General Question

srmorgan's avatar

How to scan 35mm slides?

Asked by srmorgan (6735points) April 26th, 2010

We have boxes of 35mm slides taken in the 70’s and 80’s and I would like to digitize some of them. Our slide projector, the one with the carousel,(remember those!) sort of works and I could go through the slides that way to select what I want scanned. But what do I do after that?

You can’t scan a slide directly, the scanner does not enlarge the slide. Our scanner does not have a slide available.

Any ideas?



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8 Answers

cazzie's avatar

there are special scanners for negatives and slides…. Canon…. etc… they have them…

grumpyfish's avatar

There’s pretty good trade on E-bay in slide scanners—e.g.,

What folks do is buy the scanner on e-bay, scan all their stuff, then re-sell on ebay. You can typically get 90–110% of what you paid, assuming nothing broke while you were using it, of course.

Alternately, there are services that will digitize your slides. Most photo labs will do it for you (they generally send it out, but that’s a good way to do it). I’ve scanned slides for clients before. I think I charged around $20 a slide to do the scan & retouch, which is probably far too little, but it included reshooting some of her work & was a new client.

arpinum's avatar

It doesn’t sound like you need these to be done quickly. I would recommend a service such as $0.29 a slide. They can make a much better scan than you would at home. Also, scanning at home is extremely time consuming. If you have tons of time on your hand, pick up a scanner on ebay and see if you have the talent and patience for it. For most people who don’t need a fast turn around, sending it out is a much better deal.

DarkScribe's avatar

I use the Epson V700/750s and they are nearly as good as the drum scans of a few years back. The latest software with them allows for a much increased dynamic range and pretty good scratch and blemish removal. They will auto scan slides, negatives and prints.

jaytkay's avatar

There are several levels of slide scanner.

Below $100, I have never seen a good review and would avoid them.

For $100—$150, a flat bed scanner with built-in slide illumination in the lid can do a very good job. I can recommend the Epson Perfection Photo 4490, and the Epson Perfection V300 Photo gets very good reviews. But, as @arpinum writes, it is very time consuming.

@grumpyfish‘s eBay suggestion looks like a good way to move up, buying used equipment and reselling. You could get a stack feeder, which is much faster than a flat bed.

If all that sounds like fun, go for it. If your eyes are glazing over, sounds like a great deal.

I am slowly scanning a family collection of slides from the 1950s. Here is an example from the Epson Perfection Photo 4490. The original scan is about 5 times bigger, but you can get an idea of the quality. That is from an Epson 4490.

The $500+ scanners like DarkScribe uses will do even better (my original slide has subtle cloud detail which was lost in the scan).

deni's avatar

unless you are going to be using this slide scanner for years and years, then i don’t think it’s worth it to go through the hassle of buying and reselling a scanner. i would just take them somewhere. how many do you have? the photo shop i used to work at charged .75 a slide, plus the cost for the cd we put them on which, unless you have over 150 or 200 slides, was only like 6 bucks i think. but if you have a LOT of slides, it might be worth it just to buy the scanner.

Response moderated
srmorgan's avatar

Thanks to all.

I think “scancafe” is the way for me to go. Their website says that you can submit what you wish and then not accept up to half of them if you don’t like what they have done.

For what we have, especially if I cull the quantity a bit, outsourcing is the way to go.


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