Slide conversion using a dSLR

Started Feb 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 13,130
Re: Slide conversion using a dSLR

bob5050 wrote:

I've got 20 yrs of slides to convert, and seems to me that my K-30 camera has to beat the quality of a $100 slide scanner, and gives the option of shooting raw for further control.

But that's just idle theory--does it really work? How well, and what lens did you use?

I have scanned several thousand slides.  Most I did back in 2006 with a cheap slide(or negative)-only scanner.  It was slow and tedious and I needed to do a lot of cleaning up.  The upside was that I learned a lot about PS in the process.  The results varied dramatically - if the slides were properly exposed and densely pigmented the results were pretty good; but as slide quality fell off the scan quality fell off a lot faster.

The in 2010 I decided to have another go using my K-7 and Sigma 105/2.8 macro.  My set up was quite simple: I used an old glass shelf from a fridge sitting half on a firm base (built-in dressing table - very solid) weighted with a pile of books.  Undeneath it I set a 540 flash gun pointing upwards with a couple of thicknesses of white foam below the glass as a diffuser.

Once I'd got the camera vertical on its tripod and focused - only a couple of minutes - it was a quick-fire process.  All I did was push each slide until it sat nicely in the VF (I found that easier than LV, perhaps surprisingly) and fired with cable release.  I was doing something like 10 a minute.  This batch needed less PP but that was still the time consuming part.

Finally, later in 2010 I bought an Epson V500 scanner that has facility for scanning several slides (or strips of negs) at once.  It offers a fair amount of image editing but apart from low-level dust/scratches removal and auto-levels I didn't use them.  Scan time was about the same as the old scanner but for four rather than singly.  PP was quicker than the K-7 shots but still not zero-effort.

The K-7 and V500 scans were better than the old scanner - a lot better than the poor end of the range.  Generally speaking the V500 results were better than the K-7 but sometimes it was the other way round.

I haven't yet made a serious attempt to re-scan the heap of slides in my cupboard.  This link is to a PBase gallery with a selection of the various methods.  Click on a thumnail to bring up a bigger view.  If the title has suffix "a" it's from the K-7; "b" is from the V500; the rest are the old scanner.

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First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006

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