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Author Topic: Acceptable Slide Scanner For Stock  (Read 3815 times)

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« on: May 19, 2012, 06:57 »
I have a lot of very old slides, some that would suit retro/nostalgic for stock and editorial. I was wondering what DPI most stock sites take for scanned film ?

I have seen the Veho VFS-008 Smartfix which has good reviews and a good price.


« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2012, 07:24 »
I have an Epson V500 and based on my experience with that I doubt if you will get many usable results out of it this scanner. Unless you were a pro back then the chances are your shots were not up to stock standard, anyway. It's a test of my skills now to get stock quality shots out of 6x6 negs.

In auto mode you may find that it blows highlights and blocks shadows to delight people with extra contrast, so you would need to check that it has a manual setting .... though using that well may involve a very steep learning curve.

If you can, try before you buy.

« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2012, 07:39 »
We use the Epson V700 and the results are very good.

« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2012, 07:59 »
Depending on volume and image quality, drum scans cannot be beat but they are expensive.  I have tried several "pro image companies" to scan my older images with something other than a drum scanner and they suck.  I mean not salvageable for stock use.  I have thousands of images I could use for stock that are in slide format but it would cost way too much to have them done right.  The smart thing to do is test some scans first before you buy so you know what you're getting.  Farm it out, isolate the system that fits your needs and then make your decision.  Drum scans for 35mm positive film ranges from $20 to $50 EACH.  Also, I know that Istock somewhere on their site recommends a company that meets their requirements to do the scans for you (with no guarantee that they will be accepted, of course).  Maybe do a little homework there to see what type of scanner that company uses.

« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2012, 08:02 »
My tips -

1. Scan at the highest native resolution of the scanner even if you end up down sizing to probably about 6mp.. You will want the highest possible resolution for retouching.

2. Don't confuse scanning resolution with DPI.

3. Whatever scanner you buy make sure that it is compatible with Vuescan. All other scanning software is horrible. Then make dng format RAW scans and open them in Lightroom. - the point being don't have the scanner software make any changes to the levels, curves, colours etc - just have it output what the scanner actually recorded (most affordable scanners are fixed focus and fixed exposure).

4. There is a very steep learning curve around making good scans. If the images really are stock worthy and you want them up in a hurry then pay to have them drum scanned and retouched by a professional bureau.


« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2012, 08:53 »
I've gotten a few accepted using Epson Perfection 4180.  Mostly editorial stuff, however, for which there seems to be some forgiveness.

« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2012, 09:31 »
The few film scans I have were done with a Nikon Coolpix (LS 4000). They were submitted a long time ago and as I recall SS was very unforgiving, IS had a film queue so that mean you weren't having to compete against a digital capture. Cleaning up film scans, IMO, is very unlikely to be worth the work unless there are some exceptional images. I'd be very selective and do a few to see how they sell before investing heavily in the process. By do a few, I mean don't buy anything and perhaps pay for a professional scan but do the cleanup yourself.


« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2012, 10:34 »
The only scan that does the job to 100%, is ofcourse a drumscanner, the Imacon as well. Scanning can be a very frustrating job, on cheaper models the dust work can be agrevating.
IMO, the more you pay for a scanner the more you get.


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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2012, 10:36 »
What JoAnn said, plus consider the Archival route of old images getting into Alamy, if they're likely to be of e.g. historical textbook interest. AIUI, the archival route is more forgiving, but you'd still need to get it cleaned up properly. Again, Alamy has an arrangement with a slide scanning company. The last time I looked, however, iStock's deal with them (it was the same company when I looked) was a bit cheaper.
I used a Minolta Duo scanner, and got some scans onto iStock when I started there, but it was a dreadful hassle, and I was never delighted with the finished results, though a few have sold relatively well (by my terms).

« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2012, 12:43 »
in the early 90s i used a microtek scanner for my slides, but for past 10 years, i've used Scancafe which costs about $.30 per slide, plus you get to review the results and only pay for the ones you like

the results  have been accepted by all the major stock agencies, including istock

much more detail at:


« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2012, 17:19 »
I've had some scanned by a couple of companies - Larsen and DigMyPics.  Both were fine.  I did a test at 2500 dpi and 4000 dpi and it didn't make a lot of difference - sometimes 2500 dpi was better, because 4000 dpi can get beyond the limits of the film.  That was 2 or 3 years ago - haven't submitted any scanned slides recently.  I got at least a few in at most of the major agencies except FT and BS where they were all rejected.  DT was the most accepting back then, and a couple of them sell pretty well.  Nowadays it will probably be very tough - they have real problems with focus and noise, or at least mine do.

Mine were mostly Kodachrome 25 or 64 and a few were Ektachrome 100.  The Kodachromes retained their color but Extachromes were shifted all over the place and many were unusable.   I wouldn't bother unless the slide has high sales potential and is very sharp.

If you want to give it a try, I would test a few at around 2500 and at 4000 dpi to see what happens.  You'll probably need to use some noise reduction and reduce them to the smallest size possible before submission.  The advantage of 4000 dpi is you can reduce them more which will help with noise and resolution.  Good luck!


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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2012, 04:09 »
I think I will just get the scanner I posted and use it for archiving family slides (mostly taken by my grandfather). It sounds more trouble than its worth  :-\ Thanks anyway.


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