[APG Public List] Digitizing 35mm slides

john at johnwylie.com john at johnwylie.com
Tue Dec 29 13:48:00 MST 2009


You make some good points. I digitize my slides FOR preservation, so I use
high resolution (usually 4000 lpi.) If having an attractive image on my
computer screen was my most demanding criteria, then your technique is
probably fine. I guess it boils down to purpose. On another list, I outlined
that when I started digitizing 35mm slides some years ago, the slide scanner
was so slow that I decided that the very first thing I had to do was trash
about 3/4 of the slides. First came the 'tourist' shots of well known
places. If they included family or friends, I kept them, but as I reviewed
them about half were postcard shots that can be found on Google images. Then
I trashed duplicates, including near duplicates. 

The slide sorters are gone so I can't tell you the bulb size or media
thickness. One was like most sold in stores and the other was a pro model
that I got from a friend.  

John Wylie
APG Member 

-----Original Message-----
From: LBoswell [mailto:laboswell at rogers.com] 
Sent: Monday, December 28, 2009 11:33 AM
To: john at johnwylie.com; 'Mail list APG'
Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Digitizing 35mm slides

Were you using a close up focus at high resolution?  Taking the resolution 
too high even when copying printed photographs is going to bring out all 
manner of imperfections.

I'm thinking of how slides were intended to be viewed, usually with dust and

other surface imperfections projected onto folding screens that were less 
than perfect surfaces.  In partially darkened rooms and so on. Hauling out 
the projector, trying to shut out other light sources.  Angle the screen 
right for optimal viewing.  Hardly a  high-def digital experience back then!

I've digitized hundreds of slides in the manner described and the result 
viewed on a computer is vastly improved over the old projection method of 
slide viewing.  In fact digitized slides come out far better than a scan of 
a printed photo of the same period.  They also print out with a quality 
that's superior to most of the latter.

If you use a super high resolution  than you're going to introduce problems,

which is why I choose to limit it.

Also, how thick was the background support material?  And how powerful a 
backlight were you using?


----- Original Message ----- 
From: <john at johnwylie.com>
To: "'Mail list APG'" <apgpubliclist at apgen.org>
Sent: Monday, December 28, 2009 11:41 AM
Subject: RE: [APG Public List] Digitizing 35mm slides

> Larry,
> My testing of a similar solution six years ago failed. Since imaging 35mm
> slides involves so much magnification I found that slight imperfections in
> the backlight material affected the final digital image in noticeable and
> negative ways. I took a 20+ magnifier to two sorters and one passive 
> viewer
> and was astonished at how imperfect the media were. The three I tested 
> were
> all white translucent plastic and were most likely made for general 
> viewing.
> I did not test any glass sorters, so they might return much different
> results.
> John Wylie
> APG Member
> -----Original Message-----
> From: apgpubliclist-bounces at apgen.org
> [mailto:apgpubliclist-bounces at apgen.org] On Behalf Of LBoswell
> Sent: Monday, December 28, 2009 9:10 AM
> To: Marieta Grissom; 'Amy Crow'; 'Claire Bettag'
> Cc: 'Mail list APG'
> Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Digitizing 35mm slides
> Yes, exactly.  The trick is to make sure the camera is squared up with the
> sorter.  Also position the slides so that all are evenly lit.  I don't use

> a
> close up setting on the camera, but you could if you wanted to do a 
> smaller
> group (or a single) instead which would give you a higher resolution 
> result
> a slide sorter, or a homemade light box/table, anything with a translucent
> surface that can be backlit
> Larry
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Marieta Grissom" <marieta.grissom at msn.com>
> To: "'LBoswell'" <laboswell at rogers.com>; "'Amy Crow'"
> <amy at amyjohnsoncrow.com>; "'Claire Bettag'" <claire at clairebettag.com>
> Cc: "'Mail list APG'" <apgpubliclist at apgen.org>
> Sent: Sunday, December 27, 2009 6:08 PM
> Subject: RE: [APG Public List] Digitizing 35mm slides
>> Larry,
>> What you are talking about reminds me of a slide sorter?  Would that 
>> work?
>> Marieta A. Grissom, CG
>> 505 West Jackson Avenue
>> Indianola, Iowa 50125-1119
>> CG and Certified Genealogist are Service Marks of the Board for
>> Certification of Genealogists used under license after periodic
>> evaluations
>> by the Board.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: apgpubliclist-bounces at apgen.org
>> [mailto:apgpubliclist-bounces at apgen.org] On Behalf Of LBoswell
>> Sent: Sunday, December 27, 2009 8:50 AM
>> To: Amy Crow; Claire Bettag
>> Cc: Mail list APG
>> Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Digitizing 35mm slides
>> I used a digital camera on a high res setting, and a homemade back lit
>> holder (translucent white plastic with a flourescent fixture behind it
>> (you
>> need to set the light so that there isn't a strongly lit focus or 'hot
>> spot'
>> where some slides are lit differently than others).  Use an indoor or
>> flourescent setting on the camera.  Camera is simply left squared up to
>> the
>> holder, and on a tripod until I've completed however many slides I need 
>> to
>> scan.  Have done hundreds of slides in no time at all (inherited a
>> collection of 3000 slides that needed to be copied).  Line the slides up,
>> 'click'....next batch.
>> You can buy these back lit displays secondhand from a photo store but 
>> it's
>> easy to make one up
>> I find about 8-10 slides grouped together works best.  Then open the
>> result
>> in any graphics/photo editor and cut/paste each image out (lowers the
>> resolution of each individual image, but still easily high enough to
>> display
>> digitally or print out in a standard sized print).
>> Better results than my scanner (which has a slide scanner built in), and
>> much faster.  But of course not worth setting up if you're just doing a
>> handful of slides.
>> Larry
>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> From: "Amy Crow" <amy at amyjohnsoncrow.com>
>> To: "Claire Bettag" <claire at clairebettag.com>
>> Cc: "Mail list APG" <apgpubliclist at apgen.org>
>> Sent: Sunday, December 27, 2009 7:27 AM
>> Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Digitizing 35mm slides
>>>A few years ago, I scanned several hundred slides for my parents' 50th
>>>anniversary party. I purchased a slide adaptor for my flatbed scanner.
>>>Although the results were very good, I would not recommend doing it  that
>>>way if you have the volume you are talking about. It was *very*  slow and
>>>tedious. If I had to do it over again, I would invest in a  dedicated
>>> Amy
>>> =========
>>> Amy Johnson Crow, CG
>>> Reynoldsburg, Ohio
>>> On Dec 26, 2009, at 8:52 PM, Claire Bettag wrote:
>>>> I have several hundred 35mm slides (snapshots taken mainly in the 
>>>> 1970s
>>>> and '80s) that I want to convert to digitized images--just to  preserve
>>>> the family photos. I'm considering sending the slides off  to a service
>>>> to have them done rather than purchase a scanner to  convert them
>>>> myself.
>>>> I'd appreciate any advice, recommendations,  pointers from others who
>>>> have used such services. Feel free to  respond privately.
>>>> Many thanks, in advance.
>>>> Claire
>>>> Claire Bettag
>>>> 1685 34th Street NW
>>>> Washington, DC 20007
>>>> 202-625-2598
>>>> cell: 202-436-2121

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