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Railfan Technology > Slide scanner vs digital camera and slide copier

Date: 01/23/19 18:31
Slide scanner vs digital camera and slide copier
Author: march_hare

I’ve had only mixed success getting slides into digital format using a slide copying attachment and a macro lens on my Canon D70 SLR. It’s way faster than hauling out my Plustek scanner,  but critical focus has been a problem, and it appears that my Nikon slide copier was intended for a full frame camera, which the D70 isn’t. So I don’t get a full frame image most of the time. 

But it I am likely to buy a full frame D5 in the next few months, so I should be able to bring the full force of that big’old full frame sensor to bear on the problem. The resulting image would actually have a higher pixel count than any commercial scanner I know of. 

Has anybody done a comparison between a full frame DSLR and a high end slide scanner?

Date: 01/24/19 10:55
Re: Slide scanner vs digital camera and slide copier
Author: sarailfan

I know Jim Gilley (grumpysworld.com) did an extensive comparison for his own purposes, but given the blog based format of his site I'm not sure how best to search for the results. Perhaps searching for slide might bring up the posts.

Posted from Android

Darren Boes
Lethbridge, AB
Southern Alberta Railfan

Date: 01/24/19 12:04
Re: Slide scanner vs digital camera and slide copier
Author: BRAtkinson

Like many here on TO, I have too many slides and not enough time to scan them.  Several years ago, I decided I should start scanning my slides and bought a decent, used, name brand slide scanner that even featured a stack loader and automatic operation.  I soon discovered that the slide jamming/bending/refusal to feed 'feature' of the stack loader turned me off to that unit...especially having had extensive success and failure with stack loaders and Kodak Carousel projectors.

Maybe 4-5 years ago already, I bought a new name brand mid-price flatbed scanner that does slides (note: not all scanners do slides!) and with the supplied slide holder, did 4 at a time.  After a couple weeks of going great guns I finally proved to myself that the exposure of positions #-3 & 4 was less than that of #1 & 2.  I returned it to Amazon and they replaced it.  Same problem.  I returned that and bought a competitors product, again, in the $150-200 range.  I like it and it works quite well with the supplied software.  It also works very well with the purchased product Vuescan....except that Vuescan is noticeably slower per 4 slides than the manufacturers software.

Lack of time and other priorities caused my scanning to cease about 3 years ago. 

But, scanning the slides is the easy part!  The more difficult part is using photo editing software to clean up the slide, removing dust, scratches, fixing tilted images, exposure, saturation, and on and on.  I could easily spend 5 minutes or more per slide cleaning/tweaking/improving them!  That's where the problem lies    Note that the scanning software, especially Vuescan, can do miracles in the cleanup department...but the same settings may not apply to all the slides in a batch, handful, or slide tray and takes time to scan/test/adjust/scan again, etc.  However, for a low number of slides, like fewer than 10, that is very acceptable.  Then comes cataloging them in some reasonable scheme.  For me, it was much the same as I had separate Carousel trays for each logical subject/grouping/presentation.  If one has time and desire, software like Lightroom can be used to cross index/catalog them by additional search terms such as Conrail, GP40, ex-PRR, or anything and any quantity of additional terms.

I'd really like to scan and catalog all my slides perhaps to donate it to a museum somewhere.  I'm not a great photographer by any means, but there may be some useful historical images for future generations to see what railroading was like in the 60s-90s.  The problem is that I'd need at least 10 YEARS to scan them all and edit them, etc.  So now, I'm thinking about breaking out the slide sorter and picking images I want to scan...about 1 out of 20 or so.  But making decisions from seeing the slides loses a lot of the details.  I still have my projector and screen, so that may be an alternative.  I'm also toying with paying an outside scanning service to do the scanning and basic cleanup for my selected slides.  Oh...one more thing...I used to have a fantastic memory, so I never labelled any slides! 

It all comes down to time, motivation, and money.  How to proceed varies based on individual circumstances.

Date: 01/26/19 05:12
Re: Slide scanner vs digital camera and slide copier
Author: hoggerdoug

My flatbed scanner has the adapter to hold 4 slides. I have found that I get better results and no software issues if I just do 3 slides at a time.  Doug

Date: 01/26/19 06:38
Re: Slide scanner vs digital camera and slide copier
Author: robj

D70 is obsolete.  So old it is hard to say whether it is even capabable or functioning correctly.


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