what dpi to use for scanning small old 70s photos

  theDarkness 23:27 25 Mar 2011

I have many old family photos that I wish to permanently back up to hard drive to prevent loss, most from the 70s and 80s - around 100mm in length and width max, or slightly less. Im trying to find out what would be the recommended dpi to use for this procedure? Many websites state 300 dpi, others 2400. They are not all of amazing quality, perhaps due to the output quality from a basic family camera back then, but for the ones that are quite sharp, would anyone really opt for the maximum? Perhaps I can upload some to show tomorrow at differing dpi. Thanks for any recommendations :)

  uk-wizard 07:46 26 Mar 2011

Depends on what you want to do with the, prints up to A5 size the 300 dpi, viewing on screen 600dpi, anything over that and the files will become very large.

PS dont forget to set your scanner to greyscale.

  BT 08:55 26 Mar 2011

Only if you are scanning Black & White pictures.

Colour prints were the standard in the 70s/80s. Not many people were still using B&W.

  Terry Brown 09:26 26 Mar 2011

I would say, use the highest resolution that your scanner can handle.

The reason.

You will want to edit-touch up or do some other work with them at some time, and every time you process them you lose a small amount of quality.

Start with the best and you have lost nothing except a small amount of Disk space, start with a low resolution and you may end up with a very poor end result.

  hssutton 09:57 26 Mar 2011

I would almost agree with Terry, but such as my printer/scanner, scans at a max of 4800 DPI. I would suggest the 2400 DPI is a better bet.

You're only going to scan these photos once, so go for the better resolution

  BRYNIT 22:55 26 Mar 2011

The higher the DPI the longer it will take to scan.

I would suggest scanning one photo at 300 and 2400 DPI to find which you prefer.

  Terry Brown 10:03 27 Mar 2011


The reason I suggested using the highest resolution is because 'thedarkness' specified SMALL photo's.

As these will in all probality be enlarged, the resolution will drop. This means a photo of (e.g) 4" x 3" enlarged by 50% (6" x 4.5").

This means a photo scanned at 2400 resolution would be in effect 1200 resolution before any other editing, which for a photo is fairly poor.

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