I will be scanning a number of old black and white photos from both medium format and from glass plates. I'm wondering what my best bet is for digitizing and archiving them. So I suppose it's a 2 part questions.

  1. are their guidelines around the maximum resolutions that you would scan medium format ( or glass plates ) in, I would assume beyond a certain point it is pointless.

  2. What format is best for archiving, Raw, Tiff, PNG I would assume that discarding the colors from the profile would make the photo smaller, is there a certain color profile that is best? is their eve na way to save a digital photo with only greyscale data ?

  • Considering that medium/large format negatives can contain more information than your proposed digital storage formats, there's no way to do a "lossless" scan where all of the information contained in the negative is preserved in the resulting digital file. That's why it is important to set parameters when scanning so that the information the preservationist considers most significant is preserved. – Michael C Aug 14 '19 at 2:21
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of What is a reasonable file format for film scanning? – xiota Aug 14 '19 at 3:11

If you scanner does more that 8-bit channel then TIFF is going to be your only option if you want to keep all the information. Not much point going over 600DPI IMHO.

However, old B&W photographs often suffer from silvering, where dark part reflect light. This makes them unsuitable for scanning. This can often be sidestepped by taking a photo at an angle, and restoring the image to rectangular shape by applying a perspective correction.

  • 2
    It seems he is scanning negatives, not paper. – Rafael Aug 13 '19 at 21:37
  • PNG is also an option, though slower to compress than TIFF. – xiota Aug 14 '19 at 1:13

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.