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Slide/Negative Scanning in 2007



9:43 pm on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

The topic of slide and/or negative scanning comes up here periodically. There was a good discussion a few years ago - [webmasterworld.com...] - at which time slide scans were costing several dollars each (at least). Now I'm seeing prices for basic scans of well under $.50 each.

I'm sure many of us here spent part of our lives in the pre-digital camera world and have a collection of 35mm slides or negatives tucked away in a closet. I know that I have quite a few of both, and I think the time has come to digitize these.

So, for those of you who have been through this process, what do I need to look for in a service? These are mostly family and travel photos and the like - they aren't going to be used for magazine reproduction - but I don't want to end up with lousy scans, either.

It looks like most services offer common scan resolutions of 2000, 3000, and 4000 dpi. What with typical grain on 35mm film, is it even worth considering 4000 dpi?

The other variations are the level of image processing. At a minimum, most offer automated ICE dust and scratch removal and image rotation. Some offer more sophisticated automated and manual image corrections (for an additional price).

I'm looking at mass conversion - thousands of images - so I imagine I'm looking at a lower-end service. If I have any individual images that I want to publish, I'd probably re-scan them myself or use a higher end service. I just want to avoid looking at these a few years down the road and thinking I should have them all scanned again.

Any suggestions for the best way to shop for this kind of service, and what I should look for in terms of resolution and image tweaking? Any pitfalls to avoid?


1:07 pm on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

As a ex-scanner operator, I'll say so many have gotten into the game in the last 10 years it may be difficult to separate the low from the mid end. On the other hand, CCD scanners have really come up in quality.

One thing still remains true, you will never get as good a quality out of a transparency as you will with a drum scanner. The levels of tone you will get from a laser-powered drum scanner will far exceed any multi-pass CCD units. This is especially true working with 35mm.

Scanning houses and larger printers have tried to stay in competition so on a quantity like that you may get a break. The deal is you load up from 20-50 slides on a drum for each session. If you can afford it at all, this is the way to go. Start with big printers in your area, ask them for references.

If someone has Dainipon Screen or Scitex scanners in house, well, that would be good. :-D


1:29 pm on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

A word of caution...

High end scanners will produce a "high end" scan. Any imperfections in your photography will usually be greatly enhanced and need to be edited in Photoshop or other image editing software.

I'd call the local camera shop and see what they have available. When it comes to basic consumer level photo archiving, you may not need the "greatly enhanced" quality of a high end scan.


7:10 pm on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm 39 and we have literally hundreds of 35mm slides from my childhood and earlier. My parents recently purchased a slide scanner and have begun the arduous task of converting these to digital format. if you're using these for personal use and have a significant number - I don't know the cost but based upon the quality I've seen I'd not pay someone to do it if the costs would allow me to scan them on my own with my own equipment.

As it stands - we scan in bunches and when we get caught up - scan some more.

Just my thoughts based on recent experience.


10:44 pm on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Arduous task is right! I've got a flatbed Epson capable of scanning transparencies and negatives, but the whole process is incredibly time consuming. It's fine if you need one or two scans, but way too tedious for big batches.

Then again, Frapster, maybe I can outsource the job to your parents after they catch up on their own photos... ;)

Would it be worth investing in true slide scanner where I could load a stack in and scan them automatically? And do those devices have a way of handling negative strips?


11:13 am on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

i have seen a sub $500 model that will self-advance film strips or rolls between scans.
i haven't seen anything yet that will autofeed slides.

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