Transparency Scanner

Hi All, Does anyone out there have a slide scanner that they
are happy with? I’ve purchased a transparency adapter for my
Umax Astra 1200s and I don’t seem to be able to get good quality
scans of my slides. The color is off, clarity bad, yikes! I was
wondering if perhaps I just got a lemon and should send it back
to try again, or if this particular model is just plain funky.
Any suggestions??? Thanks in advance for all your help. Lisa


I’ve got a transparency adapter for our Umax Astra 1220, and
have been reasonably happy with the results. Of course, I’m doing
pictures of my 1 year old son, not jewelry, so perhaps I just
haven’t noticed the color discrepancies as you have. But since
all the transparency adapter seems to do is backlight the slide
so the scanner can scan it, if you’re not happy I think I’d be
tempted to try another brand. (Of course, you can always try a
replacement, and return that if you’re still not happy with it.)

As a possible alternative, my father swears by his Minolta slide
scanner for the iMac. I’ve used it, and I’m impressed – the
colors were right on, and just as saturated as the original. It
wasn’t outrageously expensive, although more expensive than my
Astra set up. (Don’t remember exactly how much.) It also is only
for slides – it cannot be adapted to scan prints. But that’s
probably what it takes to get really great slide scans!

Suzanne Wade
Phone/Fax 508-339-7366

The inexpensive transparency scanners are not at all impressive
in my view. I just shopped around for a decent deal with a local
service bureau. If you have volume, you can get a deal in Los
Angeles. I divided the cost of a GOOD scanner by my cost for
scans-Yikes it was going to be years before I got ahead.

Lisa, I also have a trans adapter for my Umax 1200. I have the
same problems. Low quality from a 35mm transparency. I seems to
be fine for anything flat and reflective but not transmissive. I
think the next step for a quality scan from 35mm is something
like a Nikon scanner. They cost about between $900 and $2000 so
it is quite a step up to get good quality scans. Larry Sanders

Lisa: On the subject of transparency adapters for flat bed
scanners: I just took a class on scanners and photo editing in
which the following statement was made: Adapters for flat bed
scanners do not work. One needs to buy a special scanner that
illuminates the material from the back. These scanners are
relatively expensive. For 35-mm slides, a good scanner (I think
they said Nikon) now costs about $350. Dietrich

Hello Lisa, I’m so glad someone brought this up. I was looking
into Microtek light lids, but have yet to make a decision. I
have found a site which discusses all the pros and cons regarding
slide transparency scans at: check it out and let me
know if it makes sense to you!

Also, I viewed your site, and must compliment you on your
wonderful work. What would you advise someone who needs antique
enamel work repaired? Gail Selig

Transparency adapters for flatbed scanners cannot produce
sufficient quality for an image any larger than the transparency
itself. What you need is to get a good-quality "dedicated"
scanner; one that is designed just for transparencies. Such as
the Nikon Coolscan, which gives 2700 dpi. (I have not had any
experience using it, though.) The 35mm scanners are fairly
pricey, and unless you’re going to be doing quite a few, it
would probably be to your advantage to send then out to be
scanned. Margaret @Margaret_Malm

Any major brand of slide scanner will WAY outperform a
transparency adapter for 35mm slides. A flat bed scanner just
can’t get the resolution enough to get a decent image of a tiny
slide for one thing. Transparency adapters are mainly for things
like 4x5 transparencies. Nikon makes great slide scanners but the
bottom level one is at least $800 and their best about 1500-2000
dollars. But the quality you will get will be awesome.
Transparency adapters are only good for a minimum of 2 1/4x 2 1/4
and I would only get one if you have an expensive high level flat
bed, not the Astra. Slide scanners will also way outperform any
digital camera yet available in the $1000 range or under and as I
mentioned to Cathy, you CAN’T use digital pix to make slides for
juries or for publication, something to keep in mind when
deciding how to get digital images for web use…Dave

I think your problem is probably in the way you’ve configured
the software. I use a Umax scanner, and for the money, it’s ok.
First, there is a setting when you “aquire” an image (scan
while in another program) that must be set for either
"reflective" or “transparent” image. For slides, you want
transparent. Second, your color problem is probably due to the
way your printer represents and interprets colors. There is an
area in the setup part for the scanner where you can load a
library of files used by a program the Umax uses called “Magic
Match” which compensate for the differences in input/output
devices like printers, monitors, etc. You really need to go
back and read the manual for the Umax. This is usually an
online manual, read by a copy of Acrobat Reader. I know what a
pain it is reading manuals, and if you’re like me, you really
hate reading them on screen instead of on paper, but there’s
probably no way we can help you from this end any more than
that. You’ve made the investment in the equipment, I think a
further investment in time to see if you can correct any
configuration problems would be the smart bet. Good luck, hope
I don’t seem patronizing . . .bad case of “expert-ism” which I
theorize is an occupational hazzard of the jewelry trade. :slight_smile:
David L Huffman, bench jeweler and part time software wrangler.

G’day Lisa et al; I have a Microtek ScanMaker X6EL with 36
bit colour, and bought the slide adapter at the same time. It
works. I think. I have to scan at a high resolution; 750 -1000
dpi and scale down the resultant image, (can never get to
understanding sizing properly!) and then do a whole lot of
enhancement using Paint Shop Pro 6. I am not enough of an
artist, nor do I understand enough, (it’s a hell of a complicated
program!) and don’t really have enough patience - to get out a
really decent job with either positive transparencies or
negatives (it is made to handle both). My only source of help is
really the better-than-usual manual that came with the software
and one of the “Teach Yourself” type books. As is normal, the
’help’ button gives the answer to all the questions you haven’t
asked - and don’t want to, and of course, is no help whatever
when you ask ‘What did I do wrong,?’ 'So now what do I do?'
and ‘why doesn’t it work like the book says?’ And. 'who gave
things such stupid names? Sounds like some damn teenage nerd '
and ‘where is that 14 lb hammer so’s I can hit any key like it
says?’ I haven’t quite given up yet or even used the hammer,
but I came to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to get
the negatives and positives on to good glossy prints and scan
those! Or brush up on those Anglo-Saxon words and Shakespearean
epithets. I get the impression that one would have to use it
all day every day to learn to get the best from a transparency.
Sorry if this doesn’t help! But cheers anyway, John Burgess

There is a great amount of scanning info at including discussion of scanning
transparencies. Chunk Kiesling

John Burgess, I am so glad to know someone is having problems
with the Microtex ScanMaker besides me. I feel like I am
groping around in the dark half the time. What “teach yourself
type” book did you find helpful? Thank you,
Rose Alene McArthur @O_B_McArthurs

Lisa, I tried to e-mail you a copy of an article from Popular
Photography’s Digital Imaging Buying guide.2000 millenium issue
that will be on newsstands until feb,8 of course I failed and the
file was huge anyway.I have an hp that I bought after I bought
the magazine wich says the hp model I bought has very poor image
quality.Of course.And it does.Is’nt everybody suffering from
that?The Umax was rated good,out of excellent ,good and poor.You
should try and find the article it has alot of comparisons and
will tell you what you need to know.I must say I visited your web
sight and it is beautiful.It is so simple to use and the photos
really stand out.How were they photographed?The art work is very
moving at all levels.The enamel jewelry was exceptional and the
colors and balance of metal finishes were great.The wood carving
of the women at first glance as a thumbnail appears to be a
painting.She could have walked out of the streets of
SanFrancisco Or the Middle ages.Beautiful!Cre8tive graphics site
was cool.True computer artists Very talented group. Happy Trails
J Morley Coyote Ridge Studio Where the wind is blowin and the
coyotes are howlin

Recommend a book “A few scanning tips” by Wayne Fulton. order
on line from My husband bought a copy just
before Christmas, comprehensive, easy to read and understand . He
found out about the book from the newsgroup
comp.periphs.scanners Took less than a week to get from the USA
to UK , excellent service. Ann Simcox

You folks are just way too cool! Thanks for all your input,
I’ve come to realize that no matter what I do, the scans of my
slides are going to be unsatifactory. Wish I could return the
dern thing! I will however check out the scan tips website. J.
Morley, thanks for trying to send the article, and glad you like
the web site. Believe it or not some of those picture came from
me putting the jewelry on the scanner w/a box over it and voila,
scan. Gail, I’m afraid I can’t tell you how to get an antique
enamel repaired. The only repair work I do is on my own, good
luck… Lisa