A few years ago, my best man Steve and I split the cost of a Nikon film scanner. I figured I’d spend a few days scanning the best of the thousands of slides and negatives I have scattered around. Well, this little project has grown into a monster. I’ve been scanning on and off for the better part of three years, and I’m no where near done.
The main reason my project has grown so time-consuming is the amount time it takes to get a good scan. Initially, I cut corners and scanned at lower resolutions or lower bit-depth or even skipped a preview scan. Now I know that attempting to save time in this way a very bad idea. There is no way around the fact that every image must be preview scanned and adjusted individually. Also, there are several scanning options which must be enabled to get the best results. Doing this causes the amount of time per scan to increase dramatically. A single 35 mm slide now takes about 15-20 minutes to scan. My 6 x 7 cm images will take three or four times that. And that’s before they even get opened in PhotoShop, which can easily add another hour or two to the process.
So now, in addition to the slides and negatives that have not yet been scanned, I have to go back and re-scan a buttload of images. This may not be as bad as it sounds though. It turns out that the scanner is perfectly happy scanning in the background. Even on my lowly pee see, I can color-correct and dust-spot an image in PhotoShop, and make an entry on my blog while the scanner hums away on another decades-old image.