The 9 Best Slide Scanners

Updated June 20, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

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We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Got boxes of slides in the attic that you never look at because, well, who has a slide projector these days? Convert all your old media into a more easily viewable and shareable format with one of these scanners that can convert slides, negatives and even movie film stills into digital images that you can upload to the web, print out, or display on a digital photo frame. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best slide scanner on Amazon.

9. ClearClick FIlm2USB

Just load up its proprietary plastic holders and the ClearClick FIlm2USB makes it simple to save your digitized positives or negatives to its included SD card. It saves in JPG format and can also send files directly to your computer via the included USB cable.
  • simple and compact design
  • scans aren't very high quality
  • instructions are hard to follow
Brand ClearClick
Model F2USB-05
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Veho Smartfix

The Veho Smartfix makes it easy to digitize your old 35 and 110 mm negatives and transfer them to its included SD card, from which you can upload them to your computer. It's a standalone unit, so there's no clunky software to install.
  • built-in rechargeable battery
  • small lcd screen for image review
  • image resolution is fairly low
Brand Veho
Model VFS-014-SF
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

7. Wolverine F2D Mighty

For the vision impaired, try the Wolverine F2D Mighty. This standalone device conveniently saves all images to its internal memory, has large buttons, and includes a TV hookup to allow for previewing images on a big screen, so you can make adjustments before saving.
  • accepts 7 different types of media
  • quick to load and swap inputs
  • poor color reproduction
Brand Wolverine
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. Plustek OpticFilm 120

While it's not exactly within most consumers' price range, the Plustek OpticFilm 120 is one of few options when it comes to machines dedicated to digitizing film that can accept sizes up to medium format. It can handle batches automatically, helping speed up the process.
  • good for color and grayscale
  • solid choice for museum archivists
  • very large and heavy
Brand Plustek
Model 783064365642
Weight 26.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Pyle 22MP

The Pyle 22MP supports a huge number of film formats, including 110, 126, Super 8, and standard 35 mm. Its speed loaders allow for quick insertion, and its built-in LCD and simple five-button interface allow you to preview and enhance each photo before saving it.
  • dedicated flip and mirror buttons
  • includes a sensor cleaning brush
  • instructions aren't very detailed
Brand Pyle
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Hammacher Schlemmer 14MP

The Hammacher Schlemmer 14MP will keep your old photographs alive forever by saving digitized versions directly to an SD card. It captures images with vibrant clarity, and features a large color LCD screen that shows a real-time preview of your image.
  • batch feeder available separately
  • takes about 5 seconds per image
  • works via ac or rechargeable battery
Brand Global Camera
Model GTP 1400
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. Ivation 22MP

Great for those who've delved into a variety of analog film formats in the past, the Ivation 22MP is one compact machine that can handle a variety of them. Just load up the appropriate feeder tray with your positives, negatives, or film stills, and let it do its thing.
  • scans adjacent frames consecutively
  • high 22 megapixel resolution
  • includes a video out cable
Brand Ivation
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Epson Perfection V850

If money is no issue and you want professional quality, try the Epson Perfection V850. With state-of-the-art 6,400 DPI optical resolution and two lenses, your film photographs will look as good, if not better, than images shot on most modern digital cameras.
  • automatic surface defect removal
  • highly energy efficient
  • processes up to 12 slides at a time
Brand Epson
Model B11B224201
Weight 23.1 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII

For an all-in-one solution that won't break the bank, the Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII performs excellently as a standard flatbed scanner for everyday use and converts to a high-powered film scanner with its included holders. It accepts three formats, including 120.
  • very high 9600 dpi resolution
  • takes virtually no time to warm up
  • high-end image adjustment software
Brand Canon
Model CS9000F MKII
Weight 13.8 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

The Benefits Of A Slide Scanner

The 21st century is a unique turning point for photographers and people who love capturing every moment on a camera. Several generations of photo lovers currently co-exist. The older generation used physical film to record their images, which were later viewed via projectors. The new generation, often referred to as millennials, have never held a slide in their life, let alone seen a projector. For them, everything is handled digitally. A slide scanner allows these dramatically different ways of approaching photo viewing to come together, by turning slides into digital images, as if they were taken on a smartphone.

A slide scanner connects directly to your computer, and after some software installation, allows you to scan your slides and upload them to your laptop or desktop. The files will then automatically save in a folder, similar to the way your media saves when you hook your smartphone up to your computer through a USB cord.

Once your slides have been converted, you can do all of the things to your old slides that you can do to any digital file on a computer. If there are issues like red eye or blurry eye in the original image, it can be easily fixed. If you want to crop a person out of the image, but still save a version where everybody appears, that can also be accomplished. You can also apply color filters to your images, making them black and white or brightening certain details.

You also have a guaranteed backup of your pictures, should you lose the physical slides. Having digital copies of images is the best way to preserve the image quality. The clarity and color of slides degrades over time, but digital files don’t. Holding onto slides is a big responsibility as well. If anything happens to them, that image could be lost forever, but it is easy to make and save multiple copies of digital files on different devices. One final and major benefit of using a scanner to convert your files is that you no longer need a projector to view your photos. Projectors are hard to find today and they’re becoming rarer every day as manufacturing of the technology has been discontinued. Depending on one to review precious memories is not sustainable.

Features To Consider

If you’re serious about preserving your photos, look for a flatbed scanner. The alternative would be a sheet-fed scanner, but these run you the risk of causing damage to your photos as you insert them into the device. If your hope is to remove damages that have already occurred, consider a model with dust and scratch removing capabilities — these can be effective in removing marks from your photos.

A few models include printing, faxing and copying functions, which are features dedicated scrapbookers will appreciate. If you do like to create photo albums, another thing to look at is the maximum scan area of your model. A larger scan area ensures you aren’t limited in the size or number of images you can scan at one time. Some models can scan film negatives, in addition to slides, meaning you can digitize photos that were never even developed.

If you need to share images with family, friends or colleagues, and you scan a high volume of slides per day, look for a model that automatically uploads your files to cloud-based storage services where others can easily access them. Another feature that’s helpful for high-volume scanning is a film holder — this is a place on your scanner where you can store slides and film while you’re scanning something else.

Tips For Successful Scanning

If you want the best image quality possible, you’ll need to be patient. Trying to scan several photos at one time will typically result in different shadows, highlights, and mid tones on each photo. You can check the light and dark measurements in your photos using the histogram on the preview screen of your scanner. Trying to place your photo in the center of the scanner and straighten it can result in a loss of resolution. Instead, set the slide straight against the edges of the flatbed. Cleaning the glass regularly is another basic tip that applies to all kinds of scanners. Dust in your flatbed will appear in your images, and sometimes permanently damage the original photo.

When first archiving your file, save it as a TIFF or PNG – these are the best for preserving the integrity of the image. When it’s time to send your files, you can duplicate them and save new versions as JPGs to make emailing easier. If you want to make adjustments in Photoshop or another image editing software, make those in your scanner driver instead. Using a photo editing software to fix your images can destroy it fi you are working with the original file. Instead, use the automatic detection and correction features in your scanner and set it up to make the adjustments you want before putting in the slide.

Keep a log to record what images have already been digitized, so you don’t waste hours re-scanning photos you’ve already scanned. Another tip is to scan everything and trash the unwanted files later, rather than waste time debating what to scan.

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Last updated on June 20, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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