Sunday, 12 March 2017

time for some retro 35mm slides to digital

As well as the digitisation of a stack of old home movie VHS cassettes, I'm working through some packets of slide films. They were in a box in the garage although the projector has already departed creating a dilemma about what to do with them?

I remembered I've a transparency and negative scanner (in yet another small crate) and fired it up to convert at least some of the transparencies into digital. The scanner in question is an inexpensive one, and I suspect it works as a sort of glorified camera in order to make the digital images. Whilst not as fancy as a super high resolution scanner, this little Veho Smartfix seems to do the trick.

A regular 35mm scanner might make a couple of passes and could take a minute or two per slide. This only takes a few seconds to do three slides, and the image size it produces is 2544x1696 pixels. That is perfectly respectable for most of my uses of these old pictures. It seems to have some basic inbuilt exposure sensing too and although it came with a DVD of software, I'm happy using it straight from the packet, where it will scan direct to an SD card in the back of the unit. My only change was to put in a faster and higher capacity card.

I'm also reminded of some of the old analogue film challenges as I process these slides. Dust on the original transparencies. Marks on the equipment used by the original processor. Curious colour shifts on some batches of film. Curvature on the transparency affecting sharpness. Moisture trapped between the glass on the slides in fancy holders.

I've decided to blast through the slides without anything more than quick fixes. Rotation, quick colour shift fixes and the like. It seems to be working well enough and is fast enough to already have a decent stack of processed slides.

If any are that worthy, they could be reprocessed on another occasion. The initial objective is to get them catalogued into Lightroom. So far it's 633 slides captured. That's about 17 films. I've already found one packet containing snaps around the path up from the Eigernordwand, near Kleine Scheidegg and another pack of the martian invasion as a new motorway arrived in town.

Current configuration may vary from that shown in picture

Martian 'Arrival' on London outskirts, years ahead of the movie

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