Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thousands of photos

A few years ago we hired someone to convert all our 8mm home movies to digital.  I continued with the task of converting all our home VHS and Hi-8 family videos, as well.  So I have been able to edit them on my computer and burn DVDs to give to each family member.  I'm still not done with the project--I'm up to about the year 2000.

Similarly, we have thousands of slides and prints stashed away in boxes.  We bought a flatbed scanner with photo scanning capabilities some years ago.  We scanned some of our slides with it but it was obvious the job was tedious, and the quality was disappointing.  Doing some research on the problem I discovered the unanimous opinion seemed to be the Nikon 5000ED was the preferred equipment for the job.  They fetched about $1200 to $1500, but I thought we could buy one, scan all our slides, then one of our kids could hire himself out to scan others' slides for a fee.  A cushy job for a teenager.

This Nikon scanner model had been out about five years, which is forever in the technology world, so I dragged my feet and figured a newer, better model would come out.  The next time I checked things out Nikon had discontinued making slide scanners at all, and used ones were selling on ebay for over $2000.  This discouraged me further.

Then, last December, one of our friends mentioned they had a model 4000ED Nikon scanner that they would be happy to loan us.  So my multi-day project last Christmas season was scanning 4000 slides, covering the years 1972 through 1996.  Fortunately, the scanner had a batch autoloader for slides, so, except for when it jammed, I could walk away for an hour, then return to load the next batch.  This has been great, as these slides are much more accessible for viewing and are archived digitally.

Now we have boxes of prints (and their negatives) that need to be converted--about 5000.  There really is no convenient way to batch scan prints or negative strips with a high quality scanner like the Nikons.  For now our plan is to do the tedious job with a more recent flatbed photo scanner we bought.  I figure it will take 50 to 80 hours of near constant attention to do the job.  Needless to say, we haven't started yet.

Just to spruce up this post, here are a few slides from our inventory.

My parents and younger siblings at LAX upon my return from my mission in 1973

My brother's family and others from my family overlooking the Rhine River, Germany 1976.

Dingle, Ireland, parish records, 1976

Baby Blair at BYU, 1976

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