35mm transparencies > digital

I’m an old school guy and have tons of 35mm slides (ancient portfolio work, work project, travel, etc.) that would be great to have in jpeg/bmp format.

Does anyone have any suggestions on equipment, or service agencies that could do this?

From what I’ve been able to determine, 2,700 dpi seems to be the minimum for any kind of ‘quality’ digital reproduction.



I also have lots of slides from the old days. I’ll eventually buy my own slide scanner. I’ve sent some out, but I’ve stopped. Cost/quality just not worth it to me.

How much we talkin’ about here csven? $1 / slide … $5/slide … more?

It would have to be a image of something pretty darned important for me to spend $5 on. Considering I have 23, 140-slide carousels, and I don’t know how many boxes of slides I may be in for a wait too.

So, what kind of file size/image size were you getting back … if that can be related to ‘quality’; anything usable in terms of editing?

I was just poking around the 'net and it looks like Epson has some scanners capable of slide reproduction, but I haven’t found any ‘reviews’ on any of them yet.

Back in the mid-90’s I was paying maybe $4/slide and I was doing them in small numbers; 5-10. But it was still new technology. Couple years ago I was using a local place. Only smallish batches of maybe 10-20. iirc the last time I was paying under a $1/slide. But quality for me has always been iffy.

Resolutions were typically 4k. But issues were things like dust, coloration, contrast, exposure, aso. I don’t think a lot of service bureaus care as much anymore. It’s all automated . Prices are low. I don’t think they make much money on it. So the ones I used don’t seem to give it as much attention now. That’s why I intend to buy a scanner. My family has a ton of slides and some day I’ll archive them. It’ll be a time hog. But in the end I think it’ll be worth it.

If you’re going to do it yourself, hook yourself up with a top of the line flat bed scanner w/ transparency and slide adapters. In my experience you can get better quality than with a slide scanner. Also, slide scanners get pretty hot, and I’ve had them warp slides slightly during a scan. Pretty frustrating.

something to ponder…

I have a Canon canoscan 8400f that can easily scan a 35mm slide (can also do medium format) at high enough resolution (3200x6400 dpi) to print a 8"x10" at 300 dpi. All the color corection is under my control, but it does take a little time. It definitely beats paying $1-3 per slide for variable quality. Amazon has one for $130, so you probably can get one for cheaper than that. Mine is a few years old, so there may be other scanners out there that are better. It is definintely worth looking into it to do it yourself.


I’m not sure what quality you’re looking for, but in my experience, a ~50-megapixel file is the accepted quality level when scanning for stock libraries, etc. That comes out to (I think) about 5800x8600 pixels.

Just my .02.