Yesterday someone left a comment asking about the film scanner I use to scan my negatives.
It's a PrimeFilm 1800u which I bought in 2000 from Jessops.
At first I was a little disappointed but the software drivers, or my technique seem to have got better as I've upgraded through Windows95 to XP and now Vista. It seems to make a better job of colour negatives than it does black and white, which like colour slides have to be spot-on exposure otherwise trying to adjust seems to reduce the number of shades/colours to around eight giving a somewhat Salvador Dali effect...
For that reason I scan black and white negatives as colour and then convert to black and white once the image is in Paint Shop Pro. When scanning negatives and particularly slides which aren't stored in close fitting containers, dust can be a problem. Some of my slides are so dirty I just can't be bothered trying to clean up the thousands of black dots and just try to get rid of the larger blobs! On negatives the black spots are white of course. If the same mark shows on several photos it's because dust has fallen off a negative onto the light tray of the scanner. I keep a small artist's paintbrush that I use to periodically clean the tray.
Similarly if lines appear on the scanned picture it's a piece of dust that has got onto the moving lens that trundles out and over the negative so the paintbrush does for that as well. In nine years it's amazing how many particles seem to have fallen into the scanner and onto the white surface under the glass but, whilst I've worried about them and tried blowing through whatever gaps in the casing I can find in an effort to dislodge them, they don't seem to have any effect on the scanned image.
Nine years life for something like this isn't bad. It's been hammered over that time. I have around 30,000 negatives and slides and they are not quick things to scan. I still have a lot that have yet to be scanned, although I'm getting through them slowly! As technology moves on and monitors have got better resolution (and gone widescreen!) I find I now want to go back and rescan stuff that I did at the beginning! A never-ending job! Hope that helps, Travis!