Convert Slides to Digital: Common Mistakes

Posted by Julie Morris on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Common-Slide-Scanning-MistakesDoes everyone recognize my yellow faced friend to the right? Whether you're a fan of the Simpsons or only recognize them in passing, this image is one you probably know. Homer has made a lot of mistakes over the course of his television career and he's lived to tell about it, right? Don't let the possibility of making a mistake scare you off from your goal to convert slides to digital. We have taken the liberty to compile a list of some of the most common mistakes we have seen in recent years.

Mistakes are a part of human nature - they are a part of life. You'll learn and improve as you go, even if you have a few "Doh!" moments.

Choosing the Wrong Technology

When converting 35mm slides to digital, you have a couple different options to explore. You can either attempt it yourself or you can use a slide scanning service.

One of the at-home equipment options is a flatbed scanner. This products uses Digital Ice. Digital Ice works within the scanner to help extract the dust and scrtaches from an image. However, this has a couple limitations. A lot of detail can blur during this process and it takes a long time to scan each slide - up to a few minutes a scan.

A second option you can utilize would be a slide scanning service. This route requires very little from your end. You usually just need to organize and ship your slides to a selected service and they take care of the rest. Most services will do standard digital repairs and adjusting to the resulting images. This would be useful if you are someone with a large number of slides to digitize. 

Not Making Adjustments

Depending on what kind of camera you use, your image might be under or over exposed. The only way to be totally sure about this is to look at the histogram of an image. A histogram of an image is a graphical representation of the tonal distribution in an image - the amount of pixels for each tonal value. If your histogram's distribution is concentrated in the middle that is good. If it is off to one side that means there are some corrections that need to be made.

Choosing the Wrong Format

It is said that the best resolution is at 2000 DPI and the format to be a high quality JPEG. You can scan at a higher DPI and use another format, like an uncompressed Tiff file. You would really only need to use a Tiff file if you're planning on making a very large print or poster of the image once it is digitized.

Not Sharing Your Memories

We think the biggest sin you could commit it to not share your digital images. There are four thousand photo hosting websites (okay, maybe five thousand) and social media outlets at your fingertips. LineaFlickr, Picasa, FacebookTwitter, Instagram...need we go on? Don't keep all those beautiful pictures to yourself! We can guarentee at least your friends and family would be interested in taking a stroll down memory lane with you.

Once digitized, your slides can be uploaded to so many places. Besides photo sharing websites there are countless ways to use technology with your images. They can be streamed through your TV, on digital photo frames, on your phone and on any number of personalized gifts. Looking for ideas? Our ebook "25 Ways to Share Your Digital Photos" outlines suggestions to get started.

So, what have we learned here? Everyone makes mistakes - the possibility shouldn't stop you from converting your slides to digital. For ideas on ways to share your slides after they have been digitized, you can check out our ebook below --


Topics: slide scanning, convert slides to digital

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