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Old Mar 26, 2005, 10:03 AM   #1
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I'm looking to buy a scanner for slides. I've tried to do as much research as I can and read the reviews. I'm also trying not to spend big money around the $500.00 range. I have been able to narrow it down to 2 different ones.
Pacfic Image PF3650 and Nikon Coolscan V ED.
From reviews I have read they both have problems but I can spend any more money. Does Ice4 make a big difference over ICE3?I don't need to be perfect on the scans for i'm going to put them on a DVD so we can watch them on a TV. I'm really looking for a scanner that will do the job somewhat quickly and effigently. So what does any body think?
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Old Apr 3, 2005, 10:54 PM   #2
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I had your dilemma about 6months ago. I got all of my grandparents (2500+)slides, and wanted to preserve them, and make them available to any of the kids and grandkids that wanted them.

The slides were all over the place quality wise. Some extremely faded, discolored, or grainy, and some some that were absolutely perfect. Film type and processing labs seemed to change constantly in the 30+ years the slides spanned (starting in the 50's).

I spent months looking for the right scanner, but in the end, I didn't buy one. I picked up a flat copy camera stand for nothing from work, and borrowed a light table to act as the projector. Then I just shot them all in macro modewith my 6MP camera. It went quickly, really only taking about a month from start to finish doing it in my spare time on the weekends. I taped a couple of metal straight edges to the top of the light box to form a conveyor belt of slides that I just kept pushing past the lens. If you can't get a copy stand to shoot from, be creative and hang the light table on the wall and use your tripod.

I made the decision to not buy the scanner for two reasons. First, if I was going to buy a scanner, I wanted Digital Ice & Digital ROC built in. The problem is that turning on the correction G-R-E-A-T-L-Y increases the scanning time. Several minutes per slide. You can't get Ice, but you can get ROC and GEM & SHO plugins from Kodak for any Photoshopcompatible program for only $50 each. I tried the demos (watermarked) and they worked awesome, and certainly faster than they would on the scanner, and you've got more control. (I have not gottento the processing phase yet, but I see these plugins asmandatory). Also keep in mind that some typesof film don't work well with ROC & ICE andturning it on at the scanner actually makes them worse (which means you may have to scan the same slide twice unless you are lucky enough to know ahead of time what type of film was used for your slides.) Second, this is the last time I want to have to do this. So I wanted enough MP to cover anyone's needs. In the price range I had (sub $1000) most of the scanners are about 4MP. That just seemed a little light to me, if someone wanted an 8x10 or larger print. (remember that slides for some reason come in all kinds of odd aspect ratios, not just the typical 35mm 4x6, so you're going to end up cropping away those pixels)

Regardless of what you decide to do, my biggest suggestion would be to sit down with all the slide on a light table and sort them out before you even do the first scan. Mine were all shuffled up, some with developing dates stamped on them, and some without. Organizing them by dates or subjects or vacations or whatever, ahead of time and putting them in order will save you an enormous amount of time once you've got all the scans done.

If you go the light table route....beware of turning all the lights on. If the slides are too brightly backlit, you may get blueish/purpleish haloing in high contrast areas (Chromatic Aberrations). Reducing the light from the box made that issue go away for me 99% of the time.

For what it's worth, I used my Fujifilm s7000 to shoot these. They also make "Slide Copiers" that attach to the lens of your digicam and have a slot for a slide to fit in. I thought about this route, but I heard too many mixed reviews. Still, they're cheap....I think around $50. Let me know if you'd like to see a sample of one of my slide conversions for comparison, and I'll post one for you.
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Old Apr 6, 2005, 5:52 AM   #3
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That makes a lot of sense -- the dedicated film/slide scanners are very slow, and the better quality you're looking for the slower they get, plus hi-res scans from 35mm often hit 60MB (at least from my Polaroid 4000 they do), so scanning in a thousand or so slides or negatives isn't really a spare-time task.

Ice can make a big difference, but only on suitable material -- don't think it works on older Kodachrome, for instance, which almost had a monopoly in the early days of colour and which seems to be the era most slides needing its ministrations come from.

I'd be very tempted to experiment with the digital camera route first.

Alternatively, look at the top two Epson Photo flatbeds, both of which can do a respectable job with slides (and the 4990 Photo, at least, comes with Ice -- this version definitely doesn't handle Kodachrome.)
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Old Apr 9, 2005, 10:37 AM   #4
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my position on the use of a digicam to copy your slides.

in reference to dedicated slidescanners being slow. relatively true but there is more information in a slide/negative then a digicam can actuallycapture. so essentially you will be truncating the info by only about 60% or more by shooting a snapshot with it. if you are trying to "archive" those valuble images just think you threw most of them away to begin with. yes they are 40-65MB a piece for a reason. it allows you to work with more info when printing and editing. hard drive space is cheap. good archiving medium is also an issue. the dyes used in the substrates can be at issue depending on the quality. remember the burn your own cd/dvd's are not the same quality as the original cd's you bought years ago. they are actually burnt lets say hard wired vs the method used in the cd burner on your pc which does the pits and grooves as more of an image in the dye that is read as the real thing. they can turn if not cared for.

good slide scanners like a nikon have bulk loaders available that do 50 slide batches w/o you being present. so go sleep on it.

Digital ice. its good and its bad. in my opinion it should be applied on a image to image basis. if those images a kodachrome don't even try it. kchrome and DIce do not get along. in fact kchrome needs very little reworking in a scanner. the nikons software actually has a predefined kchrome setting. i exclusively used kodachrome for 25 years. there are dye based slides frome both kodak and fuji that fall real short on the lonjevity dept.

deciding to archive a piece of your history is a challenge make it worth your work.
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