How to Turn Your Photographic Slides into Digital

Do you have old photographic slides stocked away in the attic, basement or closet? Film slides contain so many precious memories, but how can you preserve all those images? By using a photographic slide to digital service!


What’s the Point of Converting Slides into a Digital Format?

1. They’re at a Risk of Damage and May Even Get Lost

This is probably the number one reason that forces people to seek out a photographic slide to Graphic digital service. Research claims that the average person moves about 12 times in their life.
And when you move from one place to another, there’s always a chance of damaged or lost items.
Photographic slides are often small and can easily get misplaced or damaged.
The best way to cover for all these unfortunate situations is to use a reputable film slides to digital service and get digital images created for all of your slides.

2. They’re in an Old Format

A slide projector has almost become obsolete. If those memories don’t exist in any other form, it is best to get them converted into a digital format, making them easily accessible and shareable.
And by the way, you can always get them printed out as well when required.

3. They Can Deteriorate

Photographic slides are only a thin film piece, bounded by cardboard on all four sides. If dampness or moisture increases in the environment, mould can grow on these slides and damage them.
Similarly, the glue can also melt under heat, ruining the image.

4. They May Take Up Space

Slides in a digital format are easier to manage in terms of storage. Physical photographic slides are often held in projector trays or carousels that are bulky and consume space.
If you convert slides to digital format, the images can be stored on a flash drive or in the cloud.
Now that you are convinced that you want to convert slides into a digital format, what are the best ways of doing so? Let’s take a look.

How Can Photographic Slides be Digitized?

1. DIY

Converting slides into a digital format yourself involves borrowing, renting or purchasing the required equipment. Many times, a photo editing tool is also required to clean up the scans.
Generally, the major equipment required for this project includes a slide scanner, a flatbed scanner or a slide projector along with a camera.
Almost all slides will have some dust or debris on them unless they are stored in sleeves. For the best results, clean your slides by blowing them with compressed air and wiping them with a microfiber cloth prior to scanning.

2. Slide Scanner

A slide scanner scans and digitizes 35mm slides perfectly well in a short amount of time.
Renting or buying this device is preferable only if you have thousands or at least hundreds of photographic slides to convert since they can be pricey.
When selecting an appropriate scanner, keep quality, compatibility with your laptop or desktop and speed in mind.
Obviously, higher quality scanners produce images of a better resolution, but then there is a hefty price tag as well. Speed is another factor; slower speed obviously means you’ll have to spend more time on the project.
Lastly, if your PC or laptop is too old, then a new scanner might not be compatible.
You’ll also want to make sure that the slide scanner you use has Digital ICE capabilities. Digital ICE, or Image Correction and Enhancement, pre-scans each slide to identify specs and scratches present on the exposure.
During scanning, the scanner and software remove most of these imperfections, while also enhancing the colour.
Seems like too much work? Find a company that offers services such as slides to digital service. Generally, businesses which provide a complete range of digitizing solutions are the best choice.

3. Flatbed Scanner

Some flatbed scanners are available at lower rates compared to a specialized film slide scanner. However, most aren’t completely designed for this purpose, so quality will definitely vary.
Such a scanner forms an image based on the amount of light that is reflected off a document. However, slides are designed such that light is projected through them to form an image.
There are flatbed scanners out there with Digital ICE that are made for scanning slides and negatives, but you’ll probably have to spend at least $1,000 on one.

4. Digital Image Converter

These units were created with the do it yourself scanner in mind. They allow you to capture high-resolution photos of the slides or negatives through an advanced camera using special adaptors. This also speeds up the process.
Advanced digital image converters take only three seconds or less to convert one slide. If required, you can improve the quality of the produced images through editing software.

5. Projector and Camera

This is a tedious method, but it may work; grab a projector and display the image on a white wall screen. Now capture the image with a digital camera. Though you have a soft copy, the quality will be low.

6. Professional Slides to Digital Services

The most effective and hassle-free option for digitizing is to work with a company that offers a complete range of digital solutions, including slides to digital service.

  • Quality – the best reason to avail professional services is the quality that they produce. Such companies already have special equipment and can quickly convert slides into top-notch quality digital photos that contain all details of the original slides.
  • Professional Editing – when the slides have been converted, each of them may need to be edited to remove red eyes, scratches and other defects. If the colour has faded, that can also be corrected so that the photo looks fresh and recent.
  • Speed – Even if you get the best equipment, you’ll still be requiring some time to convert slides. However, professionals can do a much faster job.
  • Convenience – Digitization services are convenient; just send them your slides and they’ll take care of the rest. The costs will most likely be less than the price of buying a slide scanner. Plus, think of all the time you’ll save from having to learn how to properly use the equipment and actually doing it yourself.


Navrajvir Singh
Navrajvir Singh
Entrepreneur. Strategist. Think Tank.

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