Scanners Articles

What Is A Slide Scanner & How Do They Work? (Full Guide)

Nowadays digital cameras have taken the place of traditional analogue cameras, but still many of us have those old cameras and films that we would love to use and process from time to time.

If you are an enthusiast who wants to scan old picture or negatives, you need to learn about what is a slide scanner.

Basically, these are specialized scanners that scan negative film with a sliding functionality.

While they are specialized in their work, they are limited only to use such.

For those with a bunch of old negatives, these are great.

Medium format films are still used in modelling and photography due to their sharp and in-depth results. But in this age of social media, analogue photography is no fun unless you can digitize the photos and share them online.

That’s where slide scanners are used. Slide or film scanners are specifically designed to digitize old develop 35mm films and medium to large format slides.

Related: Best 8mm Film Scanners Reviewed

Slide scanner works like any other scanner.

Slides, negatives, or 35 mm films are inserted into the single slot of slide scanner or placed over its glass panel.

It works by passing a narrow and focused beam on the surface of the film or negatives and record its image details, color, and intensity.

CCD sensors(charged couple device) captures information, and later that information is stored as digital data.

CCD rays are the most inexpensive option for scanning films and negatives. These sensors are inexpensive, efficient, and compact.

A video is the perfect way to see what is a slide scanner:

9 Benefits Of Slide Scanners

To learn what is a slide scanner, it is important to learn its benefits.

1. Great For Digitizing Old Film and Negatives

Slide scanners are excellent for digitizing your old 35mm films and medium format slides. Many of us have our attics full of such old negatives that are simply gathering dust and are of no use.

Slide scanner is an excellent way to digitize them, so they are revitalized, bringing back old memories. These old photographs are easy to store and share in digital form.

2. Excellent Results

Slide scanners are specifically designed to scan photos, negatives, and films. These scanners produce excellent results as compared to scanning negatives with a flatbed scanner.

An average flatbed scanner can be used to digitize the photos of the slides but it is designed for scanning documents, and you can’t expect a perfect result unless if you spend on the expensive Epson V series.

3. Higher Resolution Scans

Slide scanners usually allow you to scan high-resolution photos with better results. They also offer you to choose the required resolution setting for a scanned image.

Though bigger is better if your objective is only to share these pictures online or create archives, then you don’t need to convert them into a high-resolution picture.

However, if you need enlargements, then a high-resolution picture is more suitable as the picture quality remains intact.

4. Better Dynamic Range

Slide scanners offer a better dynamic range than any other scanner other than a drum scanner.

Dynamic range is the scanner’s ability to capture information in extreme darks and whites.

Better dynamic range means no data is lost while scanning and even minute details are recorded in the scanning process.

5. Sharp and Crisp Results

Scanned with a slide or film scanner, images are more sharp and crisp. They are more true to life and have less digital noise due to the dynamic range, color depth, and high resolution that a slide scanner provides.

6. Excellent for Scanning a Stack of Old Pictures

The only other option of scanning pictures is a flatbed scanner. The flatbed scanner is time-consuming and involves manual work.

You need to be right there with the scanner for placing each negative or slide over the surface. The process is too tiring if you have a lot of old pictures, negatives, or films.

Slide scanners make the task easier by scanning several negatives and slides. Though it depends on different models but most of these scanners allow you to feed a batch of negatives into it.

It keeps scanning the photos and saving them into an SD card or to your computer or cloud storage.

7. Image Editing and Enhancement Technology

Slide scanners come with everything you might need for editing to enhancing your scanned images.

These scanners allow you to edit the image right in the scanner. With software as ICE technology, you can remove the creases, scratches, or dust particles on the surface of the negatives or pictures.

This technology removes the scratches or dust particles on the very basic step of scanning, so no image detail or information is lost in this process. They also offer options for image enhancement through which you can create perfect digital pictures.

8. Save Scans to Cloud Storage

These scanners are designed to make the scanning process convenient and easy.

Film scanners allow you to save your scanning results directly to cloud storage. These cloud storage also offer you the convenience of tags so that you can easily find a specific picture by name, date, or event.

9. Fast Scanning Time

These slide scanners are a lot more time-saving. You can scan a stack of slides and negatives in a snap.

And all the scanned results are managed efficiently to your predefined folders or cloud service.

2 Disadvantages Of Slide Scanners

While we hope you have understood what is a slide scanner by now, it is important to learn about the disadvantages about them too.

1. Expensive

High-end slide scanners are expensive. But the price is the determining factor of quality too.

If you are choosing an inexpensive slide scanner, then don’t expect the high quality. It’s better to choose a flatbed scanner versus a slide scanner, at least it will be useful for other scanning needs. So a compromise over price will be a compromise over quality.

2. Limited Use

Slide scanners that are exclusive for scanning slides, negatives, and films offer limited use. You cannot use them for your other scanning needs.

Not all slide scanners are equal when it comes to price, quality, and utility.

High-end Slide scanners are expensive and are more suitable for professionals who need high-resolution pictures for enlargements or printing.

Epson Perfection V370

Flatbed Scanners like Epson Perfection V370 have more functionalities, but are not as efficient with negative films as Slide Scanners.

Other flatbed options like Scanners by Epson and Canon are best for personal use.

These scanners come with all the necessary tools and software, scanning results are also excellent, and you can make use of them for other scanning needs as well.

You can also take professional help if you only need to scan some old slides and films and have no use of an expensive slide scanner beyond that.