Home made scanner for 35mm slides

chrisp9au
23rd August 2006, 13:58
This is an old thread, but I have recently scanned in my 40 year+ old slides with a home made device which has produced results that have really surprised me. The method involves scanning with a digital camera rather than a dedicated scanner. Cameras with 4MP or better have the capability to achieve very acceptable results.
All the photos I have posted on SN have been scanned using this setup, so you can check my results with this device for yourself.
I'm hoping this idea might inspire members who are trying to scan their old slides, and don't have ready cash, to give this a try. Expensive scanners are not required to get results good enough for posting on the internet.

The attached photograph, is a 800x600 screen capture showing 2 windows from the 'ZoomBrowser' software provided with my Canon A520 digital camera (4MP). The photo shows, on the right, 3 pictures of the scanning device, made up out of scrap timber in a just couple of hours. The only tricky bit was finding the thin piece of opaque white plastic used to diffuse the light used to backlight the slide in the slide holder. I used a thin piece of teflon left over from making telescope bearings, my other hobby. All my scanning was done using just normal daylight as the light source behind the slide. The smaller window on the left of the picture is the remote control window for the camera, in this case with a slide of the Port Fairy being scanned.

The process is pretty straight forward. 1. Clean the slide as best you can, plenty of suggestions on this thread. 2. Put the slide in the slide holder and put the holder into position on the scanning device. 3. Position the scanning device to get the best available and even daylight source behind the slide. 4. Switch the camera on in review mode. 5. Start the software and select remote operation. 6. Select Macro mode. 7. When the slide appears in the window move the camera back & forward to get the best focus, the camera itself will improve the focus automatically when the picture is taken. 8. Using the software, click on the Release button to take the picture. 9. In the Adobe Photoshop Lite software that came free with the camera, open up the photograph, use the 'Marquee' tool to select the best section of the slide which will eliminate the slide surrounds, then click on 'Image' and 'Crop'. 10. Save the result and if you're happy with the result, post it on SN!

Any questions or problems email me!
Regards
Chris Poynter
Sorry, I missed mentioning one other thing about the camera I use. I bought a set of close up lens on ebay for $35AU which completes this 'rig'.

K urgess
23rd August 2006, 14:08
Great idea, Chris.
I used to have something similair for copying slides on to negative film.

One hint would be not to use an electric light 'cos you will inevitably click the shutter just as the voltage drops to zero. But everyboy probably knows that already (Ouch)

treeve
23rd August 2006, 14:57
Well! All I can say is That's Neat! (Applause)
I will try this with my monochrome negatives. Thanks.

thunderd
24th August 2006, 01:17
I'm going to try it too Chris, thank you for generously sharing your design with us.

chrisp9au
24th August 2006, 01:49
No wurries thunderd,
just send folding money! (Thumb)

chrisp9au
24th August 2006, 04:39
Just an observation, that if you want to do your scanning at night, the best light source is fluorescent tubes. Standard tubes however tend to add a greenish tinge to your shots, so get 5000K balanced tubes at a minimum. 5000K tubes give a 'warm' hue, 6000K tubes give a 'cool' or brighter hue.
This isn't from my experience, just advice available on the 'net.
Regards
Chris

andysk
8th September 2006, 14:56
Just an observation, that if you want to do your scanning at night, the best light source is fluorescent tubes. Standard tubes however tend to add a greenish tinge to your shots, so get 5000K balanced tubes at a minimum. 5000K tubes give a 'warm' hue, 6000K tubes give a 'cool' or brighter hue.
This isn't from my experience, just advice available on the 'net.
Regards
Chris

There are also gel filters from Cokin which are square and fit into holders on the front of the camera - not round screw fit oneswhich fir on the front of the lens, which you could use in your setup to correct the colour temperature.

Most good camera shops should have them - AFAIR the one for flourescent is called, strangely enough, FL !

Cheers

Andy

Jan Hendrik
8th September 2006, 15:45
Chris, thanks for all the trouble to pass on this information to us.
One question: Does it make any difference whether the slides are still in the frames?
I have a lot of old real glass frames which are 3 mm thick, also plastic frames which are 1.5 mm thick and then the standard Kodak slides which are very thin.
Would you say you only adjust once you start on a series of either the above and re-adjust when swopping to the next lot?

Having slides copies by a professional shop cost you an arm and a leg indeed .
Jan

chrisp9au
9th September 2006, 03:04
Hi Jan,
I have only tried with what I call standard 35mm slides, Kodak, Agfa, and Dixons(are they still going?) and all were in their frames. If I had different sizes I would simply make up different size holders. Being a home made device means you can make things to fit any size you need.

Thanks also to Andysk for the gel filter advice. I have an aversion to spending money when I don't have to, so if I need to enhance digital images I let the computer do it! And you don't need to shell out for a copy of Photo Shop either. 'The Gimp' does practically everything that Photo Shop does, and it's free! Just go to http://www.gimp.org/ and download it. There is also a very good tutorial for the program called 'Grokking The Gimp'.
Regards
Chris (Thumb)