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Thread: Slide Scanner

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    Slide Scanner

    Got a lot of mounted slides that I'd like to scan (most of them from the '70s); also a few 35mm negatives.
    I don't want to spend a lot on this project, but would like reasonable results and something that's fairly easy to use.

    Maplin has one for £40, nominally from Ion:

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/module.aspx?...A29JN&T=434980

    that appears to be the same as the more expensive Veho on Scan:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/VEHO-...Scanner-PC-MAC

    and, after a search, gets poor reviews

    Any recommendations, please?
    PeterC

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    Re: Slide Scanner

    This is something I've been thinking about recently as I saw that Aldi had a similar unit for sale a while back.
    My old Epson scanner can scan slides but, It takes ages to do.

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    Re: Slide Scanner

    I would look at a secondhand Minolta Scan Elite or Scan Dual or a Nikon Coolscan. The important thing with film scanners is the ablity to keep the film as flast as possible and the quality of the optics. The other alternative is to look for a secondhand flatbed scanner which can scan film such as a Canon 8600F.


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    Re: Slide Scanner

    Depends on budget, I looked into these sorts of things when mum decided she "might" want to scan in some old negatives. Basically chances are you will only do it once, so you need to take into account how many negatives/photos you have and therefor how much time it will take with the machine also you can always sell it on afterwards to minimize cost.

    check out the reviews but apparently this one is one of the best: http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/c...p?oid=63070478

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    Re: Slide Scanner

    I have used the V750 and it is a fantastic scanner. Another scanner to consider is the Epson 4490 too.


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    Re: Slide Scanner

    Thanks for the suggestions and links - I'll do a bit more research and see how much I want to spend.
    PeterC

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    Re: Slide Scanner

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    I have used the V750 and it is a fantastic scanner. Another scanner to consider is the Epson 4490 too.
    Agreed on both counts, especially the V750 .... but at a price. I rather suspect that that's going to be a LONG way past what Giraffe is looking for ..... by a factor of 10x or so.

    This is, IMHO, very much one of those areas where you get what you pay for. The 750 offers the resolution, the dynamic range and a superb software suite (bearing in mind that variation in calibrations for different film types, etc. But it's for professional or demanding users with a firm eye on very high quality results.

    On a budget, I'd very much agree with your comments about a second-hand Scan Elite, Coolscan, etc. They're capable of good quality results and with the advent of digital cameras, they've fallen out of favour with people (like me ) that paid the £2000)-ish) that type of scanner cost when it was the only cost-effective way to get my 35mm film digitised. Hunt around a bit and you can pick them up for a good price, because not so many people want them any more.

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    Re: Slide Scanner

    Yes, the V750 is a bit expensive!

    The second-hand way might be the best to go.

    Overall, I'd prefer the 'upright' type as it'd take up less space. I've a Canon Lide 80 scanner that stands on edge and needs only USB - very neat - pity it doesn't do slides.
    PeterC

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    Re: Slide Scanner

    Just be aware that (second hand bargains aside) you do tend to get what you pay for.

    Flatbed scanners are relatively simple technology these days, but film scanning is still something of a black art. Scanning a sheet of paper is fairly easy, because the scanner holds it flat and at a fixed and known distance. Film tends to be different - you need a calibrated light source of a controlled colour temp behind it, and the film (except in wet-mount options like the V750 offers) is unlikely to be perfectly flat, and will be at a less certain distance, meaning fine focus control makes a huge difference. Then, you've got the effect of the film substrate to deal with, hence the importance for really good results of a good software suite and/or a proper calibration target, process and profile..

    You can get half-decent results from many flatbeds, but whether they're good enough will depend on your standards, what you'll use the images for and how picky you are.

    There are no easy anawers, IMHO, to this one.

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    Re: Slide Scanner

    Thanks Saracen.

    My main aim is to scan the slides, but they aren't flat in most cases and, being in frames, are more difficult to flatten.
    PeterC

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    Re: Slide Scanner

    Even if they aren't in frames, they'd be difficult to flatten.

    Th problem is that scanning a sheet of paper is reflective, but film (slide or reversal) is transmissive .... for film, you have to shine light though the film, meaning you can;'t have the kind of white pressure pad behind it that you get on a standard flatbed, and that's what holds the sheet of paper flat.

    I have some slides mounted in frames, but I also have some slide film that I've deliberately left in strip form, and you still have the problem if getting it as flat as you can. The ideal solution (excuse pun) is wet mount, and the V750 offers that (and the V700 too, albeit as an option) but you need to mounting solution and it still isn;t easy to do, because you have to get the film mounted dead flat, with no bubbles of solution or air underneath. And without that as you probably know, you're dependent in the film either being dead flat with a slide mount (unlikely) or within a film holder (and whule they vary, it's still not likely). Failing that, you need to be able to fine tune the scanner focus to get the best results, and most flatbeds don't offer focus control.

    So, you;ll either wind up with an expensive flatbed (like the V750), or a decent film scanner with focus control (and find it takes extra time to get it right) or you have to rely on whatever autofocus (or fixed focus) the flatbed has, and the result will be a compromise.

    And the question then becomes whether that compromised result is good enough for your needs.

    I don't want to put you off. Some scanners deliver decent results that may well be good enough. BUt unless you put in time and effort, and use good equipment, they won't be as good as the film is capable of giving if you had put in the time and effort (and money).

    That's why I said it depends on what you'll use the scans for, and how discerning you are about the quality of the scans. Getting "decent should be possible, and given the right equipment, you should get "pretty good". But if you're picky about quality, you need time and the right gear and it probably won't be cheap, and certainly won't if new.

    And even if you get focus right and get a decently sharp scan, you'll still find that different film, especially different slide film, has different colour characteristics. For instance, I use Velvia for scenery shots because I like the vibrant colours, but I wouldn't use it to shoot a wedding. And having scanned, you have to cope with those differences in colour characteristics because unless you get a scanner with upmarket colour calibration capabilities and/or a decent set of built-in film profiles, you'll get those colour variations aggravated by the scanning process. I had (not) wonderful fun getting Velvia right, for a long time.

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    Re: Slide Scanner

    Oh boy! I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth the hassle.
    Wet mounting for cardboard slides...! Soggy.

    I might just look for a good, second-hand dedicated slide scanner and see what happens. I don't want large prints or anything special and the colour can always be tweaked a bit, so 'good enough' might be, er, good enough.

    Many thanks for all the advice.
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    Re: Slide Scanner

    Two other things to consider: One that film should last longer than digital images and two scanning in slides and negatives in any form is very labour intensive.

    If you just want to be able to see the images in a digital medium the quickest method is to re-photograph them using a slide copier (assuming you have a digital SLR). Really cheap quick solution - project and photograph (you can even do this with negatives). If you alos photo a calibration disk you can autocorrect the colour with photoshop or similar.

    Have a look for the Ohnar/Kauser digital slide copiers - the models fit many cameras and are very simple to use.

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    Re: Slide Scanner

    Quote Originally Posted by Giraffe View Post
    Wet mounting for cardboard slides...! Soggy.


    Ignoring the obvious humour, and just in case anyone reading this misses it, if you want to wet-mount, you take them out of slide mounts, be they cardboard or plastic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giraffe View Post
    Oh boy! I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth the hassle.
    That's kind-of what I was getting at .... and it depends what you want out, quality wise.

    It all depends on the standards you're expecting to achieve.

    For many purposes, a modestly-priced flatbed, under £200 and perhaps quite a bit under, may well do the trick, provided your expectations aren't too high. But, when answering questions like this, we can't know what your expectations or standards are, so it's hard to point in specific directions. One type of user might be satisfied with what they get from an entry-level scanner and another might be expecting every bit of quality that can possibly be derived from film.

    What I'm getting at is that the higher your expectations, the more this is going to cost you. One mistake is to spend a lot on a high end scanner if your standards or the use the images will be put to don't require it, because it would be a waste of money. But, on the other hand, buying something low-end is also a waste of time and money if it won't produce the standards you expect. That's the trap you need to avoid.

    Partly what worries me is that if you've experience of flatbed scanners, you might think getting high quality results from film scanning is as easy (though even with flatbeds, colour accuracy can be a bit if a game), but my experience suggests it will not be. Currently, I've got, if memory serves, four film scanners ranging from a relatively cheap one to what was a very expensive Minolta, albeit a while ago. And Il;ve had many others, including several Nikons, both for short-term tests of a few weeks, up to extended loans including over a year (from Nikon UK) on one of the Nikons. I've also still got a couple of film-capable flatbeds, and have had many others and used yet more. Short of the V750,which unfortunately I don't have and had minimal experience with, I've never been entirely happy with the results from any of them. But what does that tell you .... that the results are poor, or that my expectations are too high or my skillset lacking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Giraffe View Post
    .... and the colour can always be tweaked a bit, so 'good enough' might be, er, good enough.
    Just don't assume that will necessarily be easy, at least, until you've climbed a learning curve. For a start, just about every film has different characteristics, so the first thing you need to do is be aware the process, and curves applied, will vary a lot. That's why calibration software is so essential to get accurate maps ..... and it tends to either not be cheap, or only come bundled with high-end scanners (like the V750, but not the V700).


    If you want to buy something modestly priced to play around, great, Go for it. It can be great fun, and you can get good results. Just be aware that it;s typically not straightforward and, as oldboy47 appointed out, tends to be labour intensive .... and not just in getting the adjustments right, but in actual workflow.

    If you've got a lot of slides to scan and just want them scanned, you might want to look at scanning services, where they (hopefully) have the colour management issues dealt with, and have automated scanners with slide feeder mechanisms. It won't be cheap, but it'll save a lot of time.

    If, on the other hands, the objective is to learn, or to play with the technology, then I'd look for a cheap second-hand film scanner of the type already suggested or, if the budget and will is available, bite the bullet and got for the V750.

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    Re: Slide Scanner

    I would make sure that you choose a scanner which has Digital ICE or a similar technology though as it useful to have especially if the film has scratches or dust on it:

    http://www.vividlight.com/articles/1015.htm


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    Re: Slide Scanner

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    I would make sure that you choose a scanner which has Digital ICE or a similar technology though as it useful to have especially if the film has scratches or dust on it:

    http://www.vividlight.com/articles/1015.htm
    Yes, agreed, and my old Minolta doesn't, which is sometimes a pain, as it may be old but is still very good.

    But .... I prefer to turn it off most of the time on other scanners. I take care to clean film and store mine very carefully so scratches are rarely a problem. I find ICE not only prolongs scan times but softens images, and I prefer to avoid it. It does, however, significantly reduce workload if the alternative is to post-apply the same kind of noise reduction individually.

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