After I bought my own 35mm SLR camera in 1976 (a Minolta XE-7), I made the fortuitous discovery that our local major pharmacy chain sold 24-exposure slide film for just $3, processing included. That was so cheap that I went on a photography binge with my new camera, and to this day I have a filing cabinet box filled with plastic boxes holding 24 and 36 slides.
How to digitize them? While my kids were still young, I paid them 10 cents a slide to run them through an Epson flatbed scanner. It could hold six at a time, and its software cleverly segregated the scan of six slides into six files. They processed about 260 that way. Still lots more to go.
Recently I saw a small scanner from Kodak (Slide N Scan, about $200), through which you feed slides manually. It has a 5"preview screen. I bought it, got it, and it works quite well. Here are the specs:
Powered by a USB-C connection. I connect it to my computer, which powers the scanner and then later transfers the scanned slides from the scanner's SD card to the computer's disk drive.
14-megapixel resolution. It offers a 22-megapixel option, but this is interpolated and so makes the scans blurrier. Stick with 14, which is 4320x2880 pixels. Slides are scanned to JPEG files, ranging from 1 to 5MB in size, depending on the amount of detail in the images -- most are around 2MB.
Takes a 32GB SD memory card, not included. I am disappointed the unit does not scan directly to the computer. Instead, a multi-step process is required:
- Scan a box of slides.
- Access the USB Upload option on the scanner
- On the computer, create a new folder
- Copy the scan files (IMAG0001.JPG, etc) from the scanner's memory card to the new folder
- Erase the scan files from the scanner's memory card
It's a lot of steps, but after a while I found I got into a rhythm.
Handles 35mm slides, as well as 35mm, 126, and 110 negatives. Includes an adapter for each.
Other functions include Gallery (lets you view saved files and display them on a larger screen with the included HDMI cable); R, G, and B color adjustments and brightness. I find I rather let a program like Picasa handle the adjustments; and a delete button to remove the current image from the memory card.
It takes about 1.5 second to scan a slide. I use a blank slide to shove the last side through the holder, or you can just tilt the scanner sideways and let gravity help you. Put vertical slides in sideways so that the tops and bottoms don't get cropped; change their rotation later on your computer.