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10-17-2010, 05:56 AM
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I have some of my photo negatives back and they are okay; I guess the quality of the film and the camera from late 1990s and early 2000s was not as good as the digital stuff of the same era. I cannot really enlarge the photos much (the negatives were scanned at 3000 dpi). Some of my photo scans look better for some reason.

I have a question about blu ray dvds--can they be used instead of regular dvds to store the photo negatives that I have? I have about 2000 negatives/photos to compile. I also will be getting back another 9000 negatives and I will be scanning about 1000 photos to compile. I just need to minimize the number of dvds. I can always use an external hard drive. Which is more secure?

Thank you,
Wow, loaded questions!

Let me pick this part piece by piece, and reply to each segment...

Quote:
I have some of my photo negatives back and they are okay;
If your scans are just "okay" as compared to the original film, then I would suggest the person/company who scanned them did a lousy job.

However, it should be noted that this assumes the film was fresh when used, shot well, and processed with good quality at the time. A lousy slide will make for a lousy print, scan, viewing, etc. Also remember that slides are relatively tiny, so be sure you're comparing images at comparable viewing sizes. Put it in a projector, close to a wall, to match computer monitor or TV viewing sizes.

Quote:
I guess the quality of the film and the camera from late 1990s and early 2000s was not as good as the digital stuff of the same era
No, not at all. Not even close. This is a really complex topic, but I'll try to break it down into an easy answer.

Digital cameras use CCD or CMOS sensors, and these have historically been poorer than most films at certain settings. In fact, well-known photographers like Ken Rockwell like to point out how you can buy a used pro Nikon F4 camera cheaply second-hand (eBay, craigslist, photo forums, pawn shops, etc), buy some cheap 35mm film, and then have even a non-professional developer like Walgreenes handle the processing -- and then you will often end up with images that come out superior to many/most digital cameras, even ones sold new in stores today.

On most SLR cameras (SLR = body with removable/swappable lenses), the sensor is about 66% the size of film. This harms some clarity and quality. Point-and-shoot "pocket sized" cameras are even worse. Cell phone cameras are crap. Beyond that, CCD and CMOS are highly sensitive to non-visible spectrums of light (infrared, ultraviolet, etc) and must have filters laid over the sensor, which further reduces quality, known as Bayer filtering. Film is typically much sharper, cleaner and color-rich compared to digital cameras -- professional series bodies and optics being the main exception. (But even pro bodies, like my new Nikon D3s, suffer from digital limitations that did not exist on film. Bayer, mostly.)

Only in the past 3-4 years have cameras come out that can truly act at a level, or surpass the level, of film. The Canon 5D, for example, is probably the closest camera I've ever seen to film, in terms ISO performance. ISO 50 and ISO 100 looks a lot like ISO 50 or 100 film, which is why nature photographers love those bodies. And then ISO 1600-3200 was as clean as Fuji color film (800 push processed to 1600 or 3200). For digital photography, that was a welcome advancement, and it's only a couple of years old (from 2006). It wasn't until 2007 that digital has been able to overcome the quality of film, with cameras like the Nikon D3, Nikon D3s and Canon 1DsMk4. These new bodies can shoot exceptionally sharp images at ISOs that were once thought impossible. An ISO 6400-12800 image on a new SLR can look as good as 400-1000 speed film of yesteryear!! It's uncanny. I have a D3s, and still find myself in awe of how low of a light it allows me to capture images. (Note that I'm the photographer, so I'm still taking the images -- the camera isn't doing the photography, therefore I won't say "the cameras takes photos".)

The earliest digital cameras from the late 1990s took great image, yes. Better than film, no, not at all. I have one of the earlier bodies, from 1999, the Nikon D1. I still have it, and plan to convert it to an infrared body in the near future (by removing the aforementioned CCD filter and replacing it with another that allows IR to pass).

If you have slides and/or negatives that look fine at 4x6 (or comparable size to how you're viewing the scans), and the scans are lousy, then it's simply a lousy scanner -- be it the operator/person or the equipment!

Quote:
I cannot really enlarge the photos much (the negatives were scanned at 3000 dpi). Some of my photo scans look better for some reason.
When it comes to image scanning, DPI is a near-meaningless number. It's not much different from megapixels on cameras. My old Nikon D1 "only" has 2.75MP, but it can easily take higher quality photos than an 8MP cell phone camera. The difference is the glass. A lot of cheap $100 scanners use plastic junk (or junk glass) for the scanning optics, paired with junky software, and you end up with a fuzzy off-color scan.

Dedicated slides scanners from Minolta, or even consumer-grade (higher-end, not bargain-priced) Epson scanners work well for slides. For negatives, it's hard to beat a Nikon Coolscan! That Minolta sells for around $200-300 used, the Nikon is at least $500 used, with an Epson being around $100-150 new. Photoshop suggested, which adds another $500 or so (or $100 if you go for lower end Element consumer version). While this may not be an easy cost for you, it should be for any service at minimum. Sadly, many "businesses" use junk for equipment, and you get a lousy product because of it. I'd be curious on where you had these done.

Scans of the printed paper photos should be wholly inferior to a clean scan of the negative or slide. Some of our new digital photography guides will showcase this, starting in a couple of months.

Quote:
I have a question about blu ray dvds--can they be used instead of regular dvds to store the photo negatives that I have?
I would not, no. Read this post for details why: Blu-ray disks for archival media?
Direct link: http://www.digitalFAQ.com/forum/show...isks-2021.html

Quote:
I have about 2000 negatives/photos to compile. I also will be getting back another 9000 negatives and I will be scanning about 1000 photos to compile.
I'm curious what "compile" means. Are you saving these as JPEGs and burning to discs as data? Or are you converting to DVD-Video format to watch on a TV as if you were watching a movie on a DVD? Definitely keep the full quality master files somewhere, as DVD-Video reduces quality to 720x480 max size, or about a half megapixel at best (0.5MP). Blu-ray is about double that (1MP), at 1920x1080 (1080p) for "full HD" quality.

Quote:
I just need to minimize the number of dvds. I can always use an external hard drive. Which is more secure?
DVDs "only" hold 4.38GB of data, but that's still a lot of images. How big is each of your image files? Hard drives seem better, due to size. However both formats have weaknesses. The best solution for true archiving is to create a master DVD set, and then have all of them on a hard drive, too. Hard drives are cheap these days! I'm about to buy another 2TB drive for under $100, if I can find another sale, online or offline. Just waiting for the sale, biding my time. Need it for a backup set.

There are severals posts/threads/topics dedicated to archival media in the blank media forum.
See http://www.digitalFAQ.com/forum/foru...-media-19.html for those posts.

Hope that helps.

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