If you’re a film photographer or someone who has thousands of old films stashed away, you might be wondering how to digitize your negatives. Having prints is all well and good, but they can get lost or damaged easily. Having your slides digitized means you’ll never lose an image again! In this article, we explore the best slide scanners on the market today.
With one of these scanners, you’ll be able to preserve your negatives and get stunning digital images!
Before diving into the top 10, let’s cover some important facts. The best slide scanners give you a wide array of advanced functionality. By choosing a device that fits your goal and your purpose, you can make the most out of your investment. To help you navigate the technical features of slide scanners, below are some of the key considerations you should make when comparing models.
Be it for professional use or not, scan quality dictates the final output of your shots, especially when you print them out later on. As far as quality goes, there are two major factors you need to consider: bit depth and resolution.
Bit depth greatly impacts the color quality of your scans. The higher the bit depth, the more accurate the colors of your scan will be. For personal use, you can settle for 24-bit, but if you need one for work purposes, don’t go lower than 30-bit. For greyscale scans, 12-bit grey is mostly enough.
Image resolution is what determines the overall clarity of your scans. If you’re into prints, don’t go below 3200 dpi (dots per inch). If, on the other hand, you’re mainly going to use your scans for personal storage or for web purposes, 300-1200 dpi is sufficient.
In the case of slide scanners, speed is measured by the number of pages your device can scan per minute (ppm). While top-tier models can quickly scan images at up to 7200 dpi, manual scanners can produce outputs depending on how fast you load your slides. Likewise, ppm is also influenced by factors like image resolution and paper size.
Connectivity is a great buying point if you need a versatile device that can connect to HDMI cables, SD cards, and other systems. But if you’re looking for a basic slide scanner, USB connectivity comes as a standard across many units.
There’s no point investing in a slide scanner that runs low in the storage department. While some scanners already have a high internal memory, others come with SD cards and other external storage devices to maximize storage capacity.
A slide scanner’s software is where all the action happens. If the software is weak, it will affect your entire system’s scanning process.
Best Slide Scanners
1. Kodak Slide N Scan
Merging practicality and easy-to-use features is the Kodak Slide N Scan, a portable scanner that weighs only 0.81 lbs. While it is easily one of the most lightweight slide scanners out there, it does not compromise efficiency, thanks to its intelligent design.
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The Kodak Slide N Scan comes with a 5-inch display and an advanced Capture Software, which allows you to view and edit slides in 135 mm, 126 mm, 110 mm, and 50 mm formats, along with films in 110 mm, 126 mm, and 135 mm formats. Its built-in software gives you easy, one-touch access to important editing functions such as image resizing and enhancing. You can also convert old film rolls without having to figure out complex functions.
Built with simplicity in mind, the Slide N Scan allows you to quickly scan your existing files via its Quick-Feeding Tray Technology, which is designed to offer you a continuous loading mechanism. The digitized files can then be saved straight to an SD card via a USB connection. Picking up features from its sibling, the Kodak Scanza, the Slide N Scan also produces images with a 14 or 22 MP resolution.
Magnasonic relives old memories at half the price (and half the size) of equally-competent models. With a solid build at 0.66 lbs., this slide scanner is the most lightweight device on our list. Its display screen is quite small at 2.4 inches, but the image quality is accurate, so if you want a compact slide scanner, the Magnasonic scanner is a great pick for you. You can also view your scanned image through its TV-out option, but there will be changes in the image quality of your previews dependent on your display size.
The Magnasonic scanner scans and converts Super 8, 110, 126KPK, 35mm films, and slides into 22 MP images that are then converted into a JPEG file. Additionally, it has a built-in storage of up to 128 MB, which basically means that you can save up to 100 images on this unit alone. It also has an SD card slot if you need to make room for more files.
In terms of editing, you can make tweaks to your scan’s color and exposure levels, but the editing features are not very intuitive, so you may need to use additional photo editing software if you want to make major changes to your images. If using an external editor is off the table, you can change your image’s color quality via the default film profile selections.
3. Zonoz FS-One
Got rolls of old 35 mm films or slides? Zonoz FS-One is here to offer you a practical way to put your images back into the spotlight. Inarguably one of the cheapest slide scanners to date, the FS-One is a stand-alone device that allows you to make basic editing functions through its built-in software. Aside from making adjustments on scanning brightness and resolution, you can also mirror and flip your images for better image outputs.
No external software or computer is needed for this slide scanner. You can scan and convert your films and slides into 22 MP images in just a matter of seconds. Considering its price point, this is a pretty solid device that can get your slides digitized in no time.
Editing-wise, the software needs improvement, so if you’re looking for a pro-level scanner, this might not fit your needs. But if you have a bulk of decade-old films sitting on your shelf that just need a revamp, the FS-One is a great, cost-efficient slide scanner that can instantly revitalize your slides.
4. Kodak Scanza
This small slide scanner is sure to impress with its operational efficiency. The Kodak Scanza is a great device that keeps your scans rolling out without the need for additional software. Technically speaking, Kodak’s Scanza can’t be fully categorized as a scanner although it works like one. Instead of scanning, it shoots film frames with either an interpolated 22 MP or an optional 14 MP image resolution. Just one click and it scans and saves your images directly to an SD card.
A five-star device for user-friendliness, the Kodak Scanza allows image previews via a 3.5-inch monitor. Along with its tilting monitor are film holders compatible with 35 mm, 110 mm, 126 mm, 8mm, and Super 8 film and slide types. Plus, it allows for a wide range of connectivity as it has HDMI and TV-out slots.
The downside: its 35 mm film holder only has one frame cutout. Since you need to manually feed your film through its holder, your film is vulnerable to dust and fingermarks, which can affect your scanned output. Plus, while it’s a high-speed device, it has the tendency to compromise image quality even if you select the 22 MP option. Not only do some of its outputs lack detail, but it can also produce overprocessed scans with black and white spaces.
5. ClearClick QuickConvert 2.0
True to its name, the ClearClick QuickConvert 2.0 is a high-speed slide scanner that converts your physical copies into digital images in just 2-3 seconds. Compatible with a range of slides and films including 4×6 photos, 135/35 mm slides, and 126, 110, and 135/35 mm negatives, this device allows better flexibility in terms of scanning format types.
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What really seals the deal with this slide scanner is its storage capacity. Despite its budget-friendly price, it supports – and includes – an 8GB memory card, which can store up to 2000 images. So if you have a drawer full of films and slides, the ClearClick QuickConvert can give you more than enough storage capacity to get your images saved digitally. Plus, you can even scan old photos without having to remove them from your album. This, along with its battery-operated option, makes it a great pick if you need to do uninterrupted scanning work.
Despite all these amazing features, one thing that pulls this device down is its image resolution. Unlike other models that can produce high-quality images, the QuickConvert slide scanner only scans images at 14 MP, which is a lot lower than other models on our list.
6. DigitNow Film Scanner
Another major player in the world of budget slide scanners is the DigitNow Film Scanner 22MP. Housing a built-in 128 MB memory that’s paired with a slot that supports a 128 GB memory card, this device is a great choice if you’ve got tons of films and slides up for scanning and conversion.
Moreso, this all-in-one film scanner allows you to convert 35 mm, Super 8, 110, and 126 films, along with 35 mm, 110, and 126 slides into JPEG files in just 1-2 seconds. Its intuitive 4.3-inch display is also more sizeable when compared to other models at its price point.
Other than its crisp display, you can also get a preview of your files by connecting your slide scanner to a TV via an HDMI cable. Here, you can edit image features such as color, brightness, and resolution and even view your collections on a slideshow.
Almost as easy as plugging and scanning, the DigitNow Film Scanner 22 MP is very quick and convenient to use, making it an ideal choice if you need a handy home device.
7. Wolverine Titan
A real beast that can transport you back in time, the Wolverine Titan flaunts workable features that make scanning a breeze. Its extra-large buttons, along with its vivid 4.3-inch display, serve as a great guide for first-time users. With these practical features combined, you can speed up your scanning process.
With fast-loading adapters fitted for diverse formats such as 35 mm, 110, 126, 127, APS slides and films, you can expect great scans in just three seconds. It also supports 8 mm and Super 8 movies, which is a huge advantage if you have stacks of formats waiting to be digitized. Just insert and push the buttons and your scans will be out in no time.
The best part: just like most of our picks of the best slide scanners, the Wolverine Titan can work without any additional software or a computer. It quickly produces great outputs, particularly if you need digital images for social media use.
However, if you need to convert and enhance your images for printing purposes, it’s best that you use additional photo editing software as this device focuses mainly on producing great scans.
8. Pacific Image PowerFilm CCD Automated 35 mm Film Scanner
The Pacific Image PowerFilm CCD Automated 35 mm Film Scanner gets ahead of its competing models by being able to scan 35mm films faster than leading competitors. The goal is simple: convert images into uploadable JPEG versions with your choice of either a 24-megapixel resolution or the faster 6-megapixel resolution.
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The scans can take as little as 24 seconds each, helping you digitize your entire catalog with ease. Images come out detailed and beautiful, doing justice to the original film.
With built-in infrared cleaning technology called MagicTouch, this system self-cleans your film so you don’t have to. You can say goodbye to dust and blemishes on your digitized file – the scans are ready for printing!
9. Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai
Loaded with a multitude of high-end features, the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai is, without a doubt, the best slide scanner on our list. Its solid build and character do not end at the surface as it picks up many of the phenomenal internal features of its famous sibling, the 8100. But this time, Plustek made sure that the 8200i Ai raised the bar higher by adding color calibration software and a scratch and dust removal function via a built-in infrared channel.
There’s so much to boast about the 8200i Ai, but let’s focus on our biggest scanning essentials: color consistency and accuracy. To set things straight, its scanning process is far from fast, but it’s definitely worth the wait. Once you set the resolution to 7200 dpi, its max setting, scanning may take up to 113 seconds per slide. The resulting scan flaunts impressive color accuracy even in dark, shadowy areas. Its sharp details, wide tonal range, and clever dust and scratch removal on slides and films make post-production much easier, especially if you are working on multiple projects.
Easy-to-use and A+ in terms of producing sharp, vivid images, the 8200i Ai proves why it deserves to be Plustek’s flagship model by fusing together advanced features that will significantly cut your editing time. It is packaged with top-level SilverFast Ai Studio 8 software, which ensures scanning accuracy across a variety of films and scans.
Its biggest drawback, of course, is its hefty price, which isn’t surprising considering the countless features packed into this tiny slide scanner. But if you’re a graphic designer, a photographer, or simply a huge image enthusiast, this slide scanner is a great long-term investment.
10. Epson Perfection V600
The legendary Epson Perfection V600 may not be the first choice for professional photographers and editors, but the Epson Perfection V600 shows industry leaders why sometimes, less is more. This flatbed scanner breaks stereotypes as it supports not just films, but a variety of slides and negatives as well. Built with slots that can support 35 mm slide and film formats, along with 120/220 film formats, its optical resolution is at a massive 6,400 dpi.
As if its resolution isn’t enough, the V600 is also engineered with Digital ICE technology, which removes marks and scratches from your slides and films. Its Easy Photo Fix feature does a great job in reviving old, faded photos so you can bring your memories back to life.
Plus, its high-speed system allows scanning processes by batch, making it possible for you to continuously process different file formats. It does so by an auto-edge detection feature that automatically crops and scans individual images so they can be stored separately.
Needless to say, the V600 is the best versatile, flat-bed scanner on our list because of its high-end technological features that intelligently combine speed, power, and quality.
Which Slide Scanner Is Best for You?
Life has no pause or replay buttons, but a slide scanner gives us the opportunity to look back and recapture golden, decade-old memories. Just like buying other types of gadgets, you’ll find significant differences in a slide scanner’s features as the price escalates. But with this list, you can rest assured you’ll end up with a great product.
If quality is what you’re looking for, the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai is the top of the line option! Pricey in relation to the rest of the scanners on our list, you do receive top-notch performance as a result. For those on a budget, the Zonoz FS-One is here to help! This stand-alone device does the deed and won’t break the bank in the process. The Wolverine Titan is also a great choice, especially for the social-media-savvy users.
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