Scanning Old Photo Memories
If you have been a long time photo-bug, taking photo's from vacation and family events from 20 or 30 years ago, chances are that you have photo albums. Most people used film cameras 20 years ago, long before cell phone cameras and even digital cameras were common place and affordable. Of course today there are some who still prefer film for artistic purposes, but this post is about long ago memories.
Photo albums can easily grow in size, with larger albums weighing close to 5-8 pounds worth of material. Smaller albums seem to multiply so fast they easily take up entire bookshelves. As time passes the photo's tend to dull, loose definition, and white areas often turn muddy. I can be time consuming to find a particular picture only to find out that the quality is pretty bad and not at all like you remember it. Bad things happen, and a flooded basement may ruin all the images that you once cherished.
There are ways of course to preserve those memories by scanning negatives or prints themselves. One could submit the images to a professional company to scan images such as Everpresent. Depending upon the number of photo's that you have, this could turn into a very expensive project costing hundreds of dollars.
There is certainly no lack of consumer level scanners on the market from a variety of sources. Some scanners are flatbed scanners which rely on you placing several images on the glass surface. Sheet fed scanners typically run one or more photo's through a slide mechanism. Some questions to think about:
You may already own a scanner that provides decent quality images. Photoshop will allow you to import images from your scanner and even automatically crop and separate images semi-automatically. This could work however I have found that photoshop results are inconsistent and in some cases does not work well at all.
One unit I have tested and has provided very decent result is the PlusTec photoscanner Z300. It has great reviews, can scan at either 300 or 600 dpi, and is very quick. The included software allows you to make some basic adjustments such as white balance to any of the images that you choose. An expected the software does have limitations (eg. no batch processing) so one may still need to work with an image in a higher level photo processor. The one significant limitation I have found is that the software buffer only allows 50 images to be imported before one needs to save those images. Once saved, one needs to use a external editor to work on the files.
Scanned images may not always have the same appearance as those taken from your camera, but for keepsake purposes the option of scanning old photo's is a good option.