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I've been thinking for a long time that I should investigate the possibility of uploading some of my 70s and 80s scanned trannies via the archival route. As a matter of interest, if you're making use of this facility how much effort do you put into preparing the images? Many of mine have accumulated dust over the years. Do you remove them from the mounts and clean them before scanning? Do you laboriously spot them before submitting? Or do you just upload them as they are and take the view that at small reproduction sizes the dirt won't be noticeable anyway?

 

Alan

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I only use the archival route if I am not sure if the image is as sharp as I would like ... although still sharp enough ! All of my uploads from negs and slides are treated the same as all other uploads ... spotted and cleaned and happy that they will pass QC ... which they do ... and archival images are treated as if they are going to be looked at by QC ...

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49 minutes ago, Martyn said:

All of my uploads from negs and slides are treated the same as all other uploads

Thanks for sharing that, it's very interesting. I don't really want to go to the trouble of scanning to a high resolution and spotting etc. and then upload as Reportage and have the "may have imperfections" byline. Up until your post most if not all people uploading scans by the normal route have downsized to on or around the minimum size of 3000 x 2000 pixels but I see that yours seem to be around 4700 px on the longest side. Presumably anyone looking at the high res files in QC would be able to tell that they were scans, there might be grain for example, but because you have spotted them and they are sharp they go through?

 

Edited by Harry Harrison
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That's correct Harry ... I copy negs and slides using a copy stand, light box, Fuji XT1 and 90mm Elicar 1:1 macro lens in Nikon fit via an adaptor ... so the RAW files are effectively the maximum size the Fuji can produce. The grain is often visible at 100 % and often a fair bit of spotting is required ... but I feel it's worth doing properly and uploading via QC ... who, it has to be said, are switched on and can see that the file has come from film and they make allowances for that ... with the best will in the world, an original film image will not be as sharp as a digitally produced original image !

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Most of my slides are horribly unsharp. I got a huge shock when I first digitised them and looked at 100%. I've already extracted and uploaded the ones that I thought would pass QC (a tiny percentage) which is why I'm only looking at the archival route for the rest.

 

Alan

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22 minutes ago, Inchiquin said:

Most of my slides are horribly unsharp. I got a huge shock when I first digitised them and looked at 100%. I've already extracted and uploaded the ones that I thought would pass QC (a tiny percentage) which is why I'm only looking at the archival route for the rest.

 

Alan

 

I had to nix a lot of my old slides as well. These days, when I upload via the archival route, I clean the slides with an "anti-stat" liquid and then let the Digital Ice software on my Nikon scanner do the rest. The results are usually fine. I also downsize considerably. 

 

P.S. I haven't uploaded via the archival route for quite a long time since my scanner is on the fritz, and I've yet to get around to putting to use all the helpful advice on how to fix it that I received on the forum.

Edited by John Mitchell
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37 minutes ago, Martyn said:

That's correct Harry ... I copy negs and slides using a copy stand, light box, Fuji XT1 and 90mm Elicar 1:1 macro lens in Nikon fit via an adaptor ... so the RAW files are effectively the maximum size the Fuji can produce. The grain is often visible at 100 % and often a fair bit of spotting is required ... but I feel it's worth doing properly and uploading via QC ... who, it has to be said, are switched on and can see that the file has come from film and they make allowances for that ... with the best will in the world, an original film image will not be as sharp as a digitally produced original image !

Thanks Martyn, that's very encouraging, up until your post I had imagined that scans would have to be indistinguishable from digital images of a similar pixel dimension. I may start with some medium format.

 

Now do I risk losing my much cherished 5 star QC rating....?

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I have uploaded old scans both as archival and standard. In essence those that were good enough to get through the normal QC procedure were shot on medium format, while my 35 mm scans went archival. I switched off the automatic dust removal etc as I found it softened the images using my, now sadly defunct, Epson 4990 flatbed Photo scanner. As a result I spent ages removing dust marks and other defects in post processing. Maybe a dedicated film scanner or drum scanner would give much better results.

 

I've since tried messing about using my Sony a6500 to scan negatives, using a variety of pieces of kit, including bellows, extension rings and old enlarger lenses. I have managed to produce a couple of scans that I deemed worthy of an archival upload, but what a faff!  I don't have a dedicated macro lens, but that might be the answer.

 

 

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57 minutes ago, Bryan said:

Epson 4990 flatbed Photo scanner. 

I don't have a dedicated macro lens, but that might be the answer.

 

 

 

I also started out using this scanner Bryan and also had to switch off the dust removal as it tended to remove minor details such as peoples nostrils as well as dust. It was ok for medium format and 35mm at a real pinch although that was back then, not so sure it would cut it nowadays.

The Elicar lens I mentioned in an earlier post is very sharp and they can be picked up on E.Bay occasionally for a very reasonable price ... copying this way isn't the quickest but then it doesn't really need to be if being selective with the negs and slides to copy. As this lens is designed for full frame, when fitted onto the Fuji, it allows me to crop a 35mm neg in camera .... I filled the frame copying a half frame original !

There are two on E.Bay at the moment ....

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/elicar-90mm-f2-5/254443107933?hash=item3b3dfdb65d:g:1ZgAAOSw7TRd5-C2

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2 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I had to nix a lot of my old slides as well. These days, when I upload via the archival route, I clean the slides with an "anti-stat" liquid and then let the Digital Ice software on my Nikon scanner do the rest. The results are usually fine. I also downsize considerably. 

 

 

Unfortunately ICE doesn't work on Kodachrome (unless you have a Coolscan 9000 which I don't and can't afford a mortgage to get one). and most of my older slides are K64. Luckily the vast majority of the sharper ones were on Ektachrome so I was able to scan those with light ICE and upload them without further ado.

 

Alan

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1 hour ago, Bryan said:

I have uploaded old scans both as archival and standard. In essence those that were good enough to get through the normal QC procedure were shot on medium format, while my 35 mm scans went archival. I switched off the automatic dust removal etc as I found it softened the images using my, now sadly defunct, Epson 4990 flatbed Photo scanner.

 

Interesting to hear mention of the Epson 4990. I still have mine, but it's suffered from outgassing from the plastic, leaving a hazy smear on the underside of the glass. Eventually I'll strip it down and clean it. I used to use it to scan 5x4 B&W negs and E6 from my Toyo 45a. For exhibition prints I would pay for Imacon /Hasselblad scans, far noticeably better.

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1 hour ago, Inchiquin said:

 

Unfortunately ICE doesn't work on Kodachrome (unless you have a Coolscan 9000 which I don't and can't afford a mortgage to get one). and most of my older slides are K64. Luckily the vast majority of the sharper ones were on Ektachrome so I was able to scan those with light ICE and upload them without further ado.

 

Alan

 

Yes, that's right. ICE makes a real mess out of Kodachrome with my Coolscan 4000. I spent ages "manually" cleaning up some of my old chromes, one speck at a time. However, no problems employing ICE with Ektachrome, Fujichrome, etc. I used a variety of slide and print films over the years.

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I've recently uploaded some 35mm copies via the archival route....   https://tinyurl.com/sr8vpgf
 
This is my set-up, using a Nikon D7200.  I'm using a Rodenstock 80mm enlarging lens on the bellows (PB-6) with a Nikon slide copier attachment. It has a bellows on the slide copier but it's not long enough to reach the lens so I've used a cardboard tube instead of the bellows (courtesy of Epson; I once sent for a sample print and it came in this tube - I knew it would come in handy one day!).  With the help of tiny bit of self-adhesive felt it's a snug fit on the aperture ring so I can turn the tube to alter the aperture.  At the copier end I fitted a lens hood in which the tube can slide for focusing, though once it's all set up it only needs to move a fraction.  I bought an LED light panel on ebay, rather than messing about with flash.  One of these.... https://tinyurl.com/t68r673
 
I just brushed the slides, followed by a blast with a blower.  There was still a lot of dust and scratches on some of them but using a graphics tablet (Huion) it didn't take all that long dabbing away with the pen with the healing brush selected - it's a hell of a lot quicker than using a mouse.
 
Apologies for the crap photo - taken with my phone...🙄
 
Edit, forgot to add - the native size from the D7200 is 6000x4000 px.  After cropping a bit of the slide mount that was showing around the edges I then downsized to 5000 px on the long side. 
 
49201120427_2b94e8a058_b.jpg
Edited by Vincent Lowe
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6 hours ago, Inchiquin said:

Most of my slides are horribly unsharp. I got a huge shock when I first digitised them and looked at 100%. I've already extracted and uploaded the ones that I thought would pass QC (a tiny percentage) which is why I'm only looking at the archival route for the rest.

 

Alan

 

This is the critical point here. If the slides are really unsharp then there is no point in spending time on cleaning and spotting them. This is contrary to my general philopsophy which is to do the best I can when preparing images but if they are that bad in terms of sharpness then I would not even bother digitising them for Alamy unless they are of some real historical value and likely to sell.

 

We all seem to have our favourite ways of digitising slides. I have posted a few times here about what I think is the easiest, quickest and possibly cheapest way to digitise slides to a high quality - the Nikon ES1 slide copier and macro lens on a Nikon camera. The results are significantly superior to the LS4000 (mine died a little while back) and easily good enough to pass QC when downsized to 3000x2000 to reduce noise and improve sharpness (although I am being over-cautious and they would probably pass at larger size). Vincent's setup is certainly more complex but no doubt does the same job.

 

Edited by MDM
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Just a couple of final points in response to Michael's comments. I don't know if they're of historical value but they're sitting there doing nothing. There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of slices of life across Europe in the 70s and 80s. And I already have a Coolscan 5000 and a well-established scanning workflow, including a scanner profile for Kodachrome which is quite important since the vast majority are Kodachrome.

 

Alan

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3 hours ago, Inchiquin said:

Just a couple of final points in response to Michael's comments. I don't know if they're of historical value but they're sitting there doing nothing. There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of slices of life across Europe in the 70s and 80s. And I already have a Coolscan 5000 and a well-established scanning workflow, including a scanner profile for Kodachrome which is quite important since the vast majority are Kodachrome.

 

Alan

 

 

I hope I wasn't  being too negative there Alan. This was really because of you saying that many of the slides are horribly unsharp which makes it sound like it may be a lot of effort for little return unless they are of some significant historic or archival  (local or otherwise) value. In any case, I wouldn't think it worth spending too long preparing images (pre or post-scan) that are of very poor quality unless you think they will sell or they have some special meaning to you yourself. 

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18 hours ago, Inchiquin said:

Most of my slides are horribly unsharp.

This might come across as an indelicate question but it's not meant like that, I'm sure my slides are the same when I get down to looking at them closely. Are they unsharp because of the normal technical reasons, lens not quite as good as we'd like to think perhaps, high ISO film etc. etc., things that we've never noticed until viewing at 100% on a monitor - or (hopefully not) is it because they are on film and we are used to seeing more detail on digital?

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38 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

This might come across as an indelicate question but it's not meant like that, I'm sure my slides are the same when I get down to looking at them closely. Are they unsharp because of the normal technical reasons, lens not quite as good as we'd like to think perhaps, high ISO film etc. etc., things that we've never noticed until viewing at 100% on a monitor - or (hopefully not) is it because they are on film and we are used to seeing more detail on digital?

 

All of those.

 

When you abruptly switch back from digital what seemed perfectly okay when I was doing nothing else but scanning often looks soft and certainly grainy. 

 

Even back in the day 35mm was fairly borderline for stock, agencies much preferred medium format. 

 

Given the fees these days I'd say that there has to be an emphasis on speed and efficiency - spending an hour or two spotting a routine image wouldn't be worth it.

Edited by geogphotos
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2 hours ago, Harry Harrison said:

This might come across as an indelicate question but it's not meant like that, I'm sure my slides are the same when I get down to looking at them closely. Are they unsharp because of the normal technical reasons, lens not quite as good as we'd like to think perhaps, high ISO film etc. etc., things that we've never noticed until viewing at 100% on a monitor - or (hopefully not) is it because they are on film and we are used to seeing more detail on digital?

 

It's not an easy question to answer. Back in those days you couldn't easily view images at a large size (other than projecting on to a screen which lost a lot of detail anyway) so both photographers and publishers had to rely on lightboxes to judge whether a slide was of sufficient quality for the desired purpose. I'm sure that camera shake played a part because there was no IS back then, but I think in my case it was probably mostly down to my preferred technique which was to use shutter priority to avoid shake and just let the aperture take care of itself. This often resulted (especially with K25) in the aperture being wide open a lot of the time, which meant not only that the lens was not performing at its best but also that focus (which was of course manual in those days) was critical. I don't think it was an issue with the glass because I used good lenses (Canon 28, Canon 50 macro,  Tamron SP 70-210). Because I could never see the images at a high resolution (and because they were quite acceptable to photo libraries) I was blissfully unaware of the shortcomings of my method until I started scanning them.

 

I've had a decent number of Ektachromes and a smaller number of Kodachromes accepted by Alamy so I don't think it's anything to do with digital v. film.

 

Alan

 

Edit: It may be relevant to the above that nearly all the Ektachromes that have passed QC were taken after I got my first auto-focus camera.

Edited by Inchiquin
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1 minute ago, Inchiquin said:

It's not an easy question to answer. Back in those days you couldn't easily view images at a large size (other than projecting on to a screen which lost a lot of detail anyway) so both photographers and publishers had to rely on lightboxes to judge whether a slide was of sufficient quality for the desired purpose. I'm sure that camera shake played a part because there was no IS back then, but I think in my case it was probably mostly down to my preferred technique which was to use shutter priority to avoid shake and just let the aperture take care of itself. This often resulted (especially with K25) in the aperture being wide open a lot of the time, which meant not only that the lens was not performing at its best but also that focus (which was of course manual in those days) was critical. I don't think it was an issue with the glass because I used good lenses (Canon 28, Canon 50 macro,  Tamron SP 70-210). Because I could never see the images at a high resolution (and because they were quite acceptable to photo libraries) I was blissfully unaware of the shortcomings of my method until I started scanning them.

 

Thank you for the explanation, mind you hardly any of Cartier-Bresson's early pictures were sharp and many of the later ones, he was rubbish obviously! Actually I think he hated stock photography in any case but some of my favourite pictures are definitely not sharp (almost the whole of 'The Americans' for example). Still, that's not stock photography either.

 

I suppose I've also got to consider that the buyer is not told if the images are from film if they are uploaded by the conventional route so that has to be considered. It's a bit of a shame that the by-line below those uploaded by the Archival route is so uncomplimentary.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, geogphotos said:

spending an hour or two spotting a routine image wouldn't be worth it.

Yes, point taken, but some do well out of pictures of historical value on here so for me it is more a question of how good to make them, though I know actually that I just wouldn't be able to upload anything that wasn't properly spotted by whichever route.

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