How can I change my 35mm slides into digital photos?

How can I change my 35mm slides into digital photos?

You've got three mainstream options for digitizing slides: a film-capable scanner like the Epson Perfection 4490 Photo (4 out of 5 stars), a dedicated film canner like the Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED ($1099.95), or a special mount for your digital camera. We've seen decent results from a digital camera with a lens-mounted slide adapter, specifically a Nikon Coolpix 990 sporting Nikon's Slide Copy Adapter (model ES-E28, which is out of production, but we've seen them on for around $130, or even less on eBay).


You could also try a low-budget hack using items you may already own - think a slide projector, a white wall, and a digital camera. Or search Amazon or eBay for the term slide adapter and the make of your digital camera - or you could even break out the duct tape and a paper-towel tube and make your own. The only real rules are that you need lots of even backlighting (shining through the slide from behind), and you need to position the slide at the appropriate distance for your camera's macro setting, and as parallel to the focal plane (aka digital-imaging sensor) as possible. If you'd rather just throw some cash at the problem, consider one of the numerous slide-digitizing services that'll turn up on a Google search.




+ Add a Comment


The CanonScan 8600f does a fine job of digitizing color slides, B&W negatives, prints, as well as copies and comes with software to do it all.


Andy M

I bought the Nikon 5000Es about a year ago.

Although the price tag sounds a bit of a big bite, this is definitely worth it.

I've scanned many old negatives and slides and the results really are convincing. Previously I was restricted to scanning prints on a flatbed scanner. I'm now getting a crispiness and sharpness and picking up details that I never knew my pictures had. I'm also able to rework some pictures that I previously considered over or underexposed or otherwise wonky. Even very old films that are faded or scratchy are no problem for this scanner which can automatically put much of the damage right. You can switch this option off of course and go for it manually but mostly the automatic function is better.

Definitely a good investment for anybody with large numbers of old photographs they are not willing to part with any time soon.

The only real drawback of this scanner is that it is sometimes weak with black and white films. It will totally overdo the contrast and I can't find a way of overuling this manually.



I have an Epson GT-F550 flat bed scanner with a a slot loader for film negatives and a tray for slides. I bought it in Japan three years ago. It does a great job on scanning negatives as long as you don't play around with the DPI settings. I've found 300-500 is sufficient for good results. Possibly someone with more experience could give more info on the correct DPI settings for scanning film negatives.

Log in to Mac|Life directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.