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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Lazyweb: Scanning help! [Oct. 13th, 2005|07:42 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
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Dear Lazyweb,

I need some scanning advice.

My parents have a ton of photo albums that I want to digitize. My little brother, still living at home, is in need of additional employment and has so graciously agreed to be my paid laborer in this regard.

What I need advice on is hardware and software for scanning some 3,500-4,500 photos, a good percentage of which have text on the back written in pen should be preserved as easily as possible.

Open questions:

-- are there scanners which take a stack of photos and reliably process them?

-- scanning the backs? if so, great, if not...

-- (Free?) software to take a bunch of photos laid down on the bed and find all the rectangles (possibly slighly out of rotation?) and cut them into individual photos, naming them in predictable order inrelation to their location on the bed (left-right, top-down) .

Any other suggestions, software or hardware wise?

Thanks!
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: separated
2005-10-14 03:06 am (UTC)
We had a fujitsu at work that scanned both sides. Something full duplex or another. We scanned files into huge adobe pdf files. Yep.
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[User Picture]From: nick
2005-10-14 03:06 am (UTC)
I've seen some pretty inexpensive ($200?) hp scanjet photo scanners that have a feeder that hold like 20 photos... no idea how easy they are to use though. I know they have double sided scanners with feeders as well, but I'm guessing those are probably an order of magnitude more in price.
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[User Picture]From: olliejeff
2005-10-14 03:20 am (UTC)
Any chance these printed photos still have the negatives? There are scanners out there than will scan several strips of negatives at a time and produce single files of each picture.
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[User Picture]From: cole88
2005-10-14 05:51 pm (UTC)
Doubtful that we still have them.
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[User Picture]From: sandy
2005-10-14 11:56 pm (UTC)
How wrong you are. I save all kinds of crap. They are just not in order, or dated.

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[User Picture]From: krow
2005-10-14 04:21 am (UTC)
Hire a 12 year old :)

Set up two boxes, and make sure they understand the value of a done pile. Much cheaper. This is how I got my book collection titles into my computer.
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[User Picture]From: jwz
2005-10-14 04:43 am (UTC)
Last time I asked this I got a bunch of answers that led me to believe that the answer is, "there is no good answer, this is just a world of hurt however you do it."

I think that scanning prints will end up being easier (if perhaps lower quality) than scanning negs, because the auto-neg-feeder dinguses just don't work very well.
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[User Picture]From: chris
2005-10-14 07:20 am (UTC)
not with consumer level hardware, at least.
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[User Picture]From: yourmindshifts
2005-10-14 04:45 am (UTC)
Oh man, little brothers are great for this type of work.

-I've had mine count and stuff pennies, dimes, and nickels into those coin rolls.

-Transcribe all my cell phone numbers into a word file just in case

-Wash my socks :)
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[User Picture]From: grumpy_sysadmin
2005-10-14 12:11 pm (UTC)
The "scan a bunch on a flatbed" process is greatly aided by a grease/whiteboard pen grid just slightly larger than 3x5 on the bed, though it takes some cleanup of the scanner afterwards. (You can line this up with a set of defined-by-path selection in Photoshop/Gimp, script splitting up one image, then come back and crop later.) There really isn't a labor-light (much less -free) way to do this because even photographs that have been cared for well aren't necessarily cut perfectly and have probably curved a bit over time.

For the backs, getting a flatbed scanner with good optics and just flipping them is far better benefit to cost than finding one of relatively few duplex scanners, which will either have crappy optics, damage the originals, or both.
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[User Picture]From: rzr_grl
2005-10-14 04:24 pm (UTC)
Do you actually want images of the backs? (Say, to preserve the handwriting?)

Because it seems like what you'd actually want is to just have that info in the EXIF data. Typing in caption info may be tedious, but less hassle, less space and less time-consuming than scanning the backs. Programs like Photo Mechanic (and I think CS2) let you batch-edit EXIF.

Cheap film scanners are ass. Trust me, I know. Nikon CoolScans are the entry-point for decent ones; anything less than ~$600 and you'll be sorry. If you get one that doesn't suck, however, it could go a long way toward automating the process - IF you want to archive every frame. If you're going for individual images, the prints will be faster.

For example, this one:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=310477&is=REG&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation
with the optional roll film adapter (if you have uncut negs) will batch-scan 40 35mm frames at a time, at 20 seconds each.

Good luck. I've been staring down my beast of a photo collection for years now. :(
If you do end up going the film scanner route, I would probably be interested in buying/renting/borrowing it after you finish.
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[User Picture]From: mahlon
2005-10-14 05:18 pm (UTC)
This isn't free (and doesn't solve the problem of scanning the back of the photos)...

But the software that comes with Epson scanners can auto detect edges, and automatically saves into different files. Throw down 4-5 photos, scan the full bed, and end up with 4-5 nicely cropped individual files.

I just snagged the latest SANE to see if it had anything similar, doesn't look like it.
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