Looking for a good 35mm Slide Scanner Solution


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Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 30, 2012 - 10:09am PT
A buddy of mine is coming down from Alaska with a few trays of slides from various trips we did BITD.

I've been looking around at slide scanners and it seems the good dedicated ones are fairly expensive. $250 or WAY more. There are some cheap looking ones for under $100 but I'm guessing that I would be disappointed with the results.

Another option might be to use a digital camera with macro lens to simply take pictures of them. Saw an article online where a guy seemed to get pretty good results that way. Regardless all I have is a P&S digital that I doubt would do well at this.

I would love any feedback on scanners folks have used that they like. Also perhaps someone near Reno might be willing to loan one (or a good dslr with macro lens) if they have it.

Any info or help appreciated!


Nov 30, 2012 - 10:21am PT
If it's only a few trays I would suggest taking them to a recommended place that scans.
It takes time to dial it all in and good scanners are expensive.
Good luck

Kennewick wa
Nov 30, 2012 - 10:33am PT
One thing to consider is what are you going to do with the scans? If you want to make 16 X 20 prints, pro lab all the way. If you just want a digital copy to look at the cheaper alternatives will be ok.

I agree with Timmc. If it's not that many, it may be cheaper and you will get better results at a lab.

The macro thing requires a real macro (not the "macro" setting on a zoom) and to have everything lined up perfect to get good results.

I have seen good results from the Epson V500 flatbed scanner. It has the tray to do film scans (up to 2 1/4). You can find them for around $130 on sale if you look around.

The results I have seen from the cheap film scanners ($100) haven't been very good.


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 30, 2012 - 11:04am PT
If you could find a slightly older Plustek for $200 you'd be pretty happy.
Their latest model was on sale at Samy's the other day for $260 or so.
No such thing as 'good' and $100 unless it is a good used one. Forget the
macro lens idea.

Boulder climber
member since 2002
Nov 30, 2012 - 11:20am PT
If it's only a few trays I would suggest taking them to a recommended place that scans.

I've done that. Depends on how many slides you are scanning. If it's a lot, it can be expensive. However, if you are only scanning slides one time, I would not spend the money on a scanner
Keith Leaman

Trad climber
Nov 30, 2012 - 12:13pm PT
Finding a decent 35mm slide copier wasn't simple. I wanted something small and easy to use so I tried the ION which for some reason didn't work with my MAC, and it cropped every slide just a little. Same with the Wolverine. They were slow, too. So after much searching, I ended up with the larger flatbed Epson Perfection V600 for about $200, included shipping at the time, through Amazon.

Being able to copy 2 1/4 slides was a big advantage. Plus, if you don't have a document scanner, it does that as well as negatives, large format and panoramas. The photo shops around here want $2 per slide which would have cost several hundred bucks to convert even a fraction of my art and climbing slides. A version of Adobe Photoshop Elements came with the copier.

Here's a sample of one of my 45 year old 2 1/4 transparancies taken with a very inexpensive camera. Looking down the friction pitch of the Exum rt. on the Grand Teton 1968. My partner at the bottom center just starting up. Good luck with the search.
Exum Rt. Grand Teton 1968. Met Paul Petzoldt on this trip.
Exum Rt. Grand Teton 1968. Met Paul Petzoldt on this trip.
Credit: Keith Leaman


Trad climber
SeKi, California
Nov 30, 2012 - 12:18pm PT
I use a smooth white matte board and blow an image on it with a slide projector at the smallest size, which ends up around 5/7" then take a digital picture at a normal setting, hand held. I have had good results with some slides. I have also used slide viewers to do this same thing.
Credit: Radish
Every slide has its own personality. This is a cheap option that can work and should be tried, unless of course your going for 16/20.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 30, 2012 - 12:34pm PT
I have a standing offer to scan slides using my Nikon Coolscan 4000 ED (as long as it stays alive) for climbing subjects...

...it generally does a good (excellent) job up to 4000 dpi and better if the slides are flat (depth of field can be an issue on the scan, curved slides will have the focus fall of on the edges).

Usually scan the batch at 1000 dpi and go back for those slides that are worth while at 4000dpi.

If it is a really great project I can even go in and Photoshop out the dust, etc...


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 30, 2012 - 12:39pm PT
Nice of you, Ed.

So what do commercial outfits use?

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 30, 2012 - 12:48pm PT
Wow Ed! I might take you up on that when my bud gets down here at least for his slides. He will be road trippin for a few months. I would like my own scanner although I doubt I will be able to get anything quite so good as that Nikon.

I have tons of old slides that I would do myself at lower quality only a small handful would really be worth high quality.

Thanks for all the input everyone.

Keith L. Ty for the info on the low end ION and Wolverine. Confirms what I suspected about not likely being happy with those

I had not seriously considered an Epson tray type scanner but for a lot of my stuff it seems like an affordable good enough solution.


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 30, 2012 - 12:50pm PT
climbski, a flatbead capable of doing it decently will be about equal in price to
a Plustek with its much higher quality.

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 30, 2012 - 12:53pm PT
Yeah I know the Plustek is the way to go. Apparently similar in image result to Eds Nikon. But I just cannot justify that much expense for a one time thing for a few hundred pics only a few of which are really good. Most of em are just memory type stuff. Tempting though. Suppose I could just sell it after I'm done.

Nov 30, 2012 - 02:18pm PT
I have one of these collecting dust in my closet. I'd sell it for cheap but I have a feeling it'll be a bitch to set up on any newer OS.

Looks like Ed has the best deal going for your purposes.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 30, 2012 - 02:31pm PT
From what I can tell, the the Hammacher-Schlemmer slide & instamatic film and 35 neg. scanner Jim Shirley sent me is the same as the Ion $49.95 in the Amazon catalog. It's a three-way converter, no frills, it takes a lot to get the slides clean, like all of them, I imagine, unless they have a Sconman Friday in the dit. Then it's definitely worth it. Really?--it's probably not an option except for the lame. I am hobbling. FWIW.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 30, 2012 - 02:32pm PT
Weezy, "these" leaves a lot to the imagination. I have a lot of "these"
in a lot of closets. But we won't go there.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 30, 2012 - 02:49pm PT
My two cents on this long-running point of discussion is to simply get a flatbed scanner as they are so useful for other tasks as well as slide and negative scanning. They act as copiers for ordinary items at any resolution. They can handle opaque material on the bed, say a book or magazine page. They can do a marvelous job even beyond 4000 dpi with results good enough for most all of us. And a very good flatbed is $200, say a canoscan 9000F. Mine has been just great for many years now.


Better yet of course are the Epson 750, but they are four times the money.


Dedicated slide scanners like Ed H's Nikon Coolscan 4000 (and models above this), now no longer made, are wonderful and fantastic and can be set up for rather high production with feeders even. But they remain only useful in this way while most households can really benefit from having the ability to also scan, preserve all kinds of non-transparent media.

Social climber
The internet
Nov 30, 2012 - 02:59pm PT
scancafe.com rocks.

Otherwise, feel free to spend 1000's for a scanner as good, then work for 2 cents an hour for several months' worth of your free time, with no experience and skill for the task, on your whole slide collection, before realizing the results suck so bad you want to do everything over.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 30, 2012 - 07:11pm PT
scancafe looks like a practical solution...

I bought my scanner in the late 1990s instead of a high end digital SLR, and it was very cost effective when you could get film developed nearby

about 2 years ago the digital SLR resolutions surpassed my scanner... and the photofinishers in my area disappeared too.. probably not just coincidental.

You can still get better scan resolutions off of a scanned bit of film than from a dSLR (if you want to make posters, I have prints 24" x 36" off of a piece of 35mm film)... but certainly going forward a dSLR is a better bet.

For all that old film, high end flat bed scanners do remarkably well, I wouldn't buy a dedicated film scanner... BUT...I have one and it still works... I also have a 50 slide feeder so it is really easy to dump a bunch of slides in the hopper and let the scanner eat them up and produce good digital copies at 1000dpi very quickly. If the slides are warped it is a bit more of a pain.

All old slides usually need some love, aside from blowing the slide with canned air (and it really is just dry air) the other blemishes and dust are Photoshopped away.. that can take time for dirty slides...

Scanning negatives is also pretty straight forward. Color is just like slides, B&W usually requires some tweaking (but just because I'm that way)... and then there is the cleaning step...

I offer to do this for climbing slides because there are a lot of slides and negatives from back in the day that you all have that are just sitting in boxes moldering away... you could be telling stories with them that we would all like to hear (well, at least I would like to hear) and the images not only help to tell the stories, but also jog your memories.

And even if you sucked as a photog, the images have a historic significance that goes beyond fine art...

the other reason is that almost nobody takes me up on it... so I'm not very busy doing it...

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 1, 2012 - 12:11pm PT
the software I use, VueScan, also supports the Minolta Scan Dual III


via the USB port...
I'm sure the other third party software options would work also.


Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 1, 2012 - 12:35pm PT
Well based on that I've sent you message WEEZY. Might work out good for both of us if you still want to move that ole Minolta scanner.
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