I'm using an ancient Microtek Scanmaker II which I bought used last year from a local pornographer who was running an adult BBS but then he decided to move to Florida. It has 300x300 dpi resolution which can be interpolated (under software) to 600x600, but since the computer screen can't display beyond 75 dpi that's pretty much overkill for making GIFs.
One major flaw: the internal optical path has about 36 quarter-inch "air vents", which permits heavy-duty dust buildup on the inside of the glass scanning surface! This was a common flaw in most of the early generations of scanners. More recent units have that part of the device "fully encapsulated" to keep dust out.
I also have a transparency scanning attachment; but it cannot handle 35mm slides (or even 2.25" in color, although I get half-way decent greyscale images from my b&w negs in this format). I'm seriously thinking of investing in a slide scanner; in addition to the 1500 3.5x5 prints I've got to scan, there's also about 2,000 slides. (All this scanning is being done for a friend who plans to publish a CD-ROM of images of minerals from the Franklin, NJ area).
Editing is performed under Photoshop, a fairly solid image editing package. Make sure its the FULL Photoshop package if its bundled with the scanner, not the Limited Edition (LE) version. Photoshop allows me a "cheat" a bit by editing out extraneous image (in the case of these photos, the styrafoam bases they were glued to) as well as compensate for color imbalances in the lab work (in this case, they printed the Mimetite photos way towards the yellow, and I had to add a bit of orange).
Original photography is done with a beat-up old Konica with a bellows and whatever oddball lenses I have around, preferably reversed. The images MIMET.GIF and SILVER.GIF were a bit fuzzy because I was experimenting with a rather junky 135mm lens unreversed on a bellows... which gave a working distance slightly longer than I could reach.
All lighting is presently by electronic flash, with reflector cards (white photomounting boards) to keep the flash from creating too contrasty an image.
Rocks from D. E. Russell's Collection
Index of Specimen Images
Table of Contents