1950's 35mm slides--how to put on my computer?

Sorry if this has been answered before.

Like many older posters here, our family has thousands of 35mm slides we took in the 1950s-60s. I’d like to put them on the computer so my 89 year old mom can see them(eyesight failing).

Can I do this with just a scanner? Something else?

Slide converter

There are photo stores that offer the service of transferring slides and old home movies onto data CD’s or DVD. You could try one of those.

One method you could try is to project the slides (if you still have a projector) and take digital photos of the images. With a decent camera you should get good results.

Here’s how one guy did it.

There’s also an adapter you can put on the end of your SLR lens. Basically, it’s a tube with a frosted end. Put the slide in, aim it at a light source, and snap the pic. Having a photo store (or Rite-Aid or Wal-Mart or whoever) do the transfer is always a possibility; but with thousands of slides it might be cheaper to get a converter like the one at Amazon, oe else do the DIY set-up in the other link.

there were flatbed scanners (sheet of paper or book lies flat) that had a lid or cover with a back light. you did multiple slides at once by manually placing them side by side. slow process.

there are now slide scanners that are the size of the slide viewers that you used to view individual slides. not expensive if you have many slides to do. a manual process.

with thousands of slides or photos to scan there are services that do it for a fair price. they use automated equipment so you want your slides/photos to be in good shape.

I used to have a slide scanner. It broke and I never replaced it. Scanning and touching up the resulting images sucks, especially with cheaper scanners without digital ICE. Even slides that look clean probably have dust on them. I now pay a commercial service to do it.

All of the above. The answer for you will depend upon how many slides, what condition they are in, what your expectations for image quality are, and how much you want to spend.

50’s slides means Ektachrome, and worse, E-3 process. This means that the dyes will be fading, and the quality you can achieve with a basic scan may be quite disappointing. A simple DIY solution may be far from satisfactory.

Good quality scanners, especially with digital ICE, are able to do fairly remarkable things with even quite faded images. Internal knowledge of exactly what happens to fading images helps, and they are able to extract information from what look visually very poor images. Indeed you will get images that look better than new. You probably want this.

If you have the time and a lot of slides, a dedicated slide scanner with digital ICE. Not so many slides, get them done professionally. You pay for what you get however. Scanning that involves any human intervention will cost vastly more. Thousands of slides really points at only one option. A good scanner with automatic feed. Sadly they are seriously not cheap. But you could sell it again, so the actual cost may be quite reasonable.

I would really encourage you to do as good a job as you can. The images will only continue to degrade with time, and yet, as time progresses, their value to you and your family will only increase. Think of it more as archiving.

My father-in-law has boxes and boxes and boxes of slides. We bought him a slide scanner last Christmas, and it does a very good job of scanning in the slides. It is however a very time consuming process. He enjoys photography and enjoys fixing up the old photos.

If you don’t get so much enjoyment out of such things, you might want to consider having a photo lab do the conversion for you, especially if you have a lot of slides. If you scan one slide per minute and you spend an hour a night scanning slides, it will take you over two weeks to scan 1,000 slides.

And that doesn’t include time spent correcting color and contrast. Plus you might want to do some cropping as well.

There are many services, and many online reviews to help you choose. I had some stuff done by ScanDigital, which I thought offered a good compromise between human intervention/correction and low cost. Some services do the work offshore to reduce labor costs. Some people like the very low prices for scanning lots of slides offered by Costco.

It’s nothing short of amazing how much restoration of old photos is possible once you digitalized them, so consider picking out some for enhancement. The higher quality the intial conversion, the better.

One of the catches though is that to scan and correct slides really well, you need to be correcting as you scan. You can do the correction afterwards but the results aren’t as good.

I have a reasonably good slide scanner but I have so many slides and I find it hard to just scan them carelessly (Perfectionist? Moi? I don’t know what you are talking about!). I have to do it well and to do it well takes far longer than a minute per slide. Even five or ten minutes would be pretty slap dash. So we are talking hours for even a few dozen slides.

Thanks for all the information so far. While we have thousands of slides, I’ll probably only pick out 10% for digitizing, etc. Amazing how many options exist.

The mention of thousands of slides is the thing. I have an Epson V500, which is a flatbed scanner with a slide attachment that can do four at once. Here’s an old Kodachrome slide I scanned a while back, of the Natural History Museum. It does take a while to load the slides, however, and scan 'em, and if you’re really hardcore you can spend an age balancing the colours and de-spotting them. The more expensive film scanners that were available a few years ago had motorised trays and bulk feeders to save you time, but they tend to be very expensive. And once you’ve done all this you end up with a film scanner you’ll never use again. So I would suggest a bureau and some cash.

Do the slides still look okay? Kodachrome was very resistant to fading as long as you didn’t project it too often, other slides tended to fade. Which can be corrected, within reason. Another option is something like this, a slide duplicator, popular in the 1970s and 1980s as a means of making prints from slides. I have one. Problem is that you also need a full-frame digital SLR, a decent flash unit, a white backdrop, and lots and lots of time.

Possibly silly answer, but given that your mum’s eyesight is fading, couldn’t you buy a second-hand slide projector? The projection would be larger than a laptop screen.