Home How-To Helpline May 2004 HelpLine
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

May 2004 HelpLine

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You asked about sharing PSDs. If they have an image editor that's capable of opening the files, you won't have a problem. However, many programs that can work with photos can't decode PSDs. You'd have more universal success by first converting the file into a nonproprietary interchange format like TIFF or JPEG (they can be opened in any program that handles images on any computer platform).

Scans For The Memories

Q)  I have a large number of slides that I inherited from my father, who used some of the first Agfachrome color slide film more than 60 years ago. I have a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 film scanner, which can scan at 5400 dpi. However, I'm generally only interested in printing to a size of 8x10 or so. Scanning at 5400 dpi (16-bit) gives me a resolution of 4848x7200, which would allow a print of 16x24 inches (at 300 dpi), but with a massive file size of 199.7 MB. My logic is to scan the old slides at that high level to obtain as much detail from the film as possible, details that then would be retained after reducing the file size back to a manageable print size. Am I correct in doing this or could I scan at a lower level without losing any details? I should add that I have a 60 GB hard disk and 512 MB memory. I store the photos in TIFF on CD-ROMs (soon to be replaced by DVD). File size and memory therefore are no problem.

Wal Moser
Queens Park, Victoria, Australia

A)  Either of your suggested methods will work. If you scan at the higher resolution, you're effectively "over-sampling" your image. This sometimes can result in a better image once you scale it back to your final image size, but realize that there are limits as to what detail you can see in any given size print. Before you take this route, however, consider the amount of data you're going to be moving around. At 200 MB a file, a CD will only hold three images and a DVD will hold only about 24. Wrangling all of that data around might cause you to think twice about file size. If you've already decided what your final print size is going to be, you might consider reducing your scanning resolution to match.




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