UKH

Best Slide Scanner

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 Rob Exile Ward 09 Apr 2020

Seeing as I may have quite a bit of time on my hands in the coming weeks, now seems like a good time to think about digitising our slides. Any personal recommendations about the best slide viewer to use? 

 AdrianC 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I had three or four thousand slide to get through so took a deep breath and bought a Reflecta DigitDia 6000.  You can put a 50 slide universal rack in it and leave it chuntering away while you go out climbing.  It wasn't cheap but I figured it was the only way I was going to get the job done.

When it was new I spent a while scanning one slide at a time and reviewing the results to figure out what settings work best but once you've decided on them, it does the job.

If you only want to scan a few slides at high quality then it's not the machine for you.  I'm toying with building a jig with a backlight and simply photographing them for the good ones.

I think you can get an identical-looking machine under other brands, too.

 Jim Lancs 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I think you have to decide what you're trying to achieve: Do you want perfect digital versions of your best slides for prints etc, or do you want quick and easy digital copies of slides to view on screen, etc.

I ended up wanting a combination of both so I have two systems. 

I take a box of slides, clean them and load up into the old Kodak carousel. I then project them as large as possible onto the biggest screen / white wall I have and take a picture of the image with my camera and fast portrait lens set up on a tripod as close to the axis of the projector as possible. I then run the images through some presets in Lightroom to correct for lens distortion, white balance, saturation, etc. The results are quite acceptable and didn't cost anything over what I already owned. It's also very fast taking no more than a minute per slide for all stages.

For photos I really cherish (surprisingly few out of tens of thousands of slides) I have a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000. But it's slow, doesn't particularly like Kodachrome, sensitive to dust, expensive, and slow. 

 Andy Johnson 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I have a Plustek OpticFilm 8200i and I'm very happy with it.

I don't use the bundled SilverFast scanning software though, as I found it to be pretty poor. My recommendation is Vuescan (https://www.hamrick.com/) which is a bit agricultural-looking but very powerful.

 Martin Hore 09 Apr 2020
In reply to AdrianC:

I'm thinking along the same lines - this could be a good opportunity to digitise some of my old slides. I've read good reports of the Reflecta DigitDia - I think the 7000 is the latest. Some people have managed to hire these on-line. 

The thing that always worries me though is how you deal with the slides "popping" in and out of focus. I presume they would be prone to this as with a slide projector. I'm not sure how you would get consistent focus across the whole slide. Was this an issue?

Many thanks

Martin

 Andy Chubb 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

I hired a scanner via Amazon from Germany a couple of years back but they don't seem to be available now via that route. I wanted decent copies of my slides, so wanted to get a top end scanner. The model I used would have cost a lot to buy, and once you've scanned your slides you don't need it any more, so hiring seemed the obvious way to go.

A quick Google suggests you can hire scanners from www.scanexperte.co.uk

I had about three thousand slides to do, so hired for a week. It ended up taking me a couple of extra days, and the company were very reasonable with their charges for late return. Worth thinking about if you go down the rental route

 AdrianC 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

I think it was sometimes but it's a fairly slow process - each slide take s a few minutes to scan so there's time for it to pop.  I came to regard the scanner as a way to get all the slides digitised which then made it easy to go through and decide which ones I wanted to scan more carefully.

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Assuming you have a digital SLR and lots of slides to make it worthwhile, probably the best and quickest way to digitise them is to buy a good macro lens and make a slide copying jig. As long as the illuminating light behind the slide is even and diffused (and the film plane is perfectly aligned), you should get good results. The results I'm getting from my masked-out light box setup and digital camera are better and sharper than from a dedicated film scanner.

 AdrianC 10 Apr 2020
In reply to AllanMac:

That's good to know.  Any top tips for making the jig?

In reply to AdrianC:

One method I use is a daylight balanced light box, which is masked off with black card except for an aperture big enough for a mounted 35mm slide (the mask prevents extraneous light from hitting the lens). I set up a tripod over the light box and try and get the camera as square on to the slide as possible, so it fills the frame as much as possible in the viewfinder or screen. If you have a magnifying focus assist feature on your DSLR, use that at wide aperture to try and get the grain of the film sharp (using manual focus), then stop the lens down to around f8 - f11 for optimum resolution and DOF. Once set up, you can get through lots of slides as long as there's no movement. 

I'm making a jig (nearly finished it) from a length of wood and a square tube made from stiff black card. The camera lens pokes into one end of the tube, and the slide at the other end, held in a makeshift holder (so every slide is in exactly the same position). The length of the tube depends on the distance required for the slide image to fill the frame on the camera. I use the same light box (without the mask) for illumination. At the moment the camera just rests on the wood with card spacers to level it; a bit fiddly but it works ok using a cable release or remote switch, and you take care not to move the setup when changing slides. 

 AdrianC 10 Apr 2020
In reply to AllanMac:

Thanks!  It's on my "things to build" list if I ever get home again.

 Paulhesketh 11 Apr 2020
 Sean Kelly 11 Apr 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Some time ago now, 20 years + got a Mintolta scanner for 35mm, but also inquired about a scanner for my Hasselblad. Crikey  I could have bought a new car cheaper!!


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