Now What?: Surrounded by Slides

By Maureen A. Taylor Premium

Q. I have a few thousand 35 mm color slides. I’d like to know if there’s any agency that’s able to convert these slides to digital format. I don’t mind scanning several at a time at home, but I don’t have time to scan thousands of slides. As an alternative, are you familiar with any slide scanner that does multiple slides at once?

A. Some slide scanners can handle multiple slides at once, but experts advise scanning slides individually to maintain image quality. You might want to consider scanning limited numbers of slides at first. Evaluate your collection and choose a select few.

After carefully examining your slide collection, you’re ready to start thinking about purchasing a scanner. With scanners’ wide price range — from less than $100 to $2,000 — you need to study your options. Next, identify the key features you want in a scanner. Read user reviews of scanners at <> before shopping around.

If you opt not to buy a scanner, you can take advantage of scanning services offered by many camera stores. Services range in price from $2 to more than $ 10 per slide. Whether this is cost-effective for you depends on the number of slides you want scanned and the value of your time. Before sending all your slides to one store, try the services first to see if you like the results. Selecting a method to scan slides is a personal decision based on your reasons for scanning the collection balanced with the number of slides and costs.

From the June 2003 Family Tree Magazine