Basic Scanning question : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi there:

I am a 4x5 B&W LF shooter and have become intrigued with the idea of getting some of my images into my computer (PC) to send to people by email and maybe even put on my web site. I do all my photography in the traditional way.I do not anticipate printing out any of my work from the computer.Therefore I will only need resolution for the computer screen (17").

So the question is how do I find out the basics about scanning for my needs? For instance, do I need a flat bed scanner and do I scan the 8x10 prints or can I scan in the negatives (I do actually have photoshop on my hard drive). If I scan in my 4x5 negatives, do I need a special attachment for a scanner? With my above stated goals, what quality level of scanner would I need? Lastly are there any great resources, perhaps on the web, for me to learn about these things at the absolute beginner level?

Thanks for any help you can give me!


-- Scott Jones (, September 29, 2001


Hi Scott-

The simplest and least expensive way to proceed is to scan your 8x10 or smaller prints. Almost any flatbed will produce excellent results with very little help from you. If you go the negative/transparency route you will need available but special equipment and a much better understanding of the process.

A good web source for info is: by Wayne Fulton.


-- Jim Bancroft (, September 29, 2001.

A flatbed scanner should suffice for web use, be sure to get one that has the transparency ability in 4X5. Scantips has some good basic info, you can search under "scanning" for many others. For web use, you can get by with a low end scanner with 4X5, I'm using a UMAX AstraNet e3470, which is about $100, and comes bundled with PS 5LE. Not a bad deal at all.

-- Michael Mahoney (, September 29, 2001.

1. Flatbad 2. Minimum non-interpolated resolution: 600 dpi (nowadays, 1200 dpi is standard) (most scanners provide two numbers for resolution, such as 1200dpi x 600dpi. The smaller number is the TRUE resolution of the scanner.) 3. It MUST have a transparency adapter. 4. Do a search on for cheap flatbed photo scanners for more info. 5. Always scan from negatives over scanning from prints.

I don't know if there's anything else, really.

-- edward kang (, September 30, 2001.


I do color landscape photography, and started out with fairly simple goals, just like you are. However, I quickly learned that there were some unique capabilities afforded to one when working with scanned images that went beyond manipulation in a digitial world. One of the things I've come to appreciate is printing on alternative media.

Rather than discover this after you've purchased a scanner that you may quickly outgrow, I'd suggest having a local service bureau scan some of your images. Try doing some printing with you inkjet. Purchase samples of some of the various papers and canvas that are available. Check out some sites like and to see what some other folks are doing. You may find that the digital world opens some additional doors for printing that you may wish to explore. That will impact your decision on which class of scanners to investigate.

If you don't have a local service bureau that scans transparencies, consider Nancy Scans.

Enjoy, Bruce

-- Bruce M. Herman (, September 30, 2001.

I think that if you have prints made of your pictures, you can dispense with the transparency adapter. If you stick with the application that you're talking about, you don't need a direct scan from the negative.

And if you scan an 8x10" print, you only need 150 dpi to make a 1500x1200 pixel image, which would fill most computer screens.

-- John H. Henderson (, October 04, 2001.

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