Photo scan spots
May 26, 2008 6:19 PM   Subscribe

Why does my photo scanner show images with "white flecks" all over them?

I am working on a slideshow and need to scan older photos in order to incorporate them. I had an ancient Epson flatbed that worked great for over 10 years, but decided to get a new 3 in 1 scan, copy, print machine. I bought a HP Photosmart 4280. Even though I have cleaned the glass and the prints, every time I scan it looks like it is snowing in the picture with lots of white dots everywhere.

Sadly, I can't return it as I had it too long before I actually tried the scanner part (dumb!). I spent several hours with a tech on the phone with no results. He promised to send a new one but then disconnected me.

Is there anything anyone knows that could be causing this? Obviously I can try with HP again, but thought I would see what you all have to say.
posted by maxg94 to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
It could be dust inside the scanner. Can you see anything on the glass when you hold it up to the light?
posted by MegoSteve at 6:35 PM on May 26, 2008

Have you tried scanning something else to see if the snowiness only occurs with the old photos?
posted by CKmtl at 6:46 PM on May 26, 2008

Response by poster: I don't see anything on the glass itself, like dust or smudges.
I scanned some newly printed photos and they get snowiness as well.
posted by maxg94 at 6:52 PM on May 26, 2008

Are they matte prints? Google magic turned this up.
posted by CKmtl at 7:01 PM on May 26, 2008

I AAScannerTechie but INYST... if it's not due to scanning matte prints like CKmtl said, it's probably dust on the CCD or one of the mirrors inside. Take it up with HP.
/says the HP rival, ahaha
posted by QueSeraSera at 7:24 PM on May 26, 2008

Dust on the CCD or mirrors will usually show up as streaks, not flecks.

Got any sample images?
posted by Lazlo at 7:39 PM on May 26, 2008

Is it a grain aliasing problem?
posted by cmiller at 7:53 PM on May 26, 2008

Are you scanning using the scanner software? I know that HP's software puts auto-sharpening on by default, which can sometimes result in exaggerated speckles/flecks. You can turn this off in the preferences, but it sounds like your problem is a little bit more exaggerated.
posted by jeremias at 8:03 PM on May 26, 2008

Scan two different things with the exact same settings. Are the flecks in the same places on both scans?

(Indeed, dust on the ccd will cause streaks, not flecks.)

I am seconding the request for a sample image...
posted by gjc at 5:43 AM on May 27, 2008

Response by poster: These older photos all seem to be matte prints, so maybe that is the issue. I will also try to scan two different things with the same settings to see what shows up. I am at work without access for now, but these ideas are helpful. Thanks.
posted by maxg94 at 7:35 AM on May 27, 2008

I've recently started using an HP officejet all-in-one scanner for some photos, and I was having the same problem, white blotches everywhere that look like dust.

I eventually figured out that I have to scan *everything* in 48-bit, because absolutely none of other options work at all. (for the one I have at least, you have to use a different softare frontend to do this, which is a pain.)

Apparently, the down-sampling the scanner does to get from 48 to 24 bit, no matter how high you set the DPI, causes this artifacting. At 48-bit though, everything looks great.

(I don't have Photoshop, or apparently any other software that handles 48 bit images, so now I have to figure out how to process the ones I have. They come out looking pristine, but not the same- I don't know if there's a luminosity setting, or if it's contrast, or what I have to change. Maybe I should do an askme about that.)
posted by hap_hazard at 3:25 PM on May 27, 2008

I have had this problem as well with an HP scanner. To the point that it's been sitting in the closet for a couple/few years, unused. I think I'm going to try hap_hazard's suggestion and see if that helps. Thanks!
posted by marble at 6:17 PM on May 27, 2008

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