I've been scanning my dad's negatives......(5 pics)

alisandeMarch 3, 2011

.....and here are some samples.

I don't know who these people are, or what they're reading, but it must be a fascinating book!

Friends of my parents, being playful. Note the camera (a Brownie?) encased in a black box.

My dear cousin Terry (1944 - 2008) with her handsome dad.

I'm thinking this NYC carnival dates from the 1930s. Anybody want to date the car at left?

And one of my favorite pictures of my mom, who had just turned 38 when she died. Thank heavens for my father and his fine cameras!

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alisande, those are wonderful. I love #2, #4, & #5. Your mother had a beautiful face & her personality shines through.

How are you scanning these exactly? Hope you don't mind explaining.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 8:07PM
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Thanks for commenting! I don't mind explaining at all.

My dad used a variety of cameras, some medium- or large-format. The negatives I've been scanning are either 3.5 x 2.25" or 2.25" square. My scanner, a Canon 9950F, accommodates these sizes, and more. Unfortunately, not all scanners do. Also unfortunately, the 9950F is no longer manufactured, although I'm guessing some might be available used.

I got in the groove (rut, actually) of learning to do the basics and not making the effort to go beyond that. I haven't gotten around to reading up on dust removal via the scanner, or restoration techniques via my photo editing program (currently Photoshop Elements 8). For now, I scan the image into Elements, play around with black & white settings, and use both the spot remover and cloning tools to get rid of any dark or light specks that may show on the image. (Elements automatically converts the negative into a positive.)

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. I love talking about the little I know. :-)

BTW, I see we share a fondness for cast iron.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 9:00PM
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"BTW, I see we share a fondness for cast iron."

lol! I'm glad to hear that! I'm drawn to things that are old, which is another reason your pictures are so appealing. I sense life was quieter & richer in many ways in our parent's generation & earlier. I keep looking at all the old film cameras that are going for a song on Craigslist, etc. & I wonder... I'm not skilled enough yet for good, consistent film photography, but the idea of having to think, compose, manually adjust, click, & develop is sounding more attractive. Not for all photographs, but for sunny, warm days when you have time to walk around & look.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 8:36AM
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Be careful what you wish for. :-)

I know some people still use and enjoy film cameras--and there was a time when I said I would never switch to digital. But now I have several good film cameras lying fallow in a cupboard, and my guess is there they will stay.

I grew up in my dad's darkroom, and spent plenty of time developing pictures myself when I was a newspaper reporter. I'm happy to have left those chemicals behind.

I don't know what camera you have now, but any of the DSLRs and many other digital cameras have manual settings. They will allow you to think, compose, and manually adjust all you like. In fact, that's usually the best way to get a decent image.

If you'd like to view more of my dad's photos, I add them to my Flickr page all the time. They end up in the Older Family Photos album. The mountaintop wedding is my daughter's, BTW--one month ago. (I didn't take those pics.)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 9:17AM
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I did get the dlsr bug last fall & bought a Sony at Costco that came with 2 lenses. I've been stumblin' & bumblin' in manual with it all winter, making some improvement! I still hope to try film some day, despite the obstacles.

How wonderful that you have darkroom & newspaper experience. Wish I had a background like that. To my eyes, you are very talented and skilled and so knowledgeable.

Thanks for sharing the link to your dad's photos. I will enjoy taking a peek. And congrats to your daughter & her new husband!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 1:22PM
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alisande, just wanted to say how much I enjoyed those old photos on flickr. What a handsome, charming family! I love the picture of your mom in the black dress and the one of her in her apron. Were the vacation at the lake pictures taken in upstate NY? Lake George perhaps? I saw one picture was taken near Saratoga. I love upstate NY.

Were those pictures taken with the Brownie camera? If so, kinda makes you wonder about all the modern gizmos on cameras today.

What a wonderful treasure you have there! Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 10:33AM
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Thank you! The lake pictures were taken before I was born. Could be Lake George. If not, most likely it was somewhere upstate. BTW, my in-laws had a big house on 50 acres on Lake George that they sold in the 1950s. Can you imagine how much it would be worth today?? (Assuming one could afford the property taxes.)

A Brownie? Not even close. :-) I can't imagine seeing that quality and detail from a Brownie. My dad used a Speed Graphic (the famous press camera) and a Leica mostly, and at some point he had a Hasselblad.

I've been scanning a few negatives a day most days. At this rate, I'll never be done. :-)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 10:37PM
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These are beautiful,...love black & white & antique!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 1:46AM
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Thanks, Konrad! You've just inspired me to scan some more today. :-)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 11:27AM
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A Speed Graphic, a Leica, & a Hasselblad -- those are pretty impressive tools. Do you have the cameras or are they long gone?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 7:21PM
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Long gone. I have his Mamiya-Sekor SLR, but that came much later. It sits in the cupboard with my unused SLRs. :-)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 8:41PM
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Nice work on the pictures

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 1:41PM
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The camera in the second picture is a Kodak Brownie Box camera. It used no. 120 roll film.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 12:18AM
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wow, they scanned very nice as a negative, neat photos.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 7:15AM
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Susan - the pictures are beautiful; there is something about good older b+w photos that is special--the good lighting, good composition, all of it. You are fortunate to have the trove of negatives. You are an inspiration as well for now I recall all those old b+w negatives in a box in the attic that I never expected to see.

Having more or less found myself with the tech details of a new camera, I saw this post and hope to join in a little. I have an archive of over 1000 negatives in my work and would like to learn more about scanning. I have sent a few to an on-line scanning service but the cost is prohibitive--and no thought of doing them all.

I am interested in your scanner. The so-called new version only mentions negs in carriers and I wonder if I could just put a big negative in as you seem to do--and if any flat bed scanner could do that.


    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 9:25AM
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Mike, I haven't even gotten to the larger negatives yet. Most of the ones I've been scanning are around 2x3".

I'm on my way out the door, but will be back. Meanwhile, you can see more results from my scanning here:

My Flickr pages

The album Older Family Photos holds some of them.

I'm sure you'd enjoy working on your own.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 9:41AM
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The pictures are just great--they remind me of scenes from my own life in the same time periods, and they give a sense of inclusion--to see the sequence and growth is wonderful.

One of the striking b+w examples, to me, are the re-runs of Twilight Zone.

I don't want to hijack your post, but will ask for one bit of advice.

I am looking at scanners that I hope would deliver what you are producing. Will any flatbed scanner do larger negatives (I have family 2x3, some project 2x3, some all the way to 5x7). Descriptions of scanners on line aren't alwasy as useful as I hope in this regard.

Printers to the gov't specs are yet another issue. Productive time wasted.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 10:30AM
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No, flatbed scanners can't be counted on to accommodate negatives. You need to find one that has settings and physical properties that will allow negative scanning. Scanning negatives requires backlighting. I was recently on the phone with a Canon techie, and he mentioned that my scanner was so great because it takes negatives of different sizes, and it was the only one Canon made that would do that. Unfortunately, it's not being manufactured now.

I took a look on Amazon and found this one, which will scan slides, negatives and medium-format panoramic film up to 6 x 22 cm.

I usually have the negative holder on my scanner set to an opening of 2x3". If I want to scan a 2x2" negative, I just set it in the opening, leaving blank space around it. The preview will come up as a black rectangle, but if I draw a crop box inside the rectangle, my image will show up. I can then adjust the crop to include what I want before I click Scan.

Perhaps the DPReview people can recommend other scanners. I'm also wondering if you could use a light box to "scan" the negatives with your camera. Scanning is basically the same as taking a picture. I've handled some slides this way. Because these slides were damaged (mounted under glass and now stuck to the glass--and even worse in some cases), and because I'm not using a tripod, the results aren't wonderful. But I think I could do a lot better if I put some thought into this and started out with better slides.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 6:08PM
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Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. I have learned quite a bit here and appreciate the link and the suggestion to hit dreview. There are quite a few scanners that say negatives, but the limit seems to be 35mm and 120. My collection is lots of 2x3 but also a step larger and a big, big batch of 5x7 1930s bird's eye views shot locally with the best aerial camera of the time. The family pics--I only hope to have the quality of images and the good fortune to do somewhere near your skills


I have lots of time to search

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 11:18AM
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Mike, my technical knowledge of scanner construction is just about nil, but here's a thought. When you set a scanner to scan a negative, it seems likely that the entire bed is backlit. Therefore, it's possible that when a scanner is said to accommodate certain sizes of negatives, those sizes are determined by the frames (templates?) supplied with the scanner.

But like I said earlier, I don't always fit the negative to the frame. If my negative is smaller than the frame opening, I'm presented with a black rectangle (the size of the opening) as a preview. But as I explained above, that is easily dealt with.

So what I'm thinking is if indeed the entire bed is backlit at the negative scan setting, you might be able to use no frame at all for your 5x7 negatives. I can envision placing the large negative in the center of the surface, more or less, and proceeding. If my guess is correct, you'll be shown a huge black box as a preview, and if you draw a crop box somewhere in the center, your image will appear. You can then adjust the crop to include your entire image.

It's just a thought. But I bet one of the experts at DPReview can tell you if I'm right or not. If I'm right, you ought to be able to use any decent scanner that accommodates negatives.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 7:14PM
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Good thinking. I guess the frame is a thin physical object that surrounds the negative, defines what area where a scan will happen. Could one make a template, say a piece of black construction paper cut out to accomodate the proper size negative.

Don't mean to be stretching this out or putting you on the spot. You are very patient and kind..I'll head out and see what develops--so to speak.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 11:18PM
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Mike IF (big if) my theory is correct, then I don't see why black construction paper wouldn't work. Let us know how the rest of your research goes.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 10:05AM
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Alisande-love the pics on Flicker! TFS!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 10:49PM
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Thanks, Juanita!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 9:13AM
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these are excellent.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 1:21AM
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In photo #2, that "black box" is the camera. Its a Kodak Brownie and uses 120 film.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 3:44AM
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I have a brownie somewhere. I have always meant to see if I can get it working.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 1:39AM
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