Invest in the best slide to digital image converters to ensure your slide-based memories don't get gobbled up by father time. Rather, you can have them converted into a digital format, which should help keep them safe for whatever the future brings.
In fact, by converting your slides, and negatives, into digital form it also means you can copy, print and share them more easily, allowing others to enjoy the images too. Want to get those slide shots onto your digital photo frame? Perhaps you'd like them on your smartphone or tablet? Or have them ready to send off to be printed to mount on your wall. Whatever you want to do with the photos, having them in digital format makes these options possible.
You can also enhance the images, either by using a professional service or by using one of the best photo editing software (opens in new tab). This could enable you to appreciate details in the original that had been lost until now. Some image converters even let you edit and enhance the slide or negative right there on the touchscreen, so it arrives in digital format better than you've seen it before.
Alternatively, you can use one of the best photo scanning services (opens in new tab) but this involves postage, time, cost and perhaps more effort than doing them yourself at home. Of course if you have a lot to do this might work out better. Decided to do it yourself? Read on to find the best gadget partner to help you get the job done right.
Kodak Slide N Scan |
was $199.99, now $179.99 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
This slide scanner and slide to digital image converter by renowned brand Kodak is on sale this Black Friday. We rated this converter the best for ease of use out of all the models we assessed, and partly liked the large 5-inch color LCD display and the continuous feed option it provides.
The best slide to digital image converters(opens in new tab)
This machine scored full marks in our testing process, thanks to its ability to handle multiple formats and its easy-to-use interface. It also packs a generously large 4.3-inch screen, which made it easy to check the scan quality of images and do some basic tweaking. On top of this, the Titan has one of the highest quality sensors we found (20MP) which equates to better quality digital images. Despite all of these features, this is still a compact and lightweight machine, available at a reasonable price.
Most of the image converters we tested are compatible with 35mm slides and film negatives, but the Wolverine Titan also supports 110 slides and film, 126 slides and film, and even Super 8 film. This versatility makes it ideal if you need to convert a variety of media formats.
However, this converter can’t digitize physical photo prints. In our tests, the scanning process was straightforward thanks to the included plastic frame holders and labeled slots at the base of the device. It is a stand-alone scanner, so it works without a connection to a computer, though you can connect the Titan to a TV for an improved viewing experience.
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Don’t let the price tag on this machine fool you. It’s a capable little gadget, which was more than capable of handling our old negatives and slides. The only real issue we had with this machine was that it packs a very small display, but you can easily plug it into your TV screen, PC or MacBook for a better viewing experience.
This gadget also ships with a lot of helpful additional tools. It comes with a soft brush for cleaning dust and other debris off your film and slides, along with a user manual, TV cable, power cable and plastic frame trays to hold your media during the conversion process.
Each of the included frame trays has a notch on the bottom, so you can only slide it in so far; to cycle through photos, you have to push in a new slide or piece of film manually. Buttons for navigating the converter’s menu are located along the top of the device. It has all the standard buttons, as does the software’s menu, except for editing options.
However, that’s a common omission for this type of product. As we tested, we felt like some of the selections could be more intuitively labeled – for example, it says “film” when “film type” might have made it more intuitive. The converter works with 35mm, 110 and 126 film and slides as well as Super 8 film. Once digitized, images seemed to be of decent quality overall but certainly not the best we saw – they looked slightly overexposed and had a bluish tint.
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If you're here looking for photo scanners, and not just slide converters, then the Plustek Z300 is for you. It's a compact, simple photo scanner, which will happily scan and digitize an old 6x4 photo in about 2-3 seconds. It connects directly to a PC or Mac, and will send the digital file to your hard drive instantly. From there you can use the scanner's built-in editor to crop and resize images, or opt to do closer image work with specialized photo editing software.
What we love about this device is the speed at which it scans, and how easily it'll chew through large batches of images. It'll even protect your pictures too, with smooth rollers that feed the photo through the machine itself.
The downside here is that it'll only do photos. And while it's fast, you can get similar results with most modern printers, which cost less than the $200 this regularly retails for. We recommend this if you've got a lot of old photos and want to get them digitized quickly. If you're working with photos, film, and 35mm slides... you'll need to combine this with another device on this list.
Best photo slideshow software (opens in new tab) | Best photo organizing software (opens in new tab) | best photo editing software (opens in new tab) | Best photo prints online (opens in new tab) | Best photo scanning (opens in new tab)
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Weighing in at just 0.6 pounds, the Sharper Image Slide & Negative Converter is a great portable image converter. With the on-screen interface available in seven languages, it’s a useful tool for any workspace. The device’s small stature does not mean it has decreased functionality, in comparison with the other image converters we tested.
However, despite its compatibility with standard 35mm film and slides, the Sharper Image digitizer lacks compatibility with any other type of film or slides. And like many other converters, it cannot process physical photo prints.
The Sharper Image converter uses a 14MP sensor to scan and digitize your photos, and even offers manual and automatic exposure adjustment in order to make sure they look great. It is moderately easy to use, with a basic interface and a few buttons that are clearly labeled. The converter comes with a cleaning brush, a user manual and well-made plastic frame trays, which hold your slides and film securely during the conversion process. The biggest downside is that the converter does not come with any internal storage or an SD card.
The converter does not work without an inserted SD card, which means you must buy one on top of the cost of the device. Even so, it’s worth considering because of its ease of use and sleek, portable form factor.
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The Kodak Scanza is a powerful and capable slide to digital image converter. It combines great ease of use with extensive film format compatibility and storage capacity. The device has a sleek, small design that makes it easy to use and store. It has a plastic design and feels lightweight yet sturdy.
The only thing we didn’t like about its physical design was the incredibly short cord, which may restrict how much you can move it around while using it. It does, however, ship with three plug types, which is handy should you decide to travel with it or ship it to an international friend overseas.
The included plastic frame trays are easy to open up and maneuver. In our tests, they never got stuck and always moved smoothly. Once you’ve got an image lined up within the scanner, you can flip it horizontally and vertically if needed.
The buttons atop the device are clearly labeled and intuitive, and you can set the interface to run in one of eight languages as needed. In our tests, images seen before scanning appeared well lit by the Scanza, with blues, reds and greens showing up nicely and accurately. The resultant digitized photos looked extremely impressive.
If you have slides or negatives, in color or black and white, then the Kodak Slide N Scan is a good option on your shortlist of potential converters. A big sell is that large 5-inch color LCD display but it's also backed by onboard editing software making for quick outputs without the need for a computer. It's worth noting that this is automated, allowing you to scan in and enhance images with a single press of the "Scan" button. A continuous feed makes this a great option for flying through lots and lots of negatives at speed.
There are very few downsides to speak of here although the fact you have to update the time and date everytime you power back on isn't ideal.
Usefully there is an SD card slot so you can output to photo files on a solid state media format right away. You also have a wide variety of film and negative adapters to include 135, 110 and 126 film.
How we tested the best slide to digital image converters
We spent more than 60 hours testing and researching the best slide to digital image converters, gathering information about older media formats and noting the most popular sizes for converting slides. Then, we conducted hands-on testing with the best products on the market to find out the things you can’t learn from a specs sheet. We ran various formats of media through the machines to test their user-friendliness, features, performance, efficacy and end results.
What to look for in a slide to digital converter
You need to buy the right converter to suit the format of media you want made digital. As such, you'll need to make a decision from the outset on what type you need, be it 35mm slides, film, physical prints or Super 8. There are a few options that will cover off film, slides and prints in one model, but not Super 8. So grab the one you need for the bulk of jobs and you could, potentially, send the rest off to a specialist service for conversion.
As with most gadget buys you may have price as a limiting factor. The range of models reviewed here is between $150 and $350, so there should be something for most needs. But you can splash out over $1,000 if you want a truly professional finish or want to bulk scan. The more affordable models should be enough for most needs though.
If you are going for an option that means you need to scan a negative or a slide at a time, it's important to think about time being consumed. You're going to be spending about a minute per slide to get converted at decent quality. If you want to go faster, or do bulk conversions, it might be worth using a professional service, or splashing out on a top-end machine.
Quality is, of course, of great importance as you'll likely want to have the best end result from the starting format. While resolution here means more pixels on the image, that is simply detail, so going for the highest MP number won't necessarily enhance the image – it just means you can blow up the shot larger, for prints perhaps, without losing quality.
Color and exposure
Another area to consider when it comes to quality is color and exposure. Some machines will let you make adjustments to these details as you input the slide or negative for conversion. While many automate this process for ease there are some that give you greater control over levels of individual colors of green, red and blue and brightness so you can get it exactly as you want.
Most converters do come with screens but these are only about 2.5-inches so with all the above editing features this lack of clarity is worth keeping in mind. In fact it's usually best to edit on your computer where the clarity is better. That in mind, going for a smaller machine to save space is an option, although most average the size of a football, roughly. Some come with SD card readers as well as scanners so that's a design feature worth looking out for if you want to scan from negative direct to memory card without a computer at all.
On the subject of standalone converters, are these best or should you go for one that needs a computer? As mentioned above, if you want to edit the images then a computer based device is best. But if you simply want to get the negatives or slides onto a memory stick then you could save money and time by going for a standalone device that cuts out the computer middleman.
While most converters are made to be user friendly, there are also lots of resources available to offer help and support. From online guides and FAQs to community support forums, there's plenty available from many of the manufacturers. The best companies also give you a point of contact so should you have any specific issues you can contact staff to get help directly.