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Scan a picture or negative for best quality?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography & Imaging' started by Lkrides, Nov 12, 2006.

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  1. Lkrides

    Lkrides Thread Starter

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    Hi all, I am new to scanners and I have a new H/P scanner with transparent materials adapter and holding rig for negatives. I assumed that scannning a negative would produce the best end result. However I scanned the 4x6 color print and it came out much better. Which way should produce the best results? Scan the print or scan the negative?
    Thanks.
    Lee

    I did search the forum first.
     
  2. thecoalman

    thecoalman

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    From my experience the negative is much better. Make sure you're setting the DPI at the maximum of what the scanner can handle. Also get a can of compressed air and blow the the dust off the negatives before scanning them. Even a little spec shows up.
     
  3. Lkrides

    Lkrides Thread Starter

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    O.K. Thanks I'll try the DPI settings next time.
     
  4. slipe

    slipe

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    The answer is a mixed bag. There is a lot more information available on the negative or slide if your scanner is good at that, but often you get better results scanning the print if you don’t need the extra detail.

    If you don’t want a print larger than the original or need more than a normal screen display it is often better to scan the print. The photo processor has often made adjustments to the print that you would have to make yourself to the scanned negative. And scanning tends to accentuate the grain in a negative. That is less of a problem with ASA 100 film or with slides. But it can be a big problem with negatives from higher ASA film.

    Any decent image editor will make the adjustments you need for negatives you scan. And good noise reduction software will also reduce the grain without losing much detail. If you want to print an 8 X 10 or larger print you definitely want to scan the negative.

    You are spinning your wheels scanning a print at over 300 PPI. Very few color prints have 300 PPI of detail and you are just wasting time and ending up with larger files with no more detail if you go over that.

    You generally want to scan at the highest optical resolution of the scanner for negatives or slides. If you scanner lists the resolution as 3200 X 6400 then 3200 is the optical resolution of the scanner. 6400 is the number of vertical stops it can make and seems to have no effect on output. You can’t scan at 3200 X 6400 and have to choose a symmetrical PPI. You would find that a 3200 X 3200 scan would give you as much detail as a 6400 X 6400 in a fraction the time with a much more useable file size.
     
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