If you have hundreds or even thousands of souvenir slides in the attic like me, you should know that it is possible to convert them to digital format at a lower cost using a scanner specifically designed to avoid the permanent loss of photographs taken. During his life.
But not all models are created equal. To help you out, I have provided you with a comprehensive buying guide for the best slide scanners around to suit your budget.
The Best Slide Scanners
1. Plustek OpticFilm 8100
Efficient and delivering flawless results, the Plustek OpticFilm 8100 is the best slide scanner available right now.
Its installation, as well as its first uses are quite simple. Likewise, getting started is child’s play. In automatic mode in particular, the Plustek OpticFilm 8100 allows you to digitize your slides perfectly without asking any questions. The scan results are indeed more than satisfactory. The scanned images are good quality, that is, they are as sharp as possible and their colors are accurate and vibrant.
This slide scanner doesn’t just convert slides into beautiful digital photos. It also fulfills its function in a relatively correct time. Most of the time, it takes about 2 minutes to scan a slide. If you have a lot of them, consider spending a few hours of your free time to finish everything. Either way, the final rendering is worth it.
However, the delay should be extended if you apply more refined settings to the machine. Obviously, there are times when the image settings do not suit you and you may be tempted to change them. This allows you to get digital photos that are more sophisticated, brighter or convey a certain atmosphere. The Plustek OpticFilm 8100 needs more time to convey these customization options faithfully. But once again, the game is worth the candle since your photos will be sublime.
To get to this point, you first need to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the settings that this slide scanner offers. Do not hesitate to do tests to define the parameters that suit you best. While all of this takes practice, this is also what makes this device great. He knows how to adapt to your needs.
For some people, this rather long aspect can therefore be a disadvantage, the automatic mode not being necessarily ideal for each slide. In addition, the configuration can quickly become complex. This is especially the case for negatives, as well as for black and white slides.
Fortunately, the instructions for use are quickly understandable. You can read the steps to follow step by step to achieve optimal customization of your scanner. And when it comes to storage, the Plustek OpticFilm 8100 is compact.
2. KODAK SCANZA Digital Film & Slide Scanner
Offered with unbeatable value for money, the Kodak Digital Film Scanner has many advantages in terms of options and scan quality.
First of all, the Kodak Digital Film Scanner can be purchased, but it can also be rented for a reasonable price. I find this to be an attractive alternative to expensive purchases. As an individual rarely needs to scan old slides regularly for several years, renting a slide scanner temporarily will certainly be less expensive than investing in it.
This device is suitable for mass scanning. Therefore, if you rent it, rest assured: you will have the possibility of any scanner at full capacity during the entire rental period of the latter. And this without the quality of the images weakening and without the machine tiring. Because yes, the digital films and photos obtained via this scanner are visually stunning.
Thanks to infrared sensors and software, dust and scratches on the slides are removed by the machine. Everything is done in an automated way so that you can save as much time as possible while resting.
Apart from automatic mode, you can of course define your own parameters. This slide scanner offers the advantage of being able to make fine adjustments. So, you will easily get the result you imagined. Take the opportunity to adapt the resolution, exposure and colors to your liking. The more you customize the options, the more satisfied you will be with the scanned photos and films.
The Kodak Digital Film Scanner is easy to use. However, to master it, an explanatory video is at your disposal. For some it is probably more meaningful than a written manual. It explains the installation and handling of the scanner. At the same time, it gives you tips on how to use it effectively.
Once you have started scanning the slides, you have to be patient, because if the machine is working well, it also works slowly. It digitizes two images per second. Your films will therefore take some time to be fully processed. You can pause the process if you need to be away. You can then resume scanning later.
It is best to keep an eye on the device while it is in use. Some dandruff is likely to get stuck and will require your intervention.
Ideal for those looking for an affordable yet durable slide scanner, the DIGITNOW! is inexpensive and at the same time offers high image quality. If you have a large number of slides to scan, forget about expensive photo agencies. Opt instead for the DIGITNOW!, which is simple, fast and transmits images faithful to the originals. All while being inexpensive.
Its installation on your computer is done intuitively in a few minutes. As for the handling, it is done quickly and easily thanks to the supplied CD manual which is clear and accessible to all. The device scans an average of 7 slides per minute, which is a rather high rate for a machine of this type. A modular slide holder called the Rapid Slide Feeder is one of the elements that leads to this rhythm.
This slide loader is a great help when you have ten or twenty slides to scan in a row. Its role is to optimize and streamline the process. It saves you transition times. However, be careful not to overload it at the risk of confusing the device: the slides can get stuck.
You may have difficulty placing some weather-creased slides on the feeder. These deformations due to humidity or poor storage conditions can be reduced manually. If you can’t do it, just place the slides one by one and the machine should pick them up with no problem.
This slide scanner can handle your negatives as well as your 35mm slides. Even if these are old, the machine will transfer them as expected. Colors remain authentic and image quality is assured. A retouching software provided also allows you to improve this already appreciable rendering. The picture configurations can be arranged automatically using a suggested mode. You can also edit the photo yourself.
The DIGITNOW! is easy to use and configure and fortunately, because many times you will have to guess its different functionalities. The user manual does not give a lot of details about them. The other flaw of this device is that it seems weak. You will need to use it carefully and store it in a dry and free place so that it can last a long time.
Slide Scanner: How Does It Work?
The slide scanner is an extremely useful device for those who have old slides containing memories of yesteryear. It allows you to scan the slides in question on your computer so that you can then scroll through your precious family memories. It also gives you the option to share them via email or social media, just like photos taken with a digital camera or cell phone.
This scanner differs from conventional digitization devices by its higher resolution, as well as by its accessories intended exclusively for processing slides. It has a light source either LED or fluorescent. During the operation, the latter will scan the image in order to reconstitute it on the computer.
Before you start, you must first connect the machine to your workstation. Each of them is normally supplied with a user manual explaining this process. A virtual assistant generally guides you step by step on your screen.
Before scanning, adjust the resolution by increasing it if necessary. Likewise, you must also change other image settings if necessary. It can be the brightness or even the temperament. Some images end up too dark or too yellow, hence the usefulness of carrying out these slight retouching.
Some slide scanners already include image processing software. It can suggest automatic changes to you, but obviously lets you do it manually as well. The rest works very simply: you just have to save your new files and rename them (or vice versa).
Now you and your friends and family can enjoy those old photos filled with warm memories. They can be projected, printed, shared with your loved ones, etc.
How To Choose The Right Slide Scanner?
The acquisition of a slide scanner represents a significant financial investment for an individual. This is the reason why this device should be selected with care. Here are the criteria to take into account to choose the right slide scanner.
Compatibility of the device and its software with your computer: to be able to use a slide scanner, you will have no other choice but to connect it with your computer. Like a classic scanner, it will be delivered with an installation CD and at least one USB cable for the connection. Make sure the software and all cables are compatible with your Mac or PC. Some scanners work poorly, or not work at all, with Apple brand devices. So read the characteristics of it and also consult the opinions of other users.
Scanner resolution: As the slides may be old, the scanner you choose should be able to restore the quality of the images. Not to mention that during transfer, compression can degrade sharpness. To obtain clear photos and films, an optical resolution of 1800 x 1800 dpi is already sufficient. So you will get a sharp, faithful image with pleasant colors. In addition to the resolution, 48-bit color intensity is also recommended, especially if you have a lot of colored slides. The scanners’ dust-proof options help in obtaining quality digital images.
The scanning speed of negatives and slides: Scanning speed varies from machine to machine. If you are someone in a rush, you will need to find a scanner that can process multiple images in seconds without compromising the final quality. On the other hand, if you’re a more patient person, you can afford to go with a slower scanner that is sure to deliver quality renderings. Depending on your needs, it may be more interesting to opt for a device that is slower but offers more precise customization options.
Automatic modes offered by the slide scanner: automatic modes are convenient for users. The first is the mode to start scanning without manual effort being required. This mode is safe and saves time, especially for those who have a large number of slides to scan.
The second useful automatic mode is the one that suggests preset settings to optimize image quality. If photography isn’t your cup of tea, or if you’re short on time, this option will save your day.
The design of the slide scanner: less capital but still important, the design of your future device also comes into account when choosing for purchase. Be careful to choose a functional device, which you can easily store in your cupboards or on your desk. A compact scanner, whose accessories have allocated space, is ideal.