Save 69% on inPixio Photo Studio 10 Ultimate

Digitizing 35mm slides, advice please

bigjohna 11 22 Scotland
10 Jan 2014 12:22PM

I am looking to digitize all my old (10 to 20years) 35mm slides. I am wondering what my best option is. I have read reviews of folk who have sent them away to be done and have been disappointed with the results and the price. I am thinking of buying my own kit to allow me to do this but a lot of the hardware available gets bad reviews. I want something that will do a very good job. The best product I have come across seems to be a piece of kit by Wolverine but only seems to be available form the USA, which incurs extra postage and tax costs. So I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions experiences they could share. Thank you!

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

Geoffphoto 14 13.5k United Kingdom
10 Jan 2014 12:33PM
You could do no worse that to look at something like this , I use one and the results are fine (and not too expensive !)

adrian_w Plus
12 3.8k 4 England
10 Jan 2014 12:50PM
Check out the Epson Perfection range of scanners. Good quality at reasonable prices.
You can get bulk loading scanners that take 50 at a time if you have a lot to do but they are expensive.
GlennH 15 1.9k 1 France
10 Jan 2014 1:07PM
Cheap film scanners are often not, strictly speaking, scanners at all, though for the sake of convenience and SEO they're labelled that way. Really they're the same as a slide-holder with a cheap camera thrown in for good measure.

Not that I'm necessarily advising against them - 'proper' film scanning is an arduous, long-winded process when you try to extract maximum quality. You'll quickly be contemplating your mortality. The cheap units will give you a 'scan' in the time it takes to release a shutter.

One of the problems with these cheap scanners, however, is their inherent inability to extract shadow detail in denser slide films like Velvia. This is difficult enough with more expensive, dedicated film scanners - becomes impossible if you're just photographing slides.
wsteffey 13 13 United States
10 Jan 2014 2:58PM
I have an old Canon scanner with a detachable film holder meant for negatives and slides. The important thing is to hold the negative or slide absolutely flat, something that is difficult to do without the film holder. My negatives were no problem, and i was able to scan directly into PSE Elements and convert the negative image into a positive for editing. I could not get good results with the slides until I removed them from the cardboard or plastic frames, then there was no problem. Most of the slides needed only a white balance adjustment, then 40 year old slides looked as if I had taken them yesterday. Cropping and perhaps a little cloning was all that was often needed. The results look great electronically, but large prints, not so much. The film holder is the critical piece of hardware, after that even a common scanner will do nicely. My film holder will allow me to scan 6 negatives or slides at a time, but it is still time consuming. I found myself selecting only 20% more or less for scanning, the rest were just not worth the effort. Before I had the film holder I got decent results covering the slide or negative with a pane of glass before lowering the cover, the glass helped keep the film flat.

YES. YES, YES. the effort is worth it if you or family/friends value your old photos
duratorque 17 427 United Kingdom
10 Jan 2014 3:46PM
Rather than scanning, I came across this article. An alternative to scanning.
bigjohna 11 22 Scotland
10 Jan 2014 3:47PM
Thanks guys, food for thought there. A quick question: In general, would a flat bed scanner be a better option than the "Reflecta" type scanner for scanning processed 35mm sldies ? I guess there are pros and cons to both but as a guide which would give me the best results, in your opinion.
Niknut Plus
10 2.6k 82 United Kingdom
10 Jan 2014 4:11PM
I use an Epson Perfection 500 flatbed covers 35mm slides & negatives, & has an A4 bed for copying prints etc.

I thoroughly recommend this piece of kit !!.....the slide copies are incredibly sharp, & needs some photoshopping afterwards
to eliminate any dust, hairs, scratches etc., even the grain shows up in high iso films.....

I found mine on line, as a 'shop-soiled' item, for 100, & it's superb.....don't know whether they still make the '500', but a bit
of market research should find you one, or perhaps a more up to date version ??

I've no experience of other 'slide-copiers', but the Epson ones are very versatile !
mikehit 10 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
10 Jan 2014 4:18PM
How many slides do you have? If you have several hundred, scanning one at a time (like with the Reflecta) can be soul destroying which is where flatbeds have an advantage because you can set up anywhere from 4 to 12 and leave the machine to it. But the quality you need will (as always) depend on what you want to do with them (view on ipad, computer screen or TV, print etc),

You can have slides scanned for 20p or less, and although I have not seen the Reflecta in action, it cannot be any worse, especially if they are simply as a record and once you have them back you can send good ones for high-res scanning if you want to print etc.
GlennH 15 1.9k 1 France
10 Jan 2014 4:38PM
The Reflecta has a 1-second scanning speed, so if you feed it at a robotic pace there'd be little to beat it for rapidity. For quality, a dedicated 35mm film scanner is going to be better than a flatbed, but the task takes on gargantuan proportions if you have a few thousand slides.
mikehit 10 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
10 Jan 2014 5:41PM
If the Reflects scans in one second I fail to see how the image can have any useful quality. There is countless information about how scanner companies massage the 'dpi' definition so i very much doubt it is 1800dpi and the 5MP image leads me to conclude this is the case.

You could have over 300 slides scanned commercially for that price and probably at a bettre quality.
GlennH 15 1.9k 1 France
10 Jan 2014 6:08PM
As I mentioned before, it's not a proper scanner - it's a cheap camera and film holder rolled into one. But that's not a great marketing angle.
Geoffphoto 14 13.5k United Kingdom
10 Jan 2014 7:48PM
I only was trying to be helpful to the OP, of course you get what you pay for, I also used to use a Nikon Coolscan IV ( but it won't work with my Macs anymore as the software is out of date, Thanks Nikon !! ) Smile
colin beeley Plus
17 1.2k 10 England
10 Jan 2014 8:18PM
bigjohna 11 22 Scotland
12 Jan 2014 10:38PM

So a flat bed scanner, a stand alone scanner or a slide duplicator? I guess I have a bout 1000 to 1500 to scan. I want to save them as JPEGS on my PC and view them on the PC and TV but I also want to make photo books out of some, so I want decent quality and I want to be able to post process in Elemnets 7. So either want to copy direct to lap top or to an SD card. I am correct in thinking that a duplicator would give me the best quality, then a stan alone copier, then a flat bed scanner, or is there really very little difference between the three?

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.