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Tranparencies to digital

AlanJ Plus
5 1.0k England
7 Nov 2013 10:48AM
I have a box of old family transparancies and no projector.
I would like, if possible, to digitise the photos so that I can share with the family.
Any tips on scanners and methods?
Thanks in anticipation.


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thewilliam 9 6.1k
7 Nov 2013 11:03AM
You might as well photograph the slides.

We set up a simple jig where the slide was on a light-box and the camera on a sturdy tripod. An "L" shaped strip of thick card taped to the lightbox served to locate the slides and we made sure that every side had the emulsion facing the camera. Our 105 Micro Nikkor gave us life-size with a convenient working distance. We used a cable release to make sure that nothing moved between shots, though it's wise to do a periodic check.

It only takes a couple of minutes to get the first slide right and then you should be able to do about 1000 slides per hour.
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
7 Nov 2013 11:06AM
How many do you have an what quality do you want?
If you have hundreds and want to do it yourself I would suggest a flatbed because you can scan more than one in a session - believe me...dong dozens (let alone hundreds) individually can be soul-destroying! Epson have a range of models to suit different budgets. Flatbeds do do not have an autofocus which means you may have to firtle with spacers to get the scanning tray in just the right position, but the better slide scanners have AF to maximise quality.
Scanning itself is a whole new learning curve for best results so I would think about what it is you want from the output.

If you google 'slide scanning services' you can get them done for as little as 30p a slide and that may be worth the expense - you could send a few to see what quality you get back.
GlennH 13 1.9k 1 France
7 Nov 2013 12:09PM
The problem with photographing transparencies is that it's difficult/impossible to extract shadow detail, especially with high-contrast emulsions like Velvia (which was unforgiving in the first place). I guess it's more doable with Kodachrome. A lot of cheap high-speed 'scanners' are basically boxed compact cameras with a slide holder.

Using a dedicated film scanner though, the task can be monumental—one of the more brain-numbing tasks possible in photography. I reckon it's a good idea to grade your pictures, so at least you get your better slides done before phoning the Samaritans. The ability to automatically remove dust (by ICE, or similar) is useful too - otherwise you can add about three centuries to the project.

The Dmax rating is one thing to look for when buying a scanner. I'm rusty on my specs - I believe Dmax 4.0 is good for Velvia or similar (Kodak EBX - the poor man's version).
cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
7 Nov 2013 12:58PM
The best results I have seen where done with a 35mm slide project projector, The images where shown on a white board, Then snapped with a digital slr, You can't get a perfect position for the projector & camera because ideally they would need to occupy the same place, But if you spend some time setting it up carefully you will hardly notice the slight offset.

No Projector, No Problem, eBay is your friend they are cheap and plentiful, Also very handy for special effects when done with.

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