Help & Support
Best Slide to Digital Image Converters
How Can a Slide to Digital Image Converter Help You?
We spent more than 30 hours testing 12 slide to digital image converters in our lab with a variety of film, slides and print sizes and found the best tool for updating outdated film mediums is the Wolverine Titan. The Titan is compatible with most common film negatives, slides and prints of different sizes and anyone can use it, as it has the largest display screen of any converter on the market for easy image preview.
The Wolverine F2D Mighty has a 20MP output resolution, which can produce detailed digital copies of your old Super 8 film, 35 mm film and slides. This high-resolution scanner is also incredibly easy to use.
The less-expensive ION Film 2 SD Plus is a good budget option. It has a slightly lower output resolution (14MP) than the Wolverine F2D Mighty, but it can digitize more film types than other machines in the same price range.
Slide to Digital Image Converters: How We Tested and What We Found
Every slide to digital converter can convert 35 mm film to a digital format, so we specifically looked for slide scanners that also work with other types of media, including 126 slides, Super 8 film and physical prints. When choosing a converter, it’s best to start with a good idea of the kinds of media you want to digitize.
The best slide to digital image converters come with a plastic frame to hold the film and keep it flat. High-quality plastic frames should allow you to gently maneuver film or slides without bending, damaging or smudging them.
The output resolution of a slide to digital image converter indicates how clear the digital images will be in megapixels (MP.) A larger output resolution will mean a clearer and more detailed digitized image. This also means you can enlarge the image while still retaining quality, and higher-resolution images can be easier to edit.
Keep in mind that these converters can’t make a low-quality image suddenly clearer. If you have a fuzzy old photo, you won’t end up with a high-resolution image. A small, low-resolution film will not necessarily look better digitized, nor will it hold up if you’re hoping to blow it up to an enormous size. The software within these machines can’t work that level of miracle. Given this, we mildly favored converters that claim a 32GB output resolution, but we didn’t heavily penalize those that don’t in our rankings.
What you can expect are slight improvements thanks to the image-editing options built into these devices. Many include exposure and color balance options, which let you brighten a dark image or adjust the coloring. Some scanners include a companion CD with even more image editing software compatible with both PC and Mac. Even with the accompanying disc, none of the converters have extensive editing abilities, especially compared to powerhouse programs like Adobe Photoshop. All you can really do is slightly brighten or darken a photo, or tweak the red-blue-green composition.
Most of the converters we reviewed are capable of standalone operation and don’t need to be connected to a computer to function. Some units also have rechargeable batteries so you’re not tethered to an outlet.
Most models let you save images to an SD card to view on a compatible device, and many also have aa TV-out jack so you can display images on your TV. If you don’t need to see a large, high-definition version of your images, any unit with an on-board screen will let you preview all the images that you’ve saved.
Slide scanners generally fall under one of two builds: a small unit about the size of a grapefruit meant solely for slides and negatives, or a larger unit roughly twice as big and capable of handling slides, negatives and multiple sizes of physical prints. No unit weighs more than 5 pounds, so they’re easy to move around.
Most converters require an SD card to work, so the best models include a card in the package. Some devices are also accompanied by the necessary cables and a user manual. We found converters with cables and ports located in the rear of the device are easiest to use because they keep the wires out of your way. We also favored devices with SD card ports located on or near the front of the device for easy accessibility.
Models with built-in color screens give you a preview of your images before and after converting. Most measure around 2.5 inches, so while they give you an idea of how your photos will look once converted, the preview is small. Screens that were angled upward slightly were easier to view on a table than those that faced forward.
In addition to displaying an image preview, some screens let you select a format, adjust color and exposure, or view all the images you’ve converted so far. Most of the devices we tested have similar menus with the same set of choices, though a few, like the Sharper Image Slide & Negative Converter, are particularly easy to navigate.
Help & Support
For the most part, these devices are designed to be user-friendly, with simple interfaces and handy user manuals that come in the box. Manufacturers also provide you with multiple resources to troubleshoot problems or show you how to use a certain feature. Most companies also host informational resources on their websites, like video tutorials, user manuals, a FAQs section or even a community user forum. Company websites also give you at least one way to contact customer service should you ever need to talk to them.
With these converters, your cherished collections of memories needn’t spend a dust-covered eternity in the attic. The right machine will preserve your memories so you can easily view and share them whenever you want.
Contributing Reviewer: Anna Burleson