Scanning Slides With the Plustek OpticFilm 8200

My Dad was a great photographer. With his 35mm Kodak Signet, and Zeiss Ikon folding medium format rangefinder, he shot a ton of slides that he would bring out from time to time for a “movie” show. Somehow, when he died, I became the custodian of his pictures. When I picked up a Carousel projector for my own slides, I organized his slides into a couple of standing carousel shows.

Every now and then, some family member has asked about getting copies or scans of the slides. Every now and then, I’d think about transferring them to digital, look into the matter, and come away with these options, all of them bad:

  • Have them scanned locally by a camera store, at about a $1 a slide. I did this for a couple of my own slides for a funeral; the quality was atrocious. The scans were blurry, the contrast was muddy, and the color was shitty. There is no way I was going to let them do more.
  • Send them out to a digitizing service. Aside from the inherent risk of sending them out at all, I’ve read that the lower priced services actually send the slides overseas, where labor costs are lower. No way. There are services that do the work domestically, but they’re higher priced—on the order of $3-6 apiece. I may still explore this option for his medium format slides.
  • Get a scanner, and scan them myself. This would entail the cost of the scanner, plus my own time scanning and post processing the slides. For the longest time, the only scanner I could find that looked like it had quality I could live with was the Nikon CoolScan series. The only problem was that they were $2000 – $5000 — and no longer available. Every now and then I would desultorily look at eBay to see if they had one I could afford at the moment, and come away empty handed.
  • Get a cheap scanner. My mother actually got one for me for Christmas, but it turned out to be Windows only. I tend to doubt I would have been happy with the quality.

Finally, about a year ago, I started reading about the Plustek OpticFilm series of scanners. I saw some sample images, and they looked good. I checked the reviews, and they were mostly good, with the caveat that there was a learning curve involved, so last March, I bit the bullet, and bought one. Continue reading

My Sister’s Superhero

My sister and her husband will have been married for nine years this month. Despite the difference in their ages–I won’t say how much, other than to say he isn’t allowed to call my mother “Mum” – it’s obvious they’re very happy together. He brought her into his world of birding, and they share a love of the outdoors. It’s fun watching them together, and seeing them tease each other. Their affection is very clear, and he’s been very supportive of her.

Paul had a Big Birthday™ this week, and Nancy wanted to express her appreciation to him. So she sent me a picture of him, and asked me to turn him into a super hero. And so, without further ado…

BirderMan

Faster than a peregrine falcon, able to spot small warblers in a single glance, able to find small birds in a big forest… It’s BirderMan!

Happy Birthday, Paul.