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View topic - Scanning 35 mm slides

Scanning 35 mm slides

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by jehill » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:25 am

Why would anyone desire to scan their 35 mm slides?

In my case, I don't enjoy the ordeal of setting up a slide projector and screen whenever I get the notion to look at a tray of two of slides.  Not to mention hovering over a hot, noisy slide projector as I insert and remove slide trays and manually sequence through the slides.  Worse yet, if I don't have an empty slide tray available when I desire to look at slides that are not in trays, I have to remove the slides in the tray and load the desired slides.

If you scan your slides or pay someone to do so, you can load the files onto a networked PC and view them there or on any networked TV set that allows you to do so.  Another advantage is that the slide images are clearer than ever!

Do it yourself or hire a commercial service to do so?


I went to Best Buy and purchased an ION FILM 2 SD slide scanner for $129.99.  No computer is required.  You can stack 30 or 40 slides in the slide feeder provided.  It is very easy to use.  The scanned slides are archived in a 2 G SD card also provided.  I transferred the files to my PC via the SD card.  The calculated resolution is 1838 dpi.  The slides look pretty good on my KDL-55XBR8.  However, there is one big problem.  Debris starts appearing on the pictures after only a few slides have been scanned.  This is because the light source gets covered with debris.  A brush is provided to clean the light source, but its difficult to remove all debris.  It would take me forever to scan all of my slides.  I have since returned the scanner.

I decided to check out a film scanning service that happens to be less that a half hour drive from my home, FotoBridge.  They are the first hit to appear if you Google "slide scanning".  Their Standard scanning resolution is 2000 dpi, but 3000 dpi and 4000 dpi options are available at extra cost.  These are the resolutions available on the Nikon LS-5000 scanners that they use.  I asked what resolution would be best for viewing on an HD TV and they suggested 3000 dpi.  In order for me to see for myself the difference between resolutions, they scanned five of my slides for free at each resolution.  I was easily able to see the difference between the resolutions up close to the TV and on my PC monitor.

A big plus for film scanning services is that they use sophisticated applications to clean up the raw image files, such as the IDF (Intelligent Digital Finishing) package that FotoBridge uses.  Here us the description:

"IDF is our exclusive image enhancement and correction process. All packages include IDF, there is no additional charge. Unlike most enhancement approaches, IDF "intelligently" selects the best enhancement approach based upon unique requirements of each image (condition, exposure, etc.). IDF combines select system-based approaches with traditional techniques for a solution that ensures each image is rendered at the highest possible quality. As a hybrid approach, IDF improves upon fully manual approaches by minimizing operator subjectivity, and consistently out-performs automated approaches by using criteria-based application. Quality assurance is embedded in IDF through our 100% visual inspection process and automated sampling".

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by jttar » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:07 pm

Hello John,

I am very interested, as I have boxes, slide trays, slide wheels and more boxes of my old 35mm slides. can you give me a ball park figure of how costly it is for 3000 dpi per slide?

Thank you for sharing.

Joe

edit --- I may have found the answer HERE if it is FotoBridge instead of PhotoBridge

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by jehill » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:07 am

My mistake! They have a well organized web site. Very easy to find information.
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by jehill » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:28 am

Tomorrow between 3-5 PM I am going to FotoBridge to pick up my slides (1121) and the DVDs containing 4000 dpi images of each slide as well as images suitable for posting on the web.  The size of each 4000 dpi image of a 35 mm slide is 5222 x ~3512 pixels (that latter varies a bit).  That's equivalent to using an 18 mega-pixel camera to take the original photo!  I can hardly wait for the convenience of viewing the images on my big screen TV!
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by jttar » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:47 pm

John,

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that FotoBridge did a nice job on you slides. How cool it will be to be able to view those pictures as easily as putting a DVD in the player without experiencing the noise and heat of the projector. Not to mention not having to set up the screen.

Joe
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by jehill » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:10 pm

I received my order Monday night.  Unfortunately, there was a slight glitch.  The stacks of slides that I provided were scanned top to bottom) their default, even though I told the girl that processed the order that my stacks of slides needed to be scanned bottom to top.  They are now in the process of reversing the numbering of the images for each slide stack so that they will appear in the proper order.  Even though the images are in reverse order for each slide stack, it was fun to view most of them last night with my wife.  I have slides that I forgot about!  Hopefully, I will get my new DVDs and Photo Index Thursday afternoon or Friday.
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by jehill » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:42 pm

Friday I received new DVDs and a new Photo Index.  Now all of my slides are in the correct order.  The title on the Photo Index tells it all: "A Lifetime of Photos, Digital".  All 35 mm shots that I have ever taken are now digitized!  I wish that I had one of those new 84" screens so that I can fully take advantage of the 4000 dpi resolution.  You can't see all of the detail at a normal big screen TV viewing distance.  You have to move up closer for that.  Not so with an 84" screen.

My next project is to transfer hand written labels to images where I have them and clean up any images that include debris that may be easily removed using the Photoshop Spot Healing Brush Tool.
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by jehill » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:49 am

I am now busy transferring written labels to images and cleaning them up.  I am having to discipline myself not to zoom in when looking for debris.  If you zoom in, you can spend a ton of time removing things that no one would ever see.   Now I scan the full screen image for objects that I want to delete.  I don't go any further if I don't find any.

One thing that sometimes barely appear are what I will call micro-scratches.  You have to blow up the image to make them big enough to easily "heal".  They take lot of time to remove.  Here is an example:



This is a portion of the sky in a photo.  The image size is 738 x 488 pixels.  Since the scan resolution is 4000 dpi, we are looking at an area of the slide of only 0.1845 x 0.122 inches.  Those are some mighty thin scratches.  My only explanation for where they came from is either the film dragging across dirt in the camera or during processing.

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by jehill » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:36 pm

I just backed up the images of my 1156 slides to a pair of DVD-R disks and my backup hard drive after adding subjects from previous handwritten lists and cleaning up images as needed to eliminate imperfections (dots, blotches, scratches, etc.) using the Photoshop Spot Healing Brush Tool. That's right! I manually inspected each of the images for imperfections.

Now that I am done, I can sit back and relax and enjoy viewing the images of the slides on my big screen TV or computer!

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