Using document scanners for photos

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by Kafoopsy, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Kafoopsy

    Kafoopsy Member

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    I was in Officeworks today and saw their range of document scanners. I have not noticed these things before and I very nearly bought one to scan photos. But I thought I would research them a bit first. Has anyone ever used one? The reviews all go on about how fast they are and how good the OCR is - they are geared toward office use. They only have a 600x600 resolution, but I was thinking of using one to scan my large library of old 6x4 photos. These photos were taken on old point and shoot film cameras so the quality of the prints is not that high to begin with. The best thing about these scanners is the automatic document feeder, which would allow me to scan hundreds of photos easily without having to feed them in one by one. Would one of these scanners such as the Epson DS-530 be suitable for the task?
     
  2. NismoR31

    NismoR31 Member

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    Unless you want scratches all over your photos i wouldn't even consider using one. They can scan photos if you're willing to take the risk of damaging your originals. I'm not sure they have the same post-processing options as flatbed scanners designed for photos either.
     
  3. Scootre

    Scootre Member

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    Document scanners are... for documents.
     
  4. spectre257

    spectre257 Member

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    They're not worth the money and the quality is trash as someone mentioned the low resolution is fine for documents but terrible for even a 4x6.
    Just get an entry level flatbed like the Epson V370 or a V550 (if you want to scan more negatives).
     
  5. OP
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    Kafoopsy

    Kafoopsy Member

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    How about something like the Epson’s FastFoto FF-640 which appears to be a document scanner that is designed for photos? The main thing I want is an automatic feeder. Scanning photos one by one on a flatbed just takes too long.
     
  6. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    I haven't used that particular device, but I have had experience with the automatic document feeder on my multifunction printer. In evaluating the time it will take you, bear in mind that you'll have to review each photo whatever method you use, and redoing the ones that didn't suck in properly will take some time. It may turn out to be a less onorous task to put each on a flatbed, scan, review and it's done than scan in a heap and then sit there sorting through the output, having to find and pick out the ones that weren't any good.
    A lot of devices that are supposed to make things "easier" aren't all they cracked up to be. If you just want them in the computer and aren't too bothered how they look, then it might be worth a try.
    How many photos do you have? Have you investigated a photo-scanning service?
     
  7. Scootre

    Scootre Member

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    A good macro lens; camera on tripod, with a copy lighting setup using two desk lamps will do a much better job.
     
  8. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    Don't the photo processing people have something like that that they use to duplicate old photos? Like a proper copying machine that uses cameras?
     
  9. Steak Face

    Steak Face Member

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    My local Office Works recently upgraded their self service photo printing and scanning equipment.

    The photo scanner is the Epson DS-530. I've used it a few times and seems ok to me.

    I actually want to buy a rapid photo scanner as well. I have so many printed photos that using a flatbed is not an option unless I want to finish the job in 15 years time.

    In saying that I could probably use a flat bed and just be a bit more picky about which photos to scan and keep, rather than copying everything...... as I do prefer quality of quantity.

    That FF-640 look ok, although still only 600dpi, I'll check that one out.. The Epson V600 flatbed looks like a decent option as well.

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  10. OP
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    Kafoopsy

    Kafoopsy Member

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    I'll have to check my local Officeworks to check this out.

    This is exactly my issue. I do not have the time to individually scan photos one at a time. I already have a flatbed scanner that can do this. I want a system where I load up a large number of photos and the machine scans them one by one and drops them as a jpg file in a folder on my pc.
     
  11. Shotkit

    Shotkit New Member

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  12. Scootre

    Scootre Member

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    Yes, most of them had one of those dedicated "copy stands" back in film days. Many still do. They come up on eBay a lot. I had one when I was a photog. Very handy.

    In reality, especially for one job lot, you can simply set up lighting in a 45 degree arrangement and point the camera down to the floor. To keep the artwork (photo / book pages etc) flat, you'd put a piece of glass over it.

    Glass is often the best thing to keep things super flat. But then you need to get creative about controlling reflections of the camera and the ceiling. But putting the lights close to the artwork being photographed and using some black cardboard and black fabric to cover the things being reflected will do the trick. The cardboard can be used to "flag" the light so it doesn't light up things being reflected.

    Some of the pics in the links show a pair of softboxes as lights. That's overkill and unnecessary. Large light sources, especially softboxes are more likely to reflect in the edges of your glass / artwork and they spill light everywhere making for more reflections. Just a pair of flash heads or desk lamps will do the trick. Colour bal is done in post using a photographed gray card or white sheet of paper and then applied to all images in the set.
     
  13. Steak Face

    Steak Face Member

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    I ended up just getting Canon (LIDE 220) flat-bed to scan the odd size photos (i.e. non-6*4). It seems to do a pretty good job.

    I'm then going to go through the standard 6*4 photos and separate the 'keepers' and then scan these at Office Works using the rapid scanner. I don't see the point in scanning everything. Quality of quantity... and I'll still need to key word the photos so reducing the number is important.
     
  14. HorrorLand

    HorrorLand Member

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    We use a document scanner something similar to a Kodak Scanmate at work for batch jobs (ahem... not the best lab..). It works fine and goes up to 1200DPI, there are probably better ones out there. If the quality is set too low, it will feed too fast and skip/jam with older prints or odd sizes - I usually have to group them in order of size. Big time-saver if you don't mind pretty meh quality.
     
  15. OP
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    Kafoopsy

    Kafoopsy Member

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    That is what I what - a time saving device that I can scan in batches with the scanner automatically scanning and saving the resulting file on my computer. I went into Officeworks today, in and around the hordes of people buying stuff for school. Tested their Epsom DS-530 scanner with a few photos. The quality was good, easily good enough for what I need, but I did find that the scanner put ever so slight scratches on my photos. Not sure how, as there is only a few rubber rollers in the scanner. I'd be curious to know if I bought one for myself and kept it clean and free of dust, would this still be a problem?
     

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