How do I scan in slides with my scanner?

Question

Do you have any experience with transparency adapters for scanners? I'm wondering if they work well enough to warrent the cost (close to $200). I have a LOT of slides that I would like to make available to family members. My scanner is a UMAX 600P, and the adapter would be a UTA-2A. Any info would be appreciated, even if only to steer me in another direction to find the answer. Thanks!

Answer

This question was answered on July 14, 1999. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

We don't personally have experience with transparency adapters We have found some information concerning scanning slides and hope this would be useful Also online and perhaps locally for you there appear to be many camera and photography clubs whose memebers could perhaps answer specific questions Good luck!

Though there is considerable overlap, flatbed scanners generally fall into three categories: home, business, and professional graphics.

Home/SOHO scanners target casual, nonprofessional users whose final output is to an ink jet printer or a home page on the Web Most are inexpensive ($85 to $200) letter-size scanners that offer easy parallel-port or USB connectivity, and won't accommodate ADFs (automatic document feeders) or transparency adapters for scanning slides and negatives In this roundup, we were impressed with the Artec ViewStation ($85), the INFO Peripherals ImageReader ($140), the MAG Innoscan ($150), the Pacific Image ScanAce ($140), and the Visioneer PaperPort OneTouch ($200)--an Editors' Choice in this category.

Business users also value simple setups and ease of use, but they are more concerned with issues like speed and throughput, durability, robust OCR (optical character recognition) software, and batch scanning Business scanners often have legal-size beds, as well as the ability to add an ADF Businesses typically use scanners for producing newsletters, creating presentations, archiving documents, and capturing images for the Web Scanners in this class (represented by six units here) cost between $200 and $600 and come in a mix of SCSI, parallel, or even USB interfaces (such as our Editors' Choice unit, the HP ScanJet 6200C).

Graphics professionals judge flatbed scanners on two things: image quality and speed They require the ability to calibrate (match) colors accurately, maintain a sharp image, and support a relatively high optical resolution to enable scaling up (enlarging) originals to a desired output size.

And since the scanner gets used all day long, speed--and hence a SCSI interface--is a must Also, software drivers for professional graphics use offer more precise tools for fine-tuning image quality and color In this roundup, the high-end class of machine is typified by the Epson Expression 636 ($700), our Editors' Choice in the graphics professional category.

Most graphics scanners can use a transparency adapter to scan a variety of original sources (slides, negatives, and so on) The AGFA DuoScan and Microtek ScanMaker 4 have built-in drawers for transparencies.

Bottom Line

If you have little need to scan photos, 24-bits should be adequate If you want to do a good job on photos and color artwork, buy a 30-bit scanner Higher-end 36-bit scanners are needed only if you need to copy transparencies, such as 35-mm slides If a scanner claims 36-bit performance at a price too good to be true, it probably is

Optical resolutionā€¹Optical resolution is measured by dots-per-inch (DPI) Most manufacturers provide this information as an expression such as 300-by-600 or 600-by-1,200 or even 1,200-by-600 No matter how they express it, the lowest number (300, 600, and 600 in our examples) represents the real optical resolution The higher number represents a calculated "mechanical resolution" which may be based (depending on the manufacturer) on (1) internal hardware calculations or (2) computer software to mathematically interpolate the image This interpolation is made to smooth changes between pixels to improve the quality of the image from the scanned "picture." Since calculations will vary considerably depending on how vendors calculate mechanical resolution, there is no real true industry standard

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on July 14, 1999