I went through all sorts of evaluations on how to scan/digitize the roughly 30k collection of 35mm slides that are a combination of those from my parents, myself, my husband and my stepdad. The 3 remaining folks, me, hubby and stepdad, discussed many options including building a copy stand or sending them out to a service for scanning. The time needed to handle the copy stand scanning using a digital camera is huge. The cost to send them out is huge. We could spend hours selecting just a few items to scan but that also takes lots of time. Our final solution was that we purchased a SlideSnap Pro system. We have access to a number of digital cameras ranging from a 12MP Nikon D700 to a 24MP Fuji XT2. We also have several options for lenses including an old but excellent Nikon MicroNikkor 55mm.
We did not get the camera system they recommended because of the cameras we had available. Initial set-up of the machine was easy. Getting a camera and lens option that works and fills the frame with the slide is proving a bit more problematic. Focusing is also a bit hard since our best lens, my MicroNikkor, is manual and also old and very stiff and hard to turn. We’re considering sending it off to Nikon for a refurbishment. We’re also trying to verify the scan resolutions claimed before really going to town on the scanning. However for sheer speed the system is unmatched. We’re getting speeds of 80 slides digitized in 4 minutes while saving both Raw and JPEG files. If we switch to their recommended JPEG only the speed can be increased a bit. The max they say you can get is 30 slides a minute. We’re doing about 20. Far more time is spent cleaning them and loading the carousels. But the cleaning time would have to happen no matter what we used for scanning and loading carousels is faster than putting them in a copy stand jig one at a time. We have not yet experimented with tethering to Lightroom although we plan to test that as soon as the external power supply for the camera arrives.
The remaining issues are deciding whether to convert the raw files to DNG and use that plus a JPEG file as a set in the catalog or use JPEG only. I’m waffling. My initial thoughts are to go JPEG only, get them all done and in the catalog and then as the top ones are identified considering re-scanning them and saving both types of files. Anyway more updates coming soon.