Digitizing Slides

suziequeApril 17, 2010

Hi - a while back I learned some information here about scanning thousands of slides. A Canon CanoScan 8800F Color Film/Negative/Photo Scanner (2168B002) was recommended. I'm sorry to say that I didn't act at that time, but I'm now ready to move forward.

Here's what I've got. Probably ~10,000 - 15,000 35mm slides - taken by my Dad over his lifetime. I've looked thru most of them and determined what I want to save. I want to put them on the computer and discard the actual slides.

I've been to both Staples and Office Max and all they have are printers/scanners/faxes that will maybe scan slides. I don't need a new printer. I just need a way to scan slides in the best way possible and organize them on my computer. My purpose for this post is to ask if the item above, the Canon CanoScan,is still the right solution for me or if someone has a different product recommendation.


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Suzieque - I also posted to your thread over at Computer Help.

I ordered my scanner (Epson v200) - never could find one in a store that did slides. I ordered from NewEgg - but Amazon is also a good choice. Great to read the user reviews on items at either place. The Epson V500 and the Cano-Scan you are looking at are both available at Amazon now.

I scan at 600 dpi - which is plenty unless you are looking at an a huge enlargement or deep cropping.

My scan from old slide using Epson v200 at 600 dpi - late 40's to early '50's:

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread at Computer Help

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 10:09AM
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Thank you!!!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 3:30PM
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I just joined this site and searching around I found this message. I also have thousands of slides from 30+ years of traveling. I found on Amazon.com a device called "Slides to PC" from ION Audio. This is about 80 bucks but does a very good job of "one touch" copying of slides or negatives to your computer. This one makes HUGE files and to "archive" them would require burning them to dvd rather than cd. The unit is about the size of a computer speaker and comes with a pretty good software package. saves the files as either jpg or tiff format. here is the link to the company site. I found a better price on Amazon...


    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 9:42AM
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We're still in the process of digitizing my father's 60 years of slides, and, boy, did he ever take a lot of them. My husband looked at scanners but found out they take a long time to scan each slide. On a high resolution scanner, it can take up to five minutes.

With his DSLR, he attached a macro lens onto a bellows with a slide holder and shot each slide. Takes about 10 minutes to go through a 36 slides ... more if he needs to tinker with the exposure. I found that many of my father's old slides were poorly lit; my father didn't use or have available a flash unit for many of the pictures. So, my husband adjusted for that.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 8:34PM
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The one that I posted about the other day is quite fast. On my dual core laptop I think I can get a 35mm color negative scanned in under 3 minutes, about 3.5 for a color slide. And the device is auto exposure .. I've about 3000 slides and 3 binders of both color and b&w negatives. The Slides2PC device makes 5 meg images. Then I save them to one folder and then burn them to DVD. This gives me a master file and I can then reload them to my editing program to adjust and resize as I need.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 12:48PM
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Stocktongal, can you explain your DH's method in a bit more detail, please? We have a DSLR, might have a macro lens, but I'm not sure, I know I have a macro setting on my little digital camera, tho it's not a DSLR. What do you mean by a bellows? All of our honeymoon cruise was shot in slides, plus I have a huge box of slides that are part my side of the family and part an aunt by marriage's side. I have a pandigital scanner that will do slides, but they can not have the cardboard frame around them to scann them, which all of the slides I have, have. I could go thru a lot of slides in a day your way!


    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 3:22PM
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Tami ... I took some pictures of DH's setup. He needs to annotate the pieces and would like to send a PowerPoint to you. He also said you might want to check out this web site:
http://www.scantips.com/es-1.html ... "Scanning thousands of old slides?"

His setup seems complicated to me but who am I to complain. He's done books and books of my father's slides. He says the advantage of a bellows is that he can zoom in on the slide and "optically" focus on what's important, i.e. pictures of faces. He'll also adjust lighting and white balance to compensate for overexposed / underexposed slides.

Here is a link that might be useful: Scanning thousands of old slides?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 10:16PM
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Stocktongal, thank you and your husband. I am sorry it took so long to respond. I have been without access to the internet for a week. If your DH is still willing to send me a power point of this, you can email me thru my page here at gardenweb. The link was pretty technical for me, but perhaps my daughter or DH will understand it better. They both have a Cannon DSLR, one older, not sure what model, and a T1i, less than a year old. I don't know if our daughter has a macro lens, she has a telephoto, and we both have, I think, an 18-55 regular lens, tho her's might be slightly different. I have an Olympus point and shoot, also. I would love to get these slides on digital format quickly and easily. My little Pandigital scanner has worked great, and fast, for old family photos, and will do slides and negatives, but you have to remove the card board frame from around the slides. I don't want to have to do that.

Thanks again. Perhaps the link will also help someone else.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 9:28AM
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I would not throw away the slides! Those are the originals that can never be duplicated if something happens to your everyday copies. Expect the everyday copies to experience wear, tear, and finger prints.

The media you may use to store the digitzed images is not all that permanent. Hard drives fail; Thumb USB drives may eventually give up the ghost. Research the storage life of a USB drive before depending on it for long term storage. My informtion is old, harking back to the early development days of those drives. Back then, the storage life was rated at 10 years. Those thumb drives have improved greatly since then, but the underlying technology is still the same. The memory in a USB drive requires a "keep alive" battery. typically, this battery is a small lithium cell that can keep the memory fresh for about 10 yrs and then it is done.

Each junction in a solid state storage device is good for about 10,000 re-writes before failure. Clever tricks are employed to extend the life of these devices. An internal controller writes the data in a way to use all of the memory. It does not keep rewriting over the same locations, but moves the start partition when possible after an early file is deleted. It cycles the data over the entire media. In this way, all junctions get about the same usage rather than rewriting the begining parts over and over again. This statragy increases the life of the device. When a thumb drive is used for long term stoage of photo images, individaul junctions are not rewritten very often so this would not be a concern. However, the internal battery life is a concern.

Burning the data to a CD is a good move, again only if the very best is used, and if there is a planned program of re-copying every 4 to 5 years. You'll have to research to find which media is best at long term storage: CD_R, CDRW , or DVD.

It is sensible to make digital files so that you can reprint images as desired and pass along copies. But, it does not make semse to destroy the original images.

My advice:
1. Cull the slides and save only the "keepers".

2. Digitize the keepers and toss the junk.

3. Pack the keepers in good boxes and store in a cool, dry location.

4. While you are culling, make a record/index of the slides with titles and dates. Print a copy and put with the slides. This will be very handy if, in the future, you wish to find a paricular slide. Put a digital copy of this index on each storage device.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 3:36AM
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