In addition to the individual scanner reviews on this site, I have put together a list of the top-rated scanners of each category to help you make the right choice. If you are thinking of buying a slide scanner then a great place to start your research is by having a look at some of the bestsellers. The internal reviews are linked to for each of the devices listed for further information on each of the models. I have also provided some general comparison advice on this particular category towards the bottom of the page.
Many people have a box or two of slides stored away somewhere that they would like to save and be able to look through. Creating digital copies of your slide either by scanning them yourself or using a service is a great way to make sure they are save for years, allowing you to preserve old memories and share those images with family and friends electronically. If you have 35mm slides or negatives that you would like to digitize then you will need a good slide scanner.
Today there are many flatbed scanners that can scan both photos and slides, some more affordable than others. Choosing the right slide scanner will depend on how concerned you are with image quality and how much you are willing to pay. You don’t need to buy the most expensive scanner though to get great scans of your slides, film or negatives.
Many traditional photo scanners have the ability to scan slides and film with additional attachments and are the best choice for high quality scans. But there are also few dedicated slide scanners (or slide converters) that make the process a bit easier and faster.
Here are some of the Best Slide Scanners for 2016:
1. The Epson Perfection V600
Read our full Epson Perfection V600 Review. The V600 has been the bestselling scanner in this category for the last few years because of it’s winning combination of features and price. This unit is able to scan 35mm film and mounted slides as well as medium-format film using the included holders. It is also a great photo scanner.
2. The Epson Perfection V800
The Epson V800 is kind of the the cadillac of film scanners. Like the V600, this device also scans 35mm film, 35mm slides and medium-format film but it also can handle 4×5 film. But where the Epson V800vs V600 comparison most lies is in the quality of the scans. Users who have tried both have found superior results using the V800, especially for slides and film.
3. Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII
Read our Canon 9000F Review. The MKII is still a solid offering from Canon as far as a photo and film scanner. Overall it is comparable to the V600 as far as performance and price.
Film and Slide Converters
Learn how converters and scanners differ below.
1. The Wolverine F2D Mighty
Read our Wolverine F2D Review. This Wolverine film converter is a top-selling device for fast and easy digital conversion of slides. Read below to understand the difference between a converter vs a scanner.
2. The Jumbl 22MP Film Scanner
Read our Jumbl 22MP Review. The Jumbl is a newer competitor to the market and offers similar features to the Wolverine.
If you have taken a look at the list of best photo scanners you will see that two of the devices listed above are also on that list. That’s because the top photo scanners have all of the requirements for creating excellent scans of film, negatives, and slides. If you want high quality scans of your film products, then the scanners listed about are some of the best for home use.
Converters vs Scanners
I have also included two slide converters which are a popular option for scanning negatives and slides. Converters are different than scanners. They essentially take a picture of your slide to provide an image file for archiving and general use. The quality is not as good as the quality achieved by using a photo scanner, but these little devices can convert negatives and slides to an image format very quickly and easily. Not everyone needs the resolution quality of using a slide scanner but instead wants speed or ease of use. In those cases a slide to digital converter may be preferred.
But if most photo scanners are equipped to scan slides and 35mm film, why buy a slide converter? Well, the answer is primarily speed and simplicity. A traditional scanner will be hooked up to your computer and scan to the associated software. Each scan will take a few seconds to complete. If you have a big box of old slides from family vacations to get through, scanning them all will seem like a monumental task.
Slide and film converters were created for push-button scanning without a computer. The slides are quickly converted to a digital image which is then stored on an SD card for later retrieval. This makes the process of archiving a huge pile of slides much quicker. But it is important to point out that these aren’t scans, these are photos of your slides so the image quality will not be as good as if you used a real slide scanner.
A 35mm film converter is also much smaller than a traditional scanner. If your only need for a scanner is for scanning slides, you may not be happy with the amount of space that will be taken up by a flatbed photo scanner on your desk. Since most slide converter scan to an SD card, they do not need to be tethered to your computer and can be used and stored anywhere.
If you need quality scans of your 35mm film or slides or also want to scan photo prints, then you need to take a look at the high quality slide scanners from Canon and Epson. But if you simply want to convert a bunch of slides or negatives to digital images for preserving, investing in a film converter will be quicker and easier.
Canon Vs Epson
All of the devices listed above are great film scanners but there are some key differences to point out. First, the Canon 9000F MKII and the Epson V600 can scan 35mm and medium format while the V800 can handle 35mm all the way up to 4″x5″ film. Most people will only need to scan 35mm slides or 35mm negatives, but for old film or photographers the larger film capacity may be needed.
Second, the number of slides or film strip that can be scanned in a run varies. The Canon 9000F and the Epson V600 can scan 4 slides at a time while the Epson V800 can scan 12 slides at a time. Finally, all three scanners come with a copy of the photo-editing software Photoshop Elements but the V800 also includes an imaging software called SilverFast.
The Epson models all have additional photo enhancing options within their software that can be useful when scanning older or damaged film products. Epson’s Digital Ice feature will remove dust and scratches from scan and there is also a one-touch restoration feature called Easy Photo Fix. Canon has it’s own feature for dust and scratch reduction called FARE level 3.
I should also not that Epson also has some lower-priced scanners like the Epson Perfection V300 and the Epson Perfection V330 that have less features than the scanners listed here, but are still great slide scanners. If you need something a bit more budget-friendly, these two models may be a good option for you.
If you need more information on slide scanners in general, check out the article on Scanning Slides and Film which provides some general tips which may also help you with a purchasing decision.