Digitising slides yourself
by tompark - 2/27/07 10:26 PM
In Reply to: Don't do it yourself! by pdxfrank
No, it does not take a massive amount of time. Scanners are no real solution to my needd to digitise ~25,000 of my slides, mainly Kodachrome from 1959-1990, all in groups of 20-24 in steel cases, plus a few carousels.
As a professional engineer I first planned how I wanted to use the results -- mainly to display on a laptop screen or an HD TV. Both could use only up to 2 megs of information in jpeg form.
The easiest way seemed to be to photograph the screen as I ran them through the projector. Trials showed slight keystoning and high corner vignetting -- unacceptable. The same with an old tele-cine device I had (project via a 45 degree mirror onto a ground glass screen.)
My solution was to take the lens out of the projector and point the camera in. Too bright, (even at 1/4000 at f16) so I put an $8 Home Depot dimmer in the projector lamp wiring using two screw connectors then added a white plastic screen between the two condenser lenses (from a bleach bottle), to remove the filament image. The camera on macro setting couldn't quite focus so I taped on a coated close-up lens from my Pentax. Cooking now.
I hooked up the camera to an old laptop, zoomed in sufficient to avoid the curved corners, did a custom white balance and set the camera to macro, 50 ASA, postcard mode (1600x1200 giving ~500KB jpegs) and fairly long telephoto with negligible pincushion. Then I set the camera to low sharpening mode and ran trials. Excellent results, not all the quality from the slides but capable of decent 8x12" prints -- and the family seem to just want 4x6s. The HD TV images are stunning with every pixel addressed.
25 slides in the stack loader, hit the protector change button then check the image on screen, occasionally adjust the exposure or zoom then hit the spacebar and the image goes right into the computer. The Canon camera software lets me name the images, i.e. Oct1962Paris001 --002 and so on. I'm running through 200-300 slides an hour with occasional blasts of canned air, I expect to be finished by the end of the year. The only post-processing is to turn vertical images plus a few crops. Despite no ICE I have seen very few dust spots -- just wished I had been able to afford better quality optics in the 1950s and 60s.
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