Photo Scanning Advice

ok i have about 1000+ family photos to scan so i want to get it right 1st time, ive just been given a lexmark X75 copier printer scanner that im going to use

my questions are

1)150 or 300 dpi? this thing also goes up to 9600 dpi
2)is there better scanning software? im using the latest lexmark driver
3)image size isnt a concern so i take it .TIF is the best format?

It depends what you want to do with the scans.

For commercial work you will need to do TIFFs at 300dpi and look at the output dimensions - for example, 30 x 40 cm or about A3 size - but remember the file are big, like 40 - 50 MB

For home use - maybe making decent prints for family and friends, you should find JPEGs more than good enough. 150dpi and max 20 x 30 cm or A4 and no bigger than 5 MB

You may want to convert your files to emailable size as well - 150kb or so

I don´t think you should worry about complicating the issue unless you are into serious commercial stuff. Then you´ll really open a can of worms including color management issues.

I use the basic version of Photoshop, called Elements v. 3 - Adobe have recently released v4 which should be more than enough. There are plenty of alternatives however. One freebie that is very useful is Irfan View - it allows you to do very fast conversions to other formats, sizes, etc.

NOTE: Keep your scanner clean - it´ll save loads of time later, and your eyes (I´ve spent up to 12 hours cleaning single images because I couldn´t get the original neg to scan!)

Have fun with your gun.

300 is better then 150 but at the cost of twice the size. Depends on what you plan on doing with the pics. 300 gives you more in editing and more in enlarged printing. The scanner drivers should be plenty. Check for any updates though.

If you wanna have some fun and can waste some paper, try downloading Rasterbator. It converts images into series of dots and allows you to print HUGE images - like 6 x 7 = 42 sheets of A4 - which you can paste together. Lots of cool examples from fans on the website to inspire you.
Go to

I found useful when I bought my first flatbed scanner several years ago. If you’re pressed for time, start with and perhaps.

(I’d probably scan them at 300dpi, and store them as .png’s.)


cheers guys :slight_smile: i just want the best possible quality as i say size isnt really an issue, most of the pics are from when i was a poor bum (i still am just not as poor) and i was using cheap throwaway cameras, and the rest is like old 80’s stuff all fairly lowish quality stuff, so ill stick with 300dpi and check out those tip sites cheers :slight_smile:

.png is lossless like tif but usually gives a much smaller picture.

Do a test with 300 dpi and 150 dpi. Set your print output size to the max you expect to need, say 20 x 30 cm or A4. You won´t really see the difference unless you zoom in a long way, and you´ll save time and memory.