Scanning old negatives


I took the brave decision some years ago to go with out a home computer. My old desktop PC failed in several ways, and I was square eyed from being at the screen eight hours at work, then eight hours at home. So what started off as a pause turned into a wait, then a hiatus, and then finally freedom. I did have the email twitch for a while, was I missing out on everything, but no.

Then I got a MacBook. It is one of those decisions I end up making. Not that I wanted one so much, but I couldn’t find a reason not to buy one. What clinched it was that it was 64 bit so it would be future proof. Apple never mention the 32 BIOS, arrghh! Should I get around to it Snow Leopard will run fine on it.

OK now for the scanner. As ever I like to spend a bit more to get a good bit of kit, in the end I shall be rewarded. Or should be. My Epson scanner was quite pricey, but then it was the best Perfection 2450 Photo. It worked great, I scanned in lots of photos with intention to do a lot more.

The PC died, the scanner gathered dust. It took me a few years to deign to connect up my MacBook. It works after a fashion. I hadn’t realised how quickly the usability had progressed. Now a similar scanner has built in dust removal. Sounds handy, but if you are scanning in ancient pictures it is essential. I could easily spend an hour smoothing away dust from the pictures, and patching up tears. It is relaxing in someways, but I just don’t have the time.

My main problem though it scanning in 120 film, My grandfather has a lot of lovely pictures taken on a box brownie, which I have as well! The negatives though aren’t framed, and each time I try to scan them, the heat from the light makes them bend up. If the negative isn’t flush the scan won’t be good. I have tried making little frames to restrain the negatives as they are scanned. It works to some extent but again it is fiddly and tricky, and if the scanner crashes every once in  a while as it does it can take ages to try several times. An optic flat to rest on the negative is one idea, or a little frame just for 120 film negatives.

It is all worth it though. To be able to blow up old film to look at so many times larger. To be able to bring out the detail that had been thought lost. Most of all to share it with the rest of the family. With relatives around the world, it seemed such a shame that only one person got to hold the pictures, now everyone can have a digital copy. Not the same as an antique print, but far more shareable.

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~ by zeristor on March 1, 2010.

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