If you have slides or negatives you would like to scan for archiving or for printing, you have 2 options for digitizing them yourself. You can either buy a flatbed slide scanner or you can buy what is called a slide converter.
Scanning your slides and negatives with a higher-end flatbed photo or slide scanner is the preferred method for producing high-quality images. A slide scanner can scan at very high resolutions and usually comes with built-in functions that can enhance the images such as dust and scratch removal or color adjustments.
But scanning slides with a slide scanner take a great deal of time. It is a slow process and choosing resolutions and adjustments can involve a bit of a learning curve. Some people don’t have the time or don’t need super high quality scans but just want a quick and easy way to convert their slides to digital images for archiving. That is where a film and slide converter comes in.
A digital slide converter doesn’t scan the slide or negative, it takes a digital photo to produce a simple JPG image file. This makes the process of digitizing much faster, but the quality of the outputted image will be much lower than you would get with a photo scanner. However, for many people the ease and speed of using a slide converter is worth losing some image quality.
Here is a review of some of the top slide converters:
1. The Wolverine Converter F2D300
The Wolverine F2D300 will convert 35mm negatives and slides into a 7.3 megapixel image. The device is completely stand-alone, so no computer hook up is necessary to operate. This means you can use it anywhere and later move your images to any operating system.
To use, the unit can either be plugged into an outlet or powered by your laptop using the USB connector. The company claims that each slide conversion to digital image takes just 5 seconds with one push of a button.
2. The Wolverine 4-in-1 Film to Digital Converter
The Film to Digital Converter by Wolverine will convert photos as well as slides and negatives into JPG images. The images themselves are around 20 megapixels, so a bit higher clarity than with the F2D300.
This unit is also a stand-alone unit that does not need a computer to run. Image conversions are captured onto the enclosed SD card. There is also a built-in screen for viewing images as they are scanned.
3. The Innovative Technology 35mm Negative Converter
The Innovative Technology converts slides and negatives into 5 megapixel image files. Unlike the Wolverine converters, this converter requires a computer connection to function and is only compatible with a Windows operating system (OS). This converter will not work with Macs.
The Innovative Technology converter does come with software with some basic photo-editing features. Customer reviews of this unit are quite mixed with many 1-star ratings but it is one of the lower-priced converters.
3. The VuPoint Solutions Digital Film and Slide Converter
The film converter by VuPoint Solutions converts 35mm slides and negatives into 5 megapixel images. Scanned images are saved on an SD card as with many of the products listed here – no computer required. Each “scan” only takes about 5 seconds.
This unit also comes with a color screen for image previewing. This converter is stated as compatible with both Windows and Macs however the included editing-software appears to only be compatible with a Windows OS.
4. The Imagelab FS9T Digital Converter
This converter by ImageLab is a bit more versatile than some of the rest. It can run off of either batteries or AC power which is nice if you want to use it outside of the home. Slides and negatives are captured at a 9 megapixel resolution which is higher than the other products listed here.
The Imagelab FS9T has a LCD screen for previewing and checking your conversions. It can also scan to an SD card although one is not included with purchase. Compatible with both Mac and Windows OS.
5. The Wolverine F2D Slide Converter
The Wolverine F2D slide and negative converter was quite popular last year but has been out of stock as of recently. But since it had received some of the best customer reviews it is worth mentioning in case it becomes available again.
The F2D converts 35mm film products to 5 megapixel images at a rate of about 5 seconds per frame. Images can be saved to an SD card so this is another stand-alone product. The LCD screen allows for previewing of images. But what is most appealing about this unit is that is has so many better customer reviews than its competitors.
6. The Ion Slides2PC and Film2SD and Omni Converters
Ion offers three different units for converting slides to digital images. All will convert film products to 5 megapixel images with the touch of a button.
- The Slides2PC converter is not a stand-alone unit but must be tethered to your PC to work. It is also not compatible with Mac computers.
- The Film2SD converter on the other hand scans to an SD card making it compatible with any OS. The Film2SD unit also includes a screen for previewing images while the Slides2PC does not.
- The Ion Omni is a stand-alone unit that offers conversion to both 5 megapixel and 9 megapixel image resolutions giving you a bit more flexibility. It also includes an LCD screen for previewing and monitoring your conversion process.