Best Slide Scanners in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update July 28, 2018
Now, you have a good chance to quickly digitalize, catalogue and even restore all of the negatives and slides in your collection. The only thing that you need is a slide scanner. And we have a thorough review of them for you right here. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Resolution
Screen
Intented Use
Speed
Features
Warranty
 
PROS

Thanks to two scanning modes, this model offers the easiest and fastest way to share your slides with the world via social networks like Facebook or Flickr.

CONS

No PC-free operation.

OUR VERDICT

This multifunctional scanner will offer you to turn your photo slides into digital images in JPG, TIFF, PCX, and BMP file formats with the best possible quality.

detailed parameters
Resolution

7200 dpi

48-bit colour depth

Screen

Computer monitor

Intented Use

Film Scanner, Negatives-to-photo, Website scanning (Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, etc.); 
Scanning Area: 36.8 mm x 25.4 mm

Speed

Preview Speed: 8 sec

Scanning Speed: 36–113 sec

Features

Windows XP | Vista | 7 | 8 | 10;
Mac OS X 10.5.x | 10.6.x | 10.7.x | 10.8.x | 10.9.x |  10.10.x | 10.11.x | 10.12.x | 10.13.x;
IntelliScan, QuickScan; JPG, TIF, PCX, and BMP file output; Carrying Bag

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS
Can serve you as a card reader for your computer.
CONS
Occasionally, the digital copy of the glossy photos has flares from the integral lamp.
OUR VERDICT

The ION Pics 2 SD is a solid device for getting the copies of all your favourite moments, captured in the photos and negatives. Works with both photos and 35mm slides.

detailed parameters
Resolution

Standard: 5.1 MP, Interpolated: 10 MP, 2500 dpi

Screen
2.36" LCD
Intented Use

Converting 135 film negatives and slides into digital format;
Scanning 3.5x5, 4x6, 5x7 photos

Speed

1–2 sec

Features
Works without PC-connection, CMOS sensor type, Negative strip and slide holders, 3x5, 4x6, and 5x7 photo frames, Integral photo correction
Warranty
Amazon's 30-day return policy
PROS

Its major plus is the fast and easy digitizing of almost any old film types, be it 35mm, 127, 126KPK, 110 mm, 8 mm, Super 8, or negatives.

CONS

Colour settings on the display are not very effective.

OUR VERDICT

With this 7-in-1 slide scanner, you will easily preserve all your film and slides in digital form; there is also an option to either save the results on your PC or directly to the SD card.

detailed parameters
Resolution

22 MP

Screen

2.4" LCD Color Screen

Intented Use

Converts 35mm, 127mm, 126mm, 110mm, Super 8 Negatives, Slides & Films into digital JPEGs

Speed

3 sec

Features

TV-out for image viewing, SD/SDHC card slot up to 32GB, Colour correction, Mac OS and Windows support

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

The integrated auto-exposure and auto-colour balance features will help you obtain images of the highest quality.

CONS

The tiniest details on the photos might be lost sometimes.

OUR VERDICT

Easy to master and use, this scanner for digitizing slides and film can work with or without PC connection and provides quality images of up to 2MB.

detailed parameters
Resolution

14 MP

Screen

2.4" TFT LCD screen

Intented Use

Converts 135 slides and 135/110/126 negatives into digital images

Speed

Few seconds

Features

Mac and Windows support, One-touch scanning, Built-in auto-exposure, Colour balance and other image enhancements, No need for PC or software

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

You can easily hold this scanner with one hand, it is that small and lightweight. No need to look for a place to store it, it takes virtually no space at all.

CONS

The slide holders need careful handling, they are somewhat flimsy.

OUR VERDICT

A miniature scanner to easily make digital copies of your slides, it does not require any special skills, software, or any specific PC characteristics. Does its job fast and with quality results.

detailed parameters
Resolution

5 MP CMOS sensor scans at 1824 x 2736 pixels

Screen

2.4" LCD Display

Intented Use

Scans all 35mm Negative Film and also slide / transparency film

Speed

4 sec

Features

SD / SDHC Card Slot (supports up to 16 GB SDHC), TV-out, No need for software, Auto Color Balance, Rotate +/- 90, 32GB SD card

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PLUSTEK Opticfilm 8100

Best Resolution Scanner

Probably, the first thing you will notice about this slide scanner is that there is no display on it and, therefore, no computer-free operation. We'd like to assure you that this, and maybe a rather low scanning speed compared to some other models (from 36 to 113 seconds with a preview in 8 seconds, as stated by the manufacturer), will be the only drawbacks to be encountered working with this machine. The quality of the images digitized with this model is incomparably good. The maximum resolution stated is 7200 dpi. Most consumer-level slide scanners offer something around 2500 dpi. Even the tiniest of details on your photos will become discernible. You can also choose the colour depth between 24-bit and 48-bit for, well, colour photos and 8-bit or 16-bit for grayscale ones. Of course, there is a 1-bit black-and-white scanning as well.

The model works with Windows computers with as old a system as the XP and up to the newest Windows 10 and all in between. Mac OS computers starting from OS X 10.5.x and every edition after that, including the latest High Sierra Mac OS X 10.13. All covered nice and well, making this slide scanner a universal model. But that's not the end.

Review of PLUSTEK Opticfilm 8100 Film Scanner

More Feature-packed Than Most

The Plustek OptiFilm 8100 has two main modes it works in: the QuickScan and the IntelliScan. The names say for themselves in a nutshell but let us explain some peculiarities.

The QuickScan will digitize your film and negatives faster, obviously, but you will have limited control over the settings. That is, you will be able to adjust the basics, like the scanning mode, input resolution, brightness/contrast/gamma, destination folder, etc. There are even several filters but not too many. All the settings you fix will be remembered by the device's software and unless you call up the Settings window again all your QuickScan sides will be scanned in accordance with them. Perfect for fast scanning.

On the other hand, there is the IntelliScan mode, as in Intelligent. This one opens the special software, the SilverFast SE Plus 8, included with the purchase. This software offers a whole lot more options to tweak, from resolution and film type to selective colour correction, curves, noise elimination, multi-exposure, and many more. The features targeted at negatives are especially remarkable, for example, the NegaFix feature will not only invert your negative into a positive but will also find and fix the issue of a so-called orange mask many negatives have. There is also an upgrade possibility to the SilverFast Ai Studio software with even more options if you're in need of something even more extra.

PLUSTEK Opticfilm 8100 Film Scanner in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

ION Audio PICS2SD

Saving the Best Memories

The ION Pics 2 SD is an all-in-one device designed to help you obtain digital copies of your favourite slides, negatives, and photos. Well, almost all: please keep in mind that the maximum paper size compatible with this scanner is 5x7 inches for your photos and 35mm for both the film and slides. It seems like this model also "scans" the slides with a digital camera, resulting in a very fast processing—one touch to the Scan button and it will take just a second or two for you to see the image scanned and ready for digital use or re-printing. The frame position inside the scanner and the picture preview can be checked on the LCD display located on the top panel of the device; the preview is, by the way, of a good quality with nice colours.

Please note, the photos are scanned by setting them in one of the 3 included tablet-holders first. After that, the tablet is inserted into the device vertically from above into the special slot, whereas the slide and film trays are inserted from the sides.

Since the slides, negatives, and photos are scanned from different trays, there is a switch to choose between two modes of scanning and a series of settings to adjust the essential parameters. The ION slide scanner has a simple software installed for basic image editing, too.

Review of ION Audio PICS2SD High-resolution

Additional Variability

Along with the LCD display, the control buttons are also placed on top of the housing. The included manual can be a bit confusing about some of the device's functions, however, the controls are not complicated at all—choose the size, place the film, press the scan button. Just like that.

Another good news is that you don't need to install any drivers to work with this ION slide scanner. Actually, you don't need a computer at all. The device is powered via a USB cable with an adapter (when you need one) and has a slot for SD cards, relieving you from a hassle of powering up the computer and transferring files when you need to bring them somewhere else. By the way, in the case your computer either lacks the card reader or it is malfunctioning for some reason or another, the manufacturer of this slide scanner offers you to use this device as a card reader of sorts to transfer the images to your PC or laptop via a scanner; this feature may come in handy in a number of situations.

Overall, it is a solid multi-functional device that will quickly digitalize all of your slides, negative strips, and photos. Although it might appear a bit tall, it will surely take much less space than that huge and heavy office scanner on your desk at home or in the office.

The film and photo restoration also requires a quality monitor with a reliable colour calibration. Therefore, check out our review of the best monitors for photographers.

ION Audio PICS2SD High-resolution in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Ion PICS2PC Scanner Review
 

Evedyo E10 PRO

Premium Scanning in a Cute Body

The Evedyo E10 Pro is one of the best slide scanners on the market. It offers premium quality digitizing of seven types of film and slides into JPEG format and the process takes just about 3 seconds per image, which is faster than many other models and definitely faster than most scanners of 22-megapixel resolution. And its price is pretty affordable at that. A good choice for home or small office use, it works with 35mm slides, 110 and 126 slides, as well as four types of film: 35 mm, Super 8, 110, and 126.

The E10 is conical in shape, which is not the most traditional shape for a scanner, but it looks pretty interesting, in our opinion. The five control buttons are located at the top, near the 2.4" LCD colour display where you can preview your photos and adjust the settings. All the buttons have their functions written right near them, enabling you and anyone around you to scan the film/slide images and negatives hassle-free; even a complete novice will manage this device easily. You can also make basic colour adjustments right then and there, without fumbling with computer software, however, with the display being only 2.4" in size, we'd say it might not bear the best results if your eyesight is less than perfect. The Evedyo E10 Pro is also equipped with a TV-out for you to view the photos on your slides right away.

Review of Evedyo E10 PRO Film to Digital Converter (7-in-1)

Gather All the Old Pictures

It is possible to operate this scanner for slides and negatives autonomously, without connecting it to your computer. The model will "remember" up to 40 of your scanned images and store them until you can transfer them. Or you can use an SD/SDHC memory card since there is a port for that; the supported storage for the card is up to 32GB.

The delivery box for this item is pretty packed. Besides the slide scanner itself, you will also receive a set of adapters and inserts for all supported slide and film types, five in total, a cleaning stick, a USB cable to transfer your digitized images, an AC adapter for charging (although you can charge the device from your laptop with the help of a USB cable as well), a TV cable, and a user manual. This slide-to-JPEG converter works equally well with Windows and Mac computers and it is small and light enough to carry it around when you need to take the job of picture-hunting elsewhere, like to your great-grandmother's friend's house in a suburb. Imagine creating a wall of photos for your elderly family members with the events of their youth, when digital photography had yet to appear, let alone become affordable. And on the days you don't actively use it, this nice-looking piece of equipment will blend with your desk interior and will become a stylish touch to your workspace without taking much space.

Evedyo E10 PRO Film to Digital Converter (7-in-1) in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Veho VFS-014-SF

The Tiniest Thing

The Veho Smartfix is one of the lightest slide scanners on the market if not the lightest one, its listed weight is mere 363 grammes. And with the dimensions of 10.9 x 14 x 9.9 cm, you might actually forget you have it in your handbag. Carrying it around is the simplest thing possible, you can gather all the slides and negatives from your friend and family to scan them right there and then, without having to carry them home where there are chances of getting them mixed, for example, or worse—damaged and lost. It is quite pleasant to the touch as well, the housing has a Tacton rubber touch finish.

With the scanning quality at 14 megapixels, a nice 2.4" TFT LCD display, and one-touch scanning functionality with image enhancement features like auto-exposure and colour balance, it is also a handy tool for a journalist working with digital media and aiming to deliver the scoop to the editorial department as quickly as possible: you just pack this tiny slide scanner into your bag you carry around, take the photos you need, scan them, transfer them to your MacBook, attach to the mail, and hit send! In a moment, they are delivered to your boss and posted with a hit story before anyone from the rival magazine catches the wind of what's going on. (We do encourage you to hold onto journalist ethics, though.)

Review of Veho VFS-014-SF Smartfix Portable Stand Alone 14 Megapixel Negative Film & Slide Scanner

Great Price-to-Quality Ratio

This Veho slide scanner and negative reader will convert 135 slides and 135/110/126 negatives into the digital form for safekeeping of memories and for further enhancement and creativity. It has a quality Lithium-ion battery that can be recharged via either a USB cord or from the mains (with the help of the 3-pin plug with a USB port). The same USB cord can be used to transfer the scanned photos to your laptop or PC if it lacks the SDHC / SD card slot. The card itself is not included with the purchase and the supported card storage space is stated to be up to 32 GB.

The scanning speed is fast, it will take approximately 3 seconds for a single slide to be scanned, though some users suggest you wait for the autofocus to settle before you push the scanning button. It is also possible in some cases for the smallest details to be lost during scanning but when we say "smallest" we do mean it: you might only notice it if you compare these scans to the ones made with a scanner that offers much bigger DPI and, consequently, costs quite a bit more. For the price this model is sold at, we find it one of the best slide scanners out there.

Veho VFS-014-SF Smartfix Portable Stand Alone 14 Megapixel Negative Film & Slide Scanner in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

DIGITNOW! Film/Slide scanner

Best for Scanning On-the-Go

This model is the best scanner for negatives and slides among the cheap and portable ones. It might have neither over-the-top resolution nor the ability to scan anything other than 35mm negatives/slides/transparency film but at a reasonable price, it offers a scanner the size of an average human palm (L87xW86xH102 mm) with specs better than most in its segment. The DIGITNOW! can be easily carried around wherever you need it and it will scan and store on a memory card all the slides and film; it will also do it quickly and diligently at a generally acceptable 5MP optical resolution (10MP if you use interpolated scan).

This model will scan your film and slides and create images in JPEG format at the size of 1824 x 2736 pixels when scanned with optical resolution and at 2588 x 3888 pixels if you go for interpolated. There is no need for special software and even for PC connection to perform basic editing—on the top panel, you will see the buttons to flip the image, rotate it +/- 90°, mirror it, as well as use automatic colour balance and exposure. Nothing too fancy, but it is a solid base for a gadget like this. The built-in 2.4” TFT LCD display will allow you to preview the images but you can also connect the scanner to either your PC via the USB cord or to a TV—the 3.5 mm TV out interface supports both PAL and NTSC.

Review of DIGITNOW! Film/Slide scanner 5M/10M Stand alone, 1800DPI high resolution

What Is Interpolated Scanning?

The word “interpolated” is often seen in scanners specs and the numbers under this spec are always greater than those of the optical scanner but they always go second. So what is this interpolated scanning? Without going deep into tech-savvy details, the interpolated scanning does relatively the same as enlarging your image in a simple photo editing program would do. That is, it stretches the picture and fills the appearing gaps between pixels with new pixels, coloured some shade in-between the two shades of the pixels that were previously beside each other. Even simpler, it’s like some sort of gradient colouring—the new space is filled with colours similar to all the nearest pixels at the same time so that no one sees a “glitch” where the empty new part was. This method does the enlarging trick well if you need to stretch the image a bit, however, when it comes to large resolutions, like doubling the size, for example, the picture will most often end up blurry and smeared. That’s why scanners, including film and slide scanners, although do have this option but do not use it as a default—it makes pictures of not the highest quality, at least when we talk about colourful and grayscale photos. When you have a line art or a text to scan, interpolated scanning will certainly come in handy.

DIGITNOW! Film/Slide scanner 5M/10M Stand alone, 1800DPI high resolution in the use

 

What Is a Slide Scanner?

In the digital age, we can easily snap a picture with our phone and upload it to any web source. But what about the old slides and printed photographs stored away in the attic, collecting dust? Is there a way to bring life in those pictures and share them with other people online? Well, there actually is, and it is a slide scanner, an electronic appliance used to convert all real photos to the digital format to keep on a computer or an SD card. The operation principle is pretty simple. You place a picture in the slot, wait a second until it takes its photo and then it is converted to a digital file. The digitized copies can be stored either on a flash card or written directly on the hard drive. Easy as that.

As a side note, the inkjet printers can provide you with quick copies from the scanned negatives. You can also buy a portable pico projector for showing off your digital photos collection to your friends and relatives.

What Features to Compare

Resolution. Simply put, this refers to how huge your digital copy of the film or the photo will appear on the computer screen. As a rule, the bigger it is, the more details will be seen on it. If you are going to further process the image in the graphics editor, you will require at the very least 1800 dpi resolution for 35mm film slides. However, even 5 MP will be enough if you just need to quickly scan a bunch of slides to store them further on your PC. 200-400 dpi will be enough for most programs to effectively recognize the printed text from the scanned slides.

Taking into account the Intended Use, you will be able to figure out what types of film formats and/or photo sizes exactly the scanner can process for you. Usually, the slide converters have either special slide adaptors or an adjustable tray for this. You need to make sure the chosen slide scanner is compatible with the films you've got at your disposal.

Scanning Speed is a pretty straightforward characteristic, too. If you are searching for a slide scanner to use in a little print shop, a quick scanning speed will considerably reduce a wait time for consumers in the line.

Additional Features may include a variety of things. For instance, some of the scanners come with a small screen for checking a slide position inside the scanner. Others might come together with a cable so that they could be connected to other appliances (TV screens, PC monitors, etc.). A lot of slide scanners offer versatility of use and can work not only with the film but also with photos, just like conventional PC scanners do.

Did you know?

Slides are not negatives.

When you read the “in the box” part of your future digital slide scanner, you’ll most likely see that there are different trays for mounted slides and for negatives. Some of us presume, at first, that they only differ because slides are of different size due to the casing. In reality, it is not true: whereas negative film does offer you an image with its colours inverted, the film inside a slide is actually a positive, that is, with the colours the way they will be when you scan the slide.

Film is better for scanning than printed photos.

A film, both positive and negative, contains more information about the image than any printed photo can. At least, with the level of printing technology we have today, let alone the technology we used to have before the digital age. Scanning a film, especially with a dedicated slide scanner, will result in an image of richer and deeper colours, with more contrast and luminance and, as a consequence, with more details. Film also allows for better resolution for scanning, which, in its turn, offers bigger images without any quality losses.

Just about anything can damage a negative.

One might think that storing a film suspended in the air in a closed dark room where neither kids nor pets ever come is safe. Unfortunately, this is not true. A film is a very fragile material, and it can be damaged not only by accidental nail or paper touch but by a thing as unavoidable as air movement. Yes, it is true, no, we’re not joking here. The problem is, there is no such thing as clean air, not really. Invisible to the naked eye, there is always some dust or tiny debris moved by even the slightest blow of wind. As tender as the film is, it won’t take much time for a scratch or two to appear. And you most probably won’t even see it on the film. Where you will see it is on the scans and prints done years later. That’s why it is recommended to use a scanner for slides and negatives as early as possible to preserve the memories. After that, you can give the film to a professional for cleaning and then store it in an air-tight container.

There is a trend in photography where they damage the negatives on purpose.

Lately, it has been a trend in not only photography but in other industries as well. Torn and damaged jeans, muddy prints on t-shirts, even old-looking music videos (have you seen Coldplay’s Up&Up?). This trend hasn’t passed photo industry by: the photos are bleached, burnt, distressed, and scratched on purpose, then put into film and slide scanner. Glen Luchford, a talented photographer, even has published a book called Damaged Negatives in 2012, though hers weren’t destroyed intentionally but rather had fallen victims to an unfortunate accident. So why is this so popular? People just love broken things, don't they?

Your photos are actually cropped to some extent.

You can compare your scanned film with the photos printed in the special stores—to fit into a specific mould the size of the photo you have ordered, the image on the negative is usually cropped at the sides a bit. Sometimes, this "bit" can reach up to 10–15% of the picture and be different on each side. It does not always matter much since we always try to leave space around people on the photos so they don't look crowded but there are cases when the details at the edges might be important, and scanning a slide always leaves it up to you to decide what you want to crop.

FAQ:

Q: What format is the best for scanning slides?
A:
The format home slide scanners use most often is probably JPEG since it offers output images that do not take much storage space, so you can save more photos on your memory card or gadget. However, it is not the best option if you plan to edit photos further—JPEG is quite lossy when it comes to quality. Some models make images in BMP, PNG, or TIFF. The latter takes up the most space since it saves all the image data during the scanning; it is the format generally used for professional and commercial scanning. PNG format is good if you plan to create collages from certain objects on your photo scans—it allows for transparent background without noise at the edges as GIF does, for example, and it does not take as much space as TIFF. If you need scans for a variety of purposes, some manufacturers have multi-format film scanners to offer.

Q: What resolution do I need?
A:
This depends on what you plan to do with your photos. More often than not, for printing standard photos for your photo album, you don’t really need more than 300 or 600 dpi of your slide scanner resolution. The bigger the photo you need to print (for example, an A1 poster with your pet’s mug on it to adorn your living room wall), the bigger resolution it is recommended to set when scanning. The lower resolution offers fewer details but for a small photo, it’s not that crucial, whereas trying to make a large print from a small-resolution photo will result in image blurriness. The same goes for editing photos in a special software—if you plan no such thing lower resolution is okay but photo correction is easier when the image is bigger and more detailed.

Q: What’s the difference between 24-bit and 48-bit?
A:
That’s the colour depth you’re talking about, as in, how many bits are dedicated to each of the three main colours (Red, Green, Blue). 24-bit colour depth means 8 bits per colour, and 48-bit is, consequently, 16 bits per colour. What does it mean for your photos? Simply speaking, the more bits are dedicated to the colour, the more shades of the colours the resulting image will have. However, to the naked eye, the 24-bit depth is usually enough, that’s why the manufacturers haven’t stopped making 24-bit slide scanners (and scanners in general). You will be better off with the 48-bit device, though, if you plan extensive editing of your photos or large-scale printing.

Q: There are fewer trays in my slide scanner than there are film formats it claims to support.
A:
Please don’t worry, most often, a single mount can support several film types. For example, you can put 35mm, 110, 126 film all in the same 2" x 2" tray. In some cases, there simply two trays—one for negatives and another for slides, both good for any size of respective films. The main thing is what film your scanner supports but you can also check how many mounts the package is supposed to include, this information should be stated on the official seller page and in the manual.

Q: My slides stink, did they go bad?
A:
Unfortunately, it is possible. If your film is old and was not stored properly, chances are it has accumulated some level of moisture and possibly there are fungi, which do smell rather peculiarly. They can also damage the image on the slides, blurring it, creating spots, etc. At some level, it is possible to restore the image but it will take time and money to do. That is why scanning your film is important.

Sources:

1. Film Grains Meet Digital Pixels: A Complete Guide to Scanning Film, Photojojo!

2. Craig Thornburrow Choosing A Good Slide Scanner Is As Easy As 1-2-3! (Or Is It?), Streetdirectory.

3. Rebecca Lily Film vs. Digital, Digital Photography School.

4. Mike Bedford Top tips on scanning old photos, slides and negatives, PC Advisor. December 24, 2012.

5. Tips on Digital Photo Restoration, Cambridge in Colour.

6. Restore Your Old Photos, Pixelmator Team.

7. Rachel Gregg Fix Old Photos With This One Easy Photoshop Trick, CreativeLive. March 31, 2015.

8. Health and safety in the printing industry, HSE.

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Publish Date: 2018-01-18 12:20:47