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Looking for reputable company in the USA where I can have slides/film converted into digital


Grace
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I am new to the forum - so hello!

I am looking for a company in the U.S. where I can have pre-digital era slides/film converted into digital resulting in a high enough quality photo that can be accepted by Alamy.  

Thanks so much for any help.

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3 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

But you suspect that they're going to crowd-please with the processing (nice and contrasty as with the example) and not leave much headroom for prep for Alamy.

Yes, and with jpegs you'd be stuck with it. Certainly recommend the OP looks into the DIY route.

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6 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

Ah, right, about 4000px long side then. That is very reasonable. But you suspect that they're going to crowd-please with the processing (nice and contrasty as with the example) and not leave much headroom for prep for Alamy. That would probably still be a bit low for QC.

Even at that price, my 6000 would have cost about £2000 to scan Although if paying, I'd have been a lot fussier.

Still plenty of leeway for a DIY budget.

 

Maybe those of us who know how to copy slides should consider offering a service?? It could be more lucrative (on a revenue per image basis) than selling images as stock hereabouts:wacko:. Although reliably meeting Alamy QC standards would be a challenge depending on the quality of the film stock and original camera/lens used.

 

Mark 

Edited by M.Chapman
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28 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

Maybe those of us who know how to copy slides should consider offering a service?? It could be more lucrative (on a revenue per image basis) than selling images as stock hereabouts:wacko:. Although reliably meeting Alamy QC standards would be a challenge depending on the quality of the film stock and original camera/lens used.

 

Mark 

Mark, that sounds like a great idea.  Hopefully you will get some replies from others you can do this with!  Thank you for your excellent information regarding my question.  Grace

 

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1 hour ago, M.Chapman said:

 

Maybe those of us who know how to copy slides should consider offering a service?? It could be more lucrative (on a revenue per image basis) than selling images as stock hereabouts:wacko:. Although reliably meeting Alamy QC standards would be a challenge depending on the quality of the film stock and original camera/lens used.

 

Mark 

 

The idea of offering a premium service has crossed my mind but only in passing as something for an unknown future and it would probably not be lucrative. There are a lot of potential problems, not least the quality and preservation state of the originals. I keep my own slides very clean and it takes a minimum of say 30 minutes to copy and process one. What if you get dirty,  poorly mounted slides - how would you price that. You would need serious insurance against loss or damage as well as professional indemnity insurance. 

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50 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

The idea of offering a premium service has crossed my mind but only in passing as something for an unknown future and it would probably not be lucrative. There are a lot of potential problems, not least the quality and preservation state of the originals. I keep my own slides very clean and it takes a minimum of say 30 minutes to copy and process one. What if you get dirty,  poorly mounted slides - how would you price that. You would need serious insurance against loss or damage as well as professional indemnity insurance. 

 

If Dwayne's is charging $8 per scan, they're probably spending around ten minutes or less per scan.  Assuming automated scanning can use lightly skilled labor, that's still going to be something for the kid running the machine, something for the people doing the bookkeeping and shipping, plus overhead for the facilities plus profit for the owner/shareholders. 

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3 hours ago, spacecadet said:

It's much worse than that, as I read it the $8 is for scanning the whole 135/36 roll after processing.

 

The upper level for very professional scans that I'd seen in the past was something like $50 and up for drum scans, and that was a while back.   I have massaged some scans to get files accepted by Alamy in the past.

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Just to add,

 

Based on my own experience, photographing 35mm slides or negatives has not

worked well for me.  2 1/4 and up has been fine, but I've not been happy with the

35mm.  The CanoScan FS 4000 along with VueScan 64 has worked well for me.  FYI

I am using a middle-aged PC running Windows 10 64bit.

 

Another very important solution for film is: PEC-12 for cleaning film.  I do not use

any auto retouching during the scanning.

 

Chuck

 

Just to add, I never scan of copy a "mounted" 35mm slide.  I always remove the emulsion

from the mount.

Edited by Chuck Nacke
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6 hours ago, MDM said:

The idea of offering a premium service has crossed my mind but only in passing as something for an unknown future and it would probably not be lucrative. There are a lot of potential problems, not least the quality and preservation state of the originals. I keep my own slides very clean and it takes a minimum of say 30 minutes to copy and process one. What if you get dirty,  poorly mounted slides - how would you price that. You would need serious insurance against loss or damage as well as professional indemnity insurance. 

Yes - it's flashed through my mind too. Although, as you know, my camera (Lumix G7) is nowhere near as good as your Nikon kit for digitising slides due to its limited dynamic range/noise issues, so I'd have to invest quite a bit. I suppose if the "deal" was to supply RAW files only (no retouching) with only basic dust removal (blower/brush) then it would be pretty easy to digitise a slide/minute with the DSLR route. Whether the end result would meet Alamy QC would then be down to the purchaser to assess and retouch the raw file as needed. No warranties would be given and damages limited to a full refund of the order value. Just musing.

 

Mark

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40 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

Yes - it's flashed through my mind too. Although, as you know, my camera (Lumix G7) is nowhere near as good as your Nikon kit for digitising slides due to its limited dynamic range/noise issues, so I'd have to invest quite a bit. I suppose if the "deal" was to supply RAW files only (no retouching) with only basic dust removal (blower/brush) then it would be pretty easy to digitise a slide/minute with the DSLR route. Whether the end result would meet Alamy QC would then be down to the purchaser to assess and retouch the raw file as needed. No warranties would be given and damages limited to a full refund of the order value. Just musing.

 

Mark

 

I don't think a slide a minute would be achievable even with an ES-1 as you need to get it properly fixed in the holder and focus, as well as basically taking it out of whatever it is packed in, blow any loose dust off, ensure the mount is flat and possibly remount if necessary. I would not touch someone else's slide with anything - just a blower with no brush. I would estimate about 12 copies an hour just to produce raw images. You would also need to check the focus on a computer screen as a minimum check. You would need a really good physical setup where you are not straining yourself physically (or mentally as the whole process would be very tedious if doing it as a business).

 

That is why I would think more of a premium service with post-processing included rather than mass production but charge decent money for it if people were willing to pay for the whole skill set. It could even include printing (outsourced). I am not thinking of Alamy QC here at all but that would be the basic standard to aim for if the originals were up to scratch. 

 

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I've digitised several thousands of my 35mm slides at a rate of 1 magazine (50 slides) in 30 mins to produce the RAW files. Admittedly they are pretty clean and held in a slide projector magazine so are easy to extract, but I did brush and blower each. I have a 3 pin mount to push the mounted slide against so registration is not an issue. Focussing is automatic (mirrorless system using contrast based AF). Exposure is set on the fly (camera histogram + on screen live view). But you're right, that's an ideal, my slides are already pretty clean and I'm happy to crop out the frame and clone the odd bit of dust out in PP. Throughput rate would depend heavily on the slides supplied, what they were held in, whether they had stayed flat and how clean they are. Post Processing to Alamy standards - which I wasn't including in my estimate of throughput (or service) can take much, much, much longer, at least 15-30 mins / slide.

 

I think another key difference between my system and yours (MDM) is that I'm using a MFD sensor with lower pixel count than your FF system. So I'm targeting a lower standard and some errors (eg. focus accuracy across frame) are less noticeable in my lower MP images. The more MP, the more demanding it gets.

 

The thought of offering a basic service has flashed though my mind.... and probably won't be returning...

 

I agree - The idea of a premium service (to meet Alamy QC standards), for pre-inspected slides only, is more attractive, or maybe a "slide image restoration" service? They could both offer a better financial return and more "job satisfaction".

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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2 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

(50 slides) in 30 mins

I managed a bit better than that from file sheets, but I wouldn't want to charge for the service. Too many variables to get a reasonable return and there's always the problem of buyer remorse- these would be images that had been unseen for decades and people might have too high an expectation.

I assume it has to be jpegs for reasons of compatibility- would most non-professionals be able to decode a RAW?

Anyway as a by-product of my setup a few years ago I now have a system whereby I can pull an image from my files and get a scan in under half an hour, which suits my purposes. I have done it twice recently for friends/clients for the funeral breakfasts which was appreciated. The process is so different from 20 years ago- print your own and put it in a frame, or put the scans on a tablet, in no time. But it's not a business.

Edited by spacecadet
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5 hours ago, spacecadet said:

I managed a bit better than that from file sheets, but I wouldn't want to charge for the service. Too many variables to get a reasonable return and there's always the problem of buyer remorse- these would be images that had been unseen for decades and people might have too high an expectation.

I assume it has to be jpegs for reasons of compatibility- would most non-professionals be able to decode a RAW?

Anyway as a by-product of my setup a few years ago I now have a system whereby I can pull an image from my files and get a scan in under half an hour, which suits my purposes. I have done it twice recently for friends/clients for the funeral breakfasts which was appreciated. The process is so different from 20 years ago- print your own and put it in a frame, or put the scans on a tablet, in no time. But it's not a business.

Yep RAW + out of camera jpg would probably be the way to go. Yes, buyer expectation could be hard to meet. Showing a digitised slide on a 4K monitor shows up all the flaws. Becomes less attractive as an idea the more we discuss it...

 

Mark

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1 hour ago, M.Chapman said:

Yep RAW + out of camera jpg would probably be the way to go. Yes, buyer expectation could be hard to meet. Showing a digitised slide on a 4K monitor shows up all the flaws. Becomes less attractive as an idea the more we discuss it...

 

Mark

Selling the DIY kits looks like a better option.....oh hang on, the Chinese have that in hand for £27.95😉

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