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My wife has a ton of slides from when she was young and we have tons of negatives. Ideally we'd like to digitize a lot of them therefore I want to investigate the cost of a good quality film and slide scanner.

I figure I can probably pay my kids some money to do the scanning since they are interested in making some money.

I was hoping to get some hardware recommendations from photo experts.

Critical Shopping points

  • Must be optimized for Film and Slide scanning
  • Ease of Input- must be able to input negatives and slides in quickly without a lot of fuss.
I don't want a Multi-function device or a bed scanner with flimsy film or negative attachments.

Since we have a lot of slides and negatives, I want the proper tool for the job.

In terms or price, I don't want to spend thousands but am prepared to pay up to $1,000 if its truly required. If I can get one for half the price then great but these are precious memories so we want to do it right.

Thanks in advance.
Hugh

P.S. I know their are services that will do it but I don't want that and I know that you can scan film and slides with cheap scanners and an "adaptor" but I don't want to go there.

P.S.S. I would be interested in knowing if any "rents" such a device.
 

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Hi Hugh,
I havejust recently purchased a used, highly rated, Nikon Coolscan IV ED 35mm scanner. After downloading owner's manual I realized this was too much for a 75 year old geezer to learn, so I have considered selling it. I have never used it and it appears to be in excellent condition. I paid $425 for it and would sell for that price.
 

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High Expectations

I have used various scanners over the years. My first one was a SCSI Microtek model which had a drawer for inserting transparencies of any size up to that of the bed - 8.5 X 14 inches.

Then I purchased a Minolta Scan Elite which I liked a lot, but it could not scan medium format slides. Minolta had a model which did scan medium format, but was discontinued when I went looking.

Along the way I also had an Epson Perfection flatbed which could scan transparencies also.

So I ended up with a Nikon 9000 slide scanner.

I did observe that the dedicated slide scanners created sharper images with better colour. (I have been told that the new Epson V750 is as good as any dedicated slide scanner. See this website for a meticulous review:

http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/interactive/Epson V700/page_1.htm

)

The Minolta and Nikon use different lights. One is "hot" and the other "cool". Presumably the cool Nikon will lessen any effects of the film curling in the heat. However, I preferred the images from the Minolta, but recognize that this preference might be the result of the software that came with the scanner. The software that came with the Nikon seems inferior. Also, the last time I checked, there was no Vista driver for the Nikon. This might be important, expecially is you purchase a used scanner.

I have always obtained better results when making scanner adjustments for each photo. Hence, a batch mode is not of interest to me. I doubt that any batch system would automatically yield optimum scans of each image, film or transparency. For example, improved colour depth and contrast resolution if you scan an image multiple times. I can set this feature with my Nikon, but doubt that a batch machine could do this. (I have always used my scanners within Photoshop.)

Pacific Image has a batch scanner and its price may fit your limits.

http://www.scanace.com/en/product/product.php

Slides are unforgiving, unlike film. If film is not exposed correctly, the automatic printers will fix the image for you. As slides are negatives, then if you mess up the exposure, there is no forgiveness. You must fix the image in Photoshop or some other software. Hence, I doubt that any automated slide scanner system will yield good results consistently.
 

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Hugh,

I would go for a Nikon 5000 with the Slide feeder if money was no object. You can usually find these on eBay used for a reasonable price but will probably have to buy the slide feeder.

Money was an object in my case when I had to scan 1400 slides from the 50s through the 80s and 30 rolls of 35mm negatives and 300-400 120 negatives. I started out with a Canon Photo scanner but found they couldn't handle the 126 Super Slides (Square slides) but cropped them to 35mm frame lines. I ended up with an Epson 4990 Photo which comes with Digital Ice (Cleans up Images really slowly) and Silverfast (useful for fine B&W). It has adequate resolution for slides (4800dpi native though I found scanning at 1200dpi sufficient for my needs) and comes with solid adapters holding 12 slides, 24 negatives and 120 & 4x5 Medium format. It is, of course, now discontinued but the equivalent model is the v700.

Recommendations on scanning:

  • Get some software to organize the photos and before starting decide on a naming convention.
  • Buy lots of cotton gloves and "Dust Off" to keep the slides clean & minimize the dust you scan.
  • Think about how you are going to archive the images (DVD-R, on-line service, Removable Drives).
  • Scan at the highest resolution you can reasonably afford to save and ensure it is a integer fraction of the native resolution.
  • Use Image editing Software (Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro ...) to clean the dust, crop & sharpen the images rather than Digital Ice or the "Auto" settings on the scanner software.
  • Save as a TIFF not a JPEG
  • Adjust the levels for each channel separatly for each image. This will usually get rid of any colour casts and give you the most available image data for post processing.
Regards,

Bruce
 

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Hugh

I am looking for the same tool (found your note on Google..and joined this forum to respond - get help). Anyway - i can't offer much except to let you know I saw the Nikon 5000 and the big brother to it for sale on the Vistek website - and they rent too - hefty cost though...

My complete family has slides, prints and old 8mm film - so maybe i can get some support for a purchase with bro and sis.
Kids to do the scanning??? - they have the knowhow - not sure about the patience for the long haul...(does it play MP3 files???)
 

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The hammacher company has one under $100. I don't know how good it is but that company doesn't usually sell crap stuff.
 

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Here is a review of the Epson v700.

I know you're leaning towards a film scanner but you shouldn't discount a good flatbed as they are almost as good these days and far more versatile.
 

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I wouldn't discount flatbed scanners either. I have a Canon 9950F and it's amazing with negatives and photos alike. The higher end flatbeds are nothing like the cheap flimsy ones you find at FS or BB.
 

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I just scanned all my 35mm slides this week. I got an HP G4050 flatbed photoscanner online at BB on boxing day for $79.88 going elsewhere for $210.
Instead of a small lid adapter, you remove the inside lid cover, place a plastic template on the glass and scan up to 16 slides in one pass. It then separates each frame into a file. If you check around, you might find a similar saving, I think Amazon had a price of $84.

The USER reviews weren't all that great but most of that was from early purchasers trying to use it with Vista. I was leary, myself, about the HP software, as I had another HP scanjet that quit after three months on a two month warranty. But they have updated the drivers and several updates came from HP within 24hrs. I am running it on XP and found the scanning a fun experience.
 

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VueScan software will work with nearly any film scanner out there. It's got a lot more features than the manufacturer-provided software. It's worth a look.

You can even tell it what kind of film you're scanning (if you know) to minimize the post-scanning editing you'll have to do.

Don't discard your negatives and slides when you're done. Film is really archival (particularly Kodachrome slides and 1960s-and-later colour negative materials, or black-and-white materials from any era). Also, you may well find that a newer-generation scanner can extract even more detail out of the film later. (The best way to get that detail today is through a drum scan, but these scans are very expensive.)
 
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