U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: digitizing slides advice??

Re: digitizing slides advice??

Chris, I was presented with the same task two years ago when my wife retrieved a gallon sized ziploc bag containing Kodachrome slides from her father's closet. What I ended up doing was buying one of the old slide duplicator attachments and a macro lens for my Nikon dslr. Then all I had to do was turn on my light table, adjust the white balance and exposure of the dlsr and then put in a slide, aim the camera at the light table and snap a picture. Once you get organized, it is a very effective and fast way to quickly digitize a pile of slides.
Of course, the quality is not going to be as good as a full blown scan, but it is much, much, much faster, and when you do find the occasional really good slide, you can take the time to do it on a scanner. The quality is pretty good, though. Certainly sufficient for a decent 5x7 or even 8x10 from most slides.

The doohickey I used is called a Nikon PB-5 bellows and the PS-5 slide duplicator attachment. They are available on ebay pretty regularly.


On Jul 4, 2009, at 8:44 AM, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:

Dear All,
I know that some of you who have worked as professional photographers for many years or have inherited family pictures have this same problem.

I inherited over 25,000 slides/negatives from my family of origin-- both my parents were very much into photography. No one else in the family wants to handle them so it fell to me. To be even more accurate--25,000 slides, 1400 bw large format negs, 3500 16x20 imagesetter negs, and untold numbers of medium format color film.

Over the years I have brutally culled that collection first to 8000, then 5000, then now about 2500 (tho I didn't remove all the past husbands of the 7 divorces in my family of origin much to my sisters' chagrin--too much "revisionist history" for me). That is the absolute lowest amount I can cut it down to. There is just too much historical and excellent "vernacular" work in there to throw out.

I have a student scanning the large format BW negs for me, I can scan some of these images myself with my flatbed and my Canon 35mm. But there are 400 glass slides in there as well. I have found a place in Michigan that will scan these for me, but it is not cheap.

I cannot tell you how many hours/days/weeks/years I have spent doing this. I am not completely complaining, because the Family of Origin project on my website is primarily from these images. But I was wondering what choices any of you have made with this issue of digitizing your former film/slide images? And how much can you expect to pay for this kind of service?

The nice thing, of course, with the digitizing process is all those great gum diginegs that can be produced from it. The sad thing is there is NOTHING that comes close to kodachrome with a great 35mm lens. I don't know what lens my mom had on her Nikon but the images are just glorious, some of them. I am waxing poetic about the "good ol' days" here I suppose, but I am a sucker for nostalgia, and when "lake living" in MN actually meant an unwinterized teeny cabin on the lake with barefoot summers instead of 20,000 sq.ft. second homes.


Christina Z. Anderson