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Can I Digitize my Slides Myself?

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By Olivia Harlow

As winter turns to spring, you might think to yourself: Fresh season, fresh start, right?


Maybe you think it’s finally time to clean out the attic, tidy up the garage and finally tackle that box of old photo slides that are taking over your closets — yes, plural.


Well, we think photo slides should be the top priority. 


Why You Should Digitize


As you continue to procrastinate digitization, it’s likely that your archaic slides are already deteriorating, fading with with sunspots and losing image quality at rapid speed. While digitizing these slides may not stop inevitable decay, it is a surefire way to preserve your memories forever.


Digitizing is an easy-to-do, easy-to-use, easy-to-recover format that makes viewing your slides easier than ever before.


How to Digitize Your Slides, DIY Style


So, how do we transfer those glass slides to a USB, DVD or the Cloud? Here, we break down some DIY methods you can do yourself:


  1. Use a Slide copier. If you own a DSLR camera, there are attachments you can buy that allow you to transform your DSLR into a "slide copier.” Such devices allow the user to place photo slides on a mount just in front of the barrel of the camera lens. The camera then takes a photo of the slide, effectively transferring the image to the memory card of the camera. Cool, right? Once you’ve done this, the pictures can be edited in PhotoShop like you would any other digital photo file.

The cons: This method is for the tech-savvy. If you don’t have much of a background in photography or working with DSLR cameras, you might be out of luck with this one. Cost is also an issue, as slide copier attachments average at about $120.


  1. Try a scanner. If you have access to a flatbed scanner — think a Xerox office copier, or desktop equivalent — then you can simply scan your slides to a computer.

Cons: This method is not recommended for those hoping to preserve their photo slides in the highest quality possible. When the slides are low resolution (hint: most are) the scanner has a difficult time affixing its details, resulting in a grainy and low-quality copy.


  1. Purchase a digital photo converter. Similar to the "slider copier" attachment described above, Digital Photo Converters ("DPCs") are purposefully built to take high-quality shots of low-quality pics. For someone looking to digitize a large number of photos quickly, this is a great option. Another per: DPCs also allow for on-the-fly edits — users can adjust exposure, crop, and make other minor adjustments via the DPC itself.

Cons: Price. These devices typically start at $175.


  1. Photograph ‘em. You’ve undoubtedly heard the coined phrase: "Take a picture, because it will last longer.” Well, here, that’s exactly what you’ll do. Of course, you’ll need to consider lighting, background, resolution, focal length, lens choice — just to name a few factors that impact quality. A trained studio photographer could be helpful, depending on your photo skills.

Cons: If you’re not much of a photographer, this won’t be your best bet. It’s a risky option for anyone, really, but especially if you gravitate toward low-lit iPhone pics. Additionally, it’s the most complicated and timely option.

 

 

An Alternative: Come to Us!

If digitizing on your own seems like a daunting task, consider reaching out to professionals. That’s us! Here at Legacybox, we specialize in digitization.


Not only do we ensure the utmost quality product, but we also return your original slides safely, and provide easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions from start to finish. Our online tracking also provides peace of mind, letting you know exactly what’s happening with your precious prints at all times!


In our opinion — yes, we’re biased — the value of receiving a carefully prepared collection of your photographs in a digital format is well worth the cost of having a professional archivist prepare them for you. If you decide to forgo the fancy but clunky gadgets and the painstaking process of scanning each or your slides individually, our team will make the digitization happen. No sweat and tears here!

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