The World’s First Photograph Ever Taken

The first photo picture depicting a view from the window at Le Gras was taken in 1825 by a French inventor Joseph Niepce.

View from the Window at Le Gras, 1826–27 (manually enhanced version)
View from the Window at Le Gras, 1826–27     (manually enhanced version)
World's first photograph - Original Plate
World’s first photograph – Original Plate

The world’s first photograph, housed in its original presentational frame and sealed within an atmosphere of inert gas in an airtight steel and Plexiglas storage frame, must be viewed under controlled lighting in order for its image to be visible. In general, this procedure requires viewing the plane of the pewter plate at an angle of approximately 30° to the perpendicular and in exact opposition to a point source of light, preferably within a darkened environment free of other incidental light sources.

The view, made from an upper, rear window of the Niépce family home in Burgundy, represents (from left to right): the upper loft (or, so-called “pigeon-house”) of the family house; a pear tree with a patch of sky showing through an opening in the branches; the slanting roof of the barn, with the long roof & low chimney of the bake house behind it; and, on the right, another wing of the family

By that time people already knew how to project pictures, they just didn’t know how to preserve and save light. Niepce came up with the idea of using a petroleum derivative called “Bitumen of Judea”. Bitumen hardens with exposure to light and the unhardened material was then washed away. The metal plate, was then polished rendering a negative image which then was coated with ink producing a print. One of the numerous problems with this method was that the metal plate was heavy, expensive to produce, and took a lot of time to polish.

Camera Obscura:

Photography is an art form invented in 1839. Before photography was created, people already knew the principles of how it eventually got to work. They could process the image on the wall or piece of paper, however no printing was possible as preserving light was lot harder task than projecting it. Around for a few centuries before photography came along, the instrument that people used for processing pictures was called the Camera Obscura (which is Latin for the Dark Room).

Camera Obscura - In Action
Camera Obscura – In Action
Use of Camera Obscura
Use of Camera Obscura

Today analogue photography is based on the principles on which camera obscura works. Camera Obscura is essentially a dark, closed box with a hole on one side of it. The hole has to be small enough in proportion to the box to make the camera obscura work properly. It works on the optical laws, the light coming through a tiny hole transforms and creates an image on the surface that it meets, i.e. the wall of the box. The image will be mirrored and upside down. In the mid 16th century, Giovanni Battista della Portacentury, an Italian scholar, wrote an essay on how to use camera obscura to make the drawing process easier. He projected the image of people outside the camera obscura on the canvas inside of it (camera obscura was a rather big room in this case) and then drew over the image.

Digitisation blog: Scanning tips, DPI and Resolution

WHY SCAN?

Chances are you have a stack of photo albums, negatives and slides change color and fade with time due to collection of dust and exposure to light. Having your photos, negatives and slides digitised protects them from being lost or damaged and you can cherish the good old memories for lifetime. Scanning photos opens up so many doors to how you enjoy your memories with the easy to use digital Sharing options.

Photos and Slides Fade

Colour photos stored in ideal conditions will fade over time. The primary cause of fading is due to exposure to light. Another main cause is simply the way the photo was developed. The material used to create the photo has a limited lifespan and will start to fade.

Photos Change Color

The chemical reaction used to produce the old photos on the paper is not permanent and the photo starts to break down and lose its colour over time. The most common reaction is a yellow haze or a reddish haze that develops over the photo. The scanning process utilises software that attempts to correct this problem, thus bringing back the natural colour of the photo in digital form.

Photos and Slides Have Dust and Scratches

Slides are particularly easy to scratch and always have some amount of dust on them. By scanning, minor dust and scratches from the final image can be eliminated easily to obtain clearer image resulted due to digital ICE procedure.

Keep Your Photos and Slides Safe From Disaster

Unfortunately the precious photos and slides stored in boxes or albums are subjected  to possible fire, water or smoke damage, animals, pets, theft, or simply misplacing them. Scanning them to digital format allows you to have all your photos and slides on a DVD and having them on your computer.

For Gifting and Sharing and Sharing With Friends and Family

Once you get your photos and slides on a DVD, you can share them with family members.  You can also have the images on a USB which you can simply plug into your computer or HDTV, which will give access to the digital images. Social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ are making it easier than ever to share your photos with friends and family. Scanning your photos and slides lets you share those precious memories easily and quickly. These digital files will also make great gifts which you can make use of to create photo books, calendars and similar wonderful gifts for a family member or friend.

CHOOSING SCANNER

The first thing to decide when beginning with scanning is what type of scanner you want. There are various kinds of scanners available. When choosing your scanner, there are two important features that you should look for:

Scanner Resolution

A better scanner resolution will mean a better quality scan of your photo which makes it really important. It’s best to look for a scanner that gives you a resolution of at least 3000 dpi.

Dynamic Range

A scanner’s Dynamic Range relates to how much detail the scanner can bring out in highlights and shadows. It’s measured on a scale of 0-4 and is usually called Dmax. Ideally, look for a scanner with at least a rating of 3.

SCANNING TIPS:

For the highest quality, set up your scanner in a dust-free environment. First, remove any dust or dirt from your photo prints with a microfiber cloth or alcohol-based cleaning wipe. It’s important that you thoroughly clean both the photos and scanner, as the scanner’s sensitive sensor will pick up even a speck of dust on the glass or on the photo.

Here are tips to how to clean the glass on your scanner safely and effectively:

Step 1: Unplug the power cord from the scanner.

Step 2: Using a soft, lint-free cloth, like a microfiber cloth, wipe off the dust from the scanner glass.

Step 3: If the glass has smudges or other contaminants, use a little bit of glass cleaner on a microfiber cloth and wipe the glass.

Step 4: Using a dry microfiber cloth, dry off any remaining moisture or residue.

Do not use any glass cleaners that contain the following cleaning agents:

Acetone, ammonia, benzene, carbon tetrachloride

The above chemicals can damage the scanner glass. Though some manufacturers suggest using isopropyl alcohol, it tends to leave streaks.

We also do not recommend using compressed air for dusting because the force of the air could end up blowing dust into the edges of the scanner and end up underneath the glass, which is a lot harder to clean.

Before you scan the photos, consider the way in which you’ll organise them – by date or by event? How will the files be named? Choose a system before you scan, and organise your printed photos, negatives and slides into stacks accordingly.

Here are some tips:

Scan multiple photos at once. On an average-sized scanner bed, you should be able to scan four 4×6 photos at once, and crop them later. Some scanners even come with software that does this automatically for you. Use this method to cut down scanning time.

Select a resolution of at least 300 dpi and up to 600 dpi for photos, if you plan to order enlargements.

Take advantage of editing options. Most scanning software will allow you to crop, adjust colour and brightness, remove scratches, dust and red-eye.

CHOOSING A RESOLUTION

For photo prints, 300 dpi is fine in general. To make sure you get all the details hidden in your prints, scan at 600 dpi. Scanning beyond 600 dpi will make the files bigger without giving you any additional image detail. Plus, higher the resolution, the more time it takes to scan each photo.

For slides and negatives, 2000 dpi will give you the equivalent of a 6-megapixel photo, which is good enough for most standard print sizes. If the scanner can go higher (such as 4000 dpi), take advantage of it to enable high-quality cropping.

RESOLUTION, DPI AND PPI

The resolution of a digital photo is its pixels, expressed as megapixels – the horizontal pixel dimensions multiplied by its vertical pixel dimensions.

DPI stands for Dots Per Pixel. It is a measure of the number of dots that can be placed within a 1 inch span line.

PPI stands for Pixels Per Inch. It is the digital photo’s pixels dimension divided into the size of the paper to be printed. PPI occurs only when it is printed.

WHICH FILE FORMAT?

JPEG(Joint Photographic Experts Group): Sometimes referred to as JPG. JPEG is the standard file format and compatible image format supported by almost all of today’s imaging software. Some image data is lost when the file is compressed. The amount of compression can be varied. More the compression, more data is discarded and smaller a file becomes. JPEG is great for creating smaller file sizes for uploading on the Internet, or for use with e-mail.

PROS:

  • Smaller File Size: JPEG uses lossy compresion to reduce file size making its use on the Internet or creating backup CDs hassle free.
  • Supported by most software and photo sharing websites.

CONS:

  • Lossy Compresion: Lossy means with data loss. JPEG compression does discard some image data based on the amount of compression used.
  • High Quality but not the absolute best.
  • Not a good choice for editing: JPEG files use lossy compression. If you plan to edit a photo and then re-save it, you will lose some quality. It loses quality, detail and information each time you edit and re-save it.

TIFF(Tagged Image File Format): TIFF (RAW) format is the standard for most commercial and professional printing needs. TIFF format means that no image data is lost after scanning. It is a great choice for archiving images where all details must be preserved and file size is not a consideration. TIFF files are very large in size compared to JPEGs because no compression is used.

PROS:

  • No Compression: TIFF files are not compressed files. This means 100% of the data captured during scanning is retained.
  • Absolute best quality.
  • Better choice if you plan to edit because TIFF files don’t use compression and quality is not lost each time the photo is edited.

CONS:

  • Large File Size: TIFF files are much larger than JPEGs making them harder to upload or email.
  • Not supported by most photo sharing websites but is supported by most software.

HOW BIG WILL MY FILES BE?

This depends on the format they are saved to. The charts below list file sizes you can expect from TIFF and JPEG files.

35 MM FILM SCANNING: PIXEL & FILE SIZE OF A STANDARD 35MM FRAME
Scan Resolution Pixel Dimensions Megapixels JPEG File Size TIFF File Size
2000 DPI 2700 x 1800 4.8 2.2 MB – 3.8 MB 14.2 MB
3000 DPI 4050 x 2700 10.9 4.3 MB – 7.1 MB 32.0 MB
4000 DPI 5400 x 3600 19.4 6.7 MB – 10.8 MB 56.9 MB
* Based on 24 bit scanning and JPEG quality of 10 using Adobe Photoshop. JPEG file sizes vary.
35 MM FILM SCANNING: PIXEL & FILE SIZE OF A STANDARD 35MM FRAME
Scan Resolution Pixel Dimensions Megapixels JPEG File Size TIFF File Size
2000 DPI 2700 x 1800 4.8 2.2 MB – 3.8 MB 14.2 MB
3000 DPI 4050 x 2700 10.9 4.3 MB – 7.1 MB 32.0 MB
4000 DPI 5400 x 3600 19.4 6.7 MB – 10.8 MB 56.9 MB
* Based on 24 bit scanning and JPEG quality of 10 using Adobe Photoshop. JPEG file sizes vary.
300 DPI PRINT SCANS:
Pixel Dimensions JPEG File Size TIFF File Size
3 X 5 900 x 1500 650 KB – 1 MB 3.9 MB
4 X 6 1200 x 1800 1.1 MB – 1.6 MB 6.3 MB
5 X 7 1500 x 2100 1.6 MB – 2.3 MB 9.2 MB
8 X 10 2400 x 3000 3.2 – 4.5 MB 21.2 MB
* Based on 24 bit scanning and JPEG quality of 10 using Adobe Photoshop. JPEG file sizes vary.
600 DPI PRINT SCANS:
Pixel Dimensions JPEG File Size TIFF File Size
3 X 5 1800 x 3000 2.4 MB – 3.5 MB 15.8 MB
4 X 6 2400 x 3600 3.6 MB – 5.2 MB 25.3 MB
5 X 7 3000 x 4200 4.8 MB – 6.9 MB 36.9 MB
8 X 10 4800 x 6000 9.1 MB – 14.3 MB 84.4 MB
* Based on 24 bit scanning and JPEG quality of 10 using Adobe Photoshop. JPEG file sizes vary.