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How to convert to digital your old slides

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Mercurio, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. Mercurio

    Mercurio Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2012
    Bogotá, Colombia
    As an Olympus fan since many years ago, I used an OM-1, 2n and 4 to make hundreds of slides from my trips, architecture and city scapes, some of them "jewels" as "historic" documents of the evolution of some places.

    I have been searching for an affordable and practical way to convert to digital those images. I have read about using a digital camera to copy the original slides, with some slide copiers but they require a FF camera. I haven´t found the right combination for my OM-D and I wonder if the new 60mm f/2.8 macro, with some sort of slide holder and a flash will work for that purpose.

    On the other hand, I will like to know how the old slide photographers are doing to bring to a new life their precious images. In my country, sending the slides to a service bureau to do the job is not an option.

    Many thanks in advance. :smile:
  2. Geoff3DMN

    Geoff3DMN Mu-43 Veteran

    I've been using a slide scanner to convert our old family slide collection, maybe you can find something similar where you are?

    Qpix Film Photo Slide Scanner at $178.00 in Photo Scanners
  3. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    A scanner and a dust blower are your best option. A good setup can be had for about $100-$200us. As long as you're talking 35mm to 120.
  4. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    It really depends on what you want to do with the scans. The quality you'll get from the $100 to $200 flat bed scanners is seriously limited. A dedicated slide scanner will give much better results if you want to decent sized prints or monitor displays, especially if you want to crop at all.

    I don't know what "affordable" means to you, nor how you value your time. If you have a relatively small number, or limited time, you might want to try a scanning service. Scanning hundreds of slides, making sure they're clean, removing dust after the fact in post processing, can take a huge amount of time. I've used these guys:

    Photo Scanning Services: Pictures, Slides, Negatives to Digital - ScanDigital

    And been pretty happy with the results. Actually, the first set of scans was awful, but when I complained they redid them at no cost, and the second set was good.

    This guy: Home -

    also does slide to digital, using a DSLR. I haven't tried him yet, but am considering it.

    There are zoom slide duplicators, but I don't know if any would work on an m43 camera or not.
  5. Mercurio

    Mercurio Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2012
    Bogotá, Colombia
    • Like Like x 4
  6. IcemanYVR

    IcemanYVR Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 16, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks for the link... have you tried this yet. If you do, please let us know how it works out. I have thousands of slides that need scanning, not necessarily at drum scanning quality as those have already been done.
  7. f6cvalkyrie

    f6cvalkyrie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 12, 2010
    Brussels, Belgium
    I've have "copied" recently a few slides from the 70ties with a very basic setup.
    Window facing north, cloudy day, a sheet of light, white paper taped to the inside of the window, a square drawn on the paper, and the mounted slides taped into the square.

    On the camera side : OM-D with 105/2.8 Micro-Nikkor on tripod positioned for the image to fill the frame as fully as possible (not very critical)

    and SHOOOOOOOT !

    The results were good enough for my needs. Some cleaning needs of course to be done, I prefer to it in PP rather than risking to scratch the originals ....

    C U,

    BTW, I have used a similar setup to copy small prints from the same period, using the outside of the window ...
  8. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    I am in the middle of converting 2000 slides to digital. I have found that Opteka slide copier is a good solution my setup consists on Opteka slide copier attached to OM 50mm F1.8. I use a flash bounced from a white wall for lightning.

    Opteka HD2 Slide Copier Duplicator for 72mm Camera New | eBay

    I crop and post process LR. It makes wonders in reconstructing color and removing noise from old photos.

    The picture bellow is an example before cropping and post processing.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  9. red

    red Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 21, 2010
    old slides

    [ Matterhorn - Switzerland 1960 ]

    I use an Epson V700 Photo scanner together with VueScan 9 software. It's slow but with the two pass scanning (infrared and normal light) it's easy to remove some dirt and dust easily. I'm using the scanner for much more tasks - so I'm not sure if this is the perfect solution only for slides...
  10. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    What camera / lens are you using this with?
  11. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    I am using the Panasonic G2 the lens is a legacy Olympus OM 50mm f1.8 connected with a cheep Ebay OM to :43: adapter. You can use any 50mm legacy lens for this project they are cheap, I had it from an old camera.
    I use the legacy lens because you need a 100mm uncropped lens for the adapter and the P45-200 did not focus. The kit also includes a x10 macro filter that I use for limited macro.

    The process is very quick. I focus the lens at a open aperture then set it to f16 for DOF. I insert slides to the copier and take photos. I can copy 50 slides in about 15 minutes. The limiting factor is the flash recharge and cleaning of the slides.

    The product is also sold under the bower name, you need to pay attention to the filter size when you get it. If it does not fit you can always get a conversion ring for 1$.

    Bower HD² Slide Copier Duplicator for Canon PowerShot S5 S3 S2 Is | eBay
    • Like Like x 1
  12. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Thanks elavon. I have a 50mm Canon with adapter, so I think I'll give one of those a try. It's cheap enough.
  13. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sorry I don't have any answers for you so this really is not any help to you OP, but this topic has got me thinking. So if anyone reading this does not feel like reading my little story and thoughts you can stop now.. :D 

    I have a friend whose father use to take slide photographs of everything while he and his siblings were growing up. When he sent them out to be processed he would pay to have them returned, boxed, in a carrousel holder so he can just pop it on the projector and watch them with the whole family. Now his parents are retired and his father has permanently set up a projector and screen in a spare room so he can view the slides whenever he wants. Services are expensive and despite his kids buying him a slide scanner for Christmas one year, he doesn't want to waist hours and days of his time scanning, especially since hes not the most computer savvy. I asked once how many slides there are and his father says he has at least 200 boxes of carrousels. That is allot of slides.
    I often see many people asking this question like you, about an easy way to scan them. The problem is that most slide scanners only hold a few slides at a time requiring the person attend the process constantly during scanning. I am thinking that maybe its time someone invent a slide scanner that either lets you load a carousel or a stack of 50 slides or more, so you can just press go and come back later and hardly have to attend to them, or at least not for 30 or so minutes at a time.

    I wonder would there me a market for such a device?
    I also contemplated someone making a camera attachment that lets you attach a camera to a slide projector and you can just go through the slides that way and take a picture of the ones you like
  14. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    While looking for a solution for my slide scanning project I saw a converted home made slide projector. It consists on a P&S camera attached to a modified slide projector. The all device looked quite weird and cumbersome.
  15. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    They exist. But they're either very cheap optically, or very expensive:

    slide scanners| B&H Photo Video

    Most of these devices are no longer made. The demand apparently isn't there any more. Nikon used to make a couple of scanners that would accept a bulk-feed adapter. Those adapters, used, if you can find one, sell for 4 or more times what they cost new.

    That's an interesting idea. I might have to play with my projector and camera and see what I can come up with.
  16. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Look here for an excellent direction to photograph slides. I've done quite a lot of slides with a dedicated film scanner, the Canon FS4000, and while the quality is excellent the process is very slow. It takes 45 minutes to scan 4 slides when I include the infrared dust removal which is quite effective and much needed in most cases.

    At this moment I'm experimenting with a Panasonic GH2 in conjunction with a PL45/2.8 and the Nikon ES-1 slide holder to copy the slides. As noted on the website the extension of the ES-1 is not sufficient; I was very lucky in that my cheap lens hood (off eBay) offered just the right extension amount and converted from 46mm to 52mm front filter thread at the same time! Sharpness is quite good, even for slightly curved slides, but not as good as from the scanner. The PL45/2.8 at f/9 delivers the best results, better than either the Micro-Nikkor 55/3.5 or Minolta MD Macro 50/3.5. Throughput is of course much higher, I can do a 50-slide carrier in an hour and that's not even pushing it. The softer light of the photographic process suppresses dust and scratches a lot better than in the scanner, so just blasting dust away before inserting the slide is fine. I'm using halogen lighting, an Ikea 50 W desktop lamp. Sorry, no pics of the setup yet, if wanted I will make some.

    The catch here is the post-processing: I'm still struggling to get the colours and white balance to my liking. Really can't say now if that's going to work, in the coming days I'm going to scan a batch and then compare them to the results from the copy setup. To be continued...
    • Like Like x 1
  17. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    One of the reasons I use flash is to have a controlled white balance. I apply the white balance while importing the RAW into LR. Some old slides have faded for those slides playing with WB and color cast in LR brings some of the color back. In any case slides from the 70s kept most of the original color while older slides have faded or got color cast. One batch of slides had yellowed due to the polymer I have succeed to remove this cast quite effectively using LR white balance. With old slides most of the time consuming work is done in LR, scanning time is minor.
    • Like Like x 1
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