Converting 35mm slides to digital

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  • #15610
    AvatarJohn Hutch
    Participant

    I’d like to be able to offer a slide show on a 1985 Karakoram expedition, but I’ve never found out how to convert the slides. Anyone done it successfully? Are there pitfalls? Will only some convert properly? Are some commercial operators better than others? Any advice/experience appreciated. Cheers.

    #15611
    AvatarSteve Leather
    Participant

    John

    I’ve scanned thousands of slides and negatives using my own scanner (plustek) over the last 10 years. Most things can be scanned although very contrasty slides are difficult.

    I’ve also used commercial services but with the number I wanted to scan the cost would have been prohibitive. The person I used has since retired I’m afraid so couldn’t make a recommendation. However, look for one who uses a drum scanner; they are by far the best.

    How many films have you got to scan?

    Steve

    #15612
    John BarnardJohn Barnard
    Participant

    A year or so ago I died a bit of Googling to find companies that provided a slide scanning service, though in fact I still haven’t got round to sorting out slides to be scanned, so I can’t comment on quality, and I didn’t note which ones used drum scanners as recommended by Steve. At that time prices seemed to range between 15p and 80p per slide, depending on company and resolution required. Among the companies I looked at were:
    pixave.co.uk
    slide-scanner.co.uk
    Mr Scan
    piciscan

    I’d certainly be interested in any comments or experience with any of these.

    JB

    #15613
    AvatarJohn Hutch
    Participant

    Thanks Steve and John. I’ll continue to research – and had better start digging my slides out of the attic! I’ve probably got 500 or more, plus many more negatives/prints, but I won’t be bothering to convert all of them.
    Thanks too to Gordon Riley who recommends Max Spielman, and Pete Hammond who’s used Treasured Memories in Leeds.

    #15617
    AvatarSteve Leather
    Participant

    I found this review/thread about scanning services; https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3354397

    One mentioned is Peak Imaging, who are in Sheffield. I’ve used them for printing for years – they’re very good and serve the professional market.

    #15618
    AvatarRuss Clare
    Participant

    John, one more post for the pot,

    Like Steve, I have done a lot of scanning over the years. I have a couple of Nikon dedicated 35mm scanners, and if I lived somewhere sensible like Sheffield you would be very welcome to borrow one but that’s not the case.

    Other than using a commercial service (expensive) I have one suggestion.

    Do you have, or have access to, a good quality flat-bed scanner offering high res. scans? This will not produce results that match a dedicated slide scanner, but could be satisfactory for a slide show. If you follow that route, I’d recommend you drive your scanner with VueScan https://www.hamrick.com/purchase-vuescan.html. This is third party software with a USP of reverse engineering the drivers of scanners no longer supported by today’s operating systems, but is quite likely to be better and easier to use than software that comes with a modern scanner, especially for slides. For slides, you would need the professional version, available now at £60.00 (with free upgrades thereafter).

    A commercial service should provide a projection / publication ready product. Sadly, that’s rarely the case if you do it yourself – a flat response is more likely, which will need corrections for colour, contrast, shadow detail etc. To some extent, you can do this on your scanner’s preview screen, but imaging software will give better results – Adobe Lightroom and/or Photoshop are market leaders for good reason, but require a monthly subscription these days. Apart from the expense, all such post-processing can be very time consuming.

    And now I’ve thought of two more options.

    If you have, or have access to, a slide projector, you could use a digital camera to photograph a projected image. Alternatively, place a slide on a lightbox (or some other ad hoc arrangement that gives an even light source), and use the macro settings on a digital camera/lens to photograph the illuminated image (camera will need to be on a tripod). No guarantees (you’d have to experiment) but I think these two options are the least expensive and most convenient ways of providing images suitable for a club slide show.
    HTH
    Russ

    #15619
    AvatarJohn Hutch
    Participant

    Thanks Steve and Russ. Loads of options to explore now!
    Yes, I’d wondered about digitally photographing projected images. I’ll have a play.
    Many thanks to all the responders 👍

    #15620
    AvatarJohn Hutch
    Participant

    Thanks Steve and Russ. Loads of options to explore now!
    Yes, I’d wondered about digitally photographing projected images. I’ll have a play.
    Many thanks to all the responders 👍

    #15621
    AvatarChris Huxham
    Participant

    Hi John (and all)

    I hope this is still useful on top of all the other replies. I actually wrote it before most of them came in but had a problem sending it.

    I have scanned every 35mm slide in the house. Finishing this task was a lockdown project. It’s a great relief, if a bit nerve-racking, to have put the originals in the bin.

    I used an ION Slides Forever 35mm Slide and negative scanner with rapid slide feeder currently selling on Amazon for £45.99 (https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Resolution-Scanner-converts-Negative-Supports/dp/B07GB43Q79/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1GH0UQKCCTX7W&dchild=1&keywords=ion+slides+forever+film+and+slide+scanner&qid=1593770125&quartzVehicle=88-1161&replacementKeywords=slides+forever+film+and+slide+scanner&sprefix=ion+slides+f%2Caps%2C172&sr=8-4)

    It’s easy to use in principle and reasonably fast but the effectiveness of the feeder depends on the type of slide mount. The cardboard ones from Kodak tended to be the most uncooperative and often had to be fed in individually. Most of the plastic ones went through in batches of 12 very smoothly.

    The main problems I encountered were (1) despite having been kept either in double layer cardboard-covered cassettes or their original boxes they were mostly very dirty and (2) many of them had faded. I am not sure if (1) is a common problem or just a function of where mine had been stored, but I understand that (2) is a function of the grade of film used. My brother remembers that our father’s early slides (from the 1960s) were detectably fading within a few years.

    I am keeping most of them as reminders of past experiences so this doesn’t really matter. I managed to clean up the few that I really wanted to have in good condition by a combination of cleaning the original as best I could and then enhancing digitally.

    Hope this helps. Good luck

    Chris

    #15622
    AvatarPat Cocks
    Participant

    Hi John,
    All my photos for my Desert Island slideshow were scanned slides, and at the time, my Minolta slide scanner was working well. Alas, it has since “kicked the bucket”, so I am busy researching replacement options. There aren’t many that give the required quality at a sensible price! Around £80 to £150 might get you a compact and quick “converter”, otherwise it seems £450 to £1,000+ for “top” quality.

    Good luck in your search!

    Martin Whitaker.

    #15623
    AvatarJohn Hutch
    Participant

    Yet more options! Thanks Chris and Martin.

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