Digitizing 35 mm Slides

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Don and Liz Campbell, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. I am about to start the digitization of our family slides using a Nikon
    LS-5000. Some of these slides were taken with my old Argus C-3 and later
    with my Pentax. What have you found to be the optimum file size for a
    digitized slide and what is the best storage format? I was thinking of
    approximately 10 MB using TIF format. I sure want to get it right the first
    time around.

    Thanks, Don and Liz
    Don and Liz Campbell, Feb 7, 2005
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  2. I am about to start the digitization of our family slides using a Nikon
    I have to confess to simply saying that family pictures are family pictures,
    and I save all my many LS-5000 family scans as jpgs. They are a lot easier
    to crop and edit as jpgs (take far less time to open and save; though if
    you have them as TIFFS, and can spare the time and processing power, any
    cropping or editing you do won't diminish quality or add artifacts).

    I usually scan to include a narrow edge of the slide frame, because you can
    always crop later, but you can't add in unscanned parts of the slide later.
    I use the Digital ICE feature because it does a super job of cleaning up
    dust, but don't use any of the other enhancements or fixes in the scanner
    software because they've not looked natural to me, and I found it better to
    try to clean any problems up in post-process editing instead.
    Douglas W. Hoyt, Feb 8, 2005
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  3. Don and Liz Campbell

    andrew29 Guest

    The optimum file size depends on how sharp the slides are, and only
    you know that.

    Save them as TIFF, and make sure you use a reasonably large colour
    space. Adobe RGB will probably be adequate, but Wide Gamut RGB is
    better. Adobe RGB is probably OK for 8-bit data, with Wide Gamut RGB
    you might need to go to 12-bit data.

    andrew29, Feb 8, 2005
  4. Don and Liz Campbell

    Steven Hook Guest

    I'm also scanning slides, bought an HP Scanjet with a TMA, the slides come
    out pretty grainy tho, I thought they were supposed to be better than film,
    is it perhaps my scanner?
    could I post a 500K JPEG expample?
    Steven Hook, Feb 8, 2005
  5. Don and Liz Campbell

    Jeremy Guest

    People that hold themselves out as "Pros" don't always do a better job than
    you can do yourself.

    If you have the time, you'll probably be able to do a better job yourself.
    Of course, scanner technology on, say, five more years might improve to the
    point that you might want to scan your slides again. No one knows what the
    future will bring.

    I am on the side of digitizing all your images, if for no other reason than
    the probability that projection equipment might not be all that common in
    the future. Kodak has discontinued their 35mm slide projector line. That
    should tell you something.

    I'd keep the slides stored in near archival conditions, and digitize them
    all, for normal viewing. Given the time and money you spent creating those
    images, the cost of digitizing them seems small by comparison.

    Just my 2-cents'.
    Jeremy, Feb 8, 2005
  6. Either that's too small, or else you don't want to commit to scanning
    all of them at the same resolution.

    For me, I think the second; a family slide collection has lots of
    things you really won't ever want to print bigger than 4x6, but every
    now and then there's something that you want to scan for every bit of
    detail in the picture. (4x6 comes out to about 6.5MB).

    And you might seriously want to consider archiving final copies in
    jpeg. On the one hand, there's the potential for some jpeg
    artifacts. On the other hand, you can get a 3x to 5x reduction in
    file size without getting much in the way of artifacts.

    You can always trade money for other factors :). How big is the
    slide collection? If you can seriously consider keeping the whole
    thing on hard disk (and backed up on a couple of sets of DVDs) in 30MB
    files, maybe it's better to go with the probable-overkill, rather than
    risk regretting it later?

    (Yes, I know those last two paragraphs conflict. Depending on your
    constraints, either view may be useful to you.)
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 8, 2005
  7. I have no way to provide a low temperature low humidity storage
    facility for the original film.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 8, 2005
  8. Don and Liz Campbell

    Don Dunlap Guest

    I haven't used these people yet, but 500 slides should cost about $260 or


    I plan on trying them for 500 slides pretty soon. If you do use them, give
    us an indication of how it works out.

    I bought a slide scanner and tried to scan some of mine but it was very slow
    and I gave up and sold the scanner on E-bay.

    Don Dunlap, Feb 8, 2005
  9. I am also scanning my slides (family & travel pix) into digital images.
    First thing is to determine what the digital images will be used for. For
    me, they are only for viewing on the PC screen. Saves the trouble of
    setting up the slide projector, screen, etc. I can also see any of the 600
    or so family shots without searching for them through the slide albums.
    For that sort of purpose scanning at anything over 600 dpi is probably
    adequate. I tried out from 300 to 3600 dpi, 8 & 16 bit colour, jpg & tiff,
    in various combinations and have settled for 900 dpi, 16 bit colour & jpg
    format. Higher resolution & tiff format produced no better on screen show.
    900 dpi allowes me to crop the margins freely.

    If you want to print them, then of course higher the dpi the better. But
    for me, if I want to get prints, I shall use the original slides.
    Gautam Majumdar, Feb 8, 2005
  10. Don and Liz Campbell

    paul Guest

    I was looking at a "toiletpaper tube" with a closeup diopter & slide
    bracket for $65 attached to any 80mm ~120mm lens (DSLR) but the link
    changed from my bookmarks. I'm sure it's not extraordinary quality but a
    convenient way to get a bunch of images good enough for screen display.
    If there were any really important to print, they could be scanned special.

    I've not heard any big problems with such devices. 'Slide Adapter' is
    the correct term to search I think.
    paul, Feb 9, 2005
  11. Don and Liz Campbell

    chidalgo Guest

    So you can't provide the necessary enviroment for digital media
    preservation either! :-(
    chidalgo, Feb 9, 2005
  12. CDs aren't either as temperature or as humidity sensitive as film.
    Long-term low-humidity storage for film needs to be *below freezing*.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 11, 2005
  13. Don and Liz Campbell

    Roger Guest

    A cool area out of the sun (darker is better) is sufficient for most
    films and prints.
    I've kept unexposed film for years (over 5) at refrigerator temps and
    could see no degradation. Properly processed film should last
    generations if kept out of direct sunlight and elevated temperatures.
    I have slides that are over 50 years old, that have been run trough
    projectors many times and other than needing a good cleaning are in
    excellent shape. I have old negatives that are in good shape as well.
    I also have examples of each that are less than 10 years old that are
    in pretty poor shape. That has to be almost entirely due to the
    processing and specifically the fixing and washing cycles. If slides
    and negatives are not properly fixed and thoroughly washed they will
    live very short lives. Properly done they should last 50 years with
    no discernable deterioration.

    OTOH we really don't know how long CDs and DVDs will last as they've
    not been around long enough to be sure. All life data is from
    accelerated age testing.

    We do know that some storage conditions will greatly hasten the aging
    of both CDs and DVDs. Store them on edge, in jewel cases not paper
    sleeves, keep them out of direct sunlight, and away from elevated

    Some solvents used in marking pens will hasten the deterioration of
    the top layer (the data is actually on the bottom of this layer and
    not on the clear side). Flexing is not good for CDs and can be
    particularly bad for DVDs which are assembled in layers. Take them
    out of the case by pressing down in the center and never pulling up on
    the edges.
    Don't forget to handle both by the edges. perspiration and body oils
    are corrosive and can really hasten the demise of a disk and might be
    able to get between the layers on a DVD.

    Other things to take into consideration are the material for the
    recording medium such as Gold, aluminum, and alloys. The dyes used as
    filters in the transparent layer are also important.

    Some unknowns have popped up such as the recording layer separating
    from the disk, corrosion, and even de lamination and corrosion in the
    layers of a DVDs. I've never seen it, but I've read a number of posts
    from those who have. Whether those problems came from the storage
    environment, handeling, or quality control during manufacturing? I
    don't think any one knows as yet.

    And ... Do not use R/W (rewritable) disks of either type for long term
    storage. They may be good temporary storage, or for transferring from
    machine to machine, but with write only CDs and DVDs being *cheap*,
    why settle for less. The last 50 CDs I purchased were free with the
    rebate. The last DVDs cost me all of 33 cents each in a batch of 50.

    I know of no information as to life on the new dual layer DVDs, but
    they are still *expensive* at something like 3 for $15 on sale, but I
    expect to see them come down a bit soon.

    Basically CDs and DVDs should last a very long lifetime given
    reasonable care as should film. I don't think any one has come up
    with concrete answers as to why *some* CDs and DVDs have failed
    prematurely. It's not totally out of the question that high speed
    drives may play some part. Only time will tell.

    Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
    (N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
    Roger, Feb 14, 2005
  14. Don and Liz Campbell

    Roger Guest

    If you really mean optimized as in the maximum resolution that might
    allow for restoration and manipulation you are talking of scanning at
    4000 dpi, or the equivalent or 24 megapixels.
    I sure with the original of this thread would show up on my server.

    If you are using an LS 5000 ED as I do you are looking at files on the
    order of 50 to 60 megs each as Tiffs at 8 bit color depth and 128 megs
    at 16 bits. If not, then you spent too much money on a good scanner.

    This is my take on the decision making process for "Scanning the Old
    Family Slides": http://www.rogerhalstead.com/scanning.htm It covers
    the decision making process from deciding what to scan, at what
    resolution, archiving, and more.
    My collections has a lot that I will never print at all, but some day,
    some one may. Then again some day, some one may throw them all out.
    I can't imagine archiving in JPG. printing and viewing...yes, but
    anything that might be considered important and with the old family
    history which could be most anything I archive at full resolution
    (4000 dpi) Tiffs.
    I never use more than 2X. If I want a file to view on the computer I
    save it at screen resolution, but as I said, for archiving I use full
    I have over 20,000. I use the LS 5000 ED with the SF210 feeder. I also
    use the scanner for negatives of which I have many.

    So far I have two sets of nearly 80 DVDs each for archiving. I have
    "on line" about 1 1/2 terabytes between 4 computers. This one alone
    has 600 Gig of HD space. This one is a 3.4 Gig 64 Bit Athlon with one
    gig of RAM and 600 Gig of HD space. Two others are similar and one is
    only a 2 Gig XP+ with almost 500 Gig of HD space and is used mainly
    for system backups.

    I don't expect most people to get quite so serious about the computers
    nor do they need to. I did this for a living and still do a lot of
    programming and photography. My wife also is a heavy computer
    resource user. OTOH it takes very little in the way of scanning to
    get a computer to start page file swapping and the LS5000 is quite
    capable of causing this monster to do that with just 4 negatives in a
    film strip.

    Add Photoshop CS, or even Jasc Paint Shop Pro, a word processor, and a
    few other apps and you can slow even something of this size.
    Typically I have more apps than that up and running.

    I cull my work, but not the old family slides and negatives.
    I would add again what others have said before. Scanning more than a
    few slides and negatives takes a *lot* of time. I've been working on
    my project since last March. So I have less than a month to go and
    it'll be a year. I have a long way to go to finish up the negatives
    and then comes several hundred pounds of prints that go all the way
    back to tintypes.

    Good luck,

    Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
    (N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
    Roger, Feb 14, 2005
  15. I have slides I shot myself and prints my mother shot that are *badly*
    faded. They've been stored in the dark, at room temperature, all this
    time. (I'm 50 years old, my own faded slides are from the 1970s).

    More generally, the rated life of most *modern* chromagenic materials
    is in the 30-50 year range. And the older materials were much less
    Not color film.
    That's not what Wilhelm found with color films, especially older color
    Yes, of course that's true. That's mostly true for films, too -- the
    films we're using now aren't the same as the films of 100 years ago.
    Yes, all are important.
    Getting them out of the case without flexing is my biggest problem --
    I don't find pushing down on the hub actually releases the disk, or if
    it does, it grabs again when I take my finger out of the way to lift
    it out of the case.
    They're also much slower to write. And while I don't know anything
    about the lifespan either, my first guess is that it will be
    definitely less than the single-layer version.
    Some of the early music CD delaminations are blamed on manufacturing
    errors. And we always have to worry about those happening to us.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 15, 2005
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