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05-16-2012, 10:04 PM   #1
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Scan Resolution?

Hi, guys and girls. After a kind of false start with a very used K1000 with a bum lens, I acquired a nice 50mm lens. Thanks to the helpful suggestions on what kind of lens to buy.

I have some nice pics I took with it I'd like to show off. I just have a question on what resolution I should scan them with (they're standard 4X6 color prints). I'm not sure how high my scanner goes (it's just an all-in-one office printer), but the files get very large quickly as you increase in resolution.

Any tips appreciated.


05-16-2012, 10:44 PM   #2
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I scan at the greatest resolution I can stand to wait for, and buy more storage for the files. Terabytes are cheap now.
05-16-2012, 10:50 PM   #3
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If you are scanning print rather than neg's I'd scan as high as it goes and then downsize the scanned photo to ~8MP (3,500 x 2,333) or so. Idea is to pull all the detail you can from it, and don't worry about the file sie, then use you photo editting software to resize to an acceptable resolution.

For decent quality it's best to scan a neg, but that's not possible with those multifunction devices.
05-16-2012, 11:43 PM   #4
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I noticed the negative option in the software, but when I tried it, it didn't come out as expected. Not too surprised: I didn't expect my OfficeJet to have that ability.

The last scans I did actually came out pretty good at 150 dpi. Do you think 200-300 dpi should be sufficient? Is there a point of diminishing returns with the resolution?

Regards, Terry

05-16-2012, 11:54 PM   #5

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300 dpi is often good. You probably don't need to go over 600dpi, even if your scanner can handle it. I think 300 or 400 dpi has been typical for me. This week I scanned a 4x6 at 600 dpi and then printed it at 600 on my Canon iPF5100, and of course it came out great at that resolution. But it looked better than the original because I adjusted it (primarily white balance and exposure) in Capture One and printed on a profiled paper. Since I scanned at 600dpi I could easily print it at 8x12 or larger if I wanted to.

Last edited by DSims; 05-17-2012 at 12:04 AM.
05-17-2012, 03:36 PM   #6
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If the goal is to show them off *online*, then you don't need a high resolution at all. If you have a 4x6 print and you scan it at 180dpi (a typical setting), that works out to 720x1080 pixels, which is as large as you would want to post to a forum anyhow. Even that is probably too much for portrait mode pictures. Although if you are posting pictures for others to pixel peep (eg, you don't expect the whole image to fit on their monitor), then indeed scan a higher resolution. If it were me, I might scan at a higher resolution - say, 600dpi - for my own archival purposes, but then you'd need to downscale the image before you could share it online. So if the goal is sharing, might as well cut out the extra step and need for extra storage, and just share at the resolution that gives you the pixel dimensions you want. And somewhere around 150-180dpi seems perfect to me.
05-18-2012, 03:34 AM   #7
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I scanned my whole film library from the slides or negatives directly, using 2880 dpi scans, which gives approximately 10MP image files. This in almost all instances gave me the ability to see the grain of the film in the scan. For prints, I would consider anything more than a 5MP scan as more than sufficient. Unfortunately this would imply a scan at 500 dpi which is non standard, and since 600 is available I would probably scan at this resolution. Any more would be a waste, and note that many later digitally processed prints are at lower resolution. Also note that unless the prints are on gloss paper, the surface finish of the paper starts to become an issue
05-18-2012, 09:16 AM   #8
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Many thanks people for the abundance of helpful tips! I look forward to getting some CC on this new set of shots once I've completed shooting.



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