I've got a small collection of family photos, probably several hundred pictures, including some taken over 100 years ago (although they might be copies of the originals, I don't know). All prints, no negatives. I want to digitize them, organize, add tags, document, share with family, etc. But the first part is digitization.
Myself I have a secondhand Epson Stylus DX5050 which I use as a scanner, and it works OK-ish, but for this task I'd like to do it good and proper. I put it to some tests, and the results are... discouraging:
- When scanning at 1200dpi (maximum advertised) there are "tears" in the picture. I remember reading about this somewhere, but I forget the name of this defect. It disappears at lower dpi settings though and even on 1200dpi you need to zoom in to see it. Here's an example from scanning an old postcard that was lying nearby. You can see the individual ink dots from the original printer, and then - a sharp edge precisely on a pixel boundary. (This picture is zoomed in)
- I tried scanning in a white page and the white color was uneven. The entire left half of the picture was just a little bit darker, but then around the middle it faded to a near-perfect white on the right half. I suspect this might be due to an aging CFL lamp. Again, I don't notice this when actually looking at scanned pictures, but it's pretty obvious when looking at a "blank" scan. (Sorry, I don't have a picture to show this time)
So, what I'm wondering is...
- Is this normal?
- Am I overthinking this and these "defects" are actually unimportant? Considering that the photos themselves aren't exactly award-winning (decades old black and white photos, mostly blury because of the poor cameras of the day).
- Would getting a new scanner be better?
- Would a more expensive scanner be better than a cheap one or are they mostly the same in this regard? (Or perhaps the increase in quality comes at an unreasonably high price jump?)
- Should I be worried about color-calibrating my scanner?