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Best scanner for hundreds of slides?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Gordon Large, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    I'm almost done with phase 1 of a monstous project - selecting the best slides that I want to digitally scan. Phase 2 - the scanning process - will begin soon. What is the best scanner for processing a large number of slides in one pass? Is a feeder mechanism like I believe the Nikon scanners have the best? Or perhaps something like the combo flat bed and slide scanner like Microtek? From a Microtek ad it tooks like you can load and scan 12 slides in one pass.

    I don't want to go bankrupt over this, but I do want to run through my slides as fast as possible. Thanks for your feedback!

  2. I am about half way through a similar project.

    I am scanning in every old film negative I have. I have gotten just over 3,000 done at this point.

    I first bought a dedicated film scanner - the inexpensive Minolta. That was too tedious. The quality was okay, but that scanner doesn't have ICE for removing the worst of the scratches, etc.

    I ended up going through a few Epsons, and settled on the 4990. It can scan up to 24 35mm negatives at a time. Looks like the slide holder holds eight.

    I have found their software to be very usable and mostly reliable (had the occasional blue screen, but those went away after I got their latest version).

    Quality wise, I am also happy. I am getting up to about 7 or 8 megapixels of usable data out of each negative. I do not know how this would compare to a better dedicated film scanner, but I am certainly happy with it. I have printed up to 13 x 19 on my R1800 with some of the better negatives and I am more than happy with the results.

    Speed wise, it can take up to seven minutes per negative with ICE turned on, but I don't really care about that because my work lands me next to the scanner anyway. I just keep feeding it.

    Only problems I have had were the above mentioned blue screen crashes - which never happened during scanning itself so I never lost data - and their holder could do a slightly better job holding the film flat. Not a problem for slides I would guess.

    Also, I have found Epon's automation file number wise to be simple and effective. I never type any file names. I just keep scanning them in and reviewing them when I get a chance. I will occasionally do some PP on my favorite images, or those that need it the most.

    Enjoy your trip down memory lane. I sure have mine. Here is an example of an X700 photo from about 1985. This negative appeared to be virtually ruined, but the Epson managed to pull a half decent image out of it.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  3. Here is an example of one of the better negatives from the early 80s. X700, ISO 100 Kodak film. Not up to DSLR standards, but certainly good enough for me.


  4. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Thanks for the excellent feedback. I will definitely look into the Epson line-up. I started my project by scanning some slides of my now-35 year old son so he and his wife could see what he looked like from baby on up. You are so right about the trip down memory lane. It's wonderful.

    BTW, the dogs are magnificent. Salukis?

  5. Those are borzois, once known as "Russian Wolf Hounds."
  6. general


    Apr 30, 2005

    I use a Nikon Coolscan 4000 with a Nikon SF-200 slide feeder when I have a lot of slides to scan. The feeder isn't perfect but it can hold up to 50 slides and automatically feed them. At a lesser cost, the new Epson 4990 flat bed scanner is supposed to be very good (I just bought mine and have not tried to scan slides or negatives with it yet).
  7. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Re: Scanner

    Thanks for the feedback. Can I ask you to try out your new Epson asap? :)  That scanner has me very interested.

  8. general


    Apr 30, 2005
    Normaly I would be happy to do that but the computer that runs it is down because of an overheating CPU. I had the CPU returned under warranty and am waiting for the replacement. They tell me will be 3-4 days. Sorry! Will be glad to do it when I get it running.
  9. karma

    karma Guest

    HI All,
    I know this doesn't address your question, but I chose a different approach when archiving my negative collection. Let me put it on the table and take you through my logic.

    I decided that the vast majority of my negs were not special but not throw aways either. High resolution scans on my Canon FS4000 scanner produce files in excess of 100mB. That means about 10 images per gigabyte or about 1000 images per 100 gigs. This was especially painful when the number of really important images was small. Then I considered the time necessary to scan, transfer, and archive. I looked for another way. Here is what I came up with.

    I put each rolls neg strips into clear plastic negative preservers; the kind that have pockets for the film. I kept each roll separate not mixing them in the organizers. I placed a light table on my copy stand and placed the organizers on the light table. Using my D70 tethered to my computer with Capture Camera Control, I took a picture of each preserver which transferred to the computer. At this point I had a positive image of the negatives that I could work in Photoshop.

    In Photoshop, I created a form to contain the picture. I then converted the negative image to a positive, cropped out the black portions of the image around the edges of the film strips (if you don’t you will use a lot of black ink) and copied and pasted the converted image into the form. Then I entered the Roll ID, Roll title, date of the shoot, and film type and speed. Then I entered numbers below each image. Generally, I did not title individual images though you could.

    Now I had an Index Print of a roll of negatives uniquely identified by the Roll ID. Then I printed the Index Print and placed them in loose leaf notebooks, inside a preserver along with the associated negative preservers in Roll ID order.

    Now comes the most important part. I created two documents to help find any image in the archive. The Roll Index is a simple running list of the rolls contained in the archive. You can put as much information into it as you wish. I kept it pretty simple.

    The last step is filling out the Keyword List. This is a simple alphabetical list with keywords that are associated with Roll ID’s and thus the images on the referenced Index Print and therefore the actual negatives. The list can be searched in Word. For example, the keyword Spanish Market might have the Roll ID’s of 15-99, 22-00, 12-01 associated with it. The references mean: Roll 15 of 1999, Roll 22 of 2000, and Roll 12 of 2001. All are images of Spanish Market for the respective year. Keywords can be as detailed and comprehensive as you wish. This list is the tool that allows you to find specific images and thus, it is important to do this well.

    In the end only the Index Print images, the Roll Index and the Keyword List are on the computer. NO scanning was done. If I want to print a negative I use the Keyword List to locate the Index Print. Examining the Index Print allows me to find the specific negative. Then I high res scan the neg and process it as necessary. Once scanned, I enter the image file into my digital archive system which has a subdivision for scans.

    I also cataloged the 4 x 6 prints that came with most rolls. While optional, I felt that I wanted to use them when showing others and when making decisions about printing. No sense in throwing them away.

    Creating Index Prints for slides should be pretty easy. I did not process any slides. Negatives are harder and must color corrected, reversed and brightness and contrast enhanced in Photoshop. Once the process is understood it is not difficult. The whole process saved me an immense amount of time, disk space, and annoyance. The scheme works well and the Index Print quality is very high and quite usable for its purpose.

    The Photoshop negative to positive conversion process required some work and experimentation to get it right. If any of you are REALLY interested in this archiving technique, email me and I will get you started by explaining the negative to positive conversion process.
  10. rebrewer


    Aug 1, 2005
    Davis, CA
    We looked at scanners for a MASSIVE art library project. Over 100,000 slides. The Nikon 4000 came out on top, although I had to modify the SF-200 (the credit card fix) to make it feed reliably. I'm about to buy an 5000 for personal use, with the improved SF-210 feeder. Honestly, the difference between the 4000 and 5000 doesn't warrant an upgrade, so if you can find a good used 4000, snag it.

  11. Does a film scanner exist for 35/120/4x5 film
  12. rebrewer


    Aug 1, 2005
    Davis, CA
    The Nikon Coolscan 9000 will handle 35/120/200. If you want to do 4X5, I suspect that, unless you have lots of 4X5 to do, you are better off having someone else do them with a drum scanner.

  13. Thank you bob
  14. I have a Nikon Coolscan IV and an Epson 4870 flatbed. The epson is terrific for 2 1/4 and larger, much softer on the 35mm than the nikon. 4990 similar to 4870 can't recommend Epson for 35mm
  15. They are not pros so why not recommend them Coscto? I think it's something around 4$ for a whole 35 roll to be scanned. Can't go wrong...
  16. Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
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