01 December 2011

Opening Day 4: The Slides are Back!

Slide Enhanced by ScanDigital
Color faded slide from the 1960s, uncorrected Tif
On Opening Day 2, I opened a large box of slides. Knowing how long it takes to scan a slide and make the necessary corrections, I wanted to try using a photo digitization service. Armed with a 60% discount, I decided to give ScanDigital a try. Alternative digitizing companies are listed in Opening Day 2.

The same slide, manually cropped and auto-corrected in LR
 Yesterday the slides were returned along with DVD copies of the digital images - perfect timing for Opening Day 4! The slides were scanned at 4800 ppi as both Tiffs and Jpgs. There is an extra charge to get the scans in uncorrected Tiff format. Photo editing software is continually improving and I wanted to have an unaltered version to use in the future. Next time, I may not bother as the enhancement done by ScanDigital was not heavy-handed and exceeded results achieved using auto-corrections in Lightroom (LR). It is important to convert the Jpgs to Tiffs on import. (Always save at least one copy of all archival digital photographs in a Tiff or other loss-less format.)

Below are some examples of common slide problems before and after correction.

Uncorrected Tif with color darkening
Optimized by ScanDigital
This slide is both faded and has deteriorated, shown here with no corrections
After optimization, the colors have been corrected
but no extensive and potentially damaging corrections were made.
For an excellent and detailed discussion on the care and handling of slides, see Handling and Preservation of Color Slide Collections. The 30-page chapter also includes an extensive discussion of slide types and typical preservation issues involved with each type.


  1. Very nice, Auntie! If the first photo is old, Emma and I have photos that look just like that of us up in Maine near Freeport. If that IS Emma and I in that photo, how neat! But doubtful it is if you were copying slides. :0) - Anna

  2. This is rezlly remarkable! I'm going to have to talk to you about this again. As you know, all of the pictures in my blog are in a jpeg format and they printed just fine in my blog2print book. Also, when I use MY scanner and try to scan them at a higher resolution, I get a message about how much more space that is going to require and that it is already being scanned at the "optimum" schedule. I get intimidated and let the software talk me out of it. The before and after pictures you posted have results that can't be disputed. Incredible!

  3. Anna, These are very old slides - 60s and 70s. The boy in the white trunks is Dick. There are others of your parents in the 80s and later in the batch. I'll catalog them over the next month or so and then put them on Flickr for the family. Auntie Liz

  4. Kathy, The before and after come about due to corrections made using photo editing software. The file type didn't make the difference. The Tifs are simply the photographs before any corrections had been made.

    The problem with the Jpeg format is that it is a lossey compression file and each time you re-compress it (re-save it), some of information in the scan is lost.

  5. You are so right to devote such a detailed and informative post to the art of scanning. I do think that we are the scanning generation - the one generation of people to have access to old format images (photographs, slides etc) and the ability to digitalise them. We have a responsibility to do it properly.

  6. Thanks Alan, When I started the project, I couldn't wait to scan the oldest documents and tintypes. As I learned more, it is the color photographs and slides that are most at risk. That has me scrambling about in my own 'attic' as well!


Comments welcome!