Dec 062011

There are slide scanners that you can buy that do a pretty good job.  But, how are you going to decide which of your old slides to scan?  You’ll probably need to project them and take a look before you can decide right?  Well, why not just snap a digital picture of the ones you want to keep as you project them?

The easy way to scan slides

Set up a Slide Show

You might even get out the popcorn and serve some wine to your family or friends while having one last slide show of your old slides. 

Jim being the projectionist
Jim being the projectionist

Here’s my camera on a tripod with a slide being projected.
Take a digital picture of a projected slide

This made it so easy and fun.  We watched several trays of slides and I just clicked the shutter every time there was a slide I wanted to keep.  I had to experiment with the settings a little, but not much.  Half of the time I even used my automatic point-and-shoot camera.  The biggest issue was being careful that the projected image was in focus before snapping the shutter.

Here is the resulting picture from the slide shown above:

Picture taken from a slide

With a couple clicks in Picasa after the fact, they come out pretty good. 

Here’s how an image looked just by snapping a photo of the projection screen.  Notice I didn’t even worry about capturing the vertical image.  I left the camera set up the same for every slide.
Slide before Picasa
Here’s the picture after a simple crop, straighten, and ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ in Picasa. 

Slide after Picasa

Would they have come out better if I used a slide scanner instead?  Maybe.  Certainly if I had them professionally scanned.  Meanwhile, if I had to wait till I decided which slides to scan, bought a scanner, and then went thru the scanning process – it might never get done.  This way, after a couple of evenings, I’m finished!  it was fun and free.  Now I have some precious pictures of my Mom’s travels from before digital cameras. This one is from her trek in Nepal in 1990.

Picture from slide - Mom in Nepal 1980

If you have slides – give it a shot!  What do you have to lose?

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

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