Slide scanner advice

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Sly, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. Sly macrumors 6502

    Sly

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    #1
    I have been commissioned to scan and digitize around 3000 - 4000 35mm film slides, mostly B&W. I need to purchase a scanner OS X 10.5 compatible that will allow fast scanning at a reasonable resolution. Importantly I don't want to spend too much as it will all come out of my very small commission to do the work. I would consider any suggestions for older scanners that I might find on eBay but they would need to be usable under 10.5 either USB or Firewire?
     
  2. mattw126 macrumors member

    mattw126

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    #2
    I purchased an Epson Perfection V500 Photo recently, and have been very pleased with what I have gotten for the money. It allows the use of Digital Ice on slides/negatives, but not on prints, which is fine by me because all I shot were Fuji slides. Using this feature does slow things down a bit, but it's worth it. You can also scan in medium format which has proven handy for digitizing my Father's & Uncle's film. I primarily made my decision based on what those who post on Amazon said.

    Hope this helps & good luck with whatever purchase you decide to make. :)

    BTW, I can give you some comparisons/times with and without the Digital Ice feature, probably sometime this afternoon if you want it. Let me know.
     
  3. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    #3
    3000-4000 slides? Mostly B&W? Small commission?

    I just hope you're doing this for a friend, or as a charity to cure some disease in Africa, because that is such a pain that you might reconsider the assignment halfway through it.

    The best, and only reasonable way to scan that many slides is through the use of a dedicated slide scanner (with a slide feeder). I would look at something like the Nikon Coolscan V, or if you're searching the world of e-bay, look at some of the Minolta scanners, or the Canoscan (4000?). When scanning, do not look at the DPI that the manufacturer is advertising. Instead look at the DMax (dynamic range value). Most flatbed scanners will have about a 3.2, with the best of them maxing out at 4. The Coolscans have a DMax of 4.8. What that means is that you simply can capture more of the information that is captured in the slide or negative, and produce a better exposed image.

    Your biggest issue with the B&W will be the fact that IR will be unreliable, and thus you won't be able to use dust removal hardware (such as ICE). If this is a paid job, and the client is expecting professional results, then you will need to touch up each of the 3000-4000 slides by hand in PS.
     
  4. Sly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sly

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    #4
    It's for an elderly family member and its all his memories, he's been shooting slides since he was in his 20's. His slide projector is ancient and has packed up, I thought it would be nice if i could burn them to a DVD so he can view them on his TV. My mother and farther have chipped in £200 to help.

    I have had a look on ebay, most of the scanners list only Windows as an operating system, would these still work on a Mac with a PS plug in or with image capture?
     
  5. Moof1904 macrumors 65816

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    #5
    I used a Nikon dedicated slide scanner on my Mac (10.4) a while ago with very good results. The Nikon software was a bit annoying but it worked okay and it was very nice having an automatic slide feeder. The software was Nikon Scan 4 and the scanner was a Nikon Coolscan.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    What did they pay you to scan the slides. If more than 24 cents each, outsource the job and pocket the difference.

    This is a big job. I hope they are paying you enough. Expect to have to spend about 5 minues per slide. Stop now and see if you are making even minimum wage. you WILL need to at least look at each file in Photoshop and maybe "adjust" it some what and you WILL have to do some manual "dust and scratch busting". Think again about outsourcing.

    That said the "standrd" slide scanner, the one that will give your client the quality he expects is going to tbe the Nikon 5000 Ed and it sells for about $1K. the price works out to about 25 cents per scan. Think again about outsourcing.
     
  7. Sly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sly

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    #7
    The Nikon's look nice, but are only in budget with a SCSI interface (maybe I should dust off the old G3 with OS9?). What are the Canoscan's like, I have seen a 8800F in budget, it looks like a flat bed scanner though, do they work ok?
     
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #8
    If the images are only going to be viewed on a TV set then any cheap scanner will work. DVDs only have about 500 lines of resolution. On a 35mm slide this works out to (about) a 600 DPI scan. Use a cheap $100 flat bed scanner. Those Nikon film scanners are much better but are gross over kill if you are only going to DVD.

    Heck you could simply re-shoot the slides using a light table and any digital camera.

    But if you relly did want to presever ALL the detail and tone and color of the slides you will need the Nikon film scanner and about 5 minutes of your time per slide. Or you could ship the job out and have it done for you $1,500 give or take.

    Five minutes per slide times 4,000 slides is about 333 hours. But then if the images are only going to DVD you don't have to work carfully. Dust and scratches will not show. So maybe you can get the job done in month of full time 8 hour days.
     
  9. Sly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sly

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    #9
    Really ohww!! I was hoping to scan them at the same speed as you might view them on a projector? As you say I don't need the quality and I wasn't planning on any sort of post processing. Is it not possible just to scan each one in a few seconds at say 600pdi?
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #10
    You have to handle each one, put it on a light table to see which side is "up" and brush it with a camel hair artist brush then place it into the holder then click the "scan" button, wait a short while then do at least a cursery check that it worked. I guess you could just not care and do a poor job with 20% of the slide upside down or mirro imaged (wrong side up). But I'd think you would want to do at least some minor quality control. There are eight ways a slide will fit in a scanner and only one is correct. You have to look at each slide. Dust WILL be an issue. In two to Five minutes you can't fully clean and old slide but you can do the importent parts, at least get the dirt speck off someone's face.

    I do some of my own scans too. But I only do the ones that need more work or that I want done with a faster turnaround. Tha Kodak "ICE" process is way slow even on a dual core iMac

    5 minutes per slide, once you become good at it will get you pretty good quality. One minute each would be reasonable if you didn't care much. Put the is a minute of your time that includes handling the slides and making minor adjustments to the automated exposure and color balance. But them how will you orgaize the files? you need to type in at least some information. The automatic system will just give you a folder with 4,000 files with names like IMG3421, IMG3422,... and so on. You'd never find anything. You are at least going to have to type in something, dates, names locations whatever.

    I've been at this for a while. I can do a 48 or so an hour but that is not doing any corestions or meta data entry.

    My advice was to realistically estimate the time required and the cost of the equipment. then look and see what a scanning service would charge. I've beenusig scancafe.com they charge $0.29 per slide and the quality is excelent, 3000DPI with a Nikon 5000Ed and then a pass through photoshop and the files are organized into folders all for the 29 cent price. There are other services an likely local labs near you
     
  11. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #11
    Just a thought...

    I use the Nikon 5ED scanner for 35mm slides, and can recommend it highly (having used no other scanner :rolleyes:)...

    But... Does your relative really want to show thousands of pictures... to anybody??

    How about editing his slides down to, say, the best 100 or 200, and putting them on a DVD?
     
  12. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    #12
    I saw a lens/lens attachment for Nikon SLR mounts that let you put a slide in, snap a photo, repeat.

    The bonuses here, to me, would be that it should be quick compared to a scanner (1/60th of a second + mounting time vs. mounting time + whatever the scanner takes to make a pass). It's cheaper that a scanner. You get an autocropped image (not sure if a scanner does that, but once you get the first slide aligned you should be set). You can do in camera color enhancement (just set your preferences and shoot that way), if you desire.

    I'd think that a remote shutter release, and maybe tripod, would be handy here. This of course assumes you have a dSLR...

    http://www.amazon.com/Opteka-Slide-..._m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0R8XJH4T5X75MGMYNKS2
     
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #13
    Scanners today all have Kodak's "ICE" Epson, Canon and Nikon all license it from kodak. This works by using a second IR light source to make a four channel scan.
    Read more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_cleaning

    Using ICE is the only way you can hope to get this done in reasonable time. It is about 80% effective. Yes the DSLR does not have to scan the slide but that only save seconds. It is al the manual work and handling and cleaning the dust, dirt and scratches that takes time.

    One other thing. Slides are never flat. the film is always dished. The camera lens would have to have enough depth of field to focus the entire slide. Slide projectors typically used curved field lenses to compensate for this. Shooting 35mm slides onto a DX format sensor is well into "macro land" and I'd expect razor thin DOF. Will the eges be sharp enough even at f/11? I don't know
     
  14. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    Alaska
    #14
    A film scanner is best for scanning slides. I purchased an Epson Perfection V700 Photo (flatbed) scanner, and am very happy with it. With Digital Ice, and comes with SilverFast. However, nothing beats VueScan for scanning, regardless of scanner type. VueScan is relatively cheap (low priced), but is king in ease of use and scan control.
     
  15. Sly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sly

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    #15
    Thanks all for the advice. I think I am going to go for the new Epson Perfection V300 as it seems to get good reviews and is in budget. I am also watching a Nikon Coolscan 2 on ebay, which appears to be really cheap (so far), this option means using an old G3 though as it is SCSI interface only.

    Getting my uncle to pair down his collection to the best 2-300 slides seems a really good idea, particularly as I have no idea how to name each slide as I do not know anything about the pictures content, therefore he will need to label each physical slide anyway.

    Any final advice for or against the V300 or the Coolscan & G3 route appreciated before I buy.

    I checked in with our local photographic specialist shop, he wants £0.80 thats around $1.30 a slide to put on to DVD!
     
  16. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Sendai, Japan
    #16
    Forget about using a flatbed scanner. I have used mine (Epson 1660 or 1670 Photo) and the quality is disappointing. Plus, it takes a long time.

    Scanning 3-4k pictures will take you a long time, even if you use a batch scanner (which are obviously more expensive). I'd preselect pictures first if I were you.
     
  17. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #17
    Whew! Thanks, Doylem, for bringing this up. I was thinking about the tedious job of scanning 3000-4000 old slides, mostly b/w. No digital ICE, probably various quality and exposures, hard to set up any batch process that will really work well. It's a labor intensive process, and 3000-4000 slides is a huge job.

    Edit down the slides to the top 150-200, maybe you could even get 300+ and just outsource those. You should get DVD back for display on TV and high quality files for printing later, or just archiving. Shouldn't run over $300, so it will be reasonable in cost and save you a lot of headaches, believe me. Unless you really want to learn the fine nuances of scanning film, (which is becoming an 'old school' artform,) it won't be worth your time spent. Of course, if you want to shoot more film while it's still around.... that's another story..:)

    I'm saying this as one who has a Nikon Coolscan V ED sitting right here on my desk and a Nikon Coolscan III (SCSI) on my bookshelf, and I've scanned a lot of slides and negatives. It can really be fun, but the idea of staring at a pile of thousands of old, dusty, questionable quality slides, especially b/w, would make me run really, really fast in some other direction...;) Especially for the £ you have to work with.

    Also, I'd rather scan prints if I was doing black and white, since the dust and other issues are harder to control scanning b/w film (due to no digital ICE as a general rule) and it's easier to get good results with a good print and a decent flatbed scanner for B/W. Old dirty B/W negatives can be rewashed, Photo-flo'd and dried for printing or scanning, and usually they'll look like new, but mounted slides are much harder to clean well.

    Anyway, it's an interesting project, and you'll learn a lot tackling it. Have fun with it, and enjoy the family history. ;)
     
  18. cube macrumors G4

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    May 10, 2004
    #18
    You can get a FireWire/UltraSCSI converter for around $100.

    I haven't tried mine with a scanner, only with an LTO tape drive.
     
  19. Sarhir macrumors newbie

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    Jul 1, 2009
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    #19
    Anything new on the Horizon for slide scanners?

    It has been almost a year now since the posts on using a slide scanner for a Mac. I wonder if anything has changed? I too would like to scan a bunch of old color slides (from the 50's, 60's and 70's) and get them to a digital format. Good ole' Costco has a PrimeFilm PF7250u scanner on sale and while the price is tempting, wondered if this is a good option.

    Any feedback from you pros???:)
     
  20. sjshaw macrumors regular

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    Feb 18, 2004
    #20
    I'm interested in any feedback as well.
     
  21. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #21
    For all those thinking they can use a $100 flatbed scanner -- Yes you can but your time is not worth it. The major cost here by far is labor. Paying $2,500 in labor plus $100 for a scanner is a waste of your $2,500. Spend $500 or $600 for a good used professional scanner.

    How much are you being paid? You can outsource the job for about 25 cents per scan. If you are being paid less refuse the work. (Selling burgers at McDonald's pays better then scanning slides for 25 cents each.) and if you are being paid more send the work out and pocket the difference.

    The only reason to do the work yourself is either
    1) you are retired and need a time consumming hobby
    2) The images are something you can't let anyone else see
    3) You need a few images scanned quickly and can't wait for a professional service or lab's turn around time.


    IF you find that you must scan 4000 slides yourself do NOT go cheap on the scanner. The goal here is to conserve your TIME. Expect to spend about 4 minutes per slide as a minimum. And this does NOT include the time you spend waiting for the scanner, you will be busy quality controlling the last batch and setting up the next and moving the slides in and out of whatever storage system is used. Assume 4 minutes of your hands-on time. So, 16,000 minutes is 266 hours or 33 days if you work 8 hours per day. I hope you did not bid this job for $100. Seriously I would not want to do this for 50 cents per slide.

    For EVERY slide you will need to
    1) remove it from storage container,
    2) Dust it with anti-static brush
    3) Look at it to verify which side is emulsion and which is base and which side is up. You may need a light table and a loupe.
    4) place it on the holder on the scanner
    5) Scan the image
    6) look at the scan in photoshop and make minor corrections to color exposure and remove as much dust as you can in one or two minutes. This means just getting the worst of it off the main subject. This is an absolute must. You DO have to quality control every frame and I've never seen a frame that did not require some work. Black and White always requires hand work.
    7) Add some kind of text to describe the image, even if just the roll and frame number
    8) move the slide from scanner to storage.

    When you buy the scanner a required feature is Kodak's ICE. This can eliminate dust and scratches at about the 80% level and save much time with step #6 but this only works for color images. The process does NOT work with silver based film. So maybe my 4 minutes per slide estimate is wrong. I based it on color and using ICE.

    Budget your time. Step #6 can be a real time sink. Look at a clock and just quit after 2 minutes. If it needs more work, write down the frame number and move on. It's easy for a perfectionist to spend an hour on one frame. Resist that temptation.

    Given the size of the job you want the BEST scanner you can get. If you buy a used scanner you can sell it for about what you paid so don't cut corners. Using a cheap scanner could add hours to the job. Better scanners require less post scan hand correction.

    The "standard" scanner that is used for this kind of work is the Nikon 5000ED. Buy a used one and don't mess around with cheap scanners. Not for a 4,000 slide job. If this job can't pay for a scanner, decline the job.

    Do not attempt to use the automatic feeder. If it jams even once and destroys even one slide you have failed and will likey owe the owner of the slides more than the job is worth.

    And do buy some white cotton film gloves and maybe a mask, Keep the film clean.
     
  22. Nordichund macrumors 6502

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    Aug 21, 2007
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    Oslo, Norway
    #22
    I just bought myself an Epson V500 to scan in my old negatives and I have read this thread with interest. There is a lot of good advice. Thank you for that.

    I am scanning in all my pictures, but will will go back to the few pictures I really like and work with them later.

    Can I also say after so far scanning in more than a 1000 pictures how much I hate film and how I celebrate its demise.

    For the normal photographer film was expensive and inconvenient. Working with vulnerable negatives in a dust free environment is and was a pain in the butt. The new digital world of photography has opened up so many possiblities to so many people.

    I wonder what the next format will be :)
     
  23. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Sendai, Japan
    #23
    That's a flatbed scanner -- which are inadequate for scanning negatives and slides at high quality. With my flatbed scanner (also an Epson), I get no more than 3 megapixels in terms of quality from my scans.
     
  24. Nordichund macrumors 6502

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    Oslo, Norway
    #24
    I completely agree. But for most of the photos I have I really don't need higher quality. The perhaps 100 or so photos I would like to have high quality scans for, I will have done professionaly.

    I have a lot of discoloured photos in albums and in my draws. Digitilising them in this way is giving them a new lease of life. I'm finding it fun.

    Of course at the end of the day it's up to the individual to decide exactly what they want and need.

    But really I'm just happy that I never have to take another film photograph ever again. All the scratched negatives from people who developed them who didn't care.
     
  25. rjphoto macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

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    Mar 7, 2005
    #25
    ChrisA has given some very good advice.

    My advice if you want to put together a DVD show is first to edit the slides down to a manageable lot.

    Archiving family photos is the most tedious task I have ever done in my 30+ years as a professional photographer.

    My process now for quality images is to use an old 35mm film duplicator with a digital camera in place of the old Nikon F3.

    I still have to handle every slide. I use a can of dust off first and then the brush if it still needs cleaning.

    Every image is still run through Photoshop for tweaking of color, contrast and sometimes a little straightening.

    I recently did a job for a man that said he had thousands of images to archive. His goal was to learn the digital editing side of it and make prints on an Epson printer. His thousands of images became 150. The digital images were so good that he thought I had already cleaned them up in Photoshop. In actuality his images were very clean, well exposed and needed very little work.

    I began using this process mainly to convert text slides to digital for use in medical lectures. I tried it on a few of my own scenic slides and was pleased.

    I had 2 old Microtech 35mm scanners years ago that I paid over $1000 each for and they took up to 5 minutes depending on the resolution per image. This process is much faster and I think gives a better result.
     

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