Photographs vs The Scanner.

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    • #132795

      Our museum has a collection of old Cabinet Card, Albumen prints from C.S.Fly’s Tombstone Studio, Circa 1880’s.

      They have seen significant fading over the years prior to out acquisition. My question is that we are looking to make copies of the photos for display, so as to protect the originals from further light damage. Is it advisable to scan a digital image of the photos, or will the intense scanner light further damage the images?

      Are there other options?

    • #132802

      I use a digital camera with a high resolution to photograph most pictures in our collection. This also works well if they are in albums when using a scanner is not practical or advisable. The photos can then be enhanced as necessary with your photo program. Very little light is needed  to take photos like this; no flash of course. A tripod can be used if necessary. I am very reluctant to use a scanner because of the bright light, especially with albumen type prints.

    • #132801

      I have had very good results using a digital camera with a high resolution to photograph most pictures in our collection. This also works well if they are in albums when using a scanner is not practical or advisable. The photos can then be enhanced as necessary with your photo program. Very little light is needed  to take photos like this; no flash of course. A tripod can be used if necessary. I am very reluctant to use a scanner because of the bright light, especially with albumen type prints.

    • #132800
      Susan Knoer
      Member

      There’s a paper by Tim Vitale at http://www.city-gallery.com/learning/guide/light-levels.php.   The relevant part is “Flash illumination has a very short duration, 1/1000-1/4000 of a second; thus, the lux-hrs are very low”   Vitale is a well respected conservator, so you might look for his other papers on the subject.

    • #132799

      Thank you for your replies. The CITY-GALLERY link had some outstanding information on the subject. I will use all the replies to guide me.

    • #132798

      I always use the combo DSLR + slave flashes but in my case is the equipment I have to digitise everything in every museum I work in (since small CDV photos to big maps/tables and furniture).

      As said, light damage is accumulative. And the flash lux level, even if high, as a too small duration to compete with the long exposures of natural/artificial light of workspaces.

      So I think the answer must be: the way you find the less time consuming and the safer to photographs. If you have to digitise a lot of them, you must stablish a workflow that allows you and your partners to do it with the less time loss possible. To buy/use a high quality scanner can be money consuming and to use a DSLR can be space consuming… so its a personal choice.

       

    • #132797
      Kaia Landon
      Participant

      We’ve had good results scanning such photos, without causing further (noticeable) damage.

      Also, if you use Gimp there’s a plugin called “restore” (search restore.py, and you’ll find it) that can automate a lot of the digital restoration work (at least as regards fading and color (even in the case of black and white)). I would assume there’s something similar for Photoshop as well.

      If the photo is very badly faded, the most important thing, whether you scan or use a camera, is to get the most data out of it as possible. So don’t scan in black and white, scan in color (and 48 bit color, if your system supports it), and at a higher resolution than you think you’ll need. The more you have to work with, the more options you have to fix it. Which will give you more to work with depends on both the scanner and camera available to you.

    • #132796

      With consumer scanners you have little control over exposure and have to place your print face to glass. With DSLR you have, if you know how to do it, full control over the exposure and color temperature and is easy to place reference targets for profiling. Emulsion is always up and manipulation and positioning don’t introduce deterioration. A pair of external flash unit are high quality light source. You will need too a repro standing, a spectral uniform medium gray balance card, maybe a rectangular piece of glass or some kind of electrostatic base to make plain the cabinet card without damage, capture in raw, etc.

      You can see more here: http://dpbestflow.org/camera/camera-scanning

       

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