Playing with an HP S20 Film Scanner

A bit ago Cat5 managed to scam an HP S20 film scanner for me from his work. Mucho thanks. The software and scanner is older, but still 2400dpi and still seeming to work pretty well so far.

So while this weekend was supposed to have been a scanning extravaganza, a combination of “other stuff” and great weather prevented this from happening until tonight. I’m still playing with the scanner and software, trying to get comfortable enough with it that when I start scanning all my negatives, I don’t have to stop halfway through and restart because I discover that I’m doing it wrong, or at the wrong resolution, or whatever.

Sort of what already happened. I started scanning prints a bit ago and decided to scan the prints at 1200dpi. I realize now that this was pretty silly. First of all, 100mb tiff images. Secondly, pointless, as was kindly pointed out in this discussion on dpi and printing resolution of scans. Too late though.

Read on below….

So I’m starting again. Tonight I’ve been playing with vuescan (great software BTW) and the software that came with the scanner, HP PhotoSmart something something. The HP software is nice. It separates the negatives into individual images automatically, lets you click to rotate them individually, adjust curves, color, sharpness, etc individually (this is no doubt done in the processing phase that happens post scan).

One of the disadvantages of the HP software is that if you forget to select all the images (as your truely did), you end up scanning and saving only the last image you clicked on. While this makes scanning seem to go a lot faster, it’s far less productive 🙂 Vuescan by comparision, is far more complex. It’s claim to fame is it’s color correction, which is great, but I wish it’d be a bit more ‘auto’ and a bit less ‘lots of sliders to adjust’. Some of it’s features, like the auto-cropping (to save individual images like the HP software does) kinda sucks, and it’s batch scanning seems to just scan the strip of negatives over and over again… probably some other setting I have set though.

I have yet to say “this is the final scan”, much less try to print out of the scans to see if it’ll print out to 4×6 or larger size (arguably the whole point of this exercise). I’ll try to get a few shots of example scans and/or workflow soon.