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Gwen Dec 1, 2003 11:18 AM

Slide adapters for digital cameras
When I was first looking to buy a digital camera, the saleperson pointed out (I believe it was on a Nikon camera) that it came with a little adapter thingie that you stuck in front of the lens and then you could take a photo of a slide and turn it into a digital print.

Are these adapters avail for all digital cameras? Have any of you tried them and how do they work? I have tons of slides I would like to convert over.

sjms Dec 1, 2003 11:30 AM

the quality will not be in any way near that of the original slide. a imaging flatbed scanner and even better a dedicated slide/transparency scanner are the only devices wil give you the true image. putting a slide into a holder and snapping a shot without proper light control and a few other factors will produce a disappointment instead of a quality image. your slide is much higher res then your camera. my slide scanner produces an average 50MB or better from 1 slide.

it comes down to how much you value the past xx years of images. shot 1976 shot 1983 shot 1984 shot 1984

JimC Dec 1, 2003 12:53 PM

Nikon (and other manufacturers) have made slide copiers for digital cameras.

This is much faster than using a scanner (you're just taking a photo of the slide with your digital camera, with the final image resolution the same as supported by your cam).

You can even find homemade designs online.

Nikons part number is the ES-E28 (Coolpix Slide Copying Adapter).

Here's a photo of it (NikonMall is out of stock now):

I used a couple of price search engines, and Office Depot ($68.99), Ritz, and a few others showed the item (but did not not show whether or not it was still in stock). You'll need an adapter for some Coolpix models (see the first link in this post to the NikonMall site).

If you can't locate one in stock by using the price search engines, try google (lots of search results come up):

Steve tested one made by Happenstance with a Nikon Coolpix 950 quite a long time ago. It was only $40.00 at the time.

He rated it a solid 5 out of 5. You can find the review of it here:

So, it appears that these can work very well with the swivel bodied Nikons.

Gwen Dec 1, 2003 12:57 PM

What I was wondering was if they make them for other camera brands. Like a Canon for instance.

JimC Dec 1, 2003 1:07 PM

I personally have never seen one for any Canon Digital Camera (but that doesn't mean that one doesn't exist). The only ones I've seen have been for the Nikons.

sjms Dec 1, 2003 2:13 PM

have you ever seen a print or an image that has been reshot by even a 5MP camera. the loss of detail is less then satisfactory. depending on your light source the colors are off. it may be faster but it is a total loss for quality. the whole point of shooting a chrome to begin with was to get the highest quality and detail.

why do you think slide scanners are rated at 4000dpi+. a digicam cannot produce that.

thats right you are taking an image in the size that supports the camera of an image that is well beyond that of your camera. a slide scanner gives you more detail and quality. it give you the capability to crop much finer. were are talking a greater dynamic range and accurate color rendition which is not available with the reshoot method.

it seems that with digital there are people that think anything before it was inferior and not worth the effort to save or reproduce in quality. film still beats pretty much all digicams in image quality and dynamic range. only the upper end where few fear to spend comes anywhere close and in some cases equals and exceeds. but the price must be paid. a slide scanner give you the ability to reproduce any image shot since 35mm film came out. thats B&W, color negatives, and chromes(slides).

JimC Dec 1, 2003 2:44 PM

It's all a matter of perspective. Sure, some people may want much higher resolution scans, more closely related to film.

However, does this mean that a photo of a slide taken with a 4 Megapixel Nikon Coolpix 4500 is bad?

I doubt it -- just like any other photo taken with the same camera can be fine for most users -- not looking to blow up the prints to super large sizes.

Why do you think Steve rated a $40.00 slide copier a solid 5 out of 5, using an older model 2 Megapixel Nikon 950?

Also, bear in mind that 35mm negative scan (1.5"x1") @2,700ppi is exactly the same as a 15"x10" print scan on a flatbed scanner @270ppi. Both are 4050x2700pixels. This is why filmscanners need much higher resolution, compared to using a camera with a slide adapter.

So, taking a photo with a 3 to 4MP digital camera, will produce about the same final image size (resolution in pixels) as scanning with a film scanner rated at around 1200ppi.

Is less resolution as good as with the newer film scanners? No. Does a user need more? It depends on what they want to use it for (just like many users are perfectly happy with their 3 or 4 Megapixels cameras, at lower resolution).

So the question 'how much resolution do I need?' is linked to wht the user wants to use the image for. What is sufficient depends on the requirements of the user.

Scanning at 2700 (or 4000+) pixels per inch) takes longer, and uses far more space compared to an image taken with a digital camera. I wouldn't personally need the higher resolution (or dynamic range, which is limited by the file format used for saving the image anyway).

Heck, if you check Steve's review, he also includes links to Jeff Keller's review of the same slide copier. Jeff said this about it:

"Does it work?
Like a charm! I was able to get excellent copies from a wide variety of Kodachrome, Ektachrome and other slides. The Nikon 950's 1,600 x 1,200 resolution is less than that of a dedicated slide scanner, of course...but it's plenty good enough for prints up to 8x10". In fact, when I printed these digitized images from my Epson Stylus Photo 1200 inkjet printer, I was hard pressed to tell the difference between the digitized versions and custom 8x10" glossies from my color darkroom."

And these reviews were using an older model 2 Megapixel Nikon Coolpix 950 (not a newer 4MP Nikon 4500). They were also using an inexpensive 3rd party copier (not one that Nikon now designed and markets specifically for the Coolpix Camera line).
Is it perfect. No. Other users may insist on the better quality a slide scanner will provide.

However, not everyone wants to spend the money or time using a slide scanner either.

There are pros and cons to both approaches.

bcoultry Dec 1, 2003 3:57 PM

Before I had a film scanner, I took desperate measures and set up my slide screen in the basement (because it was dark), projected the slides onto the screen, then photographed them with my then 3 megapixel camera. It worked extemely well, considering how I was doing it. I learned after the very first shot that, of course, I had to be "dead-on" with the camera--not even the slightest angle.

This isn't necessarily the best solution, but it did work surprisingly well. The color range wasn't as wide as it is with an original photo, but my memory says that slides don't have the widest color range either. Naturally, I could be wrong. I often am.

sjms Dec 1, 2003 4:07 PM

well i guess your right then because your satisfied. unfortunately there is a trementous difference in the image quality beyond a 4x6. it is the ability to resolve and crop where everything falls apart there. you miss half your image by doing what your doing. but then your saisfied and thats what matters. maybe one day youl'll project that image again and then look at the 8x10 you printed and the you'll finally admit to all you missed.

there are people that settle for less and then there are people who want and get better. for me its a matter of pride in the image i print so a weak link is in the workflow is unacceptable. when i duped slides it was 1:1 on resolution with the duping film and there were still some losses.

the only con is the price of a scanner but being able to reproduce your images at a extremely high repeatable quality is the pay off. again it all depends on how many slides you have. i started shooting in 1975 and almost exclusively on kodachrome. between the Kchrome and the agfachrome and the fuji chrome i still have over 10K in slides. the earlier fujis are starting to fade and the scanner and the ICE3 program saved quite a few from loss. i print my wifes negatives from 30+ years ago to and others to. i still shoot B?W on film and then transfer it to digital on the scanner. that scanner paid for itself the first year i owned it. it allowed me to pull all the past and used it today. that is money well spent. again its how much you value your past.

sjms Dec 1, 2003 4:13 PM

your average kchrome slide can go out 8 stops depending on how you exposed it. your average digicam just hits about 5. my 1Ds is about 7-8.

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