Scanning family photographs

Rented Kodak 1200 scanner arrived. Using this bad boy to scan family photographs tomorrow.

Last weekend I rented a Kodak S1220 and scanned a drawer full of 6238 old family photographs with the help of my parents.

Make sure your working area is free of dust and dirt. Better still wipe the pictures before you scan them, other wise you'll get poor results and possibly clog up the scanner transport.

300 dpi is fine and much faster than 600dpi.

I left the image cleaner tool on, it didn't really seem to make a difference.

On the runs I noticed "streaking" (a line down the scan), I checked/cleaned the scanner and redid the batch.

There is no way to start the scan from the scanner device itself, which sucks. You have to use the horrid Kodak scanning software to kick off the batch. So there was a lot of "You ready Dad?" "Yeah!" or "You ready Kai?" "Yeah!", and it would have been much better if he could have just pressed the button on the device.

Sorting through old family photographs in the lounge

The user experience of the Kodak software is just crazy. 7 steps for something that should be one.

  1. Order #, Continue

The Kodak software is awful, the theme is insulting and any operation was crazy slow. Rotating all the images took ten times longer than Picasa.

The Kodak software refuses to do a batch scan unless a red USB key fob is plugged in. This is extraordinary. I looked at the manual and they say "DO NOT LOSE THIS". Why have it all? It's terribly confusing. I thought it had the software on the stick, but the computer wouldn't recognise it. It took far too long to realise this was some sort of physical key to make the scanner operate correctly. Madness.

I have to do a ton of post-processing and I think Picasa will be my tool of choice. You can bulk alter EXIF time, add geolocation painlessly and add tags.

In conclusion I highly recommend doing this. This effort lifts a huge weight off my shoulders. There are at least 3 digital copies of the photographs now. Of course, the quality could be better (negative scanning, though our negatives mostly deteriorated), though it's far better than nothing at all. This is my family's digital legacy.

I really hope I can get the time and energy to process the images enough to help tell a story. My family have led interesting lives, with more from me to come!

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