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scanning slides

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  • scanning slides

    I have a scanner (HP scanjet 4600). It does not have an adapter typically used for scanning negatives and/or slides. I would appreciate any tips from those knowledgeable regarding scanning that might assist me in getting a decent result. Thank you!

  • #2
    You are in for some real technical challenges without a proper slide/neg scanner or adapter. Some of the issues are:
    - Because the negative is so small, you need a high optical resolution to generate a 300 DPI image which will be printed as 8x10. That means a scanner with min 2400 DPI optical resolution.
    - Flat beds are reflective while negs and positives are transmissive. The refraction will cause problems with your scan
    - Negatives have an orange coating. Neg scanners and adapters come with appropriate s/w drivers that filter out the cast. You can create customer curves in PShop to do this but you may waste a lot of time correcting / fine tuning each scan
    - The dynamic range of flatbeds are typically too low for negative film. Expect poor detail in the shadows.

    If you have a lot of slides or negs to scan, you might want to check out EBay for a dedicated device, like an HP5100 Smart Scan which I used as my first slide scanner. Did a great job on thousands of negs. New they were $500 but I have seen them on EBay for $50. There are also a lot of good deals on previously enjoyed Nikon Coolcscans. Many people who have gone totally digital, purchased film scanners to scan their arhives of slides & negs. When they finished do so, many no longer had need for the scanner.

    All that being said, perhaps some other RP member has some tips to offer you to get your HP to perform the task.

    Regards, MM


    • #3
      as MM said, negatives are an entirely different thing and a dedicated negative scanner is the way i went. i'm currently using one from here: . the price on the one i bought was only $129 u.s. it scans 35 mm slides and negatives ONLY. so, if you do want to go this route, make sure you get one that matches up to whatever size negatives you have. i've been pretty much happy with this unit. my only complaint was the software was a bit buggy.

      also, if you only have one computer, current pc's running windows can only handle one type of usb scanner plugged into it. this is a known windows bug. so, my flatbed is on one computer and the negative scanner on another.

      also, bear in mind that i bought this a while back and the same is true with my flatbed. the technology on flatbeds may well be such that you could do it ok on a flatbed now, so check around.



      • #4
        Hi everyone, this is my first post here, first I want to say thanks for all the tips I took already, time to give back.

        Another option that is overlook is using your 6MB+ digicam or DSLR with macro lens to photograph your slide.

        First have your slide in a large enough black mask as to prevent flare, a few options for the set-up;
        in front of a window aiming for an even daylight source,
        on a color corrected light table,
        on a white plastic sheet with a small flash aimed away at a white cardboard as to lite indirectly (do not fry your camera or eyes).

        Camera settings if possible; best quality JPEG, low ISO, low contrast, low sharpening and custom white balance that you will calibrate by making an exposure without the slide.

        Important is to square / align the camera / slide as to get every thing in focus.

        A good first try to adjust your setup and find the adjustment you will need in PS is a B&W negative that does not have a color tint, as neutral as possible.

        Look at your histogram to adjust exposure, aim for brightness without touching the right side.

        Then open it in PS (invert if negative). CS is the best with Shadow/Highlight adjustment, then color correction, contrast & sharpening to taste.

        Now you're ready to go.

        The example attach is now a B&W file, I am not sure of how big I can post, but was shot in color with a DSLR, the 35mm slide is a 21 step grey scale that start at a density of 0.05 which is clearer then film and end at 3.10 which is twice as dark as the darkest slide edges...

        None of the film scanners I tried gave me as much range, their "advertise" range of density is base on theory not facts, noting came close and this "scan" took only 1/2 seconds plus a little work.

        Also if you have still around a slide duplicating attachment, it makes things easier.

        Attached Files


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