Slide scanners are special scanners that are designed to digitize old photographs in the form of negative films.
If you are a dedicated photographer, or a hobbyist with a lot of negatives, films or slides, then you need the appropriate scanner in order to digitize them.
A slide scanner does the job without compromising the quality of your pictures and creates sharp and detailed images that are easy to store, share, and edit.
Many also come with technologies that can digitally remove the dust and stains gathered on the films over the years.
The good news here is the that the slide scanners don’t have to be expensive. If you are on a budget you can most certainly find one that can cater to your needs.
It is only when you venture into professional archiving that you will find the need to invest in a premium high grade slide scanner as you will see below.
We hope you enjoy the selection of best slide scanners we have chosen for you here from different price ranges.
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Learn more about: what is a slide scanner here.
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Slide Scanner Comparison Table
up to 6 x 22 cm
14 Mega Pixels
35mm, 126, 110, Super 8 & 8mm
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35mm, Medium Format
35mm, Medium Format (6 x 20 cm), 3" x 5" frame
List of The Best Slide Scanners
We have chosen following scanners as best slide scanners.
5 Best Slide Scanners Reviewed
Let’s look at some of the details of these selected scanners.
1. Epson Perfection V600 – Recommended All Rounder Slide Scanner
- Create extraordinary enlargements from film:...
- Remove the appearance of dust and scratches...
- Remove the appearance of tears and creases...
- Restore faded color photos with one touch:...
When it comes to negative slides or films, the Epson Perfection V600 is the most popular choice. This scanner is not only highly capable but is available at a very decent price tag.
With a DPI of 6400, this scanner can match the standard of those far more advanced than this. A higher DPI means the scanner will be able to capture a lot of detail and would also enable you to enlarge your scans.
Furthermore, the scanner has a Dmax of 3.4. While this isn’t as great as 4.0 found on top of the line scanners, for its price it is quite sufficient. The Dmax is basically the measure of how well the scanner can capture the tonal variation of the image.
The scanner comes equipped with built-in transparency unit that can handle slides, films, medium format, panoramic films, and negatives.
Epson V600 also comes with complete photo restoration options to improve your scanning results.
It features ICE technology for removing tears, creases, and dust from the surface of films and negatives.
The scanner requires no warm-up time and produces your desired results in no time.
Besides being a slide scanner, you can also scan normal documents and photos up to A4/Letter in size.
All in all, if you want to go straight to the most recommended product, then this is one of the best slide scanners.
2. KODAK SCANZA – Convenient and Specialized
- FILM TO JPEG IN SECONDS – Powerful 14/22MP...
- LARGE, BRIGHT 3.5” TFT LCD – High...
- AN ADAPTER FOR EVERYTHING – Unit Arrives...
- INTUITIVE USER INTERFACE – Includes Helpful...
Next up we have a dedicated slide scanner that does nothing but scan film negatives. As such, you cannot scan normal documents or photos with this.
Investing in this makes sense if you have a load of negative slides that need scanning.
It comes with adapters that can deal with all sorts of negatives or films like 35mm films, 110, 126, or super 8 negatives.
In many ways this is far more convenient as compared to a flatbed scanner. It comes with a 3.5″ LCD screen with which you can preview your photos as you scan the slides.
This way you don’t have to transfer each and every photo to the computer before you can process them further. Thus, a dedicated slide scanner like this can certainly quicken your scanning process.
You can store all scanned photographs to SD card. The scanner supports up to 128 GB SD card (not included with the package).
The scanner utilizes a 14 megapixel sensor to capture photos in very high resolution. That way you can capture the smallest details. A high resolution is also essential if you are going to print a large photo of your scans.
Finally this scanner also offers HDMI/TV output so that you can preview or share the photos live on the TV as you scan.
If you looking for a famous and a highly specialized scanner, then this is one of the best films scanners.
Learn More About: 35 mm Negative Scanners.
3. Epson Perfection V370 – Budget Flatbed Slide Scanner
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A dedicated slide scanner like the KODAK SCANZA above is not everybody’s cup of tea. The fact that their use is only limited to scanning only films and not documents and photos makes them less lucrative.
On the other hand, not every body has deep pockets to afford a premium flatbed slide scanner. Well that is where this Epson Perfection V370 comes into play.
This is one of the cheapest 35 mm slide scanner out there. It is a full fledged flatbed scanner with an A4/Letter size flatbed. It comes equipped with transparency unit for 35 mm negative films.
It is also fairly easy and quick to use. You can scan using a press of a button. Since the scanner has no warm up time, the scans can be done fairly quickly. Just remember that this scanner is no speed daemon. After all, this is a budget option.
Unfortunately, this scanner does have limitations. Sure it is budget friendly, but it can only support 35 mm films. Larger formats are not supported unless if you can find adapters for those.
In the end, if you need an affordable option for your 35 mm films, then this among the best slide scanners and affordable too.
4. Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII – Highest 9600 DPI Film Scanning
- Fare Level 3 delivers automatic dust and...
- Zero warm-up time and lower power consumption...
- "Auto Scan Mode" automatically adjusts...
- Maximum Document Size: 8.5 x 11.7 Inch (21.6...
Sure the scanners above are all good for basic home users but what if you are a professional? Do you run a photo studio of your own? Perhaps you are an enthusiast who likes to tweak their photos?
If that is case, then you need a premium scanner that is designed with the best technology scanners have to offer. Unfortunately, you should also be prepared to dish out a heavy sum.
For starters what separates this scanner from the rest of the premium grade scanners is the ultra high DPI. The scanner has an Optical DPI of 9600. With a DPI like this, you would be able to zoom into the most minute of details of your photos.
On top of that, this scanner has a Dmax of about 4.0. This is among the highest Dmax achievable by flatbed scanners. A higher Dmax reflects how well the scanner would be able to capture the tonal variations, hues, shades etc of the photos.
The scanner comes with a 35mm adapter unit. The scanner can scan one 35 mm film strip at 9600 DPI. The scanner also comes with several guides to help you scan 35 mm as well as medium format films.
Like most high end scanners, this too comes with plenty of built in technologies that can enhance your photos. The FARE Level 3 technology, for example, automatically corrects and retouches the images for you. Thus, it removes dust and scratches automatically.
In the end this is a premium printer and if you value a high DPI, then this is on of the best slide scanners.
Also Read: Best Scanners For Artwork
5. Epson Perfection V850 Pro – Expensive – Justifiable for Professionals
- Pro quality color & detail - get unparalleled...
- Remarkable tonal range - 4.0 Dmax for smooth...
- Exclusive dual lens system - selects from 2...
- Operating systems: Windows 8.1, Windows 8,...
Epson Perfection V850 Pro is the creme de la creme of scanners for negative films. It does not have as high an optical resolution as the Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII above, but its optics technology creates some of the most robust results from negative slides.
For starters, this is one of two scanners (along with the V800) that offers dual lens system. Meaning the scanner has two different lenses one with a DPI of 4800 and an other with 6400 DPI. The scanner automatically choose the appropriate lens of best results.
Furthermore, this too offers a 4.0 Dmax which allows it to capture even most minute details in the shades and hues from slides and negatives that regular scanners overlook.
The scanner comes with all kinds of adapters and can scan 35 mm all the way to 8 x 10 inches slides in size.
You must also note that this scanner has a cheaper variant i.e the Epson V800. The prime difference between this and the V800 is that the V850 uses high pass optics that enables the scanner to squeeze out the most detail as a flatbed scanner can.
In fact, we won’t be too far from the truth if we claim that the only scanner more capable than this in terms of color capture is a Drum Scanner – those tend to be huge and very expensive.
All in all, if you want to invest in the epitome of flatbed scanners, then this is the best slide scanner there is. Unfortunately, it is also among the most expensive.
Learn About The best scanners for old photos.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Flatbed or Slide Scanner
One might think why need a slide scanner if a flatbed scanner can be used for the same purpose.
Flatbed scanners are not dedicated scanners for photographs and therefore may not produce professional results like slide scanners. They are not designed to scan slides, films, and negatives.
They also involve too much manual work and are not convenient if you have a stack of old pictures to digitize.
Slide scanners, on the other hand, are designed to meet these particular needs.
Nowadays some flatbed scanners are coming with advanced options for photographs like Epson V600 or V800.
These are special scanners that are also versatile enough to deal with other scanning needs without compromising the quality of your photos.
Read more about Flatbed vs Slide Scanner comparison.
Things to Consider while Choosing Among the Best Slide Scanners
Being a dedicated scanner for photographs, your requirements from your best slide scanner would not be the same as from any other regular scanner. Consider these points while choosing a slide scanner.
Having a feeder allows you to digitize many photos or negatives at a time. It will save time and effort. Look for a feeder if you have to deal with a lot of old stacks.
An average scanner offers about 600 dpi, which is fine for normal photographs and documents.
Slide scanners should offer better resolution. High-resolution pictures can create enlargements with more sharp images and less noise. Ideally, a slide scanner should offer you options from medium to high resolution for saving pictures. As you don’t need to create a high-resolution picture if all you need to do is to share online or create archives.
This is where a slide scanner distinguishes itself from a regular scanner. Dynamic range determines your slide scanner’s ability to capture details from a negative.
With good dynamic range, even minute details and shadows are captured which can be lost in a normal or average scanner.
Scanning to Cloud Storage
It will save your hard disk from jamming your system. Online storage is excellent for storing pictures.
These services allow you to add tags like the place, time, person, or an event. Retrieving a specific photograph becomes easy with the help of these tags.
Speed matters if you require to scan a lot of old films and negatives.
Image Enhancement and Editing Tools
The best slide scanners offer all you need to edit or enhance your images. You don’t need subscribing expensive online tools for creating perfect photographs.
Old negatives and films can get creases, lines, dust, or other stains that can destroy the quality of pictures if removed with nonprofessional tools.
Editing is performed on a very basic scanning level, and thus no important information or detail is lost in the process. With old pictures, negatives, and slides, you sure need better editing and enhancement tools.
Don’t Settle on Less
This is important while selecting among the best slide scanners for you. If you require a specialized scanner, it will definitely cost more.
Settling for less will leave you with average quality photographs that you can create with any other regular scanner.
So make a smart decision based on your objectives. Buying Slide scanners can cost much, but the quality of scans and convenience it offers worth every penny spend.
There are plenty of negative film slide scanners out there. In this article we looked at only the best slide scanners that truly outshine in terms of their value and output quality.
As we see, the slide scanners can range from a couple of hundred dollars all the way to a thousand dollar in price tag.
The one that you choose would depend upon your use case and your budget. If you run a shop, you can invest in a high end scanner since the ROI will then be justifiable. Otherwise, we recommend you stick to the basic scanners above.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.