The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Anyone who wants to convert old pictures to digital images has a number of options these days. Choices include desktop (flatbed) scanners, handheld scanners, high-resolution digital cameras, cameras embedded in most of today's cell phones, and any number of other choices. As long as you are interested in converting an existing PICTURE to a digital image, you have many choices. However, converting negatives or 35mm slides to digital images remains a bit more of a challenge. At the same time, many of us have collected boxes full of slides and negatives that preceded the Digital Age—sometimes the only images of family members known to exist in those times. Family historians can lose sleep, knowing that these unique images are at risk of being lost to the current and future family. They need a hi-tech solution for these low-tech pictures, and they need it now.
To be sure, digital scanners designed for use with slides or negatives have been available for years. However, almost all of these have suffered from one of two drawbacks: (1.) those that worked well are expensive while (2.) those with modest prices typically do not work well. To be sure, the low-cost units usually work, but the results typically are of lower resolution, and often the color reproduction isn't all that great.
Newsletter editor Pam Cerutti had several hundred slides of a 1955 visit to see family in England, which she wanted to preserve for the 21st century and beyond. She recently found a low-cost 35mm film-to-digital and negative-to-digital converter that sells for about $100 and yet produces very good results. It may not be as effective as the $600 film scanners, but the results are quite acceptable for most uses. The images included in this article are examples of the results Pam achieved with no photo editing.
Best of all, this scanner does not need to attach to your computer although it can do so if you wish. Instead, this scanner can operate "free standing" and store about 43 scanned images in its internal memory. When you’re ready to transfer those images to your computer, you connect the scanner to your computer via the included USB cord. Once you clear the scanner’s memory you’re ready to repeat the process.
For greater storage capacity, you can insert a SecureDigital (SD or SDHC) memory card. Low-cost SD cards are available at most any drugstore, computer store, or camera store. By inserting an SD card, you can store thousands of scanned digital images and then easily transfer them later to any computer you wish – Windows, Macintosh, or Linux. An SD card of moderate storage space can store hundreds of digital images at one time. You can also obtain more SD cards or a single SD card with higher storage capacity to store thousands of images.
A 32-gigabyte SD card sells for about $20 and will easily store several thousand images.
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