Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by nuclearboy, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011

    I assume someone out there has worked with converting slides to digital photographs and I wanted to get some opinions. I recently came across a few boxes of slides from my deceased parents home and wanted to convert to digital for sharing with some of the rest of my family.

    Does anyone have a recommendation. I am not looking for perfection but would like to know if there is an efficient method or device that someone has used for scanning slides that had decent quality and is easy to use.
  2. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    Unless your quality standards are low and/or you definition of "efficient" isn't to strict you'll find that there is no such method. There is no way to easily and efficiently get decent results. Good results will require a reasonable amount of effort.

    That said, there are two general approaches that lead to good results:

    1. Scanner - There are a number of decent to excellent scanners available. For decent results, the least expensive will be around $200USD. There are a number of quick-and-dirty sub-$100USD devices sold, but their results are rather marginal. They are, perhaps, adequate for modest sized web display and emailing, but little else.

    Scanners fall into two groups. There are multi-use flatbed scanners (e.g. Epson V600, Epson V700, ...) that can do very good work. There are also dedicated film scanners that do only film. At the highest end, the dedicated film scanners do the best. At the lower end there is little difference. The flatbeds have the secondary advantage of being able to handle a wider range of film sizes than most dedicated film scanners.

    2. "Slide copier" rig - This basically a (pseudo) macro lens attached to a high end digital camera with some method of holding the film/slide accurately parallel to the sensor and some uniform diffuse light source. There are commercial units sold though equally good and often better results can be had with a simply copy stand setup in a totally darkened room. If going the latter route you need to make sure that there are no reflections on the face of the slide.

    Any m43 body would do fine, though accurate focusing is rather difficult with many rear-lcd-only models. A macro lens that will focus to 1/2 life size will work well. There are many adapted 50-60mm "macros" that will do the job well.​

    The easiest and least labor intensive will be a scanner. A flatbed with a film carrier like the Epsons mentioned can do small batches in a single operation and their auto adjustment abilities are rather good.

    Unlike scanners with their dedicated software, the "slide-copier" approach is relatively easy only when duping B&W film or color slides and transparencies. It is a difficult chore to manually invert and adjust the results from color negatives. Most modern dedicated scanning software handles color negs easily.

    If you only have a small number of slides investing in special hardware (e.g. scanner) might be somewhat extravagant, even at a modest $200USD. You might find going the slide copier route with an adapted legacy macro a better choice. It will cost about the same, or slightly more, to acquire the equipment but it leaves you with gear that you might find more useful after the "scanning" chore is over.

    Regardless of which approach to take to digitalizing you images you find that there will need to be a good bit of image editing to be done. Any scan will have flaws (dust, dirt, ...) and scans of "old family slides and negs" are generally grungy. I've scanned well over 1000 family images (slides, negative, and prints) for my personal collection (not to mention the scanning I do professionally) and generally find that each image requires 5-10 minutes of Photoshop work to get reasonably clean. I do tend to be picky with most of the images and many take me hours to get pristine (a fungus ridden 60 year old Kodachrome slide of my mom at her wedding to me around 6-8 hours to restore!).
  3. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    In your situation, I would probably look for a service to do the scanning for me. I've done scans of old slides myself, and it is tedious, labor-intensive work. I've seen services that will do it for $ 0.29 a slide, and if I had a box of old slides, that would look like a pretty good deal to me. I can't speak for the results, but if you are looking for just "OK" for family photo books and the like, they may be worth trying out.
  4. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    Good Advice from both of you guys here. I will continue to look around and weigh my options.

    I definitely don't have time for 5-10 minutes per slide but also don't want to buy some cheap scanning device that will create unfocused poor quality images from the slides.

    Ideally I will find a reasonably priced scanner for the purpose that has good ratings. If this is not practical or affordable, I will consider a service as noted.
  5. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    I use Opteka copier mounted on OM 50mm legacy lens.

    Opteka HD2 Slide Copier Duplicator for 58mm Camera New | eBay

    The slide copying takes approx 30 second per slide and adjustment in LR takes additional minute or two.
    I am in the mid of a project of 2k slides.
    If you have large quantity of slides and have the time I recommend this approach.
    Most of the work in LR is cropping and straitening the picture.

    Bellow is an example of a slide I took in a trip to Nederland in 1977.

  6. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    This looks great! I like this idea better than the scanners.

    Can you give me some idea of the work process? What do you need for lighting or back lighting? What specifically do you have hooked up?

    You use an OM 50mm lens. I have one of these. Will it work with any lens? Would it work with my native 75mm lens with the 58mm threads?

    For straitening, do you mean straitened because the original picture is tilted or is there some issue with the device.

    Thanks for this it looks like a great solution.
  7. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    I tried a slide copier but found I greatly preferred using a scanner (better results with less setup)

    The scanner software can make a huge difference in the initial scan quality and the amount of PP afterwards. The apps that ship with most scanners are pretty terrible and leave you with a big mess to clean up in PS. The two best apps I've tried are Sliverfast and VueScan. Both work with most scanner models including legacy film scanners.

    I acquired an ancient Canon FS4000US from 2001 and, of course Canon stopped supporting it 10 years ago. However, Vuescan made it like a new scanner and the resulting 4000dpi slide scans were impressive, with very effective dust/scratch removal and a lot less PP than the other apps I tried.

    Here's a scan of a Sensia slide I just finished with the FS4000US and VueScan:

  8. Melaka

    Melaka New to Mu-43

    Jan 5, 2013
    I use a Nikon Coolscan IV which I bought off eBay. It's quite old but I was able to find a Windows 7 64bit driver on the web. When I've finished scanning all my slides it will go back on eBay and no doubt provide someone else with a good service.
  9. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    I am using the OM 50 MM since it was advised by Opteka to use a 100mm lens.
    I have tried using the P45-200 but it did not focus. The 75mm is too long and probably crop part of the slide.
    For light I have used a flash reflected from a white wall. My first setup was camera on a tripod pointing to a white wall flash mounted on the camera.
    It was O.K. but the access to the device was hard. After I got a cheap radio remote (12$) I have moved the flash a bit to the side and got easier setup.

    The work process was first do a few test shots to see what is the best exposure and flash parameters. I have recorded them, and then made a batch of about 100 slides in about ~half an hour. I have created a a catalog on LR called slides and imported to LR. With the 50 mm the captured framed is a bit bigger then the slide and needed a bit cropping to get rid of the black frame. The device because is mounted on the filter thread tends to rotate a few degrees, I have found it is easier to straighten it in LR then on LCD. I have not tried it yet but it might be that LR5 can do it automatically with the new straighten feature.
    I have found that using LR I can even fix old badly exposed slides, I could even bring to life some yellow tinned slides with white balance and contrast fixing.

    Total time for a 100 batch is an hour to 1.5 depends on the slides quality.

    I have shot in raw in order to gain the restoration capabilities, a thing that is hard with JPG scanners.
  10. BSH

    BSH Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 18, 2012
    Welcome to mu-43.

    Heck with Ebay, list it here first! :) 

  11. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    All great ideas. I think I have plenty to work with. My first try will be the Macro type lens addon that Elavon pointed out. I already ordered one. If that does not work, I like the idea of picking up a more expensive used scanner and then re-selling it when I am finished. Thanks Melaka.
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