Over the years I have scanned a lot of my old slides and negatives, hoping to restore them to their original colors and to rid them of scratches, dirt, etc. I've also enjoyed using digital technology to fix some of the really dumb mistakes I made when I originally took them. After scanning them I've filed them away just in case I ever needed them again.
Well, it seems like not everyone thinks that's necessary. About a year ago I needed one more image for a book and didn't have anything suitable in my own collection. I spotted a nice image on a photo sharing site and asked the owner if I could use it. He said yes and sent me a copy on a CD. Unfortunately it was a very small low resolution image, not much better than what was on the web site. I asked if he could send me a bigger scan, or if I could scan it for him, and he replied that he had tossed out the original when it was scanned.
As I've found out, technology changes with time, and the scans of a few years ago may be nowhere near as good as ones done today. I was just rescanning some pictures of my old Boy Scout Camp, Onteora Scout Reservation, and thought I would show how things can change over time. They're not great shots by any means, but they do show places that are important to me. That's sort of why many of us are into photography in the first place, isn't it?
The pictures on the left were originally scanned in 2003 on a Nikon Coolscan IV scanner, which had a maximum resolution of 2900 DPI. The right column scans were done on a Nikon Coolscan V, and at 4000 DPI. I don't recall what version of Photoshop I was using in 2003 but the newer ones were done in CS5.
- May 2010
|Nikon Coolscan IV||Nikon Coolscan V|
The Coolscan IV was great for its time, but as the images show it had issues with some color corrections and in washing out areas on some of the slides, especially on Kodachromes. The Coolscan V was better in these areas, but I turned off the color correction and used a variety of tools and plug-ins in Photoshop to restore these. I keep hoping that Nikon will come up with an even better model but sadly it looks like they are now out of the scanner business.
Unfortunately when I started restoring the photos my parents had taken of me and my brothers I couldn't find any negatives, just the worn and faded prints. I asked my mother where the negatives were and she said she had tossed them out to save space. Well, that gives me some new challenges I guess...