Need Advice About Choosing a Slide Scanner

I have in the ballpark of 6,000 color slides to scan. I’ve heard that the Nikon slide scanners are good. I will greatly appreciate the advice of anyone experienced at this.

recent discussion here

Send them to a pro.

They have better equipment than you could afford to buy, and experience in doing this.
Plus it will free up a whole lot of time for you.

My guess is that sending them to a pro would cost something upwards of $0.30 each.

Either way there are several things that you can do to help set the defaults for the scans such as:
[li]Are all of the slides the same film type? Making a list would be helpful as the characteristics of each slide film should be well known and, if doing yourself, you can research some of the basic characteristics of the film type used.[/li][li]What is the range of subjects? Are they mostly portraits or scenics? If they are portraits with scenic backgrounds it would be best to emphasize recovery of the portraits and forego the backgrounds/foregrounds. [/li][li]I use VueScan on a Dimage Scan Dual IV film scanner and you can batch process slides but it is, realistically, still a time conduming process.[/li][li]Aside from the slide film used look at some random slides and determine if there are any other charactistics that are easily noticable that can be handled on a batch basis such as consistently under or over exposed. Unfortunately, slide film was (is) the most unforgiving choice in terms of exposure latitude and this could be a problem in terms of what may be consistently recoverable.[/li][/ul]
Last, but not least, as a previous poster stated, do it now rather than continuing to wait and allow further loss of color, contrast, etc on the slides!

I vote pick out the ones you care about and send them to a pro. I’ve tried slide scanning myself and let them do it now.

If your slides are Kodachrome in non-pristine condition, you need a Nikon 9000 to do a decent job. These were never cheap and now cost more used than they did new because the people with slides to scan and pros doing it outnumber the number of scanners. For other than Kodachrome any scanner with Digital ICE and 2400dpi or better should work.
Besides the cost of the scanner, what is your time worth. Even if you’re good at a minute per slide that’s 100 hours of your time.

DigMyPics uses Nikon 9000s on slides and I’ve had good results with them and they use US staff with BA degrees, but they’re about 50 cents/slide at 3200 dpi. If you want OK results ScanCafe does them a lot cheaper (as low as 23 cents) with worse equipment and outsourced Indian labor.

We’ve taken on a similar project, and decided to buy a scanner and do it ourselves.

  1. Prioritize - Do you really need all of the landscape pictures from the 1962 trip to the Grand Canyon? If you can’t remember where the picture was taken, or if you have to search through the picture for a while to figure out what you were trying to get a photo of, you may well not need the picture.

  2. Are your slides clean? Lots of ours had been sitting in my grandmother’s closet for 40 years, and were dusty. For the slides we care about, we have been cleaning them.

  3. If you decide to do this, get a scanner that handles trays or carosels, and get an extra one. We use 50 slide trays. Load one up, start the scanning process, and walk awaya for a while. Or fill up the second tray while the first is scanning.