Scanning Slides into computer

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Scanning Slides into computer

  • I am probably in the same boat as many of you out there. I haveseveral thousand(+/-) railroad slides that currently reside in carousels. I don't even know if my projecter still works. It has not seen the light of day in many years (20+). What is the best way to scan onto my computer? I am running a quad core processor with Windows 7 and plenty of hard drive space. I have explored some of the less expensive slide scanners, less than $100, and most photo people tell me I won't be satisfied with the results.

    So here I am asking for suggestions/recommendations for something suitable that will produce decent results.

    Commercial scanning is not a cost effective option- besides I would rather not have my slides leave my posession.

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  • Depends how "decent" is decent...

    A flat bed scanner with transparency adapter will work and give okay results.  For better results, you need a dedicated transparency scanner.

    Lots of really good info and excellent reviews here:

    Also, Silverfast software for use with the scanner is really good. It allows multiple scans to be automatically overlaid which averages out the scanner "noise" and give a better results

    For really decent results, you'll have to spend $500+/- for a scanner.

    I bought a cheap Reflecta 3600 (about $100) from Ebay from a fellow in Australia (the don't sell them in the US).  Using it with the Silverfast software, I get results I am happy with.  You can see some of the results here: and here

    It's tedious work, though.  First you scan the slide - takes about 5 min per slide.  Then, you have to clean it up in Photoshop - straighten, crop, true up the colors, remove dust specs, scratches, etc, remove noise, sharpen.  This takes 5 -10 minutes a slide.

    -Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else?

  • Unfortunately in recent years pro-sumer grade slide scanners have virtually disappeared from the U.S. market. I've not found the low end products to produce a satisfactory result.

    If you are fortunate to live near the right city, some photo dealers rent higher quality film scanners. I was able to rent a Nikon with a semi-automatic feeder but it wasn't cheap (IIRC ~$60 per day). Another problem is that the scanner has been out of production for a while and may only have drivers for Win2K, XP or Vista.