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I am new to Alamy and sent the requsit 4 submissions for initial QC.  They are all Tango drum scans of 4x5 (5x4) film which have been used for fine art prints as large as 40x50 inch.  Nobody ever complained about sharpness.  All files are 200+ MB Tiff before JPEG conversion.  They are 9000x7200 pixels which is about 8 times the output from a DSLR.  All were rejected as "Soft or lacking definition".

 

When scaled down to 3600x2880 pixel which is about a 30 MB file they are tack sharp.  If QC looks at everything with 100% zoom it is like looking at a transparency with a 30x microscope instead of a 4x loupe.  Under those conditions everything looks grainy and fuzzy.

 

Has anybody had the same experience?  Is it a matter of giving too much information?  If so, changing my workflow to down-res everything to 3600 pixel max. dimension should hopefully fix the problem.

 

Thanks,

Tom

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There is probably not a lot of advantage in submitting huge files (uncompressed image (pixel)  size of about 192 Mb I calculate for yours) for Alamy so I would recommend making life simple and just submitting downsized versions. I'm using a D800 which gives file pixel sizes just over half of that (around 106 Mb). I make sure that these do look pretty sharp at 100% before I submit them - if I'm in doubt I'll downsize a bit which makes them snap sharp but I never apply any sharpening. Generally I submit at full size but I don't think I've sold an image yet because of its size - a lot of stuff sold here is for editorial and similar use.

 

I've no experience with drum scans but scans from my Coolscan 4000, when compared with anything from my DSLRs, look incredibly grainy and gritty - so much so that I've never actually submited any scans to Alamy although I know a lot of people do so you should have no problem.

 

To pass QC for the first time, it's best in my opinion to use safe images - sharp and clean. Alamy QC are only looking at technical quality, not content.

Edited by MDM
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The 1st submission is the only time that you know every image is inspected, so I'd use that to my advantage if I were you.

 

Assuming all the images are of a similar quality to start with, I'd downsize each image by a different amount, maybe between 30MB and 100MB.

 

The feedback from which images pass and which fail will be invaluable in the future, to ascertain where the sharp / SOLD boundary is.

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Thanks All.  The various suggestions are all good.  I probably misunderstood the Alamy market which is predominantly publication.  I come from the school of scan once - purpose many, so bigger original is better.  My training is technical, not marketing so I tend to be precise rather than subjective.

 

Member support has confirmed that QC only looks at 100% without taking into account scale factor.  The suggestion to downsize anything questionable is a neat way around that.

 

Regarding MDM's comment about Coolscan 4000, that by definition is 35mm which is one fourth the image size of my 4x5.  However, if you have a really great image that you want to salvage, try selecting the sky (where grain is most prominent) and give it a little blur.

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I submitted at least 1500 scans (about 50 MB files) done with my Coolscan 4000, and they all passed QC. However, that was several year ago. I'm not sure what the story is now.

 

Alamy's submission guidelines cite softness due to size as a possible cause of QC failure, so downsizing would seem to be the answer. I'll sometimes even downsize images taken with my 14 MP camera if I think that it improves the look at 100%. As mentioned, most uses are small. Having said that, I actually had a photo taken with a 10 MP camera lease for billboard use last year. Perhaps camera manufacturers have got us all seeing too many megapixels.

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Over half of my images on Alamy are from scans using my Coolscan 9000.  I am continuing to mine my slides from 1962 to 2001 (when I converted to digital). The QC team seems to know the difference between film and digital and reviews them accordingly.

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Drum scanners were designed for the repro industry and often introduce unwanted hidden processes, similar to using sharpness and NR controls in raw conversion. 5 x 4 is actually over 12X the size of 35mm even allowing for a crop to 2:3 ratio. A typical drum scan would be at the resolution you indicate but with a view to reducing by at least 0.6X for reproduction to accommodate rosette pattern CMYK - it did not matter if it was sharp at 100% because a full size repro called for a degree of oversampling (in size terms) to get a clean result (e.g. 300dpi image for 150 line screen). Alamy has to cope with entirely different end users, including web and screen and modern stochastic CMYK and inkjets where lower dpi are acceptable, so it's a good idea to downsize accordingly.

 

I don't think you need to reduce to 30MB or approx 10 megapixel size. That's what people do with 35mm desktop scans. Your drum scans should be good for the old Alamy standard of a double-page repro or approx 50MB file. However, there is a magic figure in Alamy's Royalty Free price calculator - a threshold of 70MB, above which an additional higher priced large file size appears, which is absent if your image is smaller than 70MB. I used three different 24 megapixel cameras and it's frustrating that they all come in around 68-69MB - for Royalty Free I will sometimes upres the file to take it over 70MB and activate the highest price bracket.

 

So, your first trial should be to reduce the images by approx 0.6X which should leave your file a) not oversampled by too high res scanning b ) sitting around the 75-100MB ideal size for Alamy, matching perhaps the output from 36 megapixel cameras like the Nikon D3X. I don't think it matters if your work is not RF. The largest file size has no apparent bearing on the RM price calculator, but does affect the maximum usable size as shown when the buyer views the image. Hope this helps.

Edited by David Kilpatrick
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I have a few scans from 5x4 transparencies on Alamy which weigh in at around 190MB. They passed QC first time so there's no reason why you shouldn't submit that size.

 

Under those conditions everything looks grainy and fuzzy.

That shouldn't be the case if viewing at 100%. Perhaps you could post a 100% crop of one of your images.

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