Using a D800 to take pictures of pictures...

Started Dec 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
jean bernier Veteran Member • Posts: 3,176
Been there, done that, and...

I used the camera at times (a D3X) in order to reproduce photos that were too large to fit into the flatbed in one pass, framed photos that I was not inclined to unmount, and very large slides and negatives using a light table I certainly was not buying a large film scanner for...

For old family snapshots, I unmounted individual pages from the albums when possible, and scanned on the flatbed whole pages at max resolution in order to save time. A good system in order to dust-off the pages is a great asset. Anyway, the scans had more sharpness potential than most snapshots had to offer. I did not adjust the scanner itself, just used the built-in presets (b/w photographs, color photographs) that were plenty good for the quality of prints one finds in typical family albums. I mean I reserved the contrast, color, density etc operations for later on in Photoshop. Saved JPG best quality or TIF depending on the perceived value.

I then made as many copies of the files as required by the number of individual pictures that were on one file. Some albums required two passes per page in order to scan every one. Then I opened the files in PS, cropped, levels, renamed the file with descriptive name, and opened another copy in order to crop and process the next picture. Results were definitely better then the material I started with.

In my opinion, flatbed scanning is preferable to camera work for this type of archiving. It may look slow, but compared to setting lights, camera, tripod, maintaining leveled alignment, positioning prints, downloading, charging batteries, scanning is more productive.

It takes dedication, but it is very satisfying to give those fading photographs another life.

If you can bring the pictures with you, providing you don't lose them and bring them back in due time, then you can do the mundane scanning operation at leisure...

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Jean Bernier All photographs are only more or less credible illusions

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