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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Slide images from the fifties and sixties. How well have they survived?

The other day I received a pack of 35mm slide transparencies which were well packed and clearly well looked after. All of the images were from the fifties and sixties. I scanned the slides at high resolution and was surprised by the dust and mould that became visible. I use a blower to remove the dust but it does not remove all, the software I use removes some of the effect but again, not all. In the end the best results were achieved by a combination plus manual editing of the images.
Another effect of  age on the film is colour change. The blue being stronger in Kodak film and the reds predominating in the Agfa product. These colour changes are usually quite simple to correct  but with the oldest slides the task becomes more difficult.
I am sure we will see this more and more as the older slides emerge for scanning and preservation and the challenge for us is to keep the picture as close to the original as possible. Our picture of the month is a Supermarine Scimitar F1 and is an example of  a slide scan image from the sixties which has been restored. The resolution on the web obviously does not compare with the original image, but gives you a good idea of how well images can be scanned, restored and preserved for transfer to disc.
For further information on image scanning and to see examples visit  our website  Saturn Films 1969

David J Sack

Friday, 10 September 2010

Slide scanning resolution and file size.

When we scan slide images we use a high resolution, typically 3200 dpi. This means that the images can be printed clearly up to A4 size. As scanning equipment, and software, improves the goal posts change. We recently scanned slides for a mountaineering group. They had had their images scanned about 12 years ago by a leading company to my surprise the images were 300 dpi and they lost quality quickly as they were enlarged.
My point is that we should scan our images whenever we can and accept the best quality available. If we delay we may get higher resolution but our pictures may have degraded with colour loss or fungal contamination and may actually be lost forever.
For our mountaineering friends we provided a high resolution, up to date product from well preserved slides. Our customers need to be aware that they can get an excellent product now and preserve those memories before the slides deteriorate and are lost forever.
David J Sack

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Cross Stitch and my world.

I love art. Monet and Constable are brill, Turner the best. You can argue but you know I'm right. We can get little works of art in cross stitch form and we can reproduce small versions to hang on our wall and look at with pride. Er... at this point I think 'am I the only bloke who likes cross stitch???' My efforts are tame compared to my wife. She runs the house, she runs her business, and she organises me and the kids. Somehow she still finds time to knit and sew. You can say that its her business and she has to find time to do it, I would say that she loves stitching and bringing home work is a pleasure. I try to tie my business with hers. I get photos from customers which lend themselves to cross stitch (you can see pictures on my site and together we produce bespoke cross stitch kits, these are usually for individuals or ourselves. In the next couple of months we are publishing a line of photos framed and on canvas, but also as cross stitch kits. I am getting a buzz from this but I wonder how many of us chaps are really into cross stitch? Is it a girly thing or something that bridges the sexes. I like to think the latter.
My latest project is a cross stitch kit of an AV8b Harrier. Its a small design and will hang nicely on the wall. After that I want a large (30 X 24 inches) picture of XH558. It will be a kit I make from my own photos. Now that will be good! Looking into the future I will do a kit for my old BMW 2002 and then I will take stock and think... what next.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Why have Nikon dropped the coolscan range?

The Nikon coolscan range are superb scanners. If you want to buy one new you will be lucky to find one, if you look on Ebay you will find them but in used condition. I have owned several of the range and they are reliable and relatively easy to use. The Nikon software is good and alternative software is available for example from SilverFast. So why have Nikon stopped making them?
Epson Perfection 700 and 750 provide good competition for the Nikons. My Epson Perfections can put through more scans than the Nikons but they are fiddly, and when you have sausage sized fingers they are less easy to use. The images from both are remarkably comparable for negatives and 35mm slides. My one major criticism of the flatbed Epsons is that they are less easy to keep dust free and the air blowers tend to just move dust around. I have largely got around this problem by keeping the scanners in a self designed cabinet. Filtered air is blown into the cabinet making a positive pressure keeping dust out, helps to keep the equipment cool too.
Need slides or negatives scanned - click here