The best slide to digital image converters are designed to protect your precious memories, preserving them in a digital format so that they'll still exist even if something happened to the physical slide.
While preserving your slides and negatives is simply a practical way to prevent losing them, using a slide to digital image converter is also a great way to give the images a new lease of life as well. After all, what good are they collecting dust in your attic when you could be displaying them in a photo frame?
Digitizing your images also gives you the opportunity to try your hand at giving them a fresh look with one of the best photo editing software (opens in new tab). This means that you could even bring out details that might not have been visible until now. Excitingly, some image converters even enable you to edit and enhance the image on the slide or negative straightaway using the touchscreen. This means that you don't even have to wait until you've uploaded the image to your home computer (opens in new tab).
Best slide to digital image converters
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We've rounded up the best slide to digital image converters to help you find the right one for you. While we endeavor to review every product that we highlight in our buying guides, we're still in the process of reviewing some of the converters we've featured here. However, we've summed up the key specs, features and user reviews to help you make the right decision for you.
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.
This slide to digital image converter from Magnasonic has a bounty of great features, including the ability to convert your slides and negatives into 24MP JPEGs in just five seconds.
With an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 with over 1,900 global ratings on Amazon, there are clearly plenty of things to love about this converter. Positive reviews mention that this converter is "cheap, efficient and worth it" and that there is a "very minimal learning curve". However, some negative reviews aren't happy with the quality of the scanned images.
This scanner is also capable of converting a huge range of sizes, including 35mm/ 110/ 126/ Super 8 film and 125/ 126/ 110 slides. While there's a respectably sized 5-inch LCD screen that you can view your scanned images on, you're also able to view them directly on a TV or monitor using one of the best HDMI cables (opens in new tab).
This Magnasonic converter is also capable of editing your images as well, which means that you can cut out the middle man of your computer. The Magnasonic can adjust brightness, color and can also flip images too. There are also seven film format options to help make sure that the scanning process is as precise as possible.
With 128MB of built-in memory, you can store up to 50 images on your scanner until you're ready to download them onto your computer with a USB cable. However, if you use an SD card, then you can scan and save up to 20,000 images. If purchasing through Amazon, you should have the option to add on three negative film holder trays, three slide film holder trays or a 32GB SD card.
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If you're here looking for photo scanners, and not just slide converters, then the Plustek Z300 is for you.
With an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 on Amazon with over 7,000 reviews, this is a well-rated product. Positive reviews mention the speed in which it performs, saying "this scanner operates remarkably fast even in the 600 dpi mode". However, some users have experienced issues with the Plustek software.
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.
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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.
This scanner has received an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 with over 10,000 global ratings on Amazon. Positive reviews mention that the scanner is "good value for the dollar" with "fast, sharp images". However, the "color balance needs work" and there's "too much compression".
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.
This Kodak scanner has received an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 with 130 global ratings on Amazon. Positive reviews are particularly happy with the "quick, easy and economical" nature of the scanning. However, this goes hand-in-hand with users saying that the quality of the scans is average and "acceptable", rather than being particularly impressive.
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've 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. We're also in the process of conducting 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.