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Photographing Slides

Unless you are photographing transparencies such as slides which
would be back lit. 

G’day John Burgess. I’m getting excited by your statement!! Does this
mean that we have the capability to digitally capture our existing
slide archives for electronic use? I’ve looked into having my slides
scanned and it can be a costly proposition. I am fortunate in that I
have access to a Nikon 995.

Any hints on the process, set-up, lighting? I would appreciate input
from any Orchidians on this matter.

Orchid Rules!!..Karla from Sunny S. Calif.

Here is a site with instructions for a simple homemade gadget for
scanning slides on a regular flatbed scanner
I haven’t tried it, but have heard good reports.

Jack Reisland…from nice and cloudy Hawaii

Karla- The best method of digitalizing slides is to use a dedicated
slide scanner. My personal preference is for the Dimage Scan Dual II
(AF-282OU) made by Minolta. It received the best reviews and is
relatively easy to use.

Good Luck. Kim Eric Lilot from Fog Town, USA (outer San Francisco).

Hi All, excited to pitch in when I can. Regarding scanning your slides
to digital files (burned onto CD). I found a terrific company that
scanned 6 slides at high resolution, I used (TIFF) for $25-$30.00
u.s.,including the shipping and CD. I had asked the photographer that
shot my slides to scan them to disc for me, he wanted 25.00 per slide.
Yikes, no thanks… Any way here’s the web address:
in Center Moriches, NY.

usual disclaimer Lori Lochner in bucolic and summer-time perfect,
Argyle, NY

    G'day John Burgess. I'm getting excited by your statement!!
Does this mean that we have the capability to digitally capture our
existing slide archives for electronic use? 

You rattled my door Madam? G’day; Ten years ago I photographed a
number of very old family photos lent to me by relations in England,
which had to be quickly returned. I used a Canon ftb 'no frills’
camera with slide film, when I couldn’t afford large processing
charges so used transparencies exclusively. My son who was
GIVEN(!!) a slide scanner recently, scanned each slide a week or so
ago then emailed the results to me. They were all excellent, and I
used a graphics program (Paint Shop Pro 6) to enhance and manipulate
them, printed the results on high quality photo glossy paper at 1450
dots per inch and they are all remarkably good. My son also put the
scanned copies of the slides in a zip disc and sent them to me as
well. Now, what I would suggest is that you contact someone with a
slide scanner and let them put the results in a disc for you to do the
rest: ‘the rest’ is time consuming and is where most of the cost lies.

If you have access to a Nikon 995, then you can fill the camera
screen with the slide. Set the camera for macro and the colour of
artificial light, and highest definition and fix the position of both
camera and slide, placing a piece of some diffusing material -
plastic, ground glass, baking paper, thin cloth etc between the light
and the slide. Even a flexible table lamp will work Then use the self
timer system so’s you don’t move things whilst the shot is taken. Use
a puffer camera brush to clean up the slides first of course. You may
need to do a bit of experimenting with the light distance, but none of
the attempts are going to cost you anything; you just download into
your computer, erase the ‘flash card’ and start again until you get
what you want. One of the joys of digital as against film
photography. And if you use high definition, you won’t tell the
difference between chemically developed and printed and the digital

By the way; when I say I manipulated the pictures, I mean not only
for contrast, brightness, and even sharpening, I could also remove the
inevitable chimney or lampost sticking out of the subject’s head, the
1905 huge wedding photo hat too close to the main subject, and I
could even copy one person’s image and put it in a separate ‘frame’!
Don’t ever believe modern photos! – Cheers now,

John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ

Karla- The best method of digitalizing slides is to use a dedicated
slide scanner. 

The latest digital colour photocopiers are so versatile that they
have options for enlarging and copying colour photographs, colour
slides or colour negatives. They can even do colour separations for
offset printing. These images are stored in memory in case the user
wants to make multiple copies. And if the copyshop has interfaced
his copier to a computer the same images can be stored on disk.

For small runs this is probably the best route to take. The copyshop
owner has the expertise to make the best images and he guarantees
against poor quality copies. You can delay buying expensive hardware
until there is enough justification for them. Kelvin Mok

Thanks Jack Reisland!

Having seen the web page and the results, I’m going to have to try
that. I got an inexpensive scanner that requires an attachment unit
to scan slides. I couldn’t find one for this perticular model, but I
did find one that is probably compatible for around $70. Problem is,
from posts I’ve read in various newsgroups, the results of using this
gadget are “blurry” images. Nobody seems satisfied with this method.
I might mention, there are some scanners out there for only a little
more money that will scan slides without any attachments. I wish I
had bought one. I had resolved to simply have the pros do the work
for me, but I must admit, from what people are saying, it sounds like
an expensive alternative to have this done professionally.

David L. Huffman

I saw a little gizmo that is designed to photograph slides using the
Nikon digital cameras. I think it was on a link at, one of the leading digicam websites.
Probably under “Accessories”. It holds the camera and the slide in
perfect postion for backlit reproduction and has a built-in diffuser
as I recall…pretty inexpensive too.

Wayne Emery

I tried the site and built the backlighter. I couldn’t get it to work
with my Epson 610 ,but I took a hint on the site about a fluorescent
flashlight for a backlighter. I don’t have one of those but I do have
a 18" fluorescent light like the ones used for lighting under kitchen
cabinets. The one you buy at the hardware store and hang under the
cabinet. I tried that and had great results. I tape 3or 4 slides to
the bed of the scanner and lay the fluorescent fixture across them
and scan. Great results… Thanks Jack and thanks Orchid. I have
been trying to get this to work for several months now.

I’ve tried both the special attachment to the flatbed scanner and the
dedicated slide scanner and I say, spring for the slide scanner. I,
too, use the Minolta Dimaga and I’m really impressed by the results.
The flatbed scanner with attachment was fuzzy and just not real good.

And as an editor who likes to have good pictures to use with my
raticles, I beg you, if you’re going to be sending your digital images
to magazines, please, please either buy a slide scanner or have it
professionally done. I keep getting fuzzy, low-res images from people
which are basically unusable. If we have original slides or good, high
res scans, we tend to splash them big across the page. If the photos
or scans are bad or low res, we often leave them out entirely and use
someone else’s work, especially if they provided good pictures.

Scanning your pieces directly on the scanner or using a jury-rigged
slide scanners is fine if you are merely inventorying your designs or
maybe even if you’re just putting them on a website. But you won’t get
good media exposure if you use these methods to produce images for
high quality publications.


Suzanne Wade
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (520) 563-8255

Another choice is the Slide Copier for a Nikon Coolpix($75?). It is
great! It screws right on to the lens, set the controls for close-up
and shoot. I can copy slides any where, any time. Even done some B&W
negatives, inverted and made great prints. This way you get a great
digital camera and a slide copier to boot. Bill

Bill Seeley, President, Reactive Metals Studio, Inc.
Catalog web site- <>

I just talked to my local camera shop yesterday, and they said that
if I have a roll of film developed with them, they will it to CD for
under $9 (US dollars). This is for a 12-24 exposure roll. They don’t
do mounted slides, they need the film before it’s been cut up into
slides. I estimate that if I take in a 36 exposure roll of slide film
and have it scanned and the slides mounted, it will come to somewhere
between $25-30. Seems like a lot of money, but I’m charging my
accounts at $30/hour for trade work so I’d just as soon spend the time
in my shop and let the pro’s do the photography for me. I can always
use other means to do a quick scan just to load onto a web site or
e-mail to somebody.

David L. Huffman