The Exciting Adventures of OCD Archivist

I bought a Nikon CoolScan V ED Film Scanner. Then I fed all of my photo negatives into it. It took 18 days.

That was 2615 photos, taken over a span of 12 years.

That's roughly the number of digital photos I've shot in the last three months. The rules are different when each shot you take costs a dollar...

The scanner seemed to do a pretty good job. I scanned the 35mm negatives at 6000x4000 (24 megapixels), and saved them as JPEGs with file sizes of 3 or 4MB each.

My negatives were all cut into strips of 4, and dated back to July 1994, which is apparently when I bought my vintage-1980 Nikon FM2. That's a fully manual, non-electric camera (except for the light meter). It turns out that "fully manual camera" means "all of my photos are dark and out of focus".

I've got a few hundred older photos, but I don't have the negatives, so I guess I'll have to do those the hard even harder way...

The Nikon software is kind of irritating. It has a really good dust-and-scratch-removal filter (it's like magic, seriously) but there's no way to turn it on globally; you have to click a check-box for each photo. So the scanning process went like this:

  • Extricate the strip from the book;
  • Blast it with air (I went through six cans);
  • Feed the hole;
  • Wait 8 seconds for the Hypnowheel Cursor to go away;
  • Select picture 1. Click the checkbox.
  • Select picture 2. Click the checkbox.
  • Select picture 3. Click the checkbox.
  • Select picture 4. Click the checkbox.
  • Shift-click to select all 4.
  • Click "Scan".
  • Click "OK".
  • Wait fifteen minutes, and hope I notice the sound of the strip ejecting, because it doesn't beep or anything.
  • Select NikonScan from the dock;
  • Re-open the now-closed "scan" window via the menubar;
  • Repeat.

That's... kind of a ridiculous amount of clicking. But when I ripped all of my CDs, it took me months, so I guess this wasn't as bad as that. Oh well, it's done now.

Also, the software crashes about one time in twenty, and it doesn't save its "directory and file number" information unless it quits normally, so when that happens, you have to be careful that it doesn't dump the photos out of order in some completely wrong place.

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