By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Jan 24th

Advice from the photographers.

Copying 35mm slides with a DSLR.

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Nathan Sharpe22/10/2021 19:18:05
175 forum posts
3 photos

I have been set the task of digitising several hundred 35mm slides. These are my partners parents slides of wildlife/flowers etc so are of significant value to her. I have an old but good Canon D40,numerous lenses and a Panagor slide duplicator.

My problems.

1) the Panagor is OK but seems to crop too much and has limited adjustment. It fits direct to the camera body via a T2/ EOS adapter.

2) I have a loan Plustec Opticfilm 7500i but without the Silverlight software, OK with some slides using the Plustec download but not with the majority.

My questions.

1) Could I fit one of my lenses to the camera and then an EOS to T2 adaptor on the filter thread to then take the Panagor? I could make a support to relieve the weight on the filter thread.

2) Can anyone suggest affordable software for the Plustec?

I'm no great photographer so am hoping some of you Really Good photographers/optics experts can help!


Michael Gilligan22/10/2021 19:30:01
19323 forum posts
964 photos

Assuming [always risky] that you mean 40D … The basic problem that you have with the Panagor duplicator is that it’s designed for full-frame, and your sensor is smaller, by a factor of 1.6

Convenient as the duplicators are … that makes 1:1 copying impossible with your camera sensor.

I think you need to be looking at the ‘close-up’ possibilities of your various lenses.



Ref. __


Edited By Michael Gilligan on 22/10/2021 19:30:41

John Haine22/10/2021 19:31:01
4279 forum posts
252 photos

Considering the hassle and potential difficulty you might consider just applying money to the problem and sending the slides off to a company that does this.





HOWARDT22/10/2021 19:59:48
800 forum posts
28 photos

There are lots of options, such as macro lens or extension tubes etc. I have a flat bed scanner and software that allows me to copy multiple slides at once, but it all takes a tremendous amount of time and every capture has to be edited to get the best out of them. If you have a projector you can use that and photograph the projected image. I have been copying my family negatives and photos for some time and am nowhere near finished, probably a project for my kids to finish when I am gone. If you really value the images then get them copied professionally using a continuous feed and copy system.

pgk pgk22/10/2021 20:16:00
2366 forum posts
293 photos

I went through dad’s slide boxes when he'd passed. Many of the slides were showing signs of deterioration after 50+years. I did digitize them using a cheapo 'silvercrest digistiser' thingy - essentially just a cheap digital camera under a housing through which a slide carrier is pushed so it's a question of what quality you’re aiming for and how much you are prepared to accept for the sake of speed and simplicity. I think I've still got it somewhere - wasn't expensive enough to bother with postage aggro and listing on eBay etc.

I’m near Llanfyllin if it's worth your bother to drop by and pick it up FOC. If so PM for full address.
Example pic below (original was the same sepia bias on original Ilford slide film):


Howard Lewis22/10/2021 20:16:31
5562 forum posts
13 photos

If the intent is to store the slide image as an electronic image, you could use a slide / negative scanner., rather than the camera

The cheapest is about £15 and is likely to produce a file of about 4 - 5 Mb.

This should be adequate for many purposes, but possibly not if projected onto a 6' screen.


Martin Kyte22/10/2021 20:20:58
2609 forum posts
45 photos

Do not destroy the slides. Thay are far more permanent than digital copies.

regards Martin

Frances IoM22/10/2021 20:39:50
1176 forum posts
28 photos
I have an old PF3600 scanner that produces a 12MB jpeg image with autofocus and tho better than needed for use on a laptop etc is still nowhere as good resolution as the original slides (admittedly taken on a good camera with good lenses) - I bought a couple of cheap scanners but these produce poor quality as well as being poor to focus - you will definitely be disappointed with these.

Tho the slides had been kept in special folders they still needed air brushing before scanning - a relatively slow business as each slide needed to be handle individually - I did 3000 over a period of many evenings (+ two bottled air dusters) but still have probably another 5000 to go.

The other key point is to create a data base as you scan - luckily many of my slides had some title written on the slide frame - otherwise you won't be able to find them again.
If you have access to a good quality scanner these often had an adapter to allow scanning of slides - slower process than a special slide scanner but in past I've had reasonable results from such a scanner.

Edited By Frances IoM on 22/10/2021 20:41:28

Edited By Frances IoM on 22/10/2021 20:43:57

duncan webster22/10/2021 20:52:51
3597 forum posts
66 photos
Posted by Martin Kyte on 22/10/2021 20:20:58:

Do not destroy the slides. Thay are far more permanent than digital copies.

regards Martin

I'm not convinced, when I set out to digitise my 50+ year old slides I found they had deteriorated badly. Finished up throwing them.

Robert Atkinson 222/10/2021 20:55:35
1106 forum posts
20 photos

You can get new copiers designed for DSLRs with APS-C sized sensors. Quality can vary.
Another option is a used 35mm SLR one with zoom. The Ohnar ones were OK. You might need a new T mount depending what the one you bought came with. Lots on ebay.

Robert G8RPI.

Nicholas Farr22/10/2021 21:03:35
3057 forum posts
1387 photos

Hi Nathan, this Thread maybe of interest. Although the second page is of more relevance.

Regards Nick.

Edited By Nicholas Farr on 22/10/2021 21:08:11

Peter G. Shaw22/10/2021 21:17:29
1345 forum posts
44 photos

When I digitised my 35mm slides, I created a lightbox using 1/8inch white faced MDF board and containing 2 x 25w candle lamps. The viewing window was a translucent screen salvaged from an old 35mm battery operated viewer. This was used to backlight the slides. My camera is not the best, it is a Canon A640 so I experimented until I found an optimum distance at which the photgraphed slide almost filled the A640 screen. I then made a chipboard adaptor to hold the camera at a set distance, and using macro mode, once focussed, I found that I could whip through about 15 or so slides very quickly. Anymore than 15 or so and the light box started to get hot.

Once loaded into the computer from the camera, I used a software programme named The Gimp. First, I used a mode to correct the barrel & pincussion distortion introduced by the camera. Then I used a crop command to remove the black borders. Next I used a colour correction mode, to overcome the obvious deficiencies in the slides. Usually I used an "auto" mode. Finally, I used a paintbrush clone mode to overwrite those areas where there was dust, hairs, or in some instances, litter on the ground!

Occasionally, I found a photograph which was too far gone to be able to be retrieved. These had to be scrapped.

I did buy one of those fancy devices which allowed you to download onto the computer, but found it very poor in that the back lighting appeared to be a single source in the centre of the photographing area. This produced too much light in the centre of the downloaded copy which was not acceptable. The method outlined above, although not without deficencies caused by the camera, was overall much better.

Peter G. Shaw

Edited By Peter G. Shaw on 22/10/2021 21:18:40

2nd edit.

Guess what, I've more or less repeated what I sadi in the thread Nick has referred to. Sorry about that.


Edited By Peter G. Shaw on 22/10/2021 21:26:09

Macolm22/10/2021 21:20:56
56 forum posts
10 photos

One problem that is rarely mentioned, but which I have found troublesome, is vignetting. This is the fall off in brightness towards the corners, which is an intrinsic feature of lenses, even an "anti-vignetting" lens. It is due to some of the ray bundle being increasingly obscured off axis within the lens itself.

In practice, better cameras do not suffer much from the effect, it is not immediately noticed in a photo. However, when a slide or print is copied using a camera, there is now two lots of vignetting, and the effect does become more noticeable. Correction using software may be a possibility.

On the other hand, a scanner should provide constant sensitivity across the entire field, and certainly I have has good results scanning my slide and negative collection. It does need a high resolution scanner to cope with the small image size. I have an older Epson scanner which can be loaded with eight slides, each individually adjusted, then all of them (slowly) scanned.

Incidentally, for a pretty dire result, try projecting slides and photographing the screen - three lots of vignetting.

Michael Gilligan22/10/2021 21:36:56
19323 forum posts
964 photos
Posted by Robert Atkinson 2 on 22/10/2021 20:55:35:


Another option is a used 35mm SLR one with zoom. The Ohnar ones were OK. […]


But don’t those only zoom in ?

[ which would exacerbate the problem that prompted Nathan’s question ]

… or do you know of a 35mm one which handles larger-format originals ?


Breva22/10/2021 21:39:36
87 forum posts
7 photos


Depending on how precious your time is and also how many slides you have to copy, a good flatbed scanner like a CanoScan 9000 or later model could be your cheapest option for best quality copies. The Canon one comes with frames to hold slides, negatives etc and the software to process them. Mine came with a Photoshop Lite version which proved adequate for most tidying up jobs. The end results are very good.

It is a slow job but images can be edited and enhanced later when you have captured them before further deterioration can occur.


Thor 🇳🇴23/10/2021 17:38:06
1437 forum posts
41 photos

Like John, I used a flatbed scanner and the results were good, takes time, of course. I have kept the slides, they still look OK after over 40 years. I haven't viewed them often and stored them cool and dark.


Robert Atkinson 223/10/2021 20:33:14
1106 forum posts
20 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 22/10/2021 21:36:56:
Posted by Robert Atkinson 2 on 22/10/2021 20:55:35:


Another option is a used 35mm SLR one with zoom. The Ohnar ones were OK. […]


But don’t those only zoom in ?

[ which would exacerbate the problem that prompted Nathan’s question ]

… or do you know of a 35mm one which handles larger-format originals ?


The do only zoom in, but they were designed for a full format so 1:1 = 0.6:1


Robert G8RPI.

Michael Gilligan23/10/2021 20:57:00
19323 forum posts
964 photos


Now the zoom range runs from 0.6x to 1.6x so that the 35mm slide can be reduced to fit the APS-C sensor using a 0.6x zoom.



Yes … That would explain it ,Robert [the important word being Now]

Forgive me if I mis-understood what you wrote.


Michael Gilligan23/10/2021 23:22:52
19323 forum posts
964 photos

Just to clarify: 0.6x would normally be described as zooming out


Sam Stones23/10/2021 23:27:12
851 forum posts
321 photos

These days I would do what John Haine recommends.

However, here's another approach.

Back-lit with flash through a (plastic film) diffusion screen.


A cut-down cardboard postal tube set the distance, with a Speedlite transmitter for camera to flash sync.

Conveniently, I used the slide carrier from an ancient slide projector.

Many of the slides taken in the late 50's and sandwiched in glass were badly in need of cleaning. Very laborious, but overall a pleasing result.

I'll post a sample now that I've remembered, i.e. load picture files first!


Sam smile d

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
rapid Direct
Eccentric July 5 2018
JD Metals
walker midge
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest