dog. Specific holidays also get a separate folder as well as going into the personal one for those in the frame. This will give me multiple ways of viewing all the photos once the task is finished.
 

Chervil

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#8
Thanks Neil, hadn't thought of Aldi, will have to keep my eyes open for their next special. Slides are in the minority of what I have to work through, but if I could get them out of the way of the way, I could then get something solely for the prints. I did a couple on my scanner, but it isn't designed for the large number I have.
I like the idea of binning the random ones.
I also have some pictures of, what I believe are grandparents with their parents and other old ones, which, unfortunately, I will now never be able to put names and places to. That's one thing that I would advise anyone, to find out these things, before it's too late.
 

Total

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#9
@Chervil .....You're very welcome.(y)

Fortunately most of my Fathers prints were a maximum of A4 size or smaller and so wasn't a problem for a regular A4 scanner.

As I mentioned in my first post, my software took care of the sizing/downsizing that I stipulated when setting the process up.

I actually did a 'dry run'/test of a two dozen prints or slides to make sure what I wanted was what I had planned for the final output and tweaked the software before I began the whole scanning process.

I chose to store my outputs on external drives purely for its simplicity and control over the final outcome. Google drive/cloud storage was never considered: due to too many problems and not enough control, plus safety issues drove my choice. (y)
 

ukzero1

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#10
For format out, JPEG will be fine, I have looked at something very similar to this one on Amazon. There are just so many out there and when you think you have found one, you find a load of negative reviews.
I meant the format of negatives. 35mm, 135 etc. The one I pointed to also does negatives and slides. I haven't used that particular one, but it seems to have better reviews than others.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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#11
@Chervil Re identifying relatives. Don't give up. It may be worth taking a year's subscription to Ancestry and searching their archives for others who are researching family trees that include your relatives, and they may have photos that can be used to ID the people you cannot name at present. I have been surprised by the variety of names and trees that have included some of my relatives. And many people are willing to share information.

It may be a bit of a long shot but worth looking into just in case.

Only a couple of years now until the 1921 census records are released. I'm looking forward to adding to my knowledge of the family.
 

Chervil

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#12
@Chervil Re identifying relatives. Don't give up. It may be worth taking a year's subscription to Ancestry and searching their archives for others who are researching family trees that include your relatives, and they may have photos that can be used to ID the people you cannot name at present. I have been surprised by the variety of names and trees that have included some of my relatives. And many people are willing to share information.

It may be a bit of a long shot but worth looking into just in case.

Only a couple of years now until the 1921 census records are released. I'm looking forward to adding to my knowledge of the family.
Neil,
I've been on Ancestry since 2012 and taking a year off this year to try and get back into my photography and make a start on this project. As you say, I have received help from others and also given out a lot of advice.
I have found it both interesting and, at times extremely frustrating.
 

Scalper

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#15
Chervey - Max Spielman should be able to handle differing formats quite cheaply...

ZEROS suggestion was on Aus ebay and may not be compatible here...

An A4/35mm slide and negs flatbed scanner I would deffo advise is the one I have that is very good!.... Epson Perfection V370 Photo Approx £100

Also check out: ION products...

Medium format capture devices are horrendously expensive and thus really need doing commercially!!!
 

Chervil

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#16
Chervey - Max Spielman should be able to handle differing formats quite cheaply...

ZEROS suggestion was on Aus ebay and may not be compatible here...

An A4/35mm slide and negs flatbed scanner I would deffo advise is the one I have that is very good!.... Epson Perfection V370 Photo Approx £100

Also check out: ION products...

Medium format capture devices are horrendously expensive and thus really need doing commercially!!!
Scalper, I had been looking at the Epson, it's about £90 on Amazon at the moment. I'm going to have to bite the bullet and order one this weekend. How long does it take to actually scan a photo or strip of transparencies. I must have thousands to scan in, so had better make a start.
 

Chervil

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#18
Total,
Thanks for the link, very useful. Looks like I will have to set up where I can be doing something else at the same time and limit the amount I do in one go.

Cheers
 

Scalper

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#19
My scans and device startup are very fast and 99.9% of the print scans and negs etc are right the first time and I haven't needed to alter any settings...

Tip: Before you start the big job get yourself a can of windy air (£5), lint-free rag, disposable gloves and a fine lens cleaning brush...

The better the media preparation the better the finished scans and no re-scans needed!

Don't windy can the media too closely!!!... 1ft ish.

Prints: hold them face down and air dust them before scanning.

Same for 35mm stuff but dust both sides.

Scan media at such a high resolution that won't have you nodding off!

Play with the device first and find your feet!!!
 

Chervil

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#20
I meant the format of negatives. 35mm, 135 etc. The one I pointed to also does negatives and slides. I haven't used that particular one, but it seems to have better reviews than others.
Sorry mate, just reread your post. The transparencies, will be standard 35mm, all mounted, some in plastic some in cardboard. There most be 3-400 of these, at least. I also have two large plastic boxes, one with my pictures in, which will be a mix of 35mm prints/negatives and some from other cameras, 110?
Dad's will be the same, plus a variety of sizes prints that we did at home.
I most admit, that I didn't expect the number of very helpful replies I received. I was going to buy an Epsom V370 flatbed photo scanner on Amazon, but I need to go into Jessops next week, to talk about a remote for my Canon, so will do click and collect with them. John Lewis also have a really good offer on for an ION ION Slides Forever Desktop Slide/Film Scanner at John Lewis & Partners. But, of course, out is out of stock.
 

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