If you have a large collection of old Kodachrome transparencies to be digitally preserved, there are a few options available to convert slides to digital. The obvious one is to buy an affordable flat-bed scanner equipped with a transparency adapter and start slide scanning. Another option is to use your high-end DSLR camera to digitize slides by taking a photo of each image, either of the projected image or using a slide duplicator attachment for direct capture. But perhaps the best way to produce optimum results (short of using a slide scanning service), is to acquire a slide scanner (aka film scanner) for your slide scanning project.
High performance film scanners are not cheap, but the image capture capabilities of a good film scanner are far superior to other types of scanners and direct capture approaches. And with slides, there is typically a wide range of color, tone and detail image information available to digitize. Often, converting slides to digital offers better results than scanning photo prints or scanning negatives.
But choosing the right slide scanner is only the half the chore, the software that controls the scanner can greatly influence the ease of scanning, productivity of workflow, and quality of scanned images. The following photo scanning programs are advanced software tools typically utilized to get the most out of today’s best slide scanners. Top photo scanning services that utilize advanced Nikon film scanners will often standardize their slides scanning workflow around one of these programs.
Top 3 Photo Scanning Programs
Nikon Scan – Although Nikon’s film scanners have been officially discontinued, they are still widely used and available on the secondary market. Nikon Scan came bundled with Nikon scanners and is known for it’s seamless integration with Nikon’s RAW editor. Nikon Scan ranks highest for ease of use.
SilverFast – This program is part of a suite of digital imaging tools by LaserSoft Imaging. The scanning software coupled with other useful imaging applications is the most comprehensive solution of the three. It benefits from a common, intuitive user interface thats simplifies processing.
VueScan – Unlike Nikon Scan and SilverFast, VueScan runs on Linux (as well as Windows and Mac OS). It is a powerful scanning program with comprehensive RAW support. When coupled with an image editing tool, VueScan is comparable to Nikon Scan and SilverFast and often processes faster with greater flexibility than either on the same hardware.
Photo Credit / Creative Commons by Nesster