I have several hundred slides that I want to scan by buying a 14 or 20 megapixel scanner online. I’ve seen them for about $100-$150 but what I have not been able to confirm is what with the quality of the prints will be of the slides I scanned using $100-$150 scanner. Anyone have any experience with any of these as it relates to printing 8x10’s that they scanned?

Jumbl 22MP All-In-1 Film & Slide Scanner Ivation 22MP Digital Film Scanner Wolverine Titan 8-in-1 High Resolution Film to Digital Thanks

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why not let a scanning service do the work for you? Professional quality, and you don't have to worry about the quality of a cheap used scanner. \$\endgroup\$
    – JPhi1618
    Jan 16, 2018 at 22:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ditto the service. I have an Epson V850 that I bought specifically to move my film to digital until I can rebuild the darkroom. Scanning and prepping an image for print is extremely time consuming. If you're going to continue to shoot film and scan, invest in a good scanner. Otherwise, send it off to the pros and be done with it. \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Jan 16, 2018 at 23:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks guys. The slides I have are 50+ years old but they’re great quality. The reason I don’t want to use a service is because I have the time and I have hundreds of slides and I don’t want to spend $1.50 per which was the quote I got so I ask again if anyone has experience printing slides from the scanners I mentioned. Thx \$\endgroup\$
    – Waubeeka
    Jan 18, 2018 at 3:59

2 Answers 2


It all depends on what you expect in terms of quality.

Most flatbed scanners are consistently bad (I've tried a few, even my Epson V700 is quite soft, useless for 35mm). You can expect multi-function scanner/printers to be even worse.

All of the manufacturers advertise resolutions that are far from what they can actually deliver. Epson's supposed 6400dpi is really close to 2400

On top of that, scanning is painfully slow if you use the highest resolution settings.

The dynamic range of flatbed scanners is not great either. You can expect blotchy shadows and clipped highlights, specially if you scan Kodachrome film, that has a much higher density.

If you were to spend a bit more money on a dedicated film scanner like the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i you can get a very decent scan with proper dynamic range and a much better resolution (about 3200 dpi, still not the 7200dpi advertised by the manufacturer, but decent enough to get the resolution of the original film). Be advised that scanning in such a device will be very slow, about 9 minutes in the highest quality settings.

I would spend that money on a good setup to re-photograph the slides. Get a 100mm macro lens. Use on a camera that can shoot RAW at whatever megapixels you need. Get also a copy stand, a decent light box and several cans of compressed air to blow the dust away from the slides.

Take your time to set it up and focus correctly and you will be able to digitize images in a fraction of a second (If you have hundreds of slides you will be able to scan all of them within your lifetime). Tethering the camera to a computer will make things easier. The benefits of this setup is that you will be capturing all of the dynamic range of the film, and you will end up with digitized images in a file with enough bit depth and plenty of information to do color correction and retouching later.

If you find a few stellar photos in your collection, it might be worth scanning those with a professional service. You'll see the difference.

  • \$\begingroup\$ On Amazon, I see a great number of film scanners in the $100-150 and even sub-$100 range. For example, this one. How would this compare to the flatbed option or to a more expensive film scanner? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Jan 18, 2018 at 21:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm too cheap to be good in my experience. Compare with Reflecta scanners. \$\endgroup\$
    – FarO
    Feb 16, 2018 at 14:01

Using a photo lab that has an expensive film scanner $30k an up will do the best job and capture more detail than any cheap home scanner. I've played with and tested lots of scanners and nothing compares to the photo lab I use. Home scanners are not as sharp, have high contrast, scan slow, don't have adjustment controls, and scans can be dusty or have scanner lines (from dust on the lens). Even higher end flatbed scanners with a transparency unit.

The next best thing to do is to shoot the slides. Build a stand or get one on ebay (search: copy stand). You can use your iPad or tablet (some kind of flashlight app may be needed) to light up the unit all white. Then zoom in and shoot away. They also make led light boxes.

I've also seen some adapters for cameras that have a slide view attachment for cameras.


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