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Scanner recommendation for 1000s of slides?

1533 Views 16 Replies Latest reply: Aug 20, 2006 12:54 PM by stealthman_1 RSS
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Adam Warner Calculating status...
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Apr 13, 2006 1:21 PM
Hello All,

I posted here because this is a graphics questions. I recently aquired 3000+ slides from my grandparents who just moved into a retirement community. I have been using an Epson scanner to scan one slide at a time for previous projects, but as you can imagine, that's pretty tedious.

I wonder if anyone here can recommend a scanner that would allow me to scan several slides at a time. Of course, I am looking for something reasonable in price, preferably under $500. Anyone with any first-hand expierence?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

PowerMac G4 MDD 2GB Ram, 2 80GB, 1 250GB Internal, 1 300GB Firewire External, Mac OS X (10.2.x), PowerMac G4 400mhz, 80GB Internal, DVR110 SuperDrive, OSX 10.4
  • David G Chapman Level 4 Level 4 (1,390 points)
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    Apr 13, 2006 2:08 PM (in response to Adam Warner)

    I tried an Epson 4990 Photo a while ago. Good scans but dynamic range a bit flat. I also found it extremely noisy, with a high pitched, rather piercing sound that really irritated me. So I went with the Canon 9950F. Apart from the loss of Digital ICE (Canon's equivalent is OK for me, but not as good meaning I have more time in Photoshop), it is extremely quiet and the dynamic range is definitely superior.

    Both have slide holders. I do about 24 at a time with the Canon, but it is a couple plus hours when I use dust/scratch removal on all 24. .... similar to the Epson, although I recall I couldn't do as many at one time.
    Powerbook 1.33G4, Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • CJAlbertson Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)
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    Apr 13, 2006 4:46 PM (in response to David G Chapman)
    I use the Epson scanner. The 4990 would be nice but I have the 4780. "digital ICE" is absolutly worth it to get. It makes the scans go very slow, as long as 10 minutes per slide but there is no way you could remove the dust and scratches in Photoshop in only 10 minutes. I start a batch before I go to bed. The scanner will do the whole bacth and place each image in it's own file. Later I go in with PS to make a fine adjustment to the white balance and exposure and save the 100MB tiff files to JPG. Next I import the JPG files to iPhoto and add date, keywords and comment and rate it with stars. Figure on doing about 100 slides per week if you have a job and a life. You will be done within a year.

    Scanning at 4800dpi wil capture all of the detail in a good slide,
    Mac Mini, Mac OS X (10.4.6), Linux and Solaris
  • laisla Calculating status...
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    Apr 14, 2006 6:30 AM (in response to Adam Warner)
    Hi, I have been scanning negatives in 35mm, 120 and 220, and 4x5 and 8x10 format for many years. I currently have a Minolta DIMAGE Pro (discontinued), considered the BEST (Drum scanners not considered) and an EPSON 4990.
    I assume you have 35mm negatives (not slides), and you want to keep all of them in storage.
    My first recommendation, equipment wise, is to wait for the NEW Epson V-750 M Pro ($799). According to preliminary reviews, it is much better than the already excellent 4990, plus you get optical 6400 DPI, an absolute MUST for 35mm negatives. This will outresolve film grain (in all likelihood you will have 200 and 400 ASA film, which is very grainy).
    Be prepared to do A LOT OF COLOR CORRECTION, which is what film labs do before printing, to take bad exposures and other problems people run into when using their cameras.
    Another suggestion, DO NOT SCAN ALL OF THEM. It takes a lot of time, and is probably not worth it. Sort them in a light table (a 5000K good one is $60) with a 6x loupe (again another $120 for a good one). Scan for the resolution you will likely print them: if you want 5x7 or 4x6, scan at 1800/2400 dpi. Get a good system for storage and rescan if you need a larger print (do not try to print larger than 8x10, unless you really know what you are doing). Silverfast is recommended.
    Be prepared to spend LONG HOURS doing this. A good 2/4 pass scan of a 35mm negative, plus correction and retouching will take no less than 5 minutes, times 3,000 is a lot of hours: More than 10 days of non-stop non-sleep work.
    If you have a LOT of money, you can send them to a lab and they will give back a CD for you, for a price.
    Good luck
    Dual G5 2.0 - XT800 HD30+HD23, Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • Mike Evangelist1 Level 4 Level 4 (1,110 points)
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    Apr 14, 2006 6:55 AM (in response to Adam Warner)
    Adam - I'm not familiar with that Pacific scanner, but I found this rather unfavorable review:,1759,1788182,00.asp

    My recommendation would be either a Minolta or Nikon film scanner, with an autoloader attachment. There are several models available, so let your budget be your guide (they are all pretty good.)

    But whatever you get, make sure it has Digital ICE technology, which has nearly magical abilities to remove scratches and dust from film scans, saving you untold hours of retouching.
    Various G4's, G5's and a Mac Plus
  • David Bogie Chq-1 Level 7 Level 7 (24,685 points)
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    Apr 14, 2006 7:58 AM (in response to Mike Evangelist1)
    There are lots of folks who have discovered their DSLR will shoot fabulous slide reproductions using conventional (if antique) extension tubes, bellows/stages or slide duplication attachments. You should be able to find several articles online describing the procedures.

    I'e adapted some conventional techniques form my old slide-shooting days:
    Edit ruthlessly.
    Do your rough cataloging from memory. Orgainize by date, location, family tree, whatever.
    Uniquely number every image you are going to scan (get an incremental stamping device from a rubber stamp supplier, ancient office supply).
    Do your rough scans/captures/digitizing at medium resolution.
    Do your rough cataloging with your database application.

    Then you have to decide what to do next:
    a) Print proof sheets and send them to your family asking for additional information about the images.
    b) Start rescanning the most important images at best rez with all processing and effects active.

    Many, Mac OS X (10.4.5), It's 17,000.4 posts
  • David G Chapman Level 4 Level 4 (1,390 points)
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    Apr 15, 2006 10:23 AM (in response to Adam Warner)
    Lateral thinking. An off the wall idea but fast (and possibly cheap) option ....

    Project the slides onto a screen (borrow or rent a projector and screen if you have neither).

    Set your digicam on a tripod. Center and focus on the screen to fill the viewfinder with the projected image.

    Sit back, watch the slides with friends, click your digicam shutter amd enjoy.

    Upload to your PC and continue in Aperture or other.

    My brother tried this and had very reasonable results. Given the age of the slides and grainyness, little was lost in his mind vs. a platten scanner. Of course you need a good screen and kave the digicam as on-axis as possible.
    Powerbook 1.33G4, Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • David Bogie Chq-1 Level 7 Level 7 (24,685 points)
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    Apr 15, 2006 2:37 PM (in response to Adam Warner)
    Are you saying that there is an attachment for an Digital SLR camera that will allow me to shoot slides instead of scan? My neighbor has two DSLRs that she would gladly let me borrow.


    All of the DSLR mfrs have something in their catalogs of attachments that can be used as a slide duplicator but they will be expensive. Look for bellows, extension tubes, macro setups, and, of course, slide copiers.

    You can check these:

    <a class="jive-link-external-small" href="http://"> details&Q=&sku=82193&is=REG&addedTroughType=search 1740&is=REG&addedTroughType=search 68186&is=REG&addedTroughType=search

    Many, Mac OS X (10.4.5), It's 17,000.4 posts
  • David Bogie Chq-1 Level 7 Level 7 (24,685 points)
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    Apr 15, 2006 2:40 PM (in response to David G Chapman)
    My brother tried this and had very reasonable results. Given the age of the slides and grainyness, little was lost in his mind vs. a platten scanner. Of course you need a good screen and kave the digicam as on-axis as possible. < </div>

    Thsi works, too, and is MUCH faster/easier than scanning or duplicating. Quality can be a big issue and you need a high quality glass bead screen, NOT a lenticular screen. You can't use a white card or sheet, not enough gain.

    Which brings to mind a question I've been asking for ten or more years: There are billions of Kodak Carousel slide trays out there. Why hasn't Kodak made a digitizing Carousel? Just drop your tray on the thing and fire away.

    Many, Mac OS X (10.4.5), It's 17,000.4 posts
  • Tony Donaldson1 Calculating status...
    Slide copying attachments are ok, but they require careful lighting to get best results, AND you'll have a lot of dust to remove. And most of them are set up for full frame coverage, so any DSLR you use will have to also be full frame (e.g. Canon 1Ds, Kodak 14n/c, etc.).

    I have a Nikon Super Coolscan 4000 (current version is the 5000). Scans at up to 4000 ppi optical, fantastic quality and features, and digital ICE that removes dust/scratches. The other advantage is the 50 slide feeder you can get for it. I use one, it's the best for unattended scanning. And you can keep taking slides out of the "out" side and putting new ones in the "in" side as it's going, to scan continuously. I've been archiving much of my slides that way, and I have WAY more than 3000.

    Check eBay, probably a few people have done what I'm doing, and now that they're done, they'll sell the scanners. Worth the investment, cheaper than sending them all out to be scanned. But there are some places that will scan them for you and take all the trouble out of this if you want, as well, for the same or a little more.
    G5 dual 2.0, Mac OS X (10.4.2)
  • musicandlight Calculating status...
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    Jul 5, 2006 12:10 PM (in response to Adam Warner)
    I haven't checked this out thoroughly, but virtually ANY CVS store with a photo lab will also have a commercial slide scanner, compressed air tank and a kid who will sit there 8 hours a shift and scan your slides on pro equipment you could never afford.

    Last time I looked, the going charge was about $0.25 per.

    Scanning 3K slides yourself will take you all summer!

    I might be off about cost, but I bet you can make a simple test with a few slides and then if the quality is up to par bargain a deal for the bulk of the work with the store manager who'll probably be interested in a project like this.

    Alternatively there MUST be services that do this regularly.

    Between the $800-$2K you're likely to spend on a scanner plus the HOURS and months of tedium to do the work, I'd say don't do it yourself!

    JMO of course! HTH
    G5 dual displays, Mac OS X (10.4.7)
  • Mel Mann Calculating status...
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    Aug 16, 2006 5:49 PM (in response to Adam Warner)
    Coming in late to this topic but I recommend the Minolta Dimage series. I have the Scan Elite 5400 and scan Kodachrome slides for archiving. I'm very pleased with the results. I agree with the earlier posts on editing before scanning to save time. My slide holder has 4 slots and scanning at 1300 dpi (6-7 Mb file size - any image I'm serious about gets scanned at higher dpi) takes about 10 minutes total, not counting the time to mount and clean slides for scanning. I've gone through 2000 slides off and on for the past year. It's something I do while reading or web surfing.

    eMac 1GHz, 1Gb RAM, 80Gb HD, Mac OS X (10.4.7)
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