Which film slide scanners are best?
Now that many of us carry a high-quality camera phone everywhere we go, it’s easy to forget there was a time when memories were captured exclusively on film. Families all over the world have boxes of photos and slides just waiting to be digitized, but they lack the means to do it themselves.
Film and slide scanners efficiently convert those photos and negatives into digital files. For an easy-to-use scanner with image editing capabilities, check out the Kodak Mini Digital Film Scanner.
What to know before you buy a film slide scanner
What is a film slide scanner?
A film and slide scanner is a device that can be used to digitize photos, slides and even undeveloped negatives, converting them into the image file format of your choice, including JPG and PNG. Most scanners include a small LCD screen that lets you view the images while they’re being processed. Some are standalone devices connected to a memory card, while others can be connected to your computer via USB for easy storage. Certain models even have an HDMI port so you can view the images as a slideshow on your TV. For more detailed information about film and slide scanners, check out the complete film slide scanner buying guide from BestReviews.
One of the first things to look at when shopping for a scanner is compatibility with various film types. For much of the 20th century, 35 mm film was regularly used, but other common formats include 16 mm, Super 8 and 126 film. Consider the material that you wish to digitize and make sure that the scanner you choose will support it.
The image resolution provided by a film and slide scanner is measured in megapixels. The more megapixels your image has, the more detailed it will be. Look for a scanner that will let you adjust the megapixel settings to your liking, rather than a device with a single megapixel setting. A larger megapixel count will result in a large file, so plan accordingly.
What to look for in a quality film slide scanner
Many film slide scanners have image editing capabilities, letting you adjust details such as brightness and color balance directly on the device’s display screen. Some models even come with a free download of image editing software that can be used on your computer.
Saving and storage
If you intend to scan a large number of photos or film, think about where you’re going to store so many high-resolution image files. Many users invest in an external hard drive, while others feel more comfortable backing up their files in the cloud.
Some standalone scanners will let you save your images directly onto a memory card that’s attached to the device. Just be sure to choose a device and memory card with ample storage. At least 32 gigabytes is recommended for most situations.
If you plan to travel with your film and slide scanner frequently, look for a device that can scan, edit and save photos directly from the interface. This will avoid the hassle of transporting multiple cables and a computer every time you wish to use the scanner.
How much you can expect to spend on a film slide scanner
The price of a film slide scanner can vary depending on the file format capabilities and features included. Expect to spend $50-$150 on a standard device, while high-end models with large displays and professional megapixel scanning can be $200 and up.
Film slide scanner FAQ
Is it difficult to use a film slide scanner?
A. While the first time can be intimidating, the intuitive controls and easy-to-follow instructions included with modern scanners make the process of digitizing your photos easier than ever before.
Can’t I just send my film somewhere to be digitized professionally?
A. Some people prefer to mail their film to a professional facility that can digitize their images for them, but you run the risk that they’ll be lost or damaged in transit. The best way to keep your family photos safe is to digitize them yourself.
What’s the best film slide scanner to buy?
Top film slide scanner
Kodak Mini Digital Film Scanner
What you need to know: Backed by Kodak’s legendary reputation, this versatile scanner is loaded with features such as image editing.
What you’ll love: This compact device can scan a wide variety of film formats, including 35 mm, 110 and Super 8 film. It’s capable of producing images with a 22 megapixel resolution, and the scanner makes it easy to edit your images’ brightness and color balance.
What you should consider: This scanner is a bit pricey compared to similar models.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top film slide scanner for the money
What you need to know: This affordable scanner can provide up to 22 megapixels of resolution.
What you’ll love: This model is compact, budget-friendly and portable because it doesn’t need to connect to a computer. The scanner lets you select an image resolution of 14 megapixels or 22 megapixels.
What you should consider: At 2.4 inches, the LCD display screen is smaller than that of most scanners.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Zonoz FS-3 Film & Slide Scanner
What you need to know: This popular scanner is reasonably priced and easy to use.
What you’ll love: This model is lightweight and portable, weighing less than a pound. The scanner gives you the option to scan many different types of film, including 35 mm, 126 film slides and Super 8 film.
What you should consider: The memory card is sold separately and offers only 35 gigabytes of storage.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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