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Slide/Negative Scanners

Our slide/negative scanner is shown below, with the batch slide feeder attachment.

This scanner is a Nikon coolscan LS-2000, which will scan 35mm negatives and slides at 2700 dpi.  There are 4000 dpi scanners available in a consumer price range, but to my knowledge at the time of typing this, the nikon still has one of the best dynamic ranges in its class.  This scanner will only do 35mm or APS, although others will take other size negatives.  If I have my choice between scanning a print, scanning a negative, or copying a print on the copy stand, I will scan the negative (or slide).  Why?  A scanned image from the 35mm will be a little over 3600 x 2400 pixels, or about 9-10 megapixels (depends on if you crop in a little around the edges).  A scan of a 4x6" print at 300 ppi produces an 1800x1200 pixel image for 2.2 megapixels, and even an 8x10" print only gives 7.2 megapixels.  Our digital camera produces an image of about 2 megapixels.  Thus, you can get a pretty high resolution image with the right scanner.  If I scan a 35mm slide with 36-bit color, the resulting TIFF image, even with LZW compression, is about 30 MB!  I try to write these files to a CD frequently to keep space on my hard disk.   The following photo was taken on Provia 100F slide film, and scanned using the above scanner. 

Okay, so this isn't a vintage photo, but I'm proud of the shot (taken at the National Zoo fall 2000).   For the most part, if you are looking through the site for digital restoration of vintage photos, this type of scanner is not going to be very helpful.  It is my preferred way of getting modern 35mm negatives or slides transferred to digital format, however.

For those who are interested, I do not particularly like Nikon's scanner software that came with the LS-2000.  I have been quite happy with VueScan (from Hamrick Software), a third party program that can be used to control a variety of different scanners.  This program allows you to save the raw CCD sensor data, so that you can change the scan parameters without actually having to re-scan the negative.  Lately I've been using this program to get a little more flexibility in scanning with my flatbed scanner, too; more info is available in Case 4.

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