Film & Slide Scanners: any affordable HQ options?

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
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jkoch2
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Film & Slide Scanners: any affordable HQ options?
9 months ago

I'm looking for a slide and negative scanner that delivers decent quality and won't empty my wallet.

Unfortunately, the choice seems to be between scanners that deliver poor detail or DR, on the one hand, and old ones that may not work much better, yet cost heaps more, on the other.  Just about every model, of every price class, entails heaps of work mounting slides or film in little cases that slide through a light box.

Most DPR forum threads on "scanners" pertain to:

  1. flatbed all-in-one devices,
  2. old, expensive stuff, or
  3. recent light boxes that hitch to phone cameras.

Ten years ago, $700 may have seemed like a good price, if there were no alternatives, and if people were looking only for results that looked good on a VGA screen.  Some of those devices are still listed on Amazon, although they are out of production and have only "legacy support."

I vaguely suspect that most (or all) of the scanners priced under $200, and currently in production, use similar sensor and light box technologies, and that the only differences are in the tray ergonomics, menus, preview screens, or interfaces.  The ones that offer higher megapixel counts probably mislead, if the underlying optical quality is low.

Of the various dedicated negative and slide scanners available to the poor man these days, do any come half way close to pixel-peeper standards?

Various commercial services offer 2000 dpi or 3000 dpi slide scanning services for under $0.50 / image, if ordered in volume.  Are the results superior?  Or does the observable quality turn out to be about the same?  Fears: loss, dust specs, under-exposure, blow-outs, bad white balance, and large file sizes without noticeable quality improvements.

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