I got an Epson Perfection 2480 Photo scanner LE with a feeder tray, after asking a few folks online what they thought of it and not hearing any horror stories.
The plan is to scan all 2,000 or so of my family photos and taking them out west. That might sound like a terribly daunting task but in the time it’s taken for me to get this far in this blog entry, it’s already scanned 6 images and dropped them into place.
I’m not using sharpening or other features built into the Epson software. Some of the images scanned like this will need to be tweaked for brightness and contrast and such to bring out their best, but it’s best to get the images in the purest state posible and then muck with them. The software that came with it is pretty well designed; beginners can get pretty darn good images with simple, integrated tweaks like a descreening filter and unsharp mask at the flip of a single switch. And then nerds like me can turn all that stuff off so they can make it hard on themselves.
The scan quality I’m using for prints only looks a hair worse than 2,400 dpi uncompressed .tiff when the image is magnified roughly 10 times on my screen… IE a 4 inch print blown up to 40 inches. My images take up 4 MB instead of 65 though. I’m not adverse to 65MB images except that my image programs choke trying to display and edit them.
I’m not totally happy with using the built in auto-exposure because I think it messes with the histogram, lossing some data. Then again, it might be changing CCD sensitivity, which means I’m getting better data. But it seems to do a very good job and I’d otherwise have to spend a lot of time with each image getting it right (and frankly, I’m not so good at that kind of futzing)
I’m very happy with this scanner. :-)
Prints: Home Mode. The feeder can accept 10-15 images. Images take 1 minute apiece. I’m using 24 bit color, 1200 dpi, auto exposure with no other adjustments, save with compression 15 .jpg. Images are approx 4 MB. Some photos can’t go through the feeder because of its size or gunk on the picture.
Large Prints: If a print takes more than 1/3 of a page, I consider lowering the resolution to 720 dpi or 600 dpi because .jpg images more than 10 MB are quite cumbersome for photo programs.
Negatives: Home Mode, 24 bit color, 4800 dpi, auto exposure and no other adjustments. Save with compression 15 .jpg. Images are approx 3 MB. Mounting slides would go faster if I get my hands on several film holders.
Slides:(my folks have lots!) same settings as negatives.
6-13-05 575 photos done. Negatives go slower than prints… 3 minutes per image and it must be loaded every 3 images. But the final images are usually a bit smaller even though I’m capturing more data. If you’ve got the negative, use it!
6-14-05 660 photos done. I didn’t have much time today… and slides are an even bigger pain. You load 2 images at a time. A Swiffer duster does a very good job on dust specks.
6-15-05 900 photos done in 3 gigabytes. I’ll stich together the mosaics of large images later. Large images are an even bigger pain than slides. I’ve scanned every important picture in a frame in the house. I can’t take those with me!
6-16-05 Uh oh. After all this, I’m almost done with box #1 of 3. I’m going to ship them out to SF and finish this project later. But I’m very happy with the scanner
Here is a 4″ x 4″ photo. It came out to be 3 MB, 4,800 x 4,800 pixels.
And here is a zoom in of my face. At this level, you can start to see digitizing artifacts. I would need a loupe to see this much detail on the original photo