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What are Slide Scanners?

By David White
Updated May 16, 2024
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Slide scanners are devices that bridge the gap between 20th Century and 21st Century photography technologies. Using these slide scanners, you can make digital copies of photos that you have stored as slides. The ease of this process is astounding, and the benefits are many.

First of all, most slide scanners are plug-and-play, which means that pretty much all you have to do is connect one to your PC and press a few buttons and you're on your way. Some software installation is usually required, but these installations are increasingly self-driven, minimizing user responsibility and anxiety. Once the software is installed and the scanner/PC connection is verified, it's just a matter of inserting each slide into the scanner and then pressing a button or two. The result is that what was previously only on a physical slide is now in the form of zeros and ones in the digital heart of your computer, ready to be manipulated, emailed, or uploaded as you see fit.

One prime benefit of converting your slides to digital images is that you can prolong their lives. Slides, like pictures, can degrade over time and are prone to accidents such as spring cleaning or spilled food and beverages. Slides also require a slide projector for viewing. Such devices aren't much made anymore, meaning that if you have one it is getting more and more difficult all the time to maintain it and that if you don't have one it is even more of a chore to procure one.

The other main benefit of slide-to-digital conversion, accomplished through the use of slide scanners, is the wide expansion in functionality that digital manipulation tools allow you. If, for example, your slide is blurry or underexposed or maybe the subject of your photo has red eyes, you can eliminate those undesirable elements using photo manipulation software. The sky's the limit then, since you can save those photos to CDs or DVDs or portable hard drives or personal information managers and take your photos with you in a much more secure way than you would do if you were carting around a box of slides.

Moreover, when you reach your destination, you need not depend on the availability of a slide projector in order to be able to view your images. Slide scanners will allow you to share your photos more readily via email and the Internet. No longer will you have to be in the same room as your friends or depend on the mail for them to see your treasured pictures. You can use a PC, laptop, or even mobile phone to ship your photos into the cyber sea. And, such digital photos can all the more easily become part of slide shows or even movies. In a sense, slide scanners allow you to become your own movie-maker, replacing such professional services with your own expertise.

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