The First Cheap Cheap Of Spring


You get smarter as you get older. It’s compensation for hair growing out of your ears and nose. This week’s discovery was just how long it takes to scan a set of 35mm colour slides into the digital archives.

Oh, it’s got to be done before the old transparencies succumb to chemical and fungal attack, but up until now I always assumed it would be best done with an Epson V700 scanner. I’ve got one I use to capture magazine illustrations and out-of-size negatives. It does a great job on big individual items.

But it is now called on to scan 7800 colour slides in batches of 24 and, quite frankly, it is not going to be a good idea. Oh, it will render them very well, but it will take 3.5 minutes per slide. That’s 455 hours and I don’t think I could stand to hear it grind for that long without going mad.

The answer will be to combine a macro lens, a mirror-less camera, and a lightbox. I’ve got all three items in the studio and am just completing the tests to find the best white balance and file settings. If I had a longer focal length lens there would be more space to shuffle the colour slide about into the holder – I’ll manage somehow. No matter how clumsy I am I can still better 3.5 minutes putting things in there and clicking the shutter.

Then the tough bit: writing details into the embedded file fields to remember what it is that we are seeing on the slide. I hope my brain is up to remembering 1966 onwards…


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