Scanning Old Snapshots Using Photoshop

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO800
“Scanning Snapshots” Cedar Park, 2021

I’ve started scanning in old print photos in an effort to declutter the home office and make it easier to browse. I find it much more convenient to look at photos on the computer or iPad than opening a box of snapshots. However, I never started on the large scanning project until now.

It took a bit of tweaking the workflow, but I think I have optimized and automated it as best as I could using my Epson 4490 Scanner and Adobe Photoshop. The basic steps are:

    1. Place multiple photos on the scanner bed. I can fit four 3×5″ or two 4×6″ photos per scan. I find it best to offset/skew the photos a bit so that they DO NOT line up. This will help out later.
    2. In Photoshop, choose File > Import > WIA Support… Select a destination folder and check “Open Acquired…”, then Enter. Next select the scanner and Enter. For my particular scanner, I have the option to scan at a custom DPI, and I chose 300 DPI. I have the scan area set to the entire scanner bed, and I do not use Preview. Just Scan. I mapped the F9 key to launch WIA Support, so I can just type F9, Enter, Enter, C (to select custom), and Enter. The scanner will do it’s thing, and the BMP will open in Photoshop. The destination folder is where Photoshop will save the BMP files, which I will delete later.
    3. Choose File > Automate > Crop and Straighten Photos. This will create separate images for each photo in the BMP file (see the photo above). I’ve set this command to be my F10 key. If the photos are too close together or lined up too well on the scanner bed, Photoshop might think they are a single photo, which is why it’s better to place them askew on the scanner bed. In my workflow, I CTRL+TAB to check the images and rotate any images that need it (I have F12 mapped to Rotate 90 degrees clockwise). At this point you can save each image if you’d like, but since I want to scan many more photos, I remove the photos from the scanner, and begin again.
    4. After I have scanned several batches of photos (and Photoshop is filled with windows), it’s time to save the files. Because the cropped/straightened images are not actually saved as files, the Image Processor script I want to use in Step 5 will not work (yet). So, we need to temporarily save all the open images. The easiest way I’ve found is to type CTRL+ALT+W to close all images. In the dialog box, check Apply to All, then Yes. In the next dialog box, select a folder where the individual BMP files will be saved. Then I just hit enter for each subsequent dialog box.
    5. Next, I will save all the BMP files as JPGs. In Photoshop, choose File > Scripts > Image Processor… In the dialog box’s step 1 section, choose the folder where you saved the individual BMPs from Step 4. In the next section, I then to save the processed image into a new folder. Choose any other desired settings, then click Run. I mapped the F11 key to run the Image Processor. You will now have a folder full of JPG images!
    6. Lastly, delete all the BMPs that were created in Step 4 (and step 2 if you wish) and you can start on the next batch.

That’s pretty much the process I have been using and it works well for me. What’s nice is that Photoshop will create new names for each file (and not overwrite). I definitely recommend mapping the keys for the Photoshop menu items. It makes it much quicker!

Here’s my process in a nutshell: Put the photos on the scanner, type F9, Enter, Enter, C, Enter. I wait for the scanner to finish, then hit F10. CTRL+TAB to check the photos and F12 any photos that need rotating. Then I start the next batch of scanning. After I have many open files, I hit CTRL+ALT+W to save and close the files. Then F11 to create the JPG files. Delete the BMP files and begin the next batch. Easy-peasy! I don’t even need to touch the mouse except to delete the BMPs in File Explorer.

I hope this helps out anyone who wants to scan a bunch of snapshots!

Astro-Photography from the Rest Stop

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/2.8, 13 sec, ISO1600
“Stars Above” Deming, 2021

I woke up early from my highway rest stop accommodations, and while packing up, I decided to put the Fujifilm X-E4 on the tripod and point it up at the Milky Way. I am pretty happy with the result that the XF 18-55mm “kit” lens produced (with some editing in Adobe Lightroom). 🌃

Orchid Snapshot

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO160
“Small Orchid” Cedar Park, 2021

I’m impressed with the quality of the Fujinon XF27mm F2.8 R WR lens. The sharpness, bokeh, and color are so much better than the 23mm f/2 lens on my X100T. It’s not quite as good as the Fujinon XF35mm F2 R WR lens in terms of sharpness, color, and focusing, but it’s excellent for a pancake lens.

FYI, the photo of the orchid has the vibrance bumped up a bit, and sharpness enhanced in the center of the top-left orchid.

Cloudlapse with the Fujifilm X-E4

Please enjoy this short cloudlapse that I shot with my Fujifilm X-E4. My first attempt with the new camera! 😀

Using the Fujifilm X-E4 as a Webcam

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/30 sec, ISO3200

I spent a couple of hours setting up my Fujifilm X-E4 to be a webcam so I could use it with Zoom. There are a few ways to do this, including using Fujifilm’s own Fujifilm X Webcam software, but I’ve found the best way to do it is to use the camera’s micro-HDMI connection, a micro-HDMI to HDMI cable, and an inexpensive HDMI to USB capture device. This device plugs into a regular USB-A port on your computer and will appear as another camera option in Zoom or other video conferencing system.

On the camera, there are a few settings I’ve found work the best.

Movie Settings: First, while in Movie Drive Mode, go to the Movie Settings, adjust the Movie Mode to be FHD (29.97P) and the Full HD Movie Output setting to only send the signal to HDMI, and to NOT record to SD card. This will reduce the power consumption and also the heat buildup. I had this set to 4K and recording to SD card as well as outputting to the HDMI port, and the camera shut down after a few minutes because it got too hot. But by switching to lower resolution and not recording to the card, the camera did not come close to overheating.

Also in the Movie Settings, set the HDMI Output Info Display to OFF. This will prevent the on-screen settings from appearing in the HDMI signal.

Focus Settings: I set PRE-AF to ON. This allows the lens to continuously adjust focus. I also set the AF to Eye-Detection AUTO. With the Pre-AF and Eye Detection active, the camera accurately kept my face in focus. I used the Fujifilm XF 18-55mm lens whose focusing is fast and silent, and also allowed me to adjust zoom for easier framing.

As for power, I ran the camera for about 1.5 hours and the battery dropped down to about 50 percent. Unfortunately, the X-E4 will not run directly off the USB-C port’s power, nor charge the battery while the camera is operating. However, you can buy a “dummy battery” which will allow you to plug your camera into the wall outlet. I haven’t tried this out with the X-E4 yet, but I’ve used dummy batteries on previous cameras and they work well.

The reason I am not using the Fujifilm X Webcam software is that I was not able to set the camera to use the Pre-AF while in X-Webcam mode. For some reason, all the software settings and controls were also disabled or greyed-out. I have no idea why, but after trying out other Fujifilm software, including Fujifilm X RAW Studio, PC Image Transfer, and Fujifilm Camera Remove, I’m not confident they know what they’re doing when it comes to software/apps. They never work like you’d expect it to work, disconnections are common, and there are numerous bugs.

Note that these instructions only work on cameras that output a video signal to the HDMI port. For instance, this won’t work with our Fujifilm X100T nor Fujifilm X-T10 because the HDMI ports on those two cameras are only used to output stills. However, I hope this post helps other Fujifilm users who want to set up their later-generation Fujifilm cameras as webcams or video devices.