slidel scanning services

I recently came across my archive of old 35mm slides. My projector has gone over the hill. I would like to get the slides digitized. I can google and find some good looking services, but I wonder if anyone here has any recommendations. I have around 1500 slides to digitize and some are quite old-30-40 years old.

Anyone have any recommendations?

I’ve been thinking of the same thing, and talked to several businesses around here that do slide scanning (I didn’t want to send them anywhere in the mail). For 1,500 slides, it’s far cheaper to buy a batch slide scanner and do it yourself. The good batch scanners take 50 or 100 slides at a time. You just click “go” and come back when it’s done. I haven’t bought mine yet, but I saw several on eBay last summer.

My brother bought an inexpensive (about $100) slide scanner for my parents for Christmas from Costco (and I saw a similar one at Brookstone for about the same amount). You load four slides into a carrier and can then scan them one at a time. The device stores the resulting on an SD memory card at about one megabyte each. You can get much better quality scans from more expensive devices, but this will probably be sufficient for my mother’s needs. (Perhaps if there are some particular images we want scanned at higher resolution, we can send them out to a service.)

Others have suggested a slide scanner as well. My issue is that the color balance is off on many of these slides. I would like to get them corrected. I can do that at home-one slide at a time. So I am looking for a service that does the scanning and then corrects the slide when needed.

I tried one of those, but the quality was so poor, I returned it. I bought a slide copying attachment for my digital camera that worked much better, though you do have to process each slide one at a time.

My brother is still scanning those slides, so we’ll see what he and my mother think of the quality. But I think for our purposes, just being able to see these photos again conveniently may be good enough. (I suggested to my mother that a simple and cheap way to scan them would be to load up a slide projector, project them onto a wall and then take digital photos of the images. But we don’t even have a slide projector any more.)

As for slide scanning services, David Pogue in the New York Times reviewed a California company called that will scan 1,000 photos (not slides mind you) for $64. But you need to organize the photos so that they can batch process them. They will scan slides, starting at $0.49 each.

My local Sam’s Club has this service, and it was the cheapest commercial one I could find a few years back for a few hundred slides I had from the 60s.

Their equipment may have been updated since I used the service, so if you look into it you might ask if any automatic correction is done and what the final resolution is in DPI. I just wanted to archive my slides before they completely rotted; for the occasional individual slide I pull up the jpeg from Sam’s and fix it myself.

I was satisfied, but this is obviously pretty low-end service at low-end cost. It was the cheapest place I could find. They did a decent job, I thought. Most of my slides ended up as jpegs in the 65-100 KByte range.

Remember when deciding where to do this, that if they are shipped you’re risking them all being lost or ruined in transit.

I’ve heard good things about scancafe. They are very upfront that they ship you stuff to India for scanning, and their web page describes all the precautions they take. I much prefer that to someone who just says “we scan it cheap!” The upside is low prices, $0.29 per scan. The downside is 4-6 week turnaround.