Black & White prints

Scanning black & white isn't much different from scanning color. Instead of 24 bit vs. 48 bit color you can choose either a 8 or 16-bit grayscale mode. Resolution can be anything from 75 to 3200 dpi, but most people would settle for 300 or 600. You can use unsharp mask and adjust the histogram, but dust removal doesn't work when scanning reflectives.

Municipal house, Pyhäjärvi, ca. 1930,  matte paper, original 6 x 9 cm

300 dpi at 8 bit 

 300 dpi at 16 bit

600 dpi at 8 bit        

 600 dpi at 16 bit

I couldn't see any real improvement in dynamics with 16 vs. 8 bits. 600 dpi seems to resolve some more detail, but I would say that there's not really much beyond 400 dpi. It's amazing how old b&w photographs retain their quality through the years when old color prints may fade in a few decades.


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