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Photography Question 
Laura  K. Moore

How Do I Convert Slides to a CD?

I have about 3000 color slides that I want to convert from slides to a CD. How do I do this? I am trying to make a memory disc for my parents 50th wedding anniversary.

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5/13/2007 1:42:08 PM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/24/2005
I'm not a film shooter, but I think I can offer an answer to your question. Hopefully, others will give you more accurate info.
You are right about scanning. However, you cannot just lay the slides on a flatbed scanner and get the results you desire. There is a process to follow that requires special equipment to scan slides.
I recommend that you go through the 3000 slides and select the "best" batch (maybe a hundred or so). Then, I would find someone in the local area that can do the scanning job for you. Perhaps a photography service can give you a better job and do it quicker and cheaper than if you tried to buy the gear to do iy yourself.
I commend you for thinking of this wonderful gift for your parents 50th!

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5/13/2007 5:51:12 PM

Bob Fately   Laura,
As John says, you do need a scanner made for handling transparencies. There are some scanners specifically made for this (like the Nikon CS5000 or similar models from Canon and Minolta). There are also certain flatbed scanners that have an illumination source in the lid and are designed to handle slides. I have an Epson 2450, but that's a few years old, so there's a newer model, and considering your needs, I'd suggest something like that rather than a film-only type scanner.
As for what to do exactly, there are two things to consider - resolution and file type output. You say you are making a CD, but the real question is with what output in mind? If the plan is only to display the photos on a TV or computer screen (or projector), then you don't need very high resolution output. Thus, you could probably scan the slides at a resolution of 300 or 600 ppi and end up with quite acceptable results for viewing. At 300ppi scanning, for example, a 35mm frame will come in at about 300x450 pixels. FOr screen display, 75 dpi is generally sufficient, so this would give a 4x6 image on a screen (more or less, depending on other parameters). Of course, if you project on a wall, the size is considerably larger. At 600ppi, you could get an 8x12 onscreen.
However, if you plan to print the images, then you should scan the slides at a much higher resolution, to allow for an output rez of 300dpi. This means that, if you print a slide at 4x6, you'll need to scan the film at 1200ppi. For safety (to allow for cropping or further editing), you would probably be better off at an even higher resoution - 2400ppi or greater. For reference, when I scan slides in my film scanner, I do so at 4000 ppi and can obtain poster-size output if necessary.
As for file type, the choices are generally JPEG or TIFF. The former is a compressed format, so the file sizes will be smaller and more will fit on a CD. TIFF is more appropriate if you plan on editing after the fact, but they take more space.
For 3000 images, even with JPEG formatting, you will probably need more than a single CD, but until you know how large each saved file will be, you can't estimate this yet. Hope that helps.

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5/13/2007 8:54:48 PM

dennis w. mcclain   one thing bob left out. make sure that the scanner you get is rated at optical resolution, not interpolated. interpolation=pixilation. happy scanning

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5/15/2007 5:13:32 AM

Joe Ciccone
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/7/2005
  there's actually an attachment for some Digital SLR's that allow you to 'hold a slide in place' and shoot it, producing a copy on your camera's memory card...after that it can be processed (edited) in the usual ways.

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5/15/2007 5:58:15 AM

Sandra A. Collis   Laura

I just did this for my parents and I used It is worth checking out since a good scanner is a huge expense and labor intensive. I made JPEG CD's for my parents and siblings and a JPEG/TIFF for myself if I want to do any additional touch ups. They do a very professional job

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5/15/2007 6:15:40 AM

Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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  Since I did not want to invest in expensive scanning equipment, due to an eventual switch to digital, I hired a local commercial print lab, which had invested in equipment more expensive than I could possibly purchase and they copied the slides onto a CD.

In my case, the lab is Colorfast Photo Center & Gifts, which is located in Lafayette, Louisiana. But, perhaps a local lab in your community can help.

Good luck.

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5/15/2007 9:16:24 AM

Kathy C. Tugwell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/16/2005
I might be to late to put my 2 cents in on this but I am doing the samething you are doing right now. It was going to cost me as much if not more to have them scanned and made into pictures or put on a CD than it would cost to get a new scanner that will do slides. My problem was also that my dad took 2x3 slides really big. So my sugestion is to buy a scanner, I have an Epson 4490, and do it yourself, it is worth it and you get to learn on how to do it and be creative.
Good luck.
Kathy Tugwell

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5/15/2007 9:21:21 AM

Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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My local lab charged me $1.00 per slide to copy it onto a CD. I don't recall how many slides fit onto the CD.

However, this method only became expensive for me because I had photoghed 40 rolls of mostly 36 exposure film, (most of which were slides) on our trip to China and went digital shortly thereafter.

Still, having the lab do the processing, I had saved even more money by avoiding the purchase of an expensive scanner, which they had, and I could not afford to purchase.

Just an additional suggestion, which I hope will help.


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5/15/2007 9:32:30 AM

Manuel L. Pacheco Gomez   Laura,

If you have a digital SLR camera already you only have to buy this fancy device called "SLIDE DUPLICATOR" for 35mm cameras, It goes instead of the lens and it allows you to introduce the slide on the device, then you just have to focus an take the shot. Its very easy and isnt that hard, I did it with my slides too. Yes I know you'll have to do this 3000 times but who said life is supposed to be easy?... Keep in touch.

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5/15/2007 3:59:39 PM

dennis w. mcclain   just found this at adorama
79.95, not a BAD PRICE

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5/18/2007 1:56:56 PM

dennis w. mcclain   and here is an artical from aric on the subject. thought you might wanna take a look

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5/18/2007 2:00:06 PM

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