I Dare You!

by peter_budo

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I'm looking to scan several thousand old 35mm slides for historical archiving. I've got an old Canon CanoScan flatbed scanner that has the ability to scan slides specifically but its a tad slow and i've lost the piece that holds the slides together.

I recently bought a couple of smaller dedicated slide scanners similar to this but the results are terrible as the lighting is not even, sections are left dark around the edges and the centre is over exposed. In addition, none of them seem to be getting the colour quite right so its producing off-colour images which i then need to correct by hand.

Obviously this isn't going to be a good way to get through about 1000-2000 images so i'm looking for a solution where i'd be happy to spend a few hundred dollars to get this done properly.

The key criteria:

  • Fast scanning
  • Accurate Colour Reproduction without having to post process
  • Even lighting of the image
  • Preferably no more than $500 USD cost (willing to consider other options if absolutely necessary

I've seen a few threads here discussing sending slides to companies like ScanCafe which I guess I'd consider doing if price becomes an issue.

I've also seen information on making 'scanning' setups using DSLRs and a light source, i approve of the hacked up nature of this however it seems like A) you need a macro lens and B) it takes a long time to do.

Hopefully someone can help me :)

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Since the light source for all of the slides is the same, have you tried creating a template and batch processing? You should need the same correction for each one unless there is an "auto correction" going on. If that is the case, maybe there is a way to turn off the "auto correction". There is another possibility. Back in the "good-old-days", we accepted a little wider variation in color. There were only a limited number of temperatures film was available in, and only so many standard corrective filters. With digital we are now used to custom WB and adjusting K in 100 degree increments. –  Michael Clark Feb 7 '13 at 6:10
What kind of speed are you looking for? My experience with a Nikon CoolScan IV ED is that it gives good results but that it is slow going. Several minutes per slide means you just have to take your time. Advantage this scanner has over a setup with a DSLR is that the scanner removes a lot of imperfections (dust, scratches) automatically. –  Rene Feb 7 '13 at 7:57
possible duplicate of What's the best way to scan in hundreds of pictures? –  mattdm Feb 7 '13 at 12:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Fast scanning + Accurate Colour Reproduction without having to post process + Even lighting of the image + $500 USD = :-) ...you must be dreaming, :-) depending of course on what you mean by 'speed' (the main problem) and 'accuracy'.

The real option here is Imacon. You have some cheaper solutions in Ken Rockwell's How to Scan Your 3,000 Slide Archive . Also, be sure to read, check, understand and the comparisons and reviews here: Film scanner test reports.

OTOH, scanning slides is a lot of work and you must be careful to do it properly. Perhaps considering to give the slides to a trusty scanning service would be the way to go.

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+1 for using a "trusty scanning service". ScanCafe has given me great results. –  Dave Nelson Feb 7 '13 at 13:53
That link to filmscanner.info is double useful as it's also a german scanning service :-) –  Martin Jul 4 '13 at 12:48

Having the same problem, I was thinking of buying a macro lens for my DSLR, making a simple device to hold the slide against a properly illuminated background and shooting with the remote control of the camera. This device should be a "drop-pick" type, where the slide does not need any enclosure, locking or adjustment. Once the tests are done, I hope I can "scan" my slides at an average rate of one in two seconds, directly to JPEG, with no need for post-processing. Although this solution may not yield the same quality as a flat-bed scanner, it may satisfy all your requirements for archiving.

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