Saturday, October 24, 2009

Scan vs Photo

Recently Ruth and I have been in image capture hell. Or, to put it more mildly, we have learned a lot about what makes a good image capture. Here are two examples showing side by side crops at 100%. These are Ruth's original oil paintings on paper. They are about 25" x 15" overall. We need to capture for Ruth's upcoming book Lonely Bird's Friend. Of course it's obvious that a scanner is going to have higher quality than a camera if it is possible to use a scanner in a given situation. This experience really drives it home though.

Prior to seeing the scans, we were blown away by the image quality from our recent shoot on the Nikon. The right hand frame on each image here is from my Nikon D90 with a 50mm prime at f5.6 on a tripod and using diffused halogen lights. The left side is from a sheetfed scanner at 600 dpi, the right side is from the nikon at 300 dpi and 12 megapixels. To compare, the nikon's raw images are about 12-15 megabytes. The scans are 376 megabytes. So what's the catch? The scanner at our print shop is perfect in every way except it leaves banding and lines in the images making them unprintable–we think the scanner is out of adjustment. We go for an appointment next week to another print shop to try another scanner. High hopes for it.

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