All About Digital Photos
Digital Images and Genealogy

aka Digital Cameras and Genealogy

Note: this is the genealogy information from one of my other websites, "Digital Cameras and Genealogy" which I started in 1997. I started my All About Digital Photos website in 2003 which duplicated some of the data on the genealogy site. This new genealogy section now incorporates the non-duplicated information I had on my previous Digital Cameras and Genealogy website (in other words - I've merged the genealogy info into this site).

Digital imaging has provided great opportunities for the genealogist as well as a number of potential problems. You want to make sure that your descendants a hundred years from now can enjoy the pictures you take today, and you want to make sure that people today can enjoy photographs of their ancestors, taken a hundred years ago. The following is information that will be of help to the genealogist.

Labelling and storage of photos: Digitizing old photos and family documents: Digital Camera vs Scanner

I generally hate to do head to head comparisons, but I get asked this question a lot. So, the answer in a nutshell is that if you already have a good scanner, you don't need a digital camera to copy old photos. Both can provide about the same digital quality but there are advantages to each:

Digital Camera - it's portable and can be easily brought to the subject (i.e. your old Aunt's photo or letter collection, cemeteries, archives(with permission), etc.) and used on location. It can be used to photograph 3D objects (heirlooms and such). Delicate albums in which you don't want to remove the photos or bend the album flat over a scanner can be photographed in place. Larger items that won't fit on a scanner such as family artwork can be digitized with a camera. Once setup, a digital camera is generally much faster than a scanner.

Scanner - a good scanner is cheaper than a good digital camera, current scanners are higher resolution than current digital cameras, photographs are pressed flat by the scanner cover (no distortion/focus problems), some scanners do a good job with slides (digital cameras, in general, do not - see below)

Of note is that depending on the quality of the original photo, taking a digital photo or doing a scan is only half the job. The other half is the post processing using good photo software. It is here that marks and scratches can be fixed, colours adjusted, tonal quality improved, sharpening applied, etc. So it pays to acquire skills in post-processing (i.e. digital darkroom) techniques. This is also a reason I always include my original scans/digital photos on my distribution CDs - so that when better software comes around, or someone with more digital darkroom skills than me gets the CD, the original scans/digital photos are available for re-processing.

Home   •   What Is | Filetypes | Colour Models | Acronyms and Nomenclature | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)   •   Storage   •   Digital Labelling | Visible Captioning   •   What Is DPI | Myth DPI | Change DPI   •   Changing Size   •   Print Shops | Arithmetic of DPI | FAQ | Photoshop Dialog Box   •   Home Printing | Print Shops   •   Geotagging   •   Scanning -- Digital Images and Genealogy | Make Your Photos Last Forever | Camera or Scanner | Copying Old Photos | Workflow Examples | Visible Captioning | Choosing a Camera | Print Longevity | Sending Photos to Relatives

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© 2003- Ken W. Watson