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View Full Version : Scanning Photographs: Best Options


kepardue
19 September 2007, 11:41 PM
Years ago I scanned a bunch of photos at 300dpi TIF, thinking that was the safest way to go. Now I need higher dpi so that I can blow some of the images up for family books, and as far as the original TIF's go... hard drive space is a growing concern (I'm sure there's a pun there somewhere) since I've migrated all my data to a smaller laptop drive. Rescanning at least some of them as JPEGs seem to be the best bet.

So now I'm more confused than ever after playing around with scan settings. I did some comparisons between the Canon Toolbox and Photoshop's JPEG compression. I'm surprised at how few JPEG compression options Toolbox gives you natively. There's really just one JPEG setting, and then you just choose your DPI.

Well, I scanned a 5x7 at various resolutions using the native driver (Canon Toolbox), and then as a 600dpi TIF that I loaded into Photoshop, then saved out using Photoshop's JPEG compression settings.

Here's what I came up with as far as file sizes go:

native 300dpi 212KB
native 600dpi 628KB
native 1200dpi 1.8MB

tif 600dpi 31.7MB

pshop 300dpi (10) 792KB
pshop 300dpi (12) 2.1MB
pshop 600dpi (10) 2.4MB
pshop 600dpi (12) 8.6MB

So.... at maximum 12 quality the JPEG takes up nearly a third as much as the TIF, and at Maximum 10 quality a 300dpi image is larger than a 600dpi image as scanned from the scanner driver. Geez, a 600dpi image goes from 628KB native to 2.4MB photoshop.

I opened all of them and zoomed in and I could tell where one picture was better in some places and worse in others, but all in all I couldn't tell a difference between any of them... but I don't know if I could bring myself to use the scanner's native resolution since I doubt I'd be able to get over the feeling that I'm losing a LOT of data. But there again, is it better to get a 1200dpi scan from the canon software, knowing that it is smaller than a max quality 300dpi scan saved from photoshop?

Anybody else get lost in trying to find a good scan setting for these things? For your uses, is a native scan with next-to-no options for your JPEG scans good enough, or do you need a little more flexibility?

zarkwan
20 September 2007, 08:27 AM
Looks to me as though your scanner is using pretty fierce compression which is likley to create poor image files. On the other hand, using a 12 setting in Photoshop JPEG's is almost certainly overkill.

I tend to scan pictures at between 600 and 1200 dpi depending on how valuable (history-wise) I think they are likely to be. Then I save them as JPEGs from Photoshop at a 10 compression setting. This seems to be a good balance between size and quality. Also, if I open any of these files later to tinker with them, I _always_ work on a copy, not the original, as re-JPEGging a JPEG repeatedly as you save it is a not good as it will degrade picture quality considerably.

As to file sizes, yes, you'll find the JPEGs are quite large, but I prefer to know that the quality is there if I need it later. Hard drives are pretty cheap too, so space shouldn't be a problem. I also back up to DVD to ensure that I've got everything saved, and can free space on my hard drive if needed.

Hope that helps, and I'm not trying to teach my granny to such eggs ;)

Colin

STEVE
20 September 2007, 07:15 PM
You've done your research, now, start over, but go to:

<http://www.lemkesoft.com/>

And get a copy of GraphicConverter. Now, do your tests again and be amazed at the results. You have more control than you need and the files are saved without all the photoshop overhead.

STEVE

zarkwan
21 September 2007, 03:21 PM
get a copy of GraphicConverter. Now, do your tests again and be amazed at the results. You have more control than you need and the files are saved without all the Photoshop overhead.


Possibly. But the GC interface is kludgy and I've got 10 years of learned Photoshop habits which save me time every day. I'll trade smaller file sizes for saved time and software familiarity any day ;)

Colin

STEVE
21 September 2007, 11:40 PM
Possibly. But the GC interface is kludgy and I've got 10 years of learned Photoshop habits which save me time every day. I'll trade smaller file sizes for saved time and software familiarity any day ;)

Colin

What you're used to and adept at is certainally important. But having the proper tool for the job is also important. I just looked at GraphicConverter and don't see anything I'd consider kludgy. There are a lot of controls, but that's because you are given control over just about everything. The nice thing is that once you have things set the way you want them, it's just a matter of hitting enter/return a few times and all the work is done for you.

One of its nice features is that GraphicConverter will automatically create pictures to a constant size, formated for the web (no resource fork). I keep all the originals in their proper folder and pass on the stripped and compressed files to Reunion for the web. Works good for me.

STEVE

Bob Parks
22 September 2007, 10:56 AM
Have you looked at this site: http://www.scantips.com/ Page down for lots of Info.

He has just about everything you want to know about scanning, restoration, etc.

Bob Parks



Years ago I scanned a bunch of photos at 300dpi TIF, thinking that was the safest way to go. Now I need higher dpi so that I can blow some of the images up for family books, and as far as the original TIF's go... hard drive space is a growing concern (I'm sure there's a pun there somewhere) since I've migrated all my data to a smaller laptop drive. Rescanning at least some of them as JPEGs seem to be the best bet.

So now I'm more confused than ever after playing around with scan settings. I did some comparisons between the Canon Toolbox and Photoshop's JPEG compression. I'm surprised at how few JPEG compression options Toolbox gives you natively. There's really just one JPEG setting, and then you just choose your DPI.

Well, I scanned a 5x7 at various resolutions using the native driver (Canon Toolbox), and then as a 600dpi TIF that I loaded into Photoshop, then saved out using Photoshop's JPEG compression settings.

Here's what I came up with as far as file sizes go:

native 300dpi 212KB
native 600dpi 628KB
native 1200dpi 1.8MB

tif 600dpi 31.7MB

pshop 300dpi (10) 792KB
pshop 300dpi (12) 2.1MB
pshop 600dpi (10) 2.4MB
pshop 600dpi (12) 8.6MB

So.... at maximum 12 quality the JPEG takes up nearly a third as much as the TIF, and at Maximum 10 quality a 300dpi image is larger than a 600dpi image as scanned from the scanner driver. Geez, a 600dpi image goes from 628KB native to 2.4MB photoshop.

I opened all of them and zoomed in and I could tell where one picture was better in some places and worse in others, but all in all I couldn't tell a difference between any of them... but I don't know if I could bring myself to use the scanner's native resolution since I doubt I'd be able to get over the feeling that I'm losing a LOT of data. But there again, is it better to get a 1200dpi scan from the canon software, knowing that it is smaller than a max quality 300dpi scan saved from photoshop?

Anybody else get lost in trying to find a good scan setting for these things? For your uses, is a native scan with next-to-no options for your JPEG scans good enough, or do you need a little more flexibility?

Doug Smith
12 January 2008, 09:51 PM
Just a suggestion. Scan as Tiff files of whatever size you might ever need and burn DVDs of your scans or move to an external HD rather than keep on your HD. You can always downsize from you originals for immediate needs and keep the smaller file on your hard drive. The smaller files could be JPEGs, but editing should always be done on a Tiff or photoshop file. JPEG files get recompressed with each edit and save, so there really only useful after all changes are made at the TIFF level.
I have quite a few 50 mb Tiff and Photoshop files of photos I consider really important. I take this approach especially if I do not own the original photo. DVDs and external HDs are very economical at todays prices.

Best Regards to the group,
Doug Smith
Commercial Photographer, retired