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Here it is 2013 and these may sound like a crazy questions:

 

1) Like many photographers in my age bracket I've got many thousands of slides sitting around. Some would seem of value - in some cases only historical. You know like photos of Silicon Valley in the 1980's or countries that are no more (GDR, CSFR etc.) In the past I've submitted successfully a handful of film scans to Alamy. But as best as I recall they were all medium or large format transparencies that were drum scanned. Large and medium format drum scans still outperform digital cameras I think, but not so with 35mm. I no longer have access to a drum scanner.

 

Anybody have any luck with bulk slide scanning? I don't want to waste too much time or money if they won't make it through QC. There are some services that will scan shoe boxes of slides for cheap LINK- I think they get sent off to India and scanned in Nikon scanner (?) But I don't think my slides from the late 1980's through the 1990's might not work as they often were grainy, nor were the lenses they as sharp as my present digital kit. If anybody here has recently submitted slide scans, did they make it through QC? Would they have made it if they were original digital files?

 

2) I on rare occasion still shoot large format black and white film. I process and print myself, and for that I assume I could get a good scan from a print. Does anybody else out there still submit monochrome analog images? Do they sell? Could a photobuyer find them in the Instagram age of faux keywording with terms like Polaroid, cross processed, Lomo, Velvia etc used to describe digital images?

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I'm just going to give you my opinion. You will make your own decision. 

 

I wouldn't touch bulk scanning with a ten-foot poll. When we clean and scan chromes ourselves, it takes endless time and work. I have a dozen or two scans on Alamy made mostly from Kodachrome 35mm film. I've been threatening myself to do more. But to do a serious scan from 35mm, the image must be perfect, the subject rare and important and it should not look dated. 

 

Good luck. 

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Ed, I literally spent a year scanning old 35mm slides one-by-one for Alamy with my Nikon Coolscan 4000. It almost drove me nuts, but the results continue to do surprisingly well. Have never heard anything good about bulk scanning.

 

However, I'm not sure that I would want to submit scans to QC these days. I don't think that they are using the same standards that they did five years ago when I was submitting scanned images with no problems.

Edited by John Mitchell
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Regarding cheap scanning services; I sent several orders to the one your link goes to, and was able to use most of the 35mm ones. They do use Nikon scanners (4000 and 8000 I think), in India. Some of the slides were scanned backwards, some of the DVDs arrived scratched (they replaced those), but the last straw for me was the medium format scans. Large areas were out of focus due to the film not being flat enough. I communicated this to them but gave up and got a Coolscan 8000. I had been using a Coolscan V as well and use both now. Was hoping to save time but didn't really. My last scans went through QC about six months ago (must get back to that!) and scans sell well for me. I think medium format is well worth scanning as are good slides. Older slides that aren't as sharp as they could be might get through via the Archival/Reportage route, if there is a body of interesting work. There is a description of that in My Alamy.

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Hi Michael. Lots of my early stuff from long long ago was scanned to put on Alamy when they first started.Medium format on an Epson flat bed,35mm on a plustek scanner.These are starting to show their age now as technology has moved on so much and so a while ago,had the idea of maybe redoing them,even though they still sell.

The choices were....a dedicated film scanner (getting rarer even used and expensive),an old slide copier such as a bowens Illumitran (not so expensive but spares getting harder to find),or...the method I settled on thanks to an article I read by David Kilpatrick.....use your digital camera instead of a scanner !

I  bought a copy stand,a holder to hold mounted 35mm slides,card masks for medium format,a small light box with daylight tubes,used my D700 and macro lens 1:1....and started shooting ! Have shot 35mm Kodachromes and Ektachromes,some dating back to the 1970s,also newer Fuji films like Velvia,medium format,black and white negs in all formats.....and have been amazed at the results ! Colour negs have been more tricky but are do-able ! The big bonus I have found is that there is far far less cloning/retouching to do as fine scratches and specks of dust do not show up like they did with a scanner.....as I never liked using software that removed dust etc as I found that it removed fine details like nostrils as well !

I uploaded a test batch and they sailed through QC at native size....as has every batch since.

If you click onto my Alamy page link,these "scans" appear quite early on as I only uploaded them recently.....decide for yourself !!!

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I'm just going to give you my opinion. You will make your own decision. 

 

I wouldn't touch bulk scanning with a ten-foot poll. When we clean and scan chromes ourselves, it takes endless time and work. I have a dozen or two scans on Alamy made mostly from Kodachrome 35mm film. I've been threatening myself to do more. But to do a serious scan from 35mm, the image must be perfect, the subject rare and important and it should not look dated. 

 

Good luck. 

Thanks Ed. Good points. Worth noting that Kodachrome and B&W don't work with the automatic dust removal but e-6 does (or did back when I tried.) I had an old Nikon Coolscanner but like you I wasn't enamored by the results. I'm hoping there's a better option than my Coolscanner of a decade ago.

 

One other exception to your comment, I'm more interested in scanning the "dated" photos that can't be recreated today. I'm guessing there are hundreds of photographers on Alamy who have photos of the San Francisco skyline. But I have a couple I took right after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake from Treasure Island with all the power out and a big plume of smoke LINK or the Coastguard Helicopter inspecting the collapsed section of the Bay Bridge LINK (now being replaced witha new span.) Technically they aren't that great, but there as best as I can remember I was the only guy on TI with a 600mm lens ;-)

 

I've been thinking of other photos that somebody might be interested in for the history books that I've taken. For example I traveled on day visas a couple times to the GDR (or "East Germany") and have some photos of everyday things there like a public phone LINK, a cash machine LINK, Soviet soldiers in Berlin LINK, etc. None of these are either technically or aesthetically great, but I could imagine there could be demand out there and minimal supply.

 

Also, I was reading another thread here where people were mentioning tripod restrictions in France for example. I've got a medium format Velvia shot looking up in Notre Dame LINK - they didn't mind too much back in 1996 and let me use my full setup for an hour or so before shoeing me off. If you can't get that shot today with digital, maybe the trans is worth something.

 

Thanks for your thoughtful reply!

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Hi Michael. Lots of my early stuff from long long ago was scanned to put on Alamy when they first started.Medium format on an Epson flat bed,35mm on a plustek scanner.These are starting to show their age now as technology has moved on so much and so a while ago,had the idea of maybe redoing them,even though they still sell.

The choices were....a dedicated film scanner (getting rarer even used and expensive),an old slide copier such as a bowens Illumitran (not so expensive but spares getting harder to find),or...the method I settled on thanks to an article I read by David Kilpatrick.....use your digital camera instead of a scanner !

I  bought a copy stand,a holder to hold mounted 35mm slides,card masks for medium format,a small light box with daylight tubes,used my D700 and macro lens 1:1....and started shooting ! Have shot 35mm Kodachromes and Ektachromes,some dating back to the 1970s,also newer Fuji films like Velvia,medium format,black and white negs in all formats.....and have been amazed at the results ! Colour negs have been more tricky but are do-able ! The big bonus I have found is that there is far far less cloning/retouching to do as fine scratches and specks of dust do not show up like they did with a scanner.....as I never liked using software that removed dust etc as I found that it removed fine details like nostrils as well !

I uploaded a test batch and they sailed through QC at native size....as has every batch since.

If you click onto my Alamy page link,these "scans" appear quite early on as I only uploaded them recently.....decide for yourself !!!

Great Idea, I think I even have an old slide dupe attachment somewhere. I'll test that out too.

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Ed, I literally spent a year scanning old 35mm slides one-by-one for Alamy with my Nikon Coolscan 4000. It almost drove me nuts, but the results continue to do surprisingly well. Have never heard anything good about bulk scanning.

 

However, I'm not sure that I would want to submit scans to QC these days. I don't think that they are using the same standards that they did five years ago when I was submitting scanned images with no problems.

 

LOL It sounds like I'm reading about my own life. By the way, I finally answered your question about the NEX-3, so check the NEX thread. 

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The majority of my images on Alamy are scans of Kodachrome slides and the majority of them were taken in the late 60s.  I use a Nikon Coolscan 9000.  I have some Ektachrome images on Alamy as well, but they don't scan as well as the Kodachromes.

Dick Janzig

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On a related subject, I have some concert shots of Frank Zappa from about 1979 that I would love to put on Alamy, plus an early publicity shot my Dad took of Eric Burdon and the Animals in about 1965, but the only way I could get these on here now would be to digitally re-photograph the actual b&w prints.

 

Examples from Flickr...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoot42/2248734748/in/set-72157605574472277/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoot42/4276325829/in/set-72157605574472277

 

 

Is there any way that these would pass QC if I managed to get the "new" shot spot on or would they be "soft and lacking definition" candidates as a result of the originals?

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On a related subject, I have some concert shots of Frank Zappa from about 1979 that I would love to put on Alamy, plus an early publicity shot my Dad took of Eric Burdon and the Animals in about 1965, but the only way I could get these on here now would be to digitally re-photograph the actual b&w prints.

 

Examples from Flickr...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoot42/2248734748/in/set-72157605574472277/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoot42/4276325829/in/set-72157605574472277

 

 

Is there any way that these would pass QC if I managed to get the "new" shot spot on or would they be "soft and lacking definition" candidates as a result of the originals?

When talking about photographic prints it's a different ballgame. With a decent consumer level scanner you can get good results from a good 8x10" print. Slides are alot trickier.

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Last year I uploaded a couple of sample scans from1970s 35mm B&W negatives and they went through QC fine. I used an Artixscan 4000 film scanner and Vuescan and cleaned them up manually in Lightroom. My job for wet winter nights as I can put them up through Alamy's archive route

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I have recently managed to obtain a new lamp for my Dimage Scan Multi Pro, which transforms its performance. However, I find that all my carefully stored uncut unmounted 35mm shoots are wrecked by fungus attack to the emulsion - anything from serious webs to small spot. Ironic, as I thought these images left in their original lab strips or put into filing sheets would be safe from such attack. Seems that my mounted slides, which I thought would be more likely to deteriorate, are in much better condition. I've already got a hundred or more scans on line and some sell very well indeed, possibly because the scenes have now changed for the worse but these represent an 'ideal' without looking in any way old. Still, it's surprising - I can not imagine that in 1983 I could ever have sold travel and calendar pictures taken in 1956, exactly the equivalent.

 

Here's an even earlier image - a 6 x 9cm possibly shot on a Mamiya Press with 50mm, or a Brooks Veriwide with 47mm, around 1977-8 - about which someone commented 'but it looks so modern!'...

 

D7Y003.jpg

Edited by David Kilpatrick
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It does look suprisingly modern. It could almost be our (now 29year old) son; he had those dungarees as well but about 1o years later.

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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I don't know if you are based in Germany, but I have used Scandig in Munich and have been very pleased with them, no trouble passing QC, but that was a couple of years ago now!

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Michael and all,

 

 

 

I would say that about 85% of the small number of images I have on Alamy are scans from 35mm film.  Almost all were chromes either FUJI or Kodak, a lot of them from Kodachrome 64 and 200.

 

I have been using a pair of Canoscan fs4000's which I connect to an old computer (running Windows XP) via a 16bit PCMCIA card.  It takes me hours, days and sometimes a week to get the scan

 

ready for Alamy and I do have a very good chair to work from.  In the early days I used a Sitex scanner, then Nikon's, then Kodak and I will say that to this day I prefer the Canoscan 4000.  I also

 

do not use the auto retouching.  Nikon calls it ICE and Canon called theirs FARE.  I scan all chromes "UNMOUNTED" and I clean them before scanning with PEC-12.  Then with most I use

 

Noise Ninja with masking before I start the dust spotting.  There is also a trick I learned from the old Alamy submission guidelines of using the noise filter in PS and the history brush and it works

 

really well.  Sharpness is never an issue for me since I'm working from a 5600X scan in 16bit color. 

 

 

 

It has taken me more than five years to finish about 800 chromes.  I would NEVER EVER send original chrome out to someone for scanning, EVER...

 

 

 

Oh yea,  I've been pretty happy with the licenses Alamy has produced from those images.

 

 

 

I also pay attention to what is happening in the news and research and write my IPTC information

 

with that in mind.

Edited by Chuck Nacke
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I don't know if you are based in Germany, but I have used Scandig in Munich and have been very pleased with them, no trouble passing QC, but that was a couple of years ago now!

Thanks David. Regrettably not any more. I still miss living there though- I went to a trade school there in the 1980's but now am back home in California. 

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In my early days with Alamy I submitted a number of bureau produced batch scans of Kodachromes. The quality of some scans that I didn't submit was marginal, the main problem being blown highlights. At the time,  I scanned 5x4 transparencies on a Microtek scanner, which was time consuming with all the dust to be cloned out.  About 5 years ago went over to an Epson V750 for my 5x4 scans, and found that the scanner produced excellent results.  Excellent medium format scans were produced,  too.  The built-in ICE meant cloning out dust was a thing of the past.

 

I thought I would try 35mm scans with the V750 and at first the results were disappointing.  I do not scan enough 35mm to justify a dedicated 35mm film scanner, and thought I would preservere with the V750 for 35mm scans. 

 

The V750 has a separate high quality lens for scanning at 6400 dpi, and I use this setting when scanning my Kodachromes. I then reduce down to the resolution I require. Also, I did not find the Epson film holders very satisfactory – too flimsy, and not enough adjustment of film height. Lack of film height adjustment is not such an issue with 5 x 4 scans but it is with 35mm. I think the betterscanning holders that are available for the V750 would be excellent, but I used the neg carriers from my Chromega enlarger located in a holder that I made from aluminium sheet fitted with nylon adjusting screws. As a result of testing of different scan heights I saw a significant increase in sharpness with 35mm scans, and although not really needed, I scan my 5 x 4's this way too.  I use Silverfast and find the Digital Ice Lite (dust removal) an excellent help with 5x4 scans, with only the slightest softening of the image on large scans (100MB plus). But I only tried it once with 35mm, on an Ektachrome, and the softening was acute.

 

To check whether a 35mm V750 scan would pass Alamy QC, I submitted one 48MB image, in the knowledge that it would definitely be checked by QC.  It passed.  These days, most of my 35mm submissions to Alamy are around 24MB.

Edited by Graham Morley

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Graham, you can buy a used 35mm scanner on eBay, do all your important scanning, than sell the scanner, again perhaps on eBay . . . and be done with scanning forever. Only special subjects are worth scanning.

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I shot slides until I sprang for a Canon 5D in early 2006. I scanned them myself on a Canon FS4000.

 

I just sold one yesterday, of a 17-year locust. They're coming out again this year, but the shot I sold is of course pre-DSLR.

 

I will echo/paraphrase others that, unless it's a very good scan of a very good slide, you'll probably be disappointed pixel-peeping it compared to DSLR output (just talking 35mm slides here).

 

On the other hand, if it is a very good scan of a very good slide, it'll be the equal to most DSLR output, with some characteristics you'll never get from digital.

 

It's a ton of work compared to DSLR workflow, but if you only have a slide of the shot, then consider all the above options.

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Hi, Bill! 

 

The best tip I got (from Chuck) about scanning was to use the slide cleaner, PEC-12. 

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Chuck, I assume you're using the filmstrip holder to scan your unmounted slides?

 

I might be hauling out the FS-4000 to scan some family slides (and maybe even stock). Does anyone know whether the FS-4000 will work on Windows 7? (seems to be a lack of available driver) Will maybe the Vuescan drivers work with it? I've inquired at hamrick.com but no answer yet (Vuescan is what I used to use).

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Thanks, Ed, for the tip.  If I am going to scan a lot of 35mms in the future I will look out for a second-hand 35mm scanner on eBay.  At the moment, I am going through my 5x4s looking for worthwhile images to scan.

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