How to Copy 35mm Slides to Digital

Updated April 17, 2017

Sometimes it is frustrating when you are not able to share your old family and vacation photos because they are in 35mm slide format. In today's world, sharing photos and memories is primarily done online --- which means you need to convert your 35mm slides to a digital format. Luckily, there is a wide variety of film scanners available on the market today. The CanoScan 8800F is a flatbed and film scanner that can scan 35mm colour slides, as well as 35mm negatives and medium-format film.

Clean your scanner by spraying a glass cleaner onto your lint-free cloth and wiping down the glass surface. This will remove any streaks, smudges, fingerprints or dust. It is best to use a glass cleaner that does not leave a residue.

Use the orange antistatic cloth to wipe down your slides, paying attention to any dust or smudges. Orange antistatic cloths are used by professionals in the darkroom and for scanning because their soft texture will not scratch negatives.

Place your slides into the provided carrier. If you are scanning mounted slides, you can place them directly into the slots once the carrier is already in the scanner. Mounted slides can be scanned horizontally and vertically. If you are scanning slide strips, lift the plastic guard on the carrier and insert the edge of the strip (shiny side up) into the slots. Snap the carrier into place, making sure the negative is flat along the guides. The strip carrier has two slots for strips of five images.

Hold your canned air four to five inches from the scanner surface and spray to remove extra dust or hair. Release the air in short spurts, focusing on areas you see that might be dusty. Dust and hair on scanned negatives can mean a lot of retouching work. It is important to remove dust with canned air and not with your fingers. Touching slides will leave smudges and oils that can eat away at your image.

Open the dialogue box for the ScanGear software that comes with the CanoScan 8800F. Select "Color Positives" as your format, then choose "35mm Mount" or "35mm Sleeve" from the drop-down menu. You can make adjustments to your image to correct fading, grain, tone and backlight intensity. Once your images have finished scanning, you can save them in the desired file format.


Scanning goes faster if you can cut your 35mm slides in strips of five instead of having them mounted. The CanoScan 8800F provides a mounted slide negative carrier with six image slots, versus 10 images that can be scanned in strip format.


Do not spray glass cleaner directly on the glass because it can damage your scanner and affect your image quality.

Things You'll Need

  • Orange antistatic cloth
  • CanoScan 8800F
  • Canned air
  • Glass cleaner
  • Lint-free cloth
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About the Author

Sophie Southern has been a freelance writer since 2004. Her writing has been featured in "JPG" magazine and on Southern holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from the School of Visual Arts.