Recommend a Slide/Negative Scanner

Can anyone recommend a Mac compatible slide and 35mm negative scanner/converter? I’m not a professional, I just want to download all my old pre-digital camera photos. I’ve read customer reviews for products listed on Amazon, and now turn to a more trusted source of opinion … the readers of PDD. You don’t have to list any specs, but I would like to know what you like, and why. Thanks.

18 Comments

Barrett Chase

about 11 years ago

I use an Epson Perfection 4490. It's the only one I've ever used for negative film scanning, so I can't say if it's the best. I can say that it does what it's supposed to do. 

It also scans medium-format film and 35mm slides, if you have any of those laying around.

How many images are you thinking of scanning?

Swan

about 11 years ago

I used a Nikon slide scanner (Sf-210 ?) at my last job to scan thousands and thousands of slides. Worked beautifully. You can load up to 50 slides and start scanning while you are busy doing other things (like reading PDD).

skybub

about 11 years ago

Barrett - I have about three decades worth of my dad's slides in 15 Kodak carousels, plus all the 35mm negatives from the travel pics I've taken over the years. As I said, I'm no pro, I'm just trying to clean out the basement and transfer years of photos into a more compact format.

Adem

about 11 years ago

I would also consider sending them out to be done, or letting a photo lab do them for you. The lack of control can be a little scary, but it is slow tedious work.

35mm negatives can be put on CD very quickly and easily in-store many places. Slides are considerably slower. Somewhere in the range of 10 cents per slide or frame?

Barrett Chase

about 11 years ago

If you're looking to "clean out the basement" I STRONGLY advise you to KEEP all those slides and negatives, which are of archival quality. Your scans will NOT be of archival quality, and are subject to permanent loss.

CD-Rs are definitely not an option for archiving, and are subject to corruption, with a shelf life of only a few years. Hard drives fail all the time -- it's not a matter of if but when. Your negs and slides, however, will last forever if properly stored.

The best reason for scanning these old images, in my opinion, is to give them a new life and more easily share them with friends and family.

Mary

about 11 years ago

We bought my mom a slide scanner out of that Hammacher Schlemmer catalog last year--she hasn't used it much, but I think she liked it.

skybub

about 11 years ago

That's exactly what I had in mind, Barrett. To give them a new life and portability, thus making them easier to share.

Trees

about 11 years ago

the Epson Perfection v300 comes highly rated in the Mac magazines reviews.  I bought one this summer, on line for $100- no one in Duluth carries them.  You can scan 5 slides at a time.  It also does a nice job on restoring old photos.

Shane

about 11 years ago

What do other people do to archive digital images?
I save mine to an external hard disk and burn 2 copies to DVD-R.
I think I am going to get a second external drive to back up the first one fairly soon.

Barrett Chase

about 11 years ago

I think that's what people do. You just have to assume that anything you put it on is going to fail, and so you make backups for the backups.

If I'm wrong, and there really is a fail safe way to store them, please correct me.

skybub

about 11 years ago

I thought I heard you can store photos on Flickr, but I haven't looked into it.

Barrett Chase

about 11 years ago

I don't know if I'd consider it a permanent method of storage, but it's true you can upload very large image files to Flickr (10MB with a free account, 20MB with a Pro account). With a free account you can only have a total of 200 photos. Pro is unlimited.

However, the images you upload are converted to jpeg, which is lossy compression.

That said, Flickr is fantastic for sharing/organizing your photos. I do recommend the Pro account.

Karasu

about 11 years ago

I suggest simply projecting the slides on a white wall and digitally photographing them. Seriously. We made a DVD of slides and family photos for my grandparents' million-year anniversary, and for that kind of output it A) was free, B) looked great. For print? Dunno, but I'd give it a shot. If you take it to a photo place, they're going to charge you a kidney.

mevdev

about 11 years ago

Barrett is right about formats. CDs and DVDs have a shelf-life of under 10 years. The longest lasting backups are tape and hard drive.

The rule is if you want it for more than a year, keep it in more than one place.

Adem

about 11 years ago

1 kidney = 100 slides to cd = $18.67 at Sam's Club

tamara

about 11 years ago

sam's club = wal mart.

no thanks.

Slide Scanners

about 11 years ago

I would recommend Epson Perfection V700 PHOTO Scanner. It is Mac compatible and works good.

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

this post and comments are awesome, for starters.  And I agree that the best reason to scan them is maybe to catalogue them and give 'em new life but not to have a permanent archive.

Now, this is a possible hijack ... One of the first CD's I ever bought was the original "A Very Special Christmas" which I got in perhaps 1988.  I had the case out recently and am struck by how dense it is, and in those days the discs themselves were much much heavier, too.  Maybe twice as much material as now.  Fast forward, I have some CD-R's I've been giving people for the holidays.  The discs were cheap, but they're also _cheap_, if you know what I mean.  I can my hand through them in the light.  That's apparently a test of quality for crystal but not for CD-Rs.

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