Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hi,

I have a lot of old 35mm slides that were taken all around the world from the 50s up to the 90s. There are a lot of great photos. I just read that 35mm slides are worthless. Can someone shed some light on me if this true? Am I able to scan them, put them on Alamy and start using them as stock photography?

Edited by CDG
wrong term
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes you certainly can. I am busy buying 35mm slides from other people ( with copyright transfer) and using my camera to 'scan' them for Alamy.  Some are okay for general stock, the more dirty ones need to go as Archive - set up some examples and apply to Alamy for upload permission to Archive.

 

Click on my link to see examples.

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, CDG said:

Hi,

I have a lot of old 35mm slides that were taken all around the world from the 50s up to the 90s. There are a lot of great photos. I just read that 35mm slides are worthless. Can someone shed some light on me if this true? Am I able to scan them, put them on Alamy and start using them as stock photography?

As Geog says, owning the slides doesn't mean you own the copyright, and you need that for Alamy, or at least have it assigned to you by whoever does own it- the photographer, or more likely whoever inherited them.

They need to be genuinely of some historical interest, however slight, and not just old. For example, St. Paul's cathedral on its own, not archive- it's not changed much in 300 years.

This, however,

G3DENN.jpg

archive. 1960, before it was cleaned, before the cathedral school was built, and a Morris Minor. You get the idea.

btw that is my father.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

As others have said, the answer is yes, 35mm slides can be scanned and submitted to Alamy.  In my experience, scanned slides are not as sharp as images that are now captured digitally, therefore it is advisable that they be submitted to Alamy as "Archival", where QC makes allowances for somewhat softer submissions.  You have to apply first to be able to submit through the Archive channel.

 

In recent months I've been working on 35mm slides going back to the early 60s.  I bought Vuescan software (about $85 I think) to restore communication between my Nikon Coolscan V scanner, which was no longer supported by Windows 10.  As near as I can tell, Vuescan restores the full capability of the scanner.  I then process the images in Lightroom.  As Geogphotos has noted, some might be suitable for submission as general stock (I did this up until a few years ago), not through the Archive channel, but I believe the chance of rejection by QC is significantly higher since scanned film will rarely be as sharp as original digital files.  Archival images are noted by Alamy as possibly having imperfections, but otherwise I'm not aware that they suffer any disadvantage in the search process, nor in pricing.

 

I bought Topaz Sharpen AI software, thinking it would help make scanned 35mm slides sharper.  After extensive testing and back-and-forth communication with Topaz I have concluded that the software can not do much to render scanned film sharper.  This varies somewhat with the type of film (Kodachrome, Ektachrome, Velvia, etc.), and perhaps with the age, but I found that Topaz introduced unwanted artifacts into the resulting image file.  It's also time-consuming.  I've given up trying to improve scanned slides with Topaz Sharpen AI.  It's primarily useful for use on original digital files.

 

Now for the question you didn't ask: is it worthwhile?  I made my first Archival submission on August 2, so not very long ago.  I've now submitted a few hundred images through the archival channel and have not yet seen a sale, but 6-7 weeks is not very long.  Maybe six months from now (by which time I will have long ago finished these submissions) I may be able to see if enough have sold to have made the effort worthwhile.  But with coronavirus restricting my travel opportunities this is at least one way to do something potentially productive while staying close to home.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good-looking slide scans, Ollie. On the several I looked at, I see that your Date Taken is the recent date when you scanned them, and captions don't indicate a date.

 

I think it could maximize a buyer's interest in an archival image to know the original capture date, or a best approximation.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Ollie said:

As others have said, the answer is yes, 35mm slides can be scanned and submitted to Alamy.  In my experience, scanned slides are not as sharp as images that are now captured digitally, therefore it is advisable that they be submitted to Alamy as "Archival", where QC makes allowances for somewhat softer submissions.  You have to apply first to be able to submit through the Archive channel.

 

In recent months I've been working on 35mm slides going back to the early 60s.  I bought Vuescan software (about $85 I think) to restore communication between my Nikon Coolscan V scanner, which was no longer supported by Windows 10.  As near as I can tell, Vuescan restores the full capability of the scanner.  I then process the images in Lightroom.  As Geogphotos has noted, some might be suitable for submission as general stock (I did this up until a few years ago), not through the Archive channel, but I believe the chance of rejection by QC is significantly higher since scanned film will rarely be as sharp as original digital files.  Archival images are noted by Alamy as possibly having imperfections, but otherwise I'm not aware that they suffer any disadvantage in the search process, nor in pricing.

 

I bought Topaz Sharpen AI software, thinking it would help make scanned 35mm slides sharper.  After extensive testing and back-and-forth communication with Topaz I have concluded that the software can not do much to render scanned film sharper.  This varies somewhat with the type of film (Kodachrome, Ektachrome, Velvia, etc.), and perhaps with the age, but I found that Topaz introduced unwanted artifacts into the resulting image file.  It's also time-consuming.  I've given up trying to improve scanned slides with Topaz Sharpen AI.  It's primarily useful for use on original digital files.

 

 

Digitisation with a camera is in my opinion superior to any form of desktop scanning and it is possible to do this relatively easily and quickly to a standard that is more than adequate for passing Alamy QC as long as the original slides are well exposed and inherently sharp.

 

I have uploaded a number of slides copied with my camera setup whereas I have never submitted anything from my Nikon LS4000 (I have never used the archival route). The Nikon ES-1 and ES-2 adapters work really well. Depending on existing kit it can be very cheap to set up. If interested see this long and detailed thread on copying slides with a camera and various setups.

 

A massive advantage of camera copying is that it is possible to shoot raw which is far more effective at reducing noise and grain in Lightroom as well as shadow and highlight recovery and white balancing (again depending on the camera used). Depending on the slide, the processing can be quite fast - I use Lightroom initially and finish in Photoshop.

 

As for Topaz, I have never used the sharpener as I find Lightroom more than adequate (plus a bit of downsizing in Photoshop) but I have used Topaz DeNoise and like you have found it introduces artefacts and is incredibly time consuming. Forum member Mark Chapman has a different opinion of Topaz DeNoise I should add. 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

over 95% of my portfolio are scans made on a Nikon LS9000; mostly 35mm  which produce a 54 MB file, the rest from 6x7 which produce a file needing reduction in dpi. That was a £2000 scanner. The Imacon was much more expensive and could squeeze a little more detail out of the transparency but was a lot slower. The special trick of the LS9000 was a setting for kodachrome which dealt pretty well with the fringing problem. I don't know if that is a problem with using a camera to scan. There is a special place below reserved  for the scoundrel at Nikon who opted to cease software support for all those scanners they sold over a period of perhaps ten years. It left the door open for Vuescan but that's no excuse.

 

As the OP has no images on Alamy, we have no idea if they are in any position to grasp what we are responding. There are numerous scanning services of varied quality. Most of the cheap ones are a waste of time. None of them do a good job of captioning and keywording no matter what they claim. That you always have to do yourself.

Edited by Robert M Estall
Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill: I agree with you on the question of dating.  I hope I didn't miss many.  I did decide that the date didn't matter in cases where the subject is simply a representation of an object--flowers or animals, for example, or a portrait of someone who represents an ethnic group type. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I put the date/decade in the caption for old images. The Alamy system records the date I copied the old slide not when it was taken and I am not going to go through and edit that each time. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, Robert M Estall said:

over 95% of my portfolio are scans made on a Nikon LS9000; mostly 35mm  which produce a 54 MB file, the rest from 6x7 which produce a file needing reduction in dpi. That was a £2000 scanner. The Imacon was much more expensive and could squeeze a little more detail out of the transparency but was a lot slower. The special trick of the LS9000 was a setting for kodachrome which dealt pretty well with the fringing problem. I don't know if that is a problem with using a camera to scan. There is a special place below reserved  for the scoundrel at Nikon who opted to cease software support for all those scanners they sold over a period of perhaps ten years. It left the door open for Vuescan but that's no excuse.

 

 

 

No doubt it became economically unviable to keep producing very expensive film scanners when it is much, much cheaper to copy using a camera. When they stopped selling scanners then presumably keeping the software updated would also be economically unviable given that there is relatively cheap and probably better software available anyway. For copying 35mm film, the Nikon adapters are unbeatable in my opinion. For anyone with a digital camera, It is relatively inexpensive to setup a high quality copying system now whatever the film size. I really doubt anyone would buy a new film scanner if still available at the prices the Nikon film scanners were going for. It is progress as the results from camera digitisation are better now as well than anything from the Nikon higher end scanners (and they were more than pretty decent for their time) . 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Ollie said:

I bought Topaz Sharpen AI software, thinking it would help make scanned 35mm slides sharper.  After extensive testing and back-and-forth communication with Topaz I have concluded that the software can not do much to render scanned film sharper.  This varies somewhat with the type of film (Kodachrome, Ektachrome, Velvia, etc.), and perhaps with the age, but I found that Topaz introduced unwanted artifacts into the resulting image file.  It's also time-consuming.

 

As Michael (MDM) says I'm a fan of Topaz Denoise AI for digitised 35mm slide processing. I find it removes grain and improves sharpness. I've also tried Topaz sharpen AI but found it to be nowhere near as good and introduced excessive artfacts. However, one problem with Topaz Noise AI is they keep updating it and tweaking the algorithm and slider values. They think they are improving it, but sometimes they make it worse and I have to "recalibrate" how I use it. One of the quirks was that it always sharpened the image, even if the sharpen slider is set to 0, which presumably folks complained about. So the latest version (V2.3) won't let the slider go to 0 (a strange way to "fix" it!!), and they suggest using the "low light mode" if sharpening isn't required. I've yet to update as I fear they may have introduced new "quirks".

 

Digitised 35mm can and do sell and with care can be submitted via normal QC if the original is good enough (I tend to downsize to 3000 x 2000).

 

Michael is right DSLR copying in RAW format is a great way to proceed.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
Link to post
Share on other sites

Although it is interesting reading about these various methods to improve the image quality of slides I can't think that it makes any difference to the buyer.

 

They either want the old image or they don't. Improving it technically will not make it any more saleable if it is not what they want. 

 

There is no real point going to the effort of reproducing old images if there is choice, especially if the choice comes down to something that cannot be judged from a  thumbnail. Only worth it when you have something obscure or rare.

 

Much as I respect the discussion of all the technicalities   I do understand that others enjoy the techie discussion simply for what it is but my approach is always to be pragmatic and find what is good enough when good enough is all that is required. I tend to just get on with it.

Edited by geogphotos
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

Although it is interesting reading about these various methods to improve the image quality of slides I can't think that it makes any difference to the buyer.

 

They either want the old image or they don't. Improving it technically will not make it any more saleable if it is not what they want.

 

In my case it makes significant difference as I'm not using Alamy's archival route (my images aren't archival subjects), so quality is important or they won't even end up on sale at Alamy or at the other libraries I use as they would fail QC.

 

18 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

There is no real point going to the effort of reproducing old images if there is choice, especially if the choice comes down to something that cannot be judged from a  thumbnail. Only worth it when you have something obscure or rare.

 

I've been pleasantly surprised how well some of my digitised slide images of landscapes have sold. Probably because I'm cherry picking the best images from my huge slide collection. So for me it's definitely been worth the effort of "salvaging" saleable images from my slide collection.

 

Mark

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

I tend to just get on with it.

With respect Ian, surely you were only able to 'just get on with it' thanks to the technical contributions of contributors to your thread. The method by which you could do it was clearly described there but there was no 'off the shelf' means for you to proceed with your 100mm Canon lens. Fortunately another 'techie' was able to put his 3D printing skills to good use and provide you with one.

Edited by Harry Harrison
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Harry Harrison said:

With respect Ian, surely you were only able to 'just get on with it' thanks to the technical contributions of contributors to your thread. The method by which you could do it was clearly described there but there was no 'off the shelf' means for you to proceed with your 100mm Canon lens. Fortunately another 'techie' was able to put his 3D printing skills to good use and provide you with one.


Different requirements Harry. My interest was and is more academic than selling on Alamy. One of the most interesting things that emerged from that thread was that the ES-1 and ES-2 adapters can be easily used with other camera systems with the right extenders.
 

I lost the plot with what was happening with the custom made device you refer to but, if that requires using a tripod and lining up the slide manually each time, then it would not pass an ease of use test for me and the quality would be somewhat hit and miss in terms of focus, so suitable only if one is happy to just get on with it but certainly not an ideal solution or one that I would recommend. Ergonomics are also important if doing a lot of copying. 

Edited by MDM
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Harry Harrison said:

With respect Ian, surely you were only able to 'just get on with it' thanks to the technical contributions of contributors to your thread. The method by which you could do it was clearly described there but there was no 'off the shelf' means for you to proceed with your 100mm Canon lens. Fortunately another 'techie' was able to put his 3D printing skills to good use and provide you with one.

 

 

Indeed. Which is why I have offered repeated and effusive thanks. But whether a particular software product offers a very slight improvement to an image is not going to affect its saleability though some people will find those discussions fascinating. 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 25/09/2020 at 19:30, geogphotos said:

But whether a particular software product offers a very slight improvement to an image is not going to affect its saleability though some people will find those discussions fascinating.

 

The potential of software (Topaz/LR/PS etc) improvement is not insignificant and IMHO can help turn digitised 35mm slides with significant film grain from QC fails to passes (for those images where the archival route is not applicable).

 

Mark

 

 

Edited by M.Chapman
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, MDM said:

 

I lost the plot with what was happening with the custom made device you refer to

 

It's this one, it attaches to the lens and works like the ES-1 but doesn't have the diffuser.

 

Mark

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

It's this one, it attaches to the lens and works like the ES-1 but doesn't have the diffuser.

 

Mark

 

 

Yes I recall now. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

 

The potential of software (Topaz/LR/PS etc) improvement is not significant and IMHO can help turn digitised 35mm slides with significant film grain from QC fails to passes (for those images where the archival route is not applicable).

 

Mark

 

 

 

 

For me the purpose of copying slides is essentially for Archive use. Even so some can and do pass QC. But I only make that decision at the processing stage if they turn out to be of sufficient quality. In general I select slides on the basis of their historical interest. I'd think that pictures of flowers, plants, landscapes etc are best done fresh and digitally because even if they do get through QC there are likely to be many others to choose from already on Alamy. So if software enables them to just get over the QC threshold I'm still not sure that it makes the effort worthwhile. But I am talking in terms of saleability only. I do realise that there is a pleasure in using and learning new software and technical approaches to 'rescue' old favourites on 35mm slide film.

 

I have not had any QC failures for those images that I have pushed down that route so I do think that the Alamy QC team do know that film has a different look and apply different standards - they are not expecting it to look the same as digital. 

 

I must be close to 2000 slides copied since March ( 6 months) so the 'Thing' kindly created for me by Alan has been immensely useful and easy to use. I could easily produce 4000-5000 a year and quite likely even more if I was less diligent in dust busting Archive images. 

 

Thanks again to all of you for sharing your amazing technical knowledge and for helping  me to get moving down this road because I find it very satisfying to be working on these old images and making them available for use.  

Edited by geogphotos
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, geogphotos said:

I'd think that pictures of flowers, plants, landscapes etc are best done fresh and digitally because even if they do get through QC there are likely to be many others to choose from already on Alamy. So if software enables them to just get over the QC threshold I'm still not sure that it makes the effort worthwhile. But I am talking in terms of saleability only.

 

At the moment my digitised slide images are generating a similar net return/image/year as my  "fresh" digital images. Whether any of my efforts are "worthwhile" is another question. The overall returns I get from stock pay for my hobby, but I could never live off them, and the returns versus the hours of work are tiny.

 

Mark 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.