For a while, Nicky and I were scanning in old pics from as far back as 1979 when I got my first little 120 roll camera (secondhand off Wakefield market, I think I paid 50p for it!). That stopped when we got a bit too busy since it’s quite time consuming and they had to be done on a flatbed scanner. Fast-forward to yesterday when, in a moment of getting away from a particularly evil programming problem I decided to have a play with the minilab’s scanner unit, finding that a strip of four negs takes about 10 seconds to scan and lab dumps the JPEGs in a directory on the fileserver. Hoorah! I can scan the rest of the stuff in!

A couple of advantages to this method:

  • There’s not as much image degradation as when I was flatbed-scanning the prints themselves.
  • I’ve filled in some gaps from around 1990-1994, where an ex-girlfriend had been through my prints and cut out the photos of any other ex-girlfriend (this is bizarre, it’s like getting a chunk of your life back, like discovering old photos left over from communist-era Russia).
  • It’s fast, there’s no messing around cropping stuff, and the frame numbers are preserved within the filename. I did about 600MB of pics in 45 minutes yesterday.

The disadvantage is in trying to remember or work out dates that things happened – I’d quite like the pics to be in chronological order but sometimes that’s almost impossible. I’ll have to dig out my old filofax from home, or see if my Palm has any other data imported from earlier (I kept an electronic diary, and wrote a journal from around 1990 onwards).

The only odd thing I’ve found is in scanning any Ilford FP4 film – for some weird reason it crashes the lab with an error. I have absolutely no idea why it does this, but I’ll bring it up with the lab engineer when he next pops round for a cuppa. Consequently spools such as the BBC Acorn User Show 1991 will have to wait.

I’ll add the pics as and when I have named and dated them.