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[filmscanners] Re: Lab scans

Julie writes:

> When I enquired about the resolution of the
> scans, I was told good enough for a 12x8 inch
> print. When I got the scans back however they
> are 1024x1536 at 72dpi.

Labs have very different ideas of what constitutes a "high-resolution scan"
from those of photographers who are accustomed to scanning their own work.
I suppose that they deal with a lot of photographers who know nothing about
the digital workflow and do not realize that 1024x1536 barely even counts as
a low-res scan, much less the "very high resolution" scan that I've seen it
advertised as in lab brochures.

Labs may also be influenced by digital cameras, and the low-resolution
images they usually provide (and that customers are accustomed to seeing).

Just look at the file sizes given for the "high-res" scans in lab price
lists.  They seem to think that 10-20 MB is high resolution.  In fact, for
them, anything beyond Web size is high resolution.  But to get high
resolution from your standpoint (if you are familiar with digital workflow
and if you have experience scanning yourself), they'd have to produce 50-80
MB files or beyond, and if you look at their prices, it's obvious that they
have a much higher opinion of such scans than you do.

This is one reason why I scan everything myself.  Not only are lab scans
overpriced, but they are dismally poor compared to what I can achieve myself
with a good CCD scanner.  In fact, the prices are so high, and the quality
so poor, that I can pay for an equivalent scanner for my own use with just
the cost of scanning a _single roll_ at the lab!

> I spoke to my lab, who say that it's possible
> to get a 12x8 print from their scan, scanned
> at base 4 using their 200,000 Noritsu printer.

The cost of the printer means nothing if the scan is inferior.

> I can't see how this is possible.

It's perfectly possible to produce a print from any resolution.  It's just
that a print from a low-resolution scan will be blurry.  So strictly
speaking, they are right.  But the quality won't be there.

> They say that they don't like to scan larger as I
> wouldn't be able to open their massive 18MB
> scans on my computer!

Translation:  They don't have really good scanners, nor do they have anyone
who would know how to do really good scans.

> Now I have a client that wants images retouched
> and printed. One option would be to retouch the
> scan and get it printed by the lab, as an
> experiment.

I daresay that you could retouch even these low-resolution scans and your
client would be fully satisfied; most clients just don't know or care about
such things.  After all, if the labs are clueless, why would the clients be
any more in the know?

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