ATTENTION: You are viewing a page formatted for mobile devices; to view the full web page, click HERE.

Main Area and Open Discussion > Living Room

digitising slides

<< < (6/8) > >>

Yo! Brahman here! Looks like this is a topic I can contribute something to!

1.) IMHO: Forget photographing! OK - it *is* the fastest method, BUT you will also photograph all the scratches, dust, faded color etc. and have no really good way of removing it.

2.) You need a scanner than has a separate INFRARED lens, that can do a separate infrared scan to catch the dust and scratches. Why? Because a slide is tiny. You don`t look at it in this tiny form, though, you blow it up! And when you do this, like in "Honey I Blew Up the Kid" any dust spec will grow to monster spec.

The infrared scan will detect the specs and scratches, and tell the software where to fix the scratch. Therefore, they will get fixed only at the spot where they occur. You can do this manually, but believe me, you only want to do this if you work for Vogue.

I have attached two videos showing this method (using an older version of Vuescan, the more recent ones have even improved the dust removal process). The video with the long title you may want to watch several times to really see the big problem specs that are removed, because the slide is very busy.

Yes, there is some software that will try to do post processing and try to detect the specs and scratches without infrared, but it is
a.) unreliable (no infrared markers to use)
b.) will overdo the fixing and over soften (like in washed out detail soften) the entire image.

You can either buy a dedicated slide scanner (for dedicated I would recommend the later Plustek models) or any Epson and Canon flatbed scanner which has this dedicated infrared lens. The more recent ones have an LED lamp and need no warm up time.

If you buy a dedicated one you will usually get better picture quality, but I (as opposed to many other people) do not favor buying a used dedicated slide scanner, because they have more sensitive mechanical parts than flatbed scanner and you cannot know what condition these mechanical parts are in and when the scanner will fail.

I have just recently sold my recent Canon 9000F flatbed for really good money and bought an old 5200F flatbed for very, very little money (~20$) and am still very happy with its speed and slide quality. Very sufficient for holiday snapshots, but of course not for high quality arthouse photos.

3.) The better the software, the better the end result and the less time you will need. At you can buy Vuescan Professional, which lets you save RAW scans.

Certainly, this is the best way to start out: Make 64bit RGBI (=Red, Green, Blue, Infrared) RAW scans, which INCLUDE the infrared channel (saving it in the file, so there is no actual dust removal *processing* while you scan). Just feed the slides into the scanner and make assembly line scans while watching TV etc.

This is the fastest way to scan since almost no processing is happening (which slows down the scan due to additional CPU time) and one can do all the processing later (every single slide, or all of them as a batch).

When I started my slides, I did not do RAW scans with the result, that I needed to rescan ALL my slides again after I learned how to process them well (this can be a steep learning curve). BTW Vuescan will also freshen up the faded colors so that you will think the 40 year old photo was shot just recently.

My Canon 5200F has 2400x4800 resolution and I scan with 2400 for slides. My Canon 9000F had 9600x9600 resolution and I scanned with 4800 for color slides. Believe me, the results were not very different. The explanation for this is very technical and would definitely be outside the scope of this post. Any good Epson or Canon flatbed with infrared will probably do, though I would stay away from the really old ones, since scan technology has improved a lot in this millennium.

Another tip: *Sort* the slides beforehand in a quick visual process using an old projector or viewer. Most of them are probably not worth keeping. Select the good ones in a fast selection process, and only scan those.

Also, consider using a scan service, they will usually do a decent job (if they use Vuescan - most do - you could ask them for RAW scan files including the infrared channel, so that you can process them yourself with Vuescan per your gusto later). But find out if they ship to India or China or really scan them locally, just so that you can assess the risk of losing the slides in the mail.

That is my 2 cent worth of advice in a very compressed form.

Good luck! :)

@brahman: Thanks! I learned some things there...

I have a huge collection of 6x6 negatives and slides, most of them outdated product shots; I discarded hundreds, but in between were shots of studio setups and people on site which I liked to keep.
I  placed negatives and slides on a cheap lightbox and photographed them with a canon A1200 in macro mode - a really low-end point-and-shoot, but the results were surprisingly  acceptable.
The autofocus went nuts, so I used a simple clamp fixture to keep the camera in position and shot about 250 repros. Not High-end, but it did the job in "no" time.
If you have no ligtbox, a pane of glass from a picture frame with a sheet of semi-transparent paper will do.
For "post-processing", Picasa did a very decent job. 

If you have 35mm film in general to scan and a smartphone, you might want to check out the Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner. Hmm, looks like they're out of stock at the moment but I imagine they'll have them back before too long.

I got one when they launched it as a Kickstarter project. Works pretty well, at least as long as you're dealing with strips of negatives or unmounted slides - the limiting factor is really your smartphone's camera. I have an iPhone 3GS and the scans are pretty good. It's certainly a lot faster and easier than either the old, old AcerScan SCSI flatbed with transparency adapter that I had way-back-when or my current Epson PhotoPerfection flatbed with its transparency accessories. Is it perfect? No, certainly not - mounted slides just aren't going to work with its design, for example, and I'm sure that a really high quality dedicated photo scanner in the hands of a pro will get much better results - but I'd say that it's got those little 5MP flash scanners beat at the very least, especially for the "average Joe" who just wants a reasonable quality archive of old vacation photos. Scan everything yourself, set aside the cream of the crop as you go, then either pay to have those best ones done professionally or redo them yourself at a higher quality. Honestly, most of your friends and extended family really don't care whether they have your amateur photos from your grade school field trip saved at all because they're never going to look at them. The friends at your class reunion might want to see them but probably don't care if they're archived at high quality. You yourself, if you're honest, probably don't need archival quality scans of ALL of your negatives. I know I had to admit that as I started chipping away at my own huge bins full.

The real "fun" comes if someone in the family had a Kodak Disc camera.  :'( Not fun at all!! I'm not sure whether anyone will still reprint the photos from the original discs and the prints that we have suffer badly from both fading and colour shifting. Scanning the discs is difficult and the quality is really, really poor. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with those. Two family weddings and several major family vacations and all I've got to work with are my mom's Kodak Disc photos.  :o

lot's of interesting opinions, led me to do a little (!!) bit of research on flatbed scanners...

interesting thing is that for all intents and purposes they are the same as a digital camera!

I'm aware that I'm generalising, but they both use a CCD, the real difference appears to be that scanners are designed to operate under closely controlled circumstances (fixed light source, fixed focal length, etc) whereas a camera is quite the opposite (ambient lighting, variable focal length, etc).  Scanners use a series of mirror's to direct the scan to the CCD, whereas cameras have high quality lenses and sophisticated control mechanisms

Given that, and the fact that a slide is a very small image, I'm wondering why flatbed scanners seemed to be accepted as providing 'better' results.  Granted most 'slide scanners' are relatively low res, but I'd warrant very few flatbed scanners would qualify as high res so substituting a high res 'camera' (ala the 'wolverine' 'branded scanners quoted above) should theoretically provide 'better' results

Of course software could be a big factor in this, but considering that the same software can (most likely) be used in both situations I think it's safe to take that out of the equation.

any thoughts?


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Go to full version