Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

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pepperminty
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Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by pepperminty » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:15 pm

We will be using an Epson V750 Pro photo scanner (User manual PDF).
These are the file formats we can save to:
Screenshot from 2019-08-22 13-11-25.png
Which is the best?
We plan to edit metadata later. We want highest quality, since we can always downgrade if space is a concern, but we cannot upgrade.
Last edited by pepperminty on Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by gm10 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:29 pm

pepperminty wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:15 pm
We want highest quality, since we can always downgrade if space is a concern, but we cannot upgrade.
Any form of TIFF or BMP are lossless formats.
Last edited by gm10 on Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by pepperminty » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:31 pm

gm10, for our purpose, single-page TIFF is better than multi-page TIFF, right? thanks.

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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by gittiest personITW » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:31 pm

TIFF isn't lossy and is compatible with most piccie software. Con=large file sizes.
All old old family photos for instance I scanned as TIFFs @ high dpi, and also as JPG low dpi for flicking through/emailing etc.
JPG can be lossy.
If you use formats that are unique to certain software it can be a bit of a problem sometimes to play around with them in the future.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_file_formats

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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by gm10 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:32 pm

pepperminty wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:31 pm
gm10, for our purpose, single-page TIFF is better than multi-page TIFF, right? thanks.
Definitely, since you want to be adding metadata, possibly delete one of them, etc. it's just easier to work with.
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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by pepperminty » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:34 pm

gittiest personITW, thanks for your reply.

So we shall do TIFF.
We can always get a smaller-filesize JPG from a TIFF later on (post-scan), right? Our time with the scanner is limited, so we were just gonna save as TIFF format originally, and later on, do the JPG thing. :) (But if I'm mistaken and I should do both TIFF and JPEG from the scanner, do pls let us know)

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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by gittiest personITW » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:43 pm

To be honest, on screen you won't notice the difference between TIFF and JPEG at about 80% unless you really zoom in. If you have limited time with the scanner the priority would be to get the files scanned at high dpi.
I would generally prefer to let the scanner do the work (scan at high dpi then low dpi) but you can always play with the files after - the LoDef files aren't too important and can be produced from TIFFs without too much problem anytime.

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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by gm10 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:06 pm

pepperminty wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:34 pm
(But if I'm mistaken and I should do both TIFF and JPEG from the scanner, do pls let us know)
There's no advantage to having the scanner spit out JPEG. You do all your post-processing based on the lossless source and only at the end of the workflow can you consider exporting to a lossy format (if you need that at all).
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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by gittiest personITW » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:13 pm

Can use some gem like Xnconvert to batch convert all the TIFFs whenever, if ever you need to.

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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by JerryF » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:27 pm

A few factors come into play.

I've done lots of scanning for myself and for others and I scan at the highest hardware resolution for the scanner (some scanners say they can scan at 9600 dpi, but it may only be capable at scanning at 2400 dpi, then uses interpolation to increase resolution). I usually use JPG at the lowest compression. Then when I retouch a pic, which I may open and save several times (I use Adobe Photoshop Elements), I open the JPG, and then save in PSD format.

After completing the retouching, I then save it as JPG at a resolution and compression that is needed.

If the pics are just for viewing, a lower resolution and bit of compression is fine. If they're going to be printed at a large size (for example 8x10), I use a higher resolution and minimal compression.

Now, if the people that are going to use them are serious photographers, then use a lossless format. They are usually sticklers.
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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by Pierre » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:46 pm

also have done this, with an big pile, of photo's from the parents generation,
and with an win-xp based program, that gave an output to an JPG file, at high resolution.

then later on, with an stand-alone device that placed an JPG onto an usb stick,
that was inserted into it's usb port. .. this was the better method.

it took several weeks, to do this, basically doing not much else, either.
& from memory, they were done at 600 X 600, as an compromise between file size & resolution.
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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by pepperminty » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:39 pm

We did our first batch of scans on the photo scanner. I chose 350 dpi for the most part. The scanner can scan at a 4-digit DPI, but it slows down the scanning. So that's party why I decided on 350 dpi. I tried 400 dpi and 350 dpi on the same photo and when I opened both and zoomed in, it was hard to tell the difference. What I'm after is this -- I don't want to scan at a resolution that will miss out on some detail, like the blade of grass's edges. I guess scanning at some super high DPI like 2,000 DPI won't make a big difference if the print photo doesn't have much detail to begin with.

What I do appreciate though about scanning at even 350 DPI is that when you scan a tiny photo with tiny faces, it's like an optical zoom (vs software zoom) into the people. :)

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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use? [solved]

Post by polarvortex » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:36 am

My 2 cents, 350 dpi seems low to me if it's a matter of saving photos for posterity. Since you are doing the scanning work anyway, might as well go 600dpi. Consider if you want to make enlarged prints, or crop smaller parts of a photo and blow them up to a normal size. And consider the future of 4K and 8K televisions that you might want to show slideshows of the photos on. Or future high resolution digital photo frames...

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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by pepperminty » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:40 am

polarvortex,
thank you for your reply.

I read what you wrote and, as I'm not a big techie, I was wondering something. If the source (the printed photograph) isn't very high-res to begin with, does it make a big difference to still go with 600 dpi? Thanks.

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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by lsemmens » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:13 am

I agree, if you are only saving at 350dpi, you are wasting your time and resources using TIFF format. Your initial question was what is the best method to store image data. The answer is at the highest resolution that your scanner can cope with and in a lossless format like TIFF. If all you are doing is maybe, printing them out on a 6x4 print or occasional viewing on screen then scan a few at various resolutions and saving them in various formats then using the one you are happiest with. A good test is to scan some old postage stamps and compare the details on those. One of the stamp forums I inhabit has posted this guide for posting on their forums. There, detail is king.
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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by polarvortex » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:16 am

Whether it makes a difference or not is mostly based on how large you'll be displaying the scanned image. The examples I gave are when higher dpi will make a difference.

Roughly speaking, when you view the image on a computer it looks huge but when you print it out it's much smaller. So if your target is computer screens, phones, and small prints, then a lower dpi should be fine.

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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by JerryF » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:20 am

pepperminty wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:40 am
polarvortex,
thank you for your reply.

I read what you wrote and, as I'm not a big techie, I was wondering something. If the source (the printed photograph) isn't very high-res to begin with, does it make a big difference to still go with 600 dpi? Thanks.
A good rule is to scan at 300 dpi if you want to print at the same size. If they're just for viewing, 96 dpi is ok for most of today's monitors. polarvortex makes a good point about future screens. You'll want higher resolution for displays that will be super high resolution.

Example: if your photo is 4x6" and you want to print it at 4x6", then 300 dpi is good. But if you want to print that same 4x6 as 8x10, you'd want 1200 dpi.

If you're not going to do any processing to the scanned photos, I'd use JPG with minimal compression.
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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by absque fenestris » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:42 am

300 dpi = 4" x 6" (1:1)
600 dpi = 8" x 12" (2:1 length x width doubled, area quadrupled)
1200 dpi = 16" x 24" (4:1 length x width quadrupled, area is sixteen times larger)

The amount of data will increase according to the area in the same proportion...

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Re: Gonna scan photos from the 80s and 90s. Which file format from this list should we use?

Post by Flemur » Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:56 am

I'd scan at higher DPI than 350, to TIFF, then convert them ASAP to PNG (also lossless, but more universal: browsers and such can show it). The scanning DPI depends on the original picture quality, if the pics are mass-printed Instamatic pics you could probably get all the info with an effective 100DPI (i.e., resize the scanned images fewer pixels).
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Interacting with your helpful responses :)

Post by pepperminty » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:56 am

Thank you, everyone, for your input.


Some of you advise scanning at the highest resolution that the Epson can scan. I'm not in front of the scanner right now, but according to page 155 of the user manual, the highest resolution is... um, 4800DPI or 6400 DPI or 9600 DPI. One of those.
Screenshot from 2019-08-23 08-36-37.png
After reading what some of you have written, I regret scanning at a low resolution of 350 DPI. I did that because I was worried that as the DPI gets higher, the scanning slows. But reading your explanation of the value of high-res scanning has persuaded me that I should scan higher. Besides, according to the V750's Amazon description page, the scanner comes with "dual lens" tech, which "helps achieve faster scans". Yesterday, when I tried scanning, I never went higher than 400 DPI. Perhaps scanning at 6400DPI won't be too slow, with the help of the "dual lens" system.

Should I really aim for the max?

Some of you mentioned that I should get high res for future-proofing... for when, say, I get a digital photo frame in the future that has high resolution.

At the moment, we have no plans of printing the pics. Our aim is simply to get the analogs saved for posterity/permanence. It makes it easy to share these pics spanning generations with family. Also, Mom is interested in getting a digital photo frame (I may get her one as a gift :) ). I asked her how large she wants the digital photo frame, and she pointed to the monitor we were using, which looked like a 24-inch flat-screen monitor.

We do have some negatives for some of the photos. I guess we should have started with scanning the negatives, as opposed to scanning the prints. Thanks for pointing out that negatives have better quality. I mean, I could clearly see the deterioration in the prints, yet I foolishly still went ahead and scanned the prints, and not the negatives. (This Epson comes with film holders)

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