Table of Contents
Even though phones and digital cameras have taken the place of traditional film or analog cameras, many of us still have boxes and boxes of old film or negatives lying around that you want to process. Those pictures contain beautiful images of your family trips and your children growing up. You don’t want them just to collect dust and fade away, but instead, you can display them proudly around your home. There’s nothing worse than an accident happening to your old pictures and losing those precious memories forever since they were never backed up and scanned anywhere.
To preserve your family’s memories, you will want to use a slide scanner so you will never run the risk of losing the physical copy of your photos and not having them saved in a secondary place on your computer or the cloud. Where family photos and memories are concerned, you can never be too careful with how many different ways you save the images. Here at Fun Photo Creator, we will help you learn what a slide scanner is, why you need one, and help you find the right one for you in a reasonable price range.
What Is A Slide Scanner?
A slide scanner is a specialized scanner that scans your negatives, old film, or 35mm slides. The slide or film is inserted into a film holder or single slot in the machine’s tray as a narrow and focused beam passes over the film or negative’s surface to record the image’s shape and color. These specialized scanning machines are limited to scanning and digitizing film, but all slide scanners will scan a 35mm slide or negatives in color or black and white.
You should scan the original negative instead of a photo print for the best optical resolution and the best results. Some of the more expensive scanners will also scan medium format film or digitize 8mm cine film. Medium format films are still used in professional photography and modeling due to their in-depth and crisp colors.
If you are using a slide scanner at home instead of sending your negatives to a photo lab, you have the luxury of handpicking which slides you actually want to scan. When you have someone else digitize your old slides, it can end up costing more in the long-run since every single image file is scanned and uploaded. If you scan your slide film yourself, you can look through each tiny photo on the film strip and discard any redundant pictures, accidental shots, or blurry or poor-quality images. That way, you are only taking the time to scan and pay for the best from the stack of negatives you’ve meant to turn into a digital format so you can save them and share them on social media.
Why Should I Get A Slide Scanner?
There are plenty of reasons why you should own a slide scanner. Some of them include:
- Digitize Your Film And Negatives In A Fast And Efficient Way: I know we’ve said this before, but being able to have a digital copy and save you and your family’s memories forever is priceless. Slide scanners are perfect for scanning and revitalizing your old negatives, bringing your adventures back to life before your very eyes. There are typically two options to scan your old photos, a flatbed scanner and a slide scanner. With a flatbed scanner, you have to stand there for each image as you place the individual negative or slide on the printer’s surface. This process is very time-consuming and can quickly get tiring if you have boxes and boxes of your film just waiting to be scanned. However, with a slide scanner, you can scan several slides at once since the scanner allows you to feed a batch of negatives into it for batch scanning. As it scans your negatives and turns them into beautiful photos, it also automatically saves them on an SD card, your computer, or cloud storage, depending on your scanner’s capabilities. If you are keeping them to the cloud, it gives you the option of tags, so you can easily search for and find the photo you’re looking for by name, date, or the event in question. This saves you time as well, so you can enjoy the pictures sooner.
- Higher Resolution Scans And Image Editing Capabilities: A slide scanner has a higher scanning resolution than an average flatbed scanner designed to scan documents. A digital slide scanner allows you to choose the required resolution setting for your images, so your picture quality can remain the same, whether it is a small photo or a larger one. They also allow you to edit the image right in the scanner, removing any scratches, creases, or dust particles that may have accumulated overtime on the negatives so that you can produce beautiful, flawless photos.
- Colorful, Sharp Images: Since a slide scanner is designed explicitly for slide scanning, it produces clearer images than a flatbed scanner or a regular drum scanner. It offers a better dynamic range, which is the scanner’s capability to capture negatives and prints in extreme darks and whites. That way, no information is lost while you’re scanning, and even the tiniest detail on the negative is preserved and recorded. This means that the images are vibrant, sharp, and crisp, with a true-to-life color depth.
Qualities to Look for in a Slide Scanner
Some of the things you’ll want to be sure to look at when you buy a negative slide scanner are:
- Speed Of The Scanner: Some slide scanners require you to scan each individual image, one at a time. Depending on how many negatives you are planning on scanning, this can quickly get tedious. It may take 30-60 seconds to scan per slide film, in addition to naming and filing it, and this time can quickly add up. The more expensive and higher quality film scanners can rapidly scan the slide images even at the highest resolution of 7200 dpi, dots per inch. The higher the dot density, the higher the resolution of the picture. The high-resolution scans produce large files, so you will need to be sure that the scanner you buy has a fast transfer rate to the film scanner’s internal memory or has an SD/SDHC card.
- Quality Of The Scanner And The Megapixel Number: Since you’re taking the time to scan and preserve your film negatives so they’ll last, you’ll want to make sure that what you're scanning is high-quality. Look into the megapixel number of the slide scanner you want to get. They typically range from 5 to 9 megapixels. This translates into a higher number of pixels, so you can make a bigger photo print from your image and still have it be high-resolution and not blurry.
- Compatibility With Your Other Devices: Double check that the scanner you’re looking into is compatible with your device. Today, most slide scanners will work with a new computer, be it a Mac or PC, and some of the fancier scanners are stand-alone and don’t even need a computer! Keep in mind, though, if you have an older computer, you’ll want to be sure to check the specifications and compatibility to ensure that you can transfer the film negatives into a digital image you can save on your computer or back up in the cloud.
Top Five Slide Scanners In 2021
While there are plenty of slide scanners out there, here are the top five slide scanners in 2021 to preserve your photos.
- Plustek OpticFilm 8100 Film Scanner: This optical scanner has a 7,200dpi maximum scanning resolution, which means that it has unrivaled scanning quality. It is a little slow and takes nearly four minutes to scan when it’s at max resolution, but you can quickly scan at the lower resolution of 3,600dpi at a faster speed. It is still high-quality and only takes about 1 minute and 20 seconds to scan. The front panel also has a QuickScan button that allows you to automatically scan and save the 35mm film negatives to your computer desktop.
- Pacific Image PowerFilm CCD Automated 35mm Film Scanner: This scanner is perfect for scanning film batches. It may only have one function of scanning negatives, but it does that job exceptionally well. It can scan up to ten film strips with a single command, as you choose between the crisp resolution of 24MP scans or quicker 6MP scans if you want the scans fast but not quite as sharp quality. It also uses infrared cleaning technology, which removes dust and blemishes from your old color or mono negatives, so you can have a crisp final image that you upload and save on your computer.
- KODAK SCANZA Digital Film & Slide Scanner: This scanner is versatile and can scan 126, 110, Super 8, and even 8mm negatives that are black and white or even colored. With a 22MP resolution,128 GB of memory, and speed load adapters, it is perfect for digitizing and saving all of your old photos. The 3.5” tilting LCD Display also allows you to preview and edit your images before scanning them. It is portable and stands alone, and has speed loaders for speedy scanning.
- Wolverine F2D Saturn Digital Film & Slide Scanner: The Wolverine slide scanner has a full-color 4.3” LCD Display, which is perfect for viewing the scanned image directly. It supports 35mm slide film or 120 film slides and can store up to 128 GB of memory, so you have plenty of room for all of your photos. The negative scanner has an easy navigational menu and only takes an average of 2 seconds per scan! Even though there isn’t an SD card included, it can store up to 100 digital images, making it a piece of cake to scan your beloved photos.
- Magnasonic All-in-One High-Resolution 22MP Film Scanner: This is the cheapest out of the slide scanners we reviewed, but that doesn’t mean it won’t get the job done. Some of the highlights of this slide scanner are its versatility and speed. It can scan all types of film and slides, from 35mm film, Super 8 film, 110 film negatives, 126 film, 135 slides, 110 slides, and 126 slides. This means that no matter the type of negatives you have collecting dust in a box, this slide scanner can scan and preserve them all as it automatically saves the digitized image into your computer’s internal memory or on an SD card, whichever you prefer. It also has speed loaders for fast scanning and can function as a portable or stand-alone scanner.
As you can see, even though a slide scanner only performs one function, just like a fridge is only used for keeping food cold, a slide scanner is best to digitize and revive your old memories. By purchasing a slide scanner, you have the freedom to scan your film or negatives whenever you want. You can also save money in the long run since you can pick and choose which slides you scan and only select the best quality ones.
A slide scanner specifically built and designed to digitize your old film photos will produce clearer, more colorful, and crisper images than if you were just attempting to scan them on your regular printer. You'll be grateful that you backed up your photos and created a digital format for all of your pictures so they can be stored forever and won't risk getting lost, fading with time, or have water damage.
Buy a slide scanner today to clear out some of the boxes you have in storage, and stop your beautiful family photos from collecting dust any longer. With quick and easy-to-use scanning menus, you’ll quickly see your scanning pay off as you are rewarded with bringing to life the images of adventures and memories that can last a lifetime.