Suggestions for photo/film scanning & scanners

We are an incorporated society now in our 25th year. We have a project underway to conserve and archive our photos, many of which have been taken with pocket cameras with small (110?) negatives, and many of which have been donated as prints (without negatives). We are looking at scanning these but wonder if we are best trying to scan the small negatives or just the prints? And if we are to scan the small negatives, what scanners would be recommended that not expensive! - most "home use" ones seem to just do 35mm and slides. We are juggling finances and practicality aspects! Any advice you are able to offer would be very much appreciated.


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As with the previous question, you need to consider whether your goal is to make your photos more accessible to members or the public, or whether you are simply trying to protect or preserve the originals. Knowing this will affect your decisions to some degree, as the film negatives and prints may long outlast any digital copies you make. Prints can be fairly readily rescanned using a good quality scanner than is kept clean and free of dust and fingerprints. Invest in some cotton gloves from a photo lab to protect the originals before you scan, and don't put undue pressure on any items that are fragile. Use a dedicated flatbed scanner such as those still made by Epson, not a multifunction printer/scanner. You can order these from photography suppliers or buy them secondhand on online aution sites. For fragile or oversize photos, a digital camera set to a high optical resolution may be more suitable. Scanning small format negatives is not an easy task at all unless you have professional facilities. If you are able to organise your negatives beforehand, finding funds or a sponsor for a professional image lab to process 110 negatives into digital copies on CD will be your most straightforward option. Avoid the 60 minute consumer services and find photo labs that offer services for professional photographers. We would also recommend this approach for 35mm film if it is affordable. Ask the service to create TIFF files or the highest quality JPEG files you can afford. If scanning 110 film yourself is the only option, you may be able to hire a dedicated film scanner such as a Nikon Coolscan that comes with an optional 110 adapter. If a dedicated film scanner is not available, you would need to create your own 110 mask for a flatbed scanner film adapter using black card or plastic. This can be very fiddly and will by no means guarantee that you get clear images as a result. To learn more about this, there is a good discussion thread on the topic at, . You may need to scan these negatives at a very high resolution in order to capture all the detail. You can read more about resolution settings in our Creating Digital Content guide.

--Anonymous • 2010-01-15 00:00:00 UTC