To prevent images immortalized on your old slides from deteriorating over time, you can solve the problem by digitizing them.

Of course, if you are a professional photographer, you are forced to focus on a scanner that ensures very high performance, an expense that is useless if you do not do this activity.

Let’s see what are the characteristics that the best scanner for slides and negatives must-have.

Here we are providing the best slide viewer for you that are listed below.

RANK NO. 1
DIGITNOW!35mm Slide and Film Viewer, 3X Magnification LED Lighted Illuminated...
  • 3X MAGINIFICATION GLASS SCREEN: Most slides and films are ultra-small, our Built-in Magnifier can magnify the image 3 times...
  • PORTABLE: Suitable for 2x2" mounted slides (need to be inserted into the back of the viewer) and 35mm film and negatives....
  • EASY TO USE: Desktop Portable Viewer with eject button and sliding tray for easy use in the studio or at home.
  • ULTRA-BRIGHT BACKLIT LIGHT BOX: Large field of view, ultra-bright Daylight LED Lighting, presents images in vivid, crystal-clear...
  • REAPPEAR OLD MEMORIES OF LIFE: The personal slide viewer allows everyone to Memory the Past by Enlarging and Lighting 35mm slides,...
RANK NO. 2
KODAK 35mm Slide and Film Viewer - Battery Operation, 3X Magnification, LED...
  • OLD MEMORIES COME TO LIFE – Personal Slide Viewer Provides a Glimpse Into the Past by Enlarging and Lighting 35MM Slides & Film...
  • POWERFUL BACKLIT LIGHT BOX – Large Viewing Area Features Ultra Bright Daylight LED Illumination to Render Images in Vivid,...
  • TRIPLE THE MAGNIFICATION – Since Most Slides & Films are Super Small, Our Built-In Magnifier Lens Enlarges Images by 3X Without...
  • JUST POP IN THE SLIDE TO SEE – Dedicated Slide Slot & Film Input Allow You to Load & Look in an Instant; Quick-Eject Button...
  • INCREDIBLE PORTABILITY – Convenient Battery Operation Lets You View Old Slides Anywhere in the World (Can also be DC powered, DC...
RANK NO. 3
DIGITNOW 35mm Slide Viewer, 3X Magnification and Desk Top LED Lighted...
  • Personal Slide Viewer comes with a 3x magnification effect, which is convenient for you to use the film scanner to view the film....
  • Super Bright BACKLIT LIGHT BOX –The film and slide scanners use large field of view lenses, with 3X magnification function, the...
  • 3x Magnified Glass Screen – The newly upgraded film and slide scanner uses nano-coated glass lens, the light is heated evenly,...
  • Pop-up in the slideshow to switch photos-equipped with a dedicated slideshow slot and film input, so you can load and view...
  • Convenient-- Desk Top Portable Viewer, Have Eject Button and Slide Tray,Use in Studio or at Home.(You can use DC cable or AA...
RANK NO. 4
35mm Slide and Film Viewer, Negative Viewer, Desk Top LED Lighted Illuminated...
  • Relive Old Memories: TCNEWCL Slide and Film Viewer allows to enlarge and light 2X2" slides and 35mm film negatives. Relive the...
  • 3X Magnification: With Built-In Magnifier Lens enlarges images by 3X magnification, we are able to view the small slide and film...
  • LED Bright Lighting: Viewing with LED Lighted Illuminated makes Images in vivid, crystal clear detail.
  • Easy to use: Dedicated Slide Slot & Film Input are easy for you to load and look in an instant. Removes slide by Quick-Eject...
  • Incredible Portability: No matter where you are, you can view on a Desk Top anytime. Battery or USB powered operation. (USB power...
RANK NO. 5
Rybozen 35 mm Slide Viewer Illuminated Slide Projector for for 2X2 & 35mm Photos...
  • [Reproduce your old memories] --- The personal slideshow viewer enlarges and lights up 35mm slides and film negatives for everyone...
  • [2x magnification glass screen]---This scanner uses a polymer glass screen, high-definition, translucent. Since most slides and...
  • [High-quality luminous box]---Large field of view, ultra-bright daylight LED lighting can present vivid, crystal clear and...
  • [Easy to use]---Desktop portable viewer, small in size, can be used when you put a film or tray from the side, suitable for use at...
  • [Small size]---The whole is only the size of a palm, especially suitable for outdoor photography. The shell is made of...
RANK NO. 6
35 mm Film & Slide Viewer, 2X LED Illuminated Viewing Slide Projector for Old...
  • LED Slide Viewer - LED light with ON/OFF switch. Slide viewer for viewing old slides and 35 mm Film Negatives.
  • 2X Magnification Glass Screen - DGODRT built-in magnifier magnifies the image by up to 2x without distortion, blurring or loss of...
  • Lightweight Portable Design - 210g light weight and small size, 12x8x7 cm (4.7''x3.2''x2.8''). Suitable for 2X2" mounted slides,...
  • Easy to use - Desktop Portable Viewer. Install 2 AAA batteries (included), insert the slide and turn on the LED switch to activate...
  • Package - Mini Slide Viewer *1, AAA Batteries*2 and User Manual*1, We will provide you with a one year warranty, if you have any...
RANK NO. 7
35mm Slide Viewer, Film Negative and Slide Viewer with 3X Magnification and LED...
  • Relive Beautiful Memories: DGODRT desktop portable slide viewer can enlarge and light up your old slides, 35mm film, negatives and...
  • 3X Magnification Glass Screen: Because your slide and film slips are very small, our slide viewer can enlarges images by 3X,...
  • LED Lighted Illuminated: Our large viewing screen is a super bright LED bulb behind the glass observation zone, which can...
  • Quick view: Our product has a dedicated slide slot and film input slot so you can get a slide, insert it into the top slot and the...
  • Lightweight Portable Design: This duty mini slide viewer is very lightweight which is only 17.5oz (495g) weight, and the...
RANK NO. 8
35mm Slide and Film Viewer, 2X Magnification Negative Viewer, Desk Top LED...
  • LED Slide Viewer: TCNEWCL Slide Viewer is used to view old slides and 35 mm film negatives. LED light with ON/OFF switch.
  • 2X Magnification: The built-in glass screen magnifier magnifies the image 2X to see every detail of the negative. There's no...
  • Easy to use: Compared with similar products in the market, it is easier to change the batteries by gently snapping the bottom...
  • Lightweight and portable: 210 grams Lightweight and compact 12x8x7 cm (4.7''x3.2''x2.8''). Suitable for 2X2" mounted slides, 35mm...
  • Package and Description: Slide Viewer*1, AAA Batteries*2 and User's Manual*1.If you have any questions, please contact us, TCNEWCL...
SaleRANK NO. 9
Kodak Slide N SCAN Film and Slide Scanner with Large 5” LCD Screen, Convert...
  • SAVE OLD PHOTO MEMORIES: 1422MP Digital Film Scanner Lets You View, Edit and Convert Your Old Color and BandW Negatives 135, 110,...
  • 5” LCD DISPLAY WITH GALLERY MODE: Features Large, Crystal-Clear Screen with Wide Viewing Angle for Instantly Previewing and...
  • CONVENIENT EASY-LOAD FILM INSERTS: Quick-Feeding Tray Technology Allows for Continuous Loading Action, Making Scanning Fast and...
  • EDITING WITH A SINGLE TOUCH: Advanced Capture Software Enhances, Resizes and Converts Photos Via Easy ‘Scan’ Button—No...
  • SUPER CHIC. UBER COMPATIBLE: Device Handles All Your Old Slides and Negatives, Supports SD or SDHC Cards Up to 32GB (NOT INCLUDED)...
RANK NO. 10
Eyesen Slide Viewer Light Box, Ultra-Thin A4 USB Powered Light Scanner for Photo...
  • 【Ultra-Thin and Large】Light panel is only 0.2 inches. The viewable area is slightly larger than A4 size. It can put multiple...
  • 【Ideal Light Source】The brightness of the light can be adjusted in 3 levels. the LED light makes the illumination more even,...
  • 【Convert Slides and Negatives to Digital Images】It provides a perfect backlight for old slides and negatives. It can be used...
  • 【Multiple Power Supply Options】A free USB power cable is included to connect to a PC, laptop, mobile power or USB charger....
  • 【Best Gift】It can be given as a gift to friends who like tracing, drawing, sketching, calligraphy, and viewing film negatives....
RANK NO. 11
Rybozen 35mm Slide Viewer, 3X Magnification and Desk Top LED Lighted Illuminated...
  • Personal Slide Viewer comes with a 3x magnification effect, which is convenient for you to use the film scanner to view the film....
  • Super Bright BACKLIT LIGHT BOX –The film and slide scanners use large field of view lenses, with 3X magnification function, the...
  • 3x Magnified Glass Screen – The newly upgraded film and slide scanner uses nano-coated glass lens, the light is heated evenly,...
  • Pop-up in the slideshow to switch photos-equipped with a dedicated slideshow slot and film input, so you can load and view...
  • Convenient-- Desk Top Portable Viewer, Have Eject Button and Slide Tray,Use in Studio or at Home.(You can use DC cable or AA...
RANK NO. 12
Slide Viewer Light Box 5600K 12”x8” Ultra-Thin Adjustable Brightness...
  • Ideal Photographic Light Source: Color temperature: 5600K±200k, simulates natural white light to give negatives and slides a...
  • Stepless Brightness Control with Smart Memory Feature: Touch the switch once to turn on/off the light box. Then hold the press of...
  • Super Bright, Even and Flicker-Free Illumination: This light box adopts double-sided LED light design(brightest A4 size light pad...
  • Ultra-Thin with Large Active Area: This light pad is ONLY 0.26 inch thick. Active area 12”x8.3”, the large area makes it more...
  • Type-C USB Interface: This light pad comes with Type-C USB cable. With USB Interface, you can easily find a power source anywhere,...

What to Look for Before Buying Slide Viewer?

1. Termination

Those who decide to digitize their slides or films, whether they are years old or new, have an interest first of all that the digital copy of the analogical support is not only faithful to the original down to the last detail, but in many cases also that its quality is improved by the photo editing technologies available today.

This is why the first and most important feature of a slide scanner is the resolution it is capable of: the higher the resolution, the more detailed and faithful to the original our scans.

Slide scanner several factors contribute to determining the resolution of a scanner, or the type of lamp or photographic sensor used and the number of PPE (dots per inch). Let’s consider these two characteristics separately.

Ccd Lamp

The best quality slide scanners are those that use a lamp that is very similar to those found on flatbed scanners, but much smaller. The use of these lamps allows us to reach a much higher resolution than the use of a photographic sensor, as we will see, but involves a considerable lengthening of the scanning times. Just like in “normal” scanners, in fact, the higher the scan resolution we select, the slower the lamp in the acquisition.

This is also because, in many cases, slide scanners of this type carry out multiple scans of the same film at different exposures., which are used to compose the final image to widen the dynamic contrast as much as possible (of which we speak a little below).

The best slide scanners, in addition to the normal white light lamp, also mount an infrared one: this is typically activated after the end of “normal” scans and is used to accurately detect scratches, stains, specks of dust and other defects of the film.

A simple software processing then takes care of correcting the imperfections thus detected.

Sensor

Before talking about the characteristics of the sensor it is appropriate to briefly explain how a slide scanner equipped with a photographic sensor instead of a lamp works.

The principle is very simple: an LED light source illuminates the slide or film that we want to digitize, and the light beam is imprinted on a photographic sensor located on the opposite side of the lamp.

Sensor slide scanner is the same as a camera, except that instead of natural light there is an artificial light source, and the image is created when light passes through the film.

The photographic sensors, therefore, are the same as the CMOS sensors that are used in digital cameras. CMOS sensors are cheap and quick to process the image.

However, they have the annoying tendency, especially when the number of pixels contained in them is high, to generate a lot of “noise”.

By “noise” we mean the formation of grains in particular in the darker areas of an image, a problem from which the lamps are much less afflicted.
Photosensors are common in low-end slide scanners.

Pixel slide scanner number of pixels contained on a sensor is also important. The similarity with digital cameras also continues in this respect, given that the number of pixels is expressed in mp (megapixels) and can range from 5 Mpofu to the cheapest slide scanners in the 14 of the mid-range models.

DpI

The most immediate expression of the resolution of a slide scanner is the PPE, or the linear points present in a stretch of the image one inch long (2.54 cm). As you can easily guess, a high number of PPE translates into greater detail and definition of the image, therefore in a more faithful translation of the original in digital format. The photo below can give an idea of ​​the differences (click to enlarge):

DPI slide scanner however, a small note must be made regarding the resolution expressed in DPI: this can be referred to as “optical resolution”, or “software resolution”, or else the number of PPE can be followed by the wording “interpolated/interpolated”.

Optical Resolution

It is good to underline that these names are not synonymous: the optical resolution indicates the number of DPI obtained without further graphic processing, in short, that of the image as it is impressed on the sensor or detected by the lamp.

Software Resolution/interpolation

When we instead read “software resolution” or encounter a reference to interpolation we must take into account that these denominations refer to the image reworked to increase its resolution.

What usually happens is that the image is more or less doubled in size, thus widening the “meshes” of the points that make it up. The points that remain “empty” are filled by a software that “guesses”, based on the color of the surrounding points, which color should be inserted to fill the spaces.

Although the interpolation software is now very advanced and produces pleasant results, it is commonly accepted opinion that they cannot rival an optical resolution equal to DPI (3600 interpolated DPI are not perfectly equivalent to 3600 optical DPI).

Dynamic Contrast

There is at least one other parameter that plays a role in the good translation of a film-to-digital image: dynamic contrast.

This is a value expressed on a logarithmic scale that usually in slide scanners does not exceed a value of 4.0 (but more commonly oscillates between 3.5 and 3.8) which can give us an idea of ​​how dark the blacks captured and reproduced by the scanner will be.

The closer the value approaches 4.0, the more intense the black will be.

However, attention must be paid to how manufacturers express the dynamic contrast of their scanners: the correct wording is always “dynamic contrast”, while we must be wary when we find “Dmax” indicated.

Dmax only indicates the maximum density of the film that the scanner can process, which corresponds precisely to the darkest “black” that can be reproduced.

However, density measurement usually takes place in conditions that are very different from normal scanning, i.e. by maximizing the brightness of the lamp and thus losing most of the light tones. For this reason dynamic contrast is a better indicator of the real rendering of dark tones.

2. Formats

It is no less important to consider which types of films a slide scanner can scan, given that the possibility of converting other analog media to digital in addition to the slides also means being able to preserve negatives of various formats.

Scanner slides input formats we then intend to rework the scans obtained with a graphic software, we will also be interested in knowing what the available output formats are, therefore the file formats in which we can translate our analog films. So let’s consider both the input and output formats.

Input Formats

A first characteristic to consider is precisely if the scanner can scan only slides or it also foresees the scanning of negatives. When a negative scan function is present, this is usually also accompanied by an automatic conversion function, which translates the negative autonomously into a positive one.

Dimensions

All slide scanners can scan 35mm side slides. In many cases, however, the scanner is also compatible with other supports, among which the most common is undoubtedly the 35 mm photographic film.

Beyond these, other less common formats are:

Slides 110: smaller than 35 mm, the image is 13 x 17 mm large

  • Slides 126: 26 mm square slides on each side
  • Film 110: negatives developed from old 110 cartridges, containing 13 x 17 mm images
  • Film 126: negatives developed from old 126 cartridges, containing 26mm square side images
  • Super 8: cinematic film with 8mm wide frames

Loaders

Inserting slides or films into the scanner can be done in several ways. The simpler models of scanner for slides foresee the manual insertion of the slides one by one and the manual sliding of the films.

Very often, however, special supports are supplied with the scanner on which to mount a certain number of slides (usually four) or a piece of film. The support is then inserted into the entrance slot and scanning can be done manually or automatically.

Slide scanner scan media high-end slide scanners are the most efficient, as they allow you to use magazines classics for slides that can contain even a hundred. Scanning is automated in these slide scanners.

Output Formats

The output format, i.e. the type of file in which the analog original is converted, is important to consider about the use we must make of our photo.

Compressed and low-resolution formats are suitable for online uploading, while high-resolution uncompressed formats are ideal for advanced photo editing.

All slide scanners produce compressed images in .jpg format, almost always with the possibility of choosing between different levels of resolution. The more advanced models also allow conversion to other compressed formats, such as .jp2.

If we are interested in uncompressed formats, we will have to look for a slide scanner explicitly capable of producing images in .tiff format. Not being compressed, files in this format have a considerably greater weight than .jpg files, but have the advantage of reproducing precisely all the pixels generated by the sensor.

It is also interesting to note that some models also offer the possibility of converting the image directly into formats for photo editing, for example in .psd for processing in Photoshop.

3. Functions

Another very interesting aspect to evaluate in a slide scanner are the functions it has. These devices do not always simply scan and translate our slides or negatives into digital format, in fact almost always others are added to this operation, whether automated or not.

These operations naturally concern the improvement of the acquired images, and we can distinguish them between automated functions and “on board” photo editing.

Automated Functions

In many cases, often even in the cheapest slide scanners, there are some automated correction functions.

The most common of these is the automatic correction of colors and exposure, two useful retouches in particular when we are scanning very old slides and colors now altered by time.

Two other automatic functions quite common in medium-high end devices are the cancellation of scratches and dust.

The presence of a dust cleaning function does not mean, however, that we can avoid dusting our slides before scanning them: this preliminary step is indeed always recommended to optimize the result.

Onboard Photo Editing

When we talk about “on board” photo editing we refer to all those operations that can be performed on the scanned images directly on the slide scanner, without the aid of a computer.

Not all slide scanners offer this possibility, indeed some are completely devoid of display and therefore do not show even a small preview of the scan.

When the display and onboard retouching options are present, however, these can be more or less extended. In the most common cases we can carry out the same changes described above, i.e. the correction of colors and exposure, the cancellation of scratches and cleaning from dust.

All these actions can be performed both manually, image by image, and automatically for all slides.

Software Provided

Almost always, a slide scanner is supplied with software for processing the scanned images, to be installed naturally on your computer. The quality of this software is highly variable, greatly oscillating the number of operations that can be performed on images.

SilverFast slide scanner simplest software does not go beyond the simple four basic functions that we have already exposed, while the best ones allow a truly profound level of intervention.

In some cases, some manufacturers offer high-quality software such as SilverFast together with their slide scanners, which is rightly considered one of the best software of this type (the screenshot above shows this software in action).

The level of control over the image is very wide and detailed, giving great satisfaction especially to those who are already experts in photomanipulation.

4. Connectivity and Memory

Finally, the last considerations we can make before purchasing a slide scanner relate to how the scans work and save.

There are some differences between the various slide scanner models on the market which depend substantially on the mode of operation of each one, that is to say, depending on whether the scanner can operate autonomously or must be connected to a computer.

Stand-Alone Slide Scanner

Among the most common and inexpensive slide scanners we find the “stand-alone” ones, usually very compact models that preferably operate autonomously, without requiring connection to a computer.

Stand-alone slide scanner this type of slide scanner always has a small integrated display with a keypad for viewing the scan preview and for making some “on board” corrections. Of course the scans made and retouched must also be saved, for this reason the “stand-alone” slide scanners are equipped with an internal memory or, more often, with an SD or MicroSD card slot.

Peripheral Slide Scanner

On the contrary, often the best quality slide scanners need the USB connection to a computer to function. This is because these are usually larger devices, capable of automatically loading even a large number of slides.

Peripheral slide scanner most cases only a few tweaks are available “on board”, while a rather sophisticated photographic editing software allows us to complete the work on the computer. Even saving the scans, therefore, takes place on the computer’s hard drive.

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