Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 04, 2016, 06:29:57 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Last post Author Topic: digitising slides  (Read 9098 times)

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,605
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
digitising slides
« on: June 04, 2013, 06:23:16 PM »
anyone here have any experience with converting slides and negatives to digital images?

We've been tasked to do this for some relatives, and I'm not sure how best to approach this.  I don't have a lot of funds to spend, and given that this is a pretty finite task I'm reluctant to spend too much anyway

FWIW I really have no need for another scanner (I already have 2 multifunction printers), but the cheaper options (something like this) aren't exactly inspiring me to confidence


4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,473
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 07:05:59 PM »
 Does this count?.

You Umart link just takes you to the main page but I assume you mean something like this.

I used one of the cheap slide flash scanners that you can get for about $50 these days, (even though I have a Canon flatbed scanner that will do slides/negatives - the flash scanner is a lot faster).

A lot depends on the original condition of the slides, in my case they were 25-30 years old and most had some mould/specks/dust/etc.

What kind of archival are they looking for?
BTN, (Better Than Nothing), or the best they can get?

If you don't mind a bit of DIY and you have a digital camera, I've got a Silicon Chip article I can send you.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 07:28:28 PM by 4wd, Reason: Fixed URI - fricken\' tiny Android screen. »

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,605
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 07:20:20 PM »
Does this count?.

I'd forgotten about that, thanks!

it's worth reading for the subsequent sorting & cleanup  :Thmbsup:

Quote
I used one of the cheap slide flash scanners that you can get for about $50 these days.

I was kind of leaning that way, simply because it's likely to be a 'throwaway item' at the end of the process (though how long that might take is open to conjecture).

I'd be interested to know where you've seen them for $50 though.  Best I can find locally is Target at about $75, though that appears to be unbranded.  Regardless of price or PoS they all seem to spec out the same...

Anyone else got any experience with these things?  I googled but didn't come up with much

Quote
A lot depends on the original condition of the slides, in my case they were 25-30 years old and most had some mould/specks/dust/etc.

What kind of archival are they looking for?
BTN, (Better Than Nothing), or the best they can get?

I can't comment on their condition.  Like your's, I suspect these will be 25-50 years old, and it's unlikely that they've been stored under perfect conditions.

As to results, based on the audience and the age of the slides, I'd say option 2 quality wise, though clearly we want aim for the best we can get

quote]If you don't mind a bit of DIY and you have a digital camera, I've got a Silicon Chip article I can send you.[/quote]

I'm always up for a project so please send :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,473
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 07:53:29 PM »
Article attached.  Regarding their light source, I'd probably try it with a couple of cheap LED torches and see how that turns out.

$50 flash scanner - they all have the same specs at that price, (ebay is flooded with them).

Using the scanner, images turn out a little darker than the original, (to be expected for a low quality device), but for my purposes I think they turned out rather well - a lot of the slides had started to lose contrast anyway so this was a save them before they die exercise.

From memory, after scanning images stayed as TIFF until final stage:
a) Batch run through XnView with Auto-Level to a different folder then checked through to see which ones benefited.
b) The ones that didn't, the original was run through XnView with Auto-Contrast, if that didn't make any difference then a bit of hand tweaking in Gimp, Sagelight (Payware) or Lightbox (free cutdown Sagelight).
c) After that, it was the time consuming PolaDSR, where they were saved as JPG @ 95%.

That's it.

If you can set aside the time, as I said in my original thread, it only took 2-3 days to do 1800 slides, (dead time between Xmas and New Years).  The real time spent comes in cleaning them up afterwards.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 08:11:20 PM by 4wd »

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,605
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 09:34:07 PM »
thanks for that - I'd already seen some similar articles.  I actually did a few experiments with a couple of different light sources and a handheld camera - the results were significantly better than with our scanners, but you can't do this with a hand held camera and expect anything like good results :-[

Only trouble with this solution is that neither of our camera's have a facility trip the shutter remotely, so focusing and shooting is hands on process :o

FWIW the 'scanner' I'd been looking at was like this one.  Reviews for these (where they're available) are so mixed as to be worthless


4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,473
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 11:12:08 PM »
Only trouble with this solution is that neither of our camera's have a facility trip the shutter remotely, so focusing and shooting is hands on process :o

You use the standard 2 or 10 second delay timer along with manual focus, (if your camera has that).  The camera is fixed in place, (standard thread screw into the tripod thread), so all you do is push the button, no need to hold the camera.

I used one of these, (different brand), feed the slides manually and push a button.  Basic 5MP model that almost all of them are.

41TOgcoBa9L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,605
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 11:19:23 PM »
You use the standard 2 or 10 second delay timer along with manual focus, (if your camera has that).

DOH!!  I hadn't thought of that :-[

I'll have to look into the manual focus bit :Thmbsup: (I'm not much of a camera buff, in case you hadn't sorked that out already ;D ;D ;D)


4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,473
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 03:44:30 AM »
Just as a matter of interest, what make/model camera?

If it's a Canon, you may be able to run the CHDK firmware, (despite it being called firmware it's not a permanent change), which can add interval exposures.

eg. You set it for an exposure every 15 seconds and then you can just swap the slides while it happily automatically takes photos.

It worked quite well on my A720IS.

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,605
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 05:49:14 PM »
Just as a matter of interest, what make/model camera?

we have 2 Lumix - a now aging FZ5 (5Mp), and a 16Mp point and shoot (the model escapes me) that lives in my wifes handbag

could be worth looking into firmware 'hacks', though I'm wary of bricking a device :o

Tinman57

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,702
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 08:06:18 PM »

  There are some photo/picture programs that have an option to copy a color picture from an ordinary scanner and reverses it to a negative, and visa-versa.  Can't remember what this option is called, it was in UI PhotoImpact 8.  Unfortunately, PhotoImpact 8 don't work under XP anymore ever since one of MS's famous update patches, but I think it's also included in PhotoShop among others.  In the free Photo.net, you can select Adjustments > Reverse Colors and get the same effect.....

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,605
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 08:35:56 PM »
  There are some photo/picture programs that have an option to copy a color picture from an ordinary scanner and reverses it to a negative, and visa-versa.  Can't remember what this option is called, it was in UI PhotoImpact 8.  Unfortunately, PhotoImpact 8 don't work under XP anymore ever since one of MS's famous update patches, but I think it's also included in PhotoShop among others.  In the free Photo.net, you can select Adjustments > Reverse Colors and get the same effect.....

yep, but unfortunately the results from our flatbed scanners are abysmal. 

Flatbeds aren't generally built to do this kind of work - you need plenty of light on the back of the film/slide and they just don't work that way

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,473
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2013, 10:22:29 PM »
could be worth looking into firmware 'hacks', though I'm wary of bricking a device :o

In the case of CHDK, firmware is probably a misnomer - it's more like an alternative OS that takes over at hardware level but only as long as the SD card containing it is in the camera and you have initialised it by holding down a button while turning the camera on.

ie. It's a purely temporary thing, there's no way you can brick the camera.

Normally cameras are unable to be real firmware updated after they have left the factory without pulling them apart to get to the JTAG connector, (if they even have one).
EDIT: But it appears Panasonic/Sony do offer updates - learn something everyday - I think I'll shutup now  :-[

Flatbeds aren't generally built to do this kind of work - you need plenty of light on the back of the film/slide and they just don't work that way

Correct, you need transmissive light not reflective.

My flatbed, (Canon D660U), is capable of slides/negatives, it has a CCFL built into the lid that you uncover when you put it into slide mode and it works reasonably well.

However, 2 points:
1) it's abominably slow, (about 2min per slide at a minimum of 600DPI), and
2) because the slide/neg sits in a holder this results in the actual surface of the slide/neg sitting above the glass bed by about 3mm.  The scanner is naturally focused at things lying flat on the glass, ie. the focus is a bit off.
The results were always a bit "softer" than those taken with the flash scanner, they use a CMOS imaging device that is focused at the surface of the slide/negative.

A third reason is that Canon never released drivers for anything later than XP, (or was it Vista?)  :mad:

Unless you're willing to spend a bit more money on a Plustek, (IIRC), or Epson slide scanner, I'd say that the flash type scanners are a good compromise between quality, speed and price.

As long as you don't print the resultant scans on anything bigger than standard photo size, (10cm x 15cm or 12.5cm x 17.5).
« Last Edit: June 06, 2013, 02:48:16 AM by 4wd »

Tinman57

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,702
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2013, 07:16:15 PM »
  There are some photo/picture programs that have an option to copy a color picture from an ordinary scanner and reverses it to a negative, and visa-versa.  Can't remember what this option is called, it was in UI PhotoImpact 8.  Unfortunately, PhotoImpact 8 don't work under XP anymore ever since one of MS's famous update patches, but I think it's also included in PhotoShop among others.  In the free Photo.net, you can select Adjustments > Reverse Colors and get the same effect.....

yep, but unfortunately the results from our flatbed scanners are abysmal. 

Flatbeds aren't generally built to do this kind of work - you need plenty of light on the back of the film/slide and they just don't work that way

  Perhaps your scanner isn't up to the task, or perhaps your scanner software.  I have a flatbed scanner that came with plastic holders just for holding negatives for camera's and slides, and it works just fine.  It also takes a longer "exposure" than a regular scan, which is software based.

Tinman57

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,702
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2013, 07:21:14 PM »
My flatbed, (Canon D660U), is capable of slides/negatives, it has a CCFL built into the lid that you uncover when you put it into slide mode and it works reasonably well.

However, 2 points:
1) it's abominably slow, (about 2min per slide at a minimum of 600DPI), and
2) because the slide/neg sits in a holder this results in the actual surface of the slide/neg sitting above the glass bed by about 3mm.  The scanner is naturally focused at things lying flat on the glass, ie. the focus is a bit off.
The results were always a bit "softer" than those taken with the flash scanner, they use a CMOS imaging device that is focused at the surface of the slide/negative.

  Which makes me wonder how one of those little desktop scanners would work for this.  You know, the type that the doctors offices use to scan your drivers license and insurance cards.  You would think it would be perfect for negatives, but I've never used one, soooooo.....

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,605
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2013, 07:29:56 PM »
Which makes me wonder how one of those little desktop scanners would work for this.  You know, the type that the doctors offices use to scan your drivers license and insurance cards.  You would think it would be perfect for negatives, but I've never used one, soooooo.....

is this you trotting off to buy one for 'testing purposes'?

Tinman57

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,702
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2013, 08:13:18 PM »
Which makes me wonder how one of those little desktop scanners would work for this.  You know, the type that the doctors offices use to scan your drivers license and insurance cards.  You would think it would be perfect for negatives, but I've never used one, soooooo.....

is this you trotting off to buy one for 'testing purposes'?

  Nope, not I.   8)

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,294
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2013, 11:27:51 AM »
My flatbed, (Canon D660U), is capable of slides/negatives, it has a CCFL built into the lid that you uncover when you put it into slide mode and it works reasonably well.

However, 2 points:
1) it's abominably slow, (about 2min per slide at a minimum of 600DPI), and
2) because the slide/neg sits in a holder this results in the actual surface of the slide/neg sitting above the glass bed by about 3mm.  The scanner is naturally focused at things lying flat on the glass, ie. the focus is a bit off.
The results were always a bit "softer" than those taken with the flash scanner, they use a CMOS imaging device that is focused at the surface of the slide/negative.

  Which makes me wonder how one of those little desktop scanners would work for this.  You know, the type that the doctors offices use to scan your drivers license and insurance cards.  You would think it would be perfect for negatives, but I've never used one, soooooo.....

...Don't

Assuming you are referring the little upright auto feeding typically fujitsu scanners. they're feed mechanisms are quite energetic and could likely damage the slides as they are whipped through the machine. Not to mention they also run quite hot. I don't believe I've ever seen a slide scanning rig that didn't use the flatbed orientation for I suspect those exact reasons.

Tinman57

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,702
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2013, 04:01:52 PM »
...Don't

Assuming you are referring the little upright auto feeding typically fujitsu scanners. they're feed mechanisms are quite energetic and could likely damage the slides as they are whipped through the machine. Not to mention they also run quite hot. I don't believe I've ever seen a slide scanning rig that didn't use the flatbed orientation for I suspect those exact reasons.

  That would be a pretty good reason not to use one of those.  As small as they are, only like 6 inches long, you wouldn't think they would generate that much heat.  If they do produce that much heat then they are energy hogs.  And they always leave them on too....

tomos

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 10,320
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2013, 02:24:49 PM »
Software for use with a scanner: see brahman's review: Review/Tips: "Scanning - VueScan and Associates" Pt.I: Intro & Bookscanning.

Flatbed is what's usually used for reasonably high-quality scanning of negatives or slides - but dont the better ones use a holder as opposed to just laying the negatives directly on the glass?
(No, I've no experience here either :p)
Tom

sword

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 200
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2013, 03:43:29 PM »
I found flatbed scanners did a good job of capturing medium format black and white negatives if the flatbed can work at high resolutions. The only scanner I found suitable for slides is an Epson Perfection V600 Photo. It works with XP. It has plastic holders for 35mm and 6x6cm film and slides. If you have a photography club near where you live you might ask if anyone could help.

Tinman57

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,702
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2013, 04:48:35 PM »
Software for use with a scanner: see brahman's review: Review/Tips: "Scanning - VueScan and Associates" Pt.I: Intro & Bookscanning.

Flatbed is what's usually used for reasonably high-quality scanning of negatives or slides - but dont the better ones use a holder as opposed to just laying the negatives directly on the glass?
(No, I've no experience here either :p)

 The scanners with the negative plates (holders) is basically to put the negative in the exact place it needs to be during the scan and keeps it straight.  The negative still makes contact with the glass, or at least mine did....

elvisbrown

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 27
  • Programmer - what else
    • View Profile
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2013, 05:05:45 PM »
I am part way through this process for the third time! I am 63 and have spen the biggest chunk of my life involved with photography. Before digital it was all film based so I have quite a large collection of mainly negatives and but some slides.

I said for the third time so I will detail the roads I went down and didn't pan out. I am not including flatbed scanners because when you are faced with literally thousands of negatives they are just not practical because the amount of remedial work is too much.

Dedicated Scanner.
Some years back I bought a dedicated negative slide scanner, it was a Pacific Image model and worked well. It produced high resolution images and the colour fidelity was pretty good. So why did I stop using it? Here are the 2 things that this whole process revolves around.
1. Scan time: this one took around 1 minute per scan.
2. Post scan remedial work (scratches, dust marks etc). The software (Silverfast) had a steep learning curve and even then left much to be done manually.
Conclusion: It was taking too long and there still too much manual intervention required.

5MP Cheap Flash Scanner
The scan time was mere seconds but the results were less than good most of the time. There was no post scan software supplied so that just left a lot of manual intervention.
Conclusion: Simply not practical for a thousand negs

20MP Flash Scanner
I waited a few years after the cheap flash scanner but never gave up the quest. When I saw the 20MP Wolverine on Amazon I took a punt and bought one. When comparing the results for the same negs with the cheaper 5MP scanner the results were obviously so much better on the 20MP model.

Software
I also came across AKVIS retoucher which really solved the post scan problem. It removes scratches and dust with minimal effort and really works. Simple, no steep learning curve and acceptable results.

Conclusion: These 2 together are a practical solution for what I am attempting.

Unless you are a professional photographer (in which case you would stump up $8000+ for a top notch scanner) what you really need is some process that is do-able for the number of slides/negs that you have. In my case of a thousand or so negs there are a handful that are really precious to me. For those really special ones you can send them to a lab to get scanned. You obviously would not be able to afford that for the bulk but it is horses for courses.

Finally. In looking over my the photos I have taken in my life so far I was really shocked to discover that there have been really important people in my life that I have either no photos or only one or two bad quality snaps. Record your friends and lovers while you can!
I started out with nothing and still have most of it left
« Last Edit: August 10, 2013, 02:16:00 AM by elvisbrown »

Tinman57

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,702
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2013, 06:54:54 PM »
Finally. In looking over my the photos I have taken in my life so far I was really shocked to discover that there have been really important people in my life that I have either no photos or only one or two bad quality snaps. Record your friends and lovers while you can!

  I hear that.  I went through all the same thing, but years ago before there was more specialized apps.  A fair amount of times I'd have to go into "Touch-Up" mode, but I solved a lot of those problems with plug-ins for my photo editing software, one of them iPhoto Plus 5 all the way to version 8, which actually lost some useability from Vs 5.  I've had quite a bit of graphics software going back to the C=64 days.  I pretty much turned it into a hobby even before I started using a PC.  I've scanned hundreds and hundreds of pictures as well, which calls for more touching up depending on the condition of the picture, and most all of mine were family photo's that went back into the 1800's.  I spent a lot of extra time with those and damn near have them all as perfect as they'll could ever be without taking out the antiqueness.

  Needless to say, no matter which way you go, it's going to take a lot of time and effort to get it right, and one way or another, if your serious about getting all your family/friends pics digitized, your going to have to make it a hobby.......

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,137
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2013, 09:23:30 PM »
Maybe I should mention the EPSON Perfection V330 Photo Scanner.
I posted about it here: EPSON Perfection V330 Photo Scanner + ABBY and ArcSoft software

I'm fairly pleased with its slide and photo-scanning, and the bundled software is good. I mostly use Picasa to manage and edit/clean up the images.
One caveat is that you can't necessarily guarantee that the colour you see on-screen on your computer's display will be what others see on their different screens/displays. Standard colour tones output from the different brands of display drivers may differ quite significantly.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: digitising slides
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2013, 09:44:32 PM »
I've been using an epson perfection scanner and vuescan (thanks brahman, epic review!) for a year now.  Very smooth, very nice.  Haven't done any slides yet though.  it comes with plastic holders for slides.