How to Convert Negatives and Slides to Digital Images

I have many old negatives, including negatives that I had developed but not printed back when I had my own darkroom.  I also have many slides including all my wedding pictures to my first husband, who is dead now.

(Or at least I should have them,  I’ve kept them safe and specially put away ever since 1974, hoping I’d find a way to print them back then, or make a digital print now.  But I got this, went to look for them, very excited to convert and I can’t find them. They are not where I keep all my important memorabilia and I don’t know why. I’ve looked all over and can’t find them. It makes me very sad. But anyway…)

My dad also recently died and he had lots of negatives that I was interested in.  And when I was a baby/toddler, my dad had a 3D camera that took the slides that are double and when you view them in a viewer you see the picture in 3D. So I wanted to convert those as well (not to 3D unfortunately, but actually, my eyes do not focus together properly so I don’t have 3D or depth perception anyway. I seem to function fine though although you’d think it might be problematic).

I’d been thinking about this for a while, so when I saw a negative and slide converter on Woot!, for a very cheap price it seemed (about $50), I went off and checked the reviews on it to see if I wanted to buy it.

In the process, I actually found that it had so-so reviews, but that the Innovative Technology Negative and Slide Converter had better reviews for about the same amount of money. Not necessarily fantastic reviews, but it was one of the least expensive and easy and got 3/5 on Amazon (none of the others got much better and a lot were worse, even though they were more expensive) and that worked for me. If you go to the Innovative Technology website to look at this, you might also want to check out their other products. They have a lot of really interesting products, from other analog to digital converters, to cool retro items, to leading edge, really innovative items. BTW, Innovative Technology 35mm Negative and Slide Converter to PC
Amazon is where I bought my IT Converter.

When I got it, I opened it up and it was very easy to use and understand. It has the base/reader that plugs into your USB port and 2 trays (one for negatives and one for slides) that you click through the converter to read the pictures onto your computer.  It comes with film scan software that shows the picture for what is currently in the converter and lets you copy and save it as a digital image.

To load the tray, you just click open the cover, put in your negatives strip (or 4 slides in the slide tray), close the cover and put the tray in the slot on the side of the converter.  The trays have guides that make it easy to load them correctly.

negative tray

slide tray

And although most people probably don’t have 3D slides, I was able to load them in by putting two side by side and just printing one of each.

The trays hold several negatives/slides at a time and you manually click the tray through the converter one at a time to capture each picture. It is easy though and not really any more time consuming than anything else.  Actually, it is quicker than trying to scan pictures in and save them, at least if you are using a regular scanner.

And as an aside:

I’m sure the dedicated photo scanners are quicker and someday I’d like to get one, especially if you could load in several photos at a time and it would run them in and scan them automatically. The Pandigital SCN02 PhotoLink One Touch Scanner w/Memory Card for $86 on Amazon looks interesting and got very good reviews.  But that is for another day.  It’s hard to justify spending money for that when I can do it myself with what I have.  But the negative and slide converter is something I was unable to do until now.

So back to the topic of this post :)…

With the software you can capture the pictures, view them, rotate the image,  change to mirror image (if the negative or slide was reversed) and save them in a bunch instead of one by one (saving you time by not having to wait for each one to be saved which is somewhat slow). The software is extremely intuitive and easy to use.  It has very limited functionality, but you can do all the editing you want to the captured pictures after you have saved them by using any other editing program. The filmscan software is also very slow so you have to have patience.


3D early Susiea baby picture of meHang gliding hang-gliding

Here are some of the pictures I captured (I just did a couple of each type so these are not by any means the best of the captures).  The first one is from a 3D slide of me as a baby. Thennext one is a slide taken about 1980 when we went hang-gliding.

Susie about 1956This picture is me when I was a baby, about 1956. It was copied from a negative.  None of these captures were edited (except for cropping my baby picture) so this is how they came out.  The negatives and slides have been thrown in boxes, kept in sandwich bags and just generally not taken care of. The negatives that were more recent looked better, like the more recent slides (by more recent, I mean the ones taken around 1980).

There is also photo editing software you can buy that will go a long way towards cleaning up the pictures after they are scanned. And it is just that easy.

Keep your memories and take care,

~Susan Mellott

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