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Thread: Scanning old glass slides...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Scanning old glass slides...

    I was given some old glass slides recently, of german origin, notably featuring Vickers Vulcan g-eblb.

    They are not scanning at all well, are there any tricks or tips to scanning glass slides well...??

    Thanks in advance..

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    What about photographing the slides with a digital camera?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Kumla, Sweden
    There are several different gadgets on the market for scanning slides, some are good, others are better and a few are probably junk. So it matters what kind of equipment one is using. With a flat-bed scanner I think it would be better to remove the frames before scanning. At least that is my experience. A good software which enables one to correct colour shifts is also useful.
    Good luck and Happy New Year

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    At the pointy end with the best view!
    I've got a Canon Film Scanner that has the ability to scan 35mm strip & cut negs, APS negs in the can and also slide positives. It has a motorised carrier that loads the slide c/w frame (so long as they are standard Kodak Carousel type slides)

    If you get really stuck let me know and I could probably scan these for you, though I have to admit that I haven't used the scanner for several months as it's on its own PC as the scanner uses a SCSI interface - not something found on the modern day laptop It may take me a few days to get it running ...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    I think g-anyb is talking about old B&W glass slides, not 35mm colour.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by DonClark View Post
    You'll need a scanner with some good built in smarts like ICE or FARE to remove dust and scratches, but larger debris is likely to need hand retouching.
    Alas, you'll have to do all dust removal by hand. ICE and FARE rely on the dyes in colour slides and negatives being transparent to infra-red light. The silver in an old-style black and white negative is opaque to IR, and the software just treats it as so much dust and removes it from the image.
    Kodachromes are also unsatisfactory after ICE/FARE treatment, for much the same reason.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    On a simple level, if you don't have a film slide scan facility on your scanner, try putting a small mirror on top of your glass slide on the scanner bed. i.e. put your glass slide on the scanner bed then lay a hand mirror over it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    In the past I have scanned quite a few 4x5-inch B&W glass negatives using an Epson 4990 Photo scanner. Produced (to my eye) excellent results. I think I just placed them on the platen emulsion side up. No Newton's Rings. I use the VueScan scanner software which gives much better results than the Epson software.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    For a glass negative/slide (as opposed to a glass mounted slide), would it not be better to place on the scanner bed emulsion side down? That way the glass is not in the way of the image. You can always reverse the image in software afterwards.

    Trying to remember how we handled this sort of thing with photgraphic enlargers back in the day. Certainly dust and static electricity were always a problem. Somewhere I still have a static discharge 'gun' sold for use with LP vinyl in the 80's that I used to use to good effect.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Florida Panhandle
    As you can see, plenty of people are eager to help you and share their own experience in scanning, with problems and solutions.
    For more specific, more hepful information, please clarify the vague problem of "not scanning well." Some have covered various scanning problems and soultions, but may not be the problem that you are concerned with?
    From the sample you provided, could you be dissatisfied with the color deterioration?
    abadonna, mentioned the good results and ease of scanning glass slides and/or negatives with the Epson 4990 photo scanner. This scanner not only has different, simple -one-click settings fo each, but also has a scanning set-up box marked "color restoration" I am certain that professional scanners and photographers can do better with the more complex "Advanced setting," and histogram and tonal settings, options, but to us novices, this impproves the quality of the older scanned negative or slide dramatically.
    If you are not sure which side is the "emulsion side," I always scan glass and (regular) negatives with the Shiny side down and the more dull side up. This seems to give me the best results. I am just an amateur, with several thousand scans of all types of film, glass, negatives, prints, slides etc, but the Epson 4990 has vastly improved scanning results for ME, over the four previous scanners i've used, learning mostly by experimenting with it.
    Joe G.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2005
    between the mountains and the desert
    My older brother started trying to make digital copies of our parent's old slides (oldest ones from the early 1950s), and ran into problems with both of the "slide scanner" devices he bought (they produced crap images... color balance way off, unable to resolve some images, etc)... so he just did it the old-fashioned way.

    He set up the projector & screen and just took digital photos of the screen... it works great. With later image editing, he has even managed to make some of them look better than the original!

    He is using a Canon PowerShot S5IS.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Sincerest thanks to everyone for your help, I will persevere and post the photos when I get them up to scratch.

    Don, yes, they are heavy'ish glass slides about 2"x3", very brittle too..(one cracked very easily) the frustrating thing is that when held up to light they are crystal clear but when scanned, or even layed on white A4 they are slightly "double imaged" ( and therefore blurry ) I tried to upload samples here but just kept getting "upload failed" messages..

    I'll hang in there..thanks again to all.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Just my $.02 worth.

    You might get lucky and find a cheap scanner that you can modify to work with the old glass slides but I think that is a crap-shoot.

    Go to that "ebayplace" and type in Agfa Duoscan in the search bar. Find a good deal on one of the ones with the slide out scanning tray. I have the T2000 XL with all the trays and I can pretty much scan everything up to about an 8 x 12 inch negative. It might not have the greatest of resolution but there is a 4 inch full length strip that you can do in high resolution - 2000 dpi and then manipulate in a good graphics program to increase the resolution.

    When new these scanners were used in pro print shops - cost about $8000.00. I got mine for $60.00 plus shipping - but - and this is the kicker here - they are scsi interface so you need to get a scsi card. I have seen USB - scsi adapters on the bay as well but don't know if they will work with the newer systems - I am a die hard Winblows XP user and my last computer build was a problem as most scsi cards require the old slot style motherboard.

    They are big and heavy and nothing comes close to what they can do for the money. I use VueScan as well - works like a dream and I do my manipulation in Ulead PhotoImpact. PhotoImpact is about halfway between the simple programs and a full version of Photoshop. It has a very good engine for increasing resolution and then you can increase the size.

    If you do go this way make sure you get one with all the trays. You might get lucky and have enough room to put your glass slide in a 6 x 9 cm slide tray cutout. If not then you can use the full size glass tray.

    I also have a Microtek M6E scanner with the transparency lid - I have had good results using this scanner - also a scsi interface - by wetting the glass slide and the scanner lower glass with distilled water and then placing it on the scanner glass. This helps prevent the newton rings and also will increase the contrast a bit. If you are going to try this method find the least valuable slide to test - scan the slide as best you can first dry. Some people like to use an oil but I find I have more problems with bubbles when I use oil.

    If you want some more info just send me a PM - I am an old film and slide guy who builds his own cameras etc. so have some places that I can direct you to personally rather than tying up a lot of bandwidth here.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    In the Lucky Country
    Quote Originally Posted by g-anyb View Post
    ...but when scanned, or even layed on white A4 they are slightly "double imaged" ( and therefore blurry )...
    You are scanning them backlit, as 'transparencies' / 'film' not 'reflective' aren't you?
    James K

    Looking and thinking...
    Vintage Aero Writer: Blog & Details

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    just outside London
    I bought myself a decent, HP, scanner, does everything, photos, negatives, slides, the lot. All for £300. Probably cheaper now. Has produced some great results from my motor racing 35mm colour slides of the 50's etc. I can even scan strips of actual film too ; 8mm, 9.5mm, 16mm etc etc.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    A lot of the original negatives held at the IWM are still on glass. I am sure if you asked them they would tell you how they do it. I am thinking that probably the best approach is to have a paper print made first from the glass.


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