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Scanner Recommendation Please!


melanger
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Fellow Leica Enthusiasts:

 

I have about 10,000 35mm slides that I've shot over the past thirty years. I've stored them in archival slide boxes. Most of the slides are Kodachrome 25.

 

I think it's time for me to buy a scanner and scan at least many of them. Unfortunately, I know little, if anything, about scanners. I would be extremely grateful for recommendations for a scanner capable of providing a digital file that can provide a high-quality print at 8" x 10" (I've paid $5.00 U.S. apiece for about fifty 25 MB files that print very nicely, but to have thousands of these made would be cost prohibitive).

 

Thank you very much for your recommendations.

 

Matt Langer

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How much do you want to spend? Unfortunately, the golden era of film scanners seems behind us. The Canon and Minolta film scanners are long gone and Nikon has just announced that it's discontinuing production of most, if not all, of their scanners. Still, there are still some out there and I'm sure other folks will respond with some choices.

 

Jim B.

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Fellow Leica Enthusiasts:

 

I have about 10,000 35mm slides that I've shot over the past thirty years. I've stored them in archival slide boxes. Most of the slides are Kodachrome 25.

 

I think it's time for me to buy a scanner and scan at least many of them. Unfortunately, I know little, if anything, about scanners. I would be extremely grateful for recommendations for a scanner capable of providing a digital file that can provide a high-quality print at 8" x 10" (I've paid $5.00 U.S. apiece for about fifty 25 MB files that print very nicely, but to have thousands of these made would be cost prohibitive).

 

Thank you very much for your recommendations.

 

Matt Langer

 

As Kodachrome reversal film is guaranteed to be achievable for 100 years why would you need to store that secure media in another format which has no long term achievable guarantee?

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For 10k slides, my recommendation would be to employ a company. They should have automatic equipment to handle large amounts of slides. Scanning the slides is the first step only, typically every scan needs some adjustment....

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I agree with the previous two people. I started scanning mine at the turn of the year and it is a VERY slow process to get good results. I have nowhere near your volume to do, but I can appreciate why you want to try. I decided that in their slide cabinet we rarely look at them, so decided to scan and print the key shots to make them more accessible. As this is a one-off task I would think that a professional outfit would give you a good quality file which you could flip through on your PC to pick out the best. I use an Epson V700 scanner which will scan 12 transparencies at a time but you need something much more productive than that.

Richard

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Matt,

 

If you're planning to scan the kodachromes and then discard the film, then DON'T! Your kodachrome slides will still be around when your great grandchildren are around.

 

If you want to scan the occasional one to print digitally, then a decent 35mm scanner will be fine. Nikon 5000 or Minolta Scan Elite 5400 (discontinued) would be my picks. If money is truly no object, then a Hasselblad Flextight X1 is fab.

 

Charlie

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Matt,

 

If you're planning to scan the kodachromes and then discard the film, then DON'T! Your kodachrome slides will still be around when your great grandchildren are around.

 

If you want to scan the occasional one to print digitally, then a decent 35mm scanner will be fine. Nikon 5000 or Minolta Scan Elite 5400 (discontinued) would be my picks. If money is truly no object, then a Hasselblad Flextight X1 is fab.

 

Charlie

 

I totally agree that it would be foolhardy to dispose of the existing Kodachome slides but if they are so important could new Kodachrome copies be made which would them give them another 100 years of archive life.

 

I have a considerable amount of Kodachrome mountain image slides which I propose to donate to the Allan Rouse Mountaineering Foundation when I die. What happens to them then will be no longer my concern

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I have scanned most of my 10,000 or so slides and negatives, and the rest will be done soon-ish. It took me about 3 years (I do other things too). I scanned them and stored the images with files names that tell where to find the originals, and something about when they were made. I also created small captions and key words using Picasa - this is the important point. The image files are now searchable, and I can find anything in 10 seconds, and I can them put my hands on the original in another 15 seconds. Prior to this, most images were almost impossible to find.

 

I will never get rid of my slides and negatives. They will outlast me and anyway, the final object is a fine print on the wall - and that means printing in a darkroom. The digital scans are useful for planning a print session and posting here. And - again - searching.

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It took me about 18 months to scan 7000 images (2/3s slides) with a Nikon Coolscan IV. Not buying the $500 bulk loader (which I now have), probably cost me $50,000 in lost time...that was not my smartest move:mad:. I have never been able to master scanning Kodachrome, thank God, it was only a small percentage of what I had to scan. Maybe someone here with lots of experience scanning Kodachrome can help or you might ask over at APUG. This is a huge undertaking, make sure you've thought it out.

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I use a Nikon 9000ED with Silverfast Ai Studio software and the IT8 Kodachrome calibration target. I assume the 5000ED is fine with the software, but I do not own it, the 9000ED however, is incredible. For what it is worth, I have heard the 9000ED is a better scanner in terms of dust and scratches than the 5000ED even with 35mm due to the larger imager and light source.

 

I did a few scans today from Kodachrome 64 and 25 and it takes virtually no time at all to get a great scan with about 90-95% of the shadow detail properly rendered and SHARP!

 

The software makes *all* the difference so if you are going to take the time or spend the money to either do it your self or have someone else do it, I suggest you take my route.

 

Honestly, I get scans from Kodachrome now that are fast and nearly 100% faithful of the original.

 

When it comes to larger batches, I group my slides according to density and color casts. It usually makes about 6-8 groups, 4 in terms of density and 2-3 in terms of color casts. This way, if I have a tendency to reduce the red saturation in a heavily tungsten lit shot, I have them grouped. Same thing with blue casts in shadow, greenish in fluorescent and of course light, medium and dark shots.

 

This speeds things up considerably and allows me to engage in tone specific settings without constantly re-adjusting the sliders for each slide if they were all mixed up. And if needed, more fine tuning is easily done post scan.

 

But honestly, if you use Silverfast Ai and the IT8 calibration target for Kodachrome, you will have a lot less adjusting to do to begin with.

Edited by KM-25
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Getting it done professionally will save lots of time and hassle. Shop around for the best deals. I get 18MB scans done for only about US70c per slide. Here's another option:

Photo Scanning Services Photo Negative Scanning Slide Scanning 35mm Slide Scanning Northern Virginia

Edited by NZDavid
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Thank you all for your extremely helpful input. I hadn't appreciated the extent of this undertaking. This being said, I think that I would scan as a means for printing and maybe e-mailing, but not archiving. I would be very interested to hear about anyone's particularly good (and bad) experiences with an outfit that does professional scanning.

 

Thanks again everyone.

 

Matt

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