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Digitizing Film and Slides


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#1 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 08:23 AM

We were covering this a bit in a hijacked thread in BATL so I thought I'd put a post in here for reference.
Many of us oldies have boxes of 35mm slides around we took in the 1970s and 1980s - well before the digital era changed photography forever. Or if you are younger maybe you have boxes that your parents or even grandparents took. These things go back 60 years or more.
Projectors for these slides are out of production or hard to find. Besides maybe you want them on your PC - as accessible as your digicam photos are today. So what to do?
Well if you were doing this in 2002 you'd probably want a dedicated Nikon or Minolta film scanner. You can still pick them up used on eBay. But don't.
These old scanners were expensive, painfully slow, required a computer connection - USB 2 if you were lucky. Their scanner software and drivers were made for Windows 98 or XP at best. You can't use them with Windows 7 or later unless you get a new scanner driver from VueScan - which costs about $70 US.
An old scanner took 30 seconds to make a 640X480 image. OK back when most CRT monitors were 1024X768 at best. But today - pah. If you wanted true high res it could take 4 minutes to do one slide.
Scanning technology has now entered the digital age and today's scanners are really just slide viewers hooked up to a digital camera with a macro lens. A high res scan/photo that fits on a typical 1920X1080 screen is done in 5 seconds or less. You can put hundreds of scans on an SD card and transfer them as easily as you do your digital photos.
In my case I have already gone through the slides and put the best ones in Carousel trays as part of my painful low res scans 15 years ago, Now before scanning the rest of the slides in my collection I think it would be best just to go back and rescan the ones in the trays.
You can get slides scanned by a mail in service but if you have more than 300 it's probably worth getting a modern slide scanner like a Jumbl unit and doing it yourself. You can clean up dirt and imperfections and make color corrections in a program like GIMP or Photoshop Elements. Even my favorite photo organizing program - ACDSee - has good photo enhancement tools.

Edited by raymac46, 31 March 2017 - 09:30 AM.

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#2 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 08:37 AM

Nice :thumbsup:
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#3 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 09:16 AM

Maybe a further post on workflow.
  • What I do is scan 4 slides at a time. The Jumble scanner has a plastic frame that holds 4 35mm slides.
  • I handle each slide carefully to avoid fingerprints on the emulsion. I even have a pair of lint free cotton gloves for special slides.
  • I blow the duct and hair off each slide with a rubber blower and I also have camel's hair brush to sweep each slide.
  • I put the slides in the frame making sure they are right side up and right way round. Generally they should be the way you would look at them in real life.
  • I push the frame through the scanner, making sure I have the slide lined up right and then scan the slide.
  • Rinse and repeat for as long as you want.
  • The scanner has only 128 MB of memory so you can't do more than 50 slides unless you have an SD card installed. I put in an old 16 GB SD and it works fine.
  • I take the SD card over to my PC and import the files from there.
  • Once all files are imported I batch rename them. The scanner starts over PICT001, PICT002 every time so unless you want every picture file with that sort of name it's best to call them what you want.
One caveat - there's no solution for bad photography - and yes, we did that back in the film era. If a slide is over- or under exposed, badly backlit, poorly composed, or out of focus you are stuck. You might be able to make it visible but it'll never be one you are proud of. Scan and display your best work. The slides that looked bad in the projector will look bad on your monitor. Manage your expectations. Remember that today's digital media is far more forgiving of screw-ups than Kodachrome or Fujichrome was back in the 1970s. And don't even get me started on Ektachrome - if you are unfortunate enough to have that format.
On the other hand you might be able to rescue a great but faded 60 year old slide photo with Photoshop - if you are good at that sort of thing. You can experiment to your heart's content but I'd advise you to back up the original just in case. You can always rescan but that can be a PITA after a while.

Edited by raymac46, 31 March 2017 - 09:32 AM.

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#4 OFFLINE   burninbush

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 03:13 PM

A couple thoughts on this issue -- I have dozens of boxes of slide trays filled with 1960's - 1990's Kodachrome slides.  Still have a Nikon slide projector setup.  After getting into computers I even bought a HP PhotoSmart [film and small printer] scanner, does 3600x3600 prints.  It still works on linux if I donät mind setting up a scsi card in one of the modern computers.

But what Iäve been wondering ßß I have the gear here to do slide copzing onto a digital camera.  Is there some reason that method hasnät gotten some recommendation, i.e., just taking a picture of a slide_  Please advise.

Edit ... woops., got some weird character translations ...

Edited by burninbush, 02 April 2017 - 03:15 PM.


#5 OFFLINE   burninbush

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 03:22 PM

Sorry -- rebooting X seems to have solved it.  BAD Slackware!  Hope readers will decode the previous --

#6 OFFLINE   zlim

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 05:25 PM

I guess if you have the time, the right equipment and a good backlight source it can work.
http://www.diyphotog...fined-tutorial/

It isn't something I'd want to tackle.

I do have a backlit slide sorter so I'll put the slides on there to see if any slides aren't worth scanning. I probably have some repeats, especially my classes at the two high schools I taught at. (I am a picture taker and NOT a photographer).
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#7 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 04:30 PM

Quote

just taking a picture of a slide

Yes it can be done if you have some way to project the slides onto a plane and a decent macro lens.
http://www.mfphotogr...-digital-camera
The problem is getting perpendicular to the plane to avoid keystoning and out of focus images.

Edited by raymac46, 03 April 2017 - 04:31 PM.

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#8 OFFLINE   burninbush

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 02:54 PM

View Postraymac46, on 03 April 2017 - 04:30 PM, said:

Quote

just taking a picture of a slide

Yes it can be done if you have some way to project the slides onto a plane and a decent macro lens.
http://www.mfphotogr...-digital-camera
The problem is getting perpendicular to the plane to avoid keystoning and out of focus images.


Excellent article.  Seems clear enough I haven't really thought this problem through, it's more than just slide duplication.   Don't think my older (D50) Nikon has all the controls he used.




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