As long as you're going through a computer that can burn a CD, any scanner that's equipped to light and capture the images on 35mm slides and is compatible with your Apple computer will help you convert your slides to a physically compact digital archive. Flatbed scanners, because they're designed to capture reflected light, are not best suited to scanning slides, which need light projected through them to be collected on a digital sensor. Another important difference for scanners intended for transparencies is use of an infrared light source and Kodak's ICE digital correction software to correct scratches and remove dust.
At the High End of the Price Range
Nikon's COOLSCAN line is well respected but too pricey for anyone but the most devoted amateur or a professional. The current offering, as of November 2010, is the 9000 ED, with a suggested retail price of £1,429.90. It reads more film formats than 35mm with an RGB and Infrared LED light source, a Nikkor lens that can be focused automatically or manually and a 10-megapixel, three-line CCD image sensor. It produces digital copies up to 4,000 dots per inch (dpi). You can load up to five 35mm slides at once, and depending on controls you've set, scans may be completed as quickly as 40 seconds per slide. This scanner is compatible with Mac OS 9.2.2 and OS X 10.1 through 10.5.x only.
Priced in the Hundreds
Selling in November 2010 between £325 and £390, the PrimeFilm 7250 Pro 3 scanner from Pacific Image Electronics (scanace.com) scans 35mm roll film or negative strips as well as slides at 7200 dpi with the same hardware-based enhancements as the more expensive scanner. Closer to the £650 mark, Pacific Image sells a slide-only scanner, the PowerSlide 3650, which features batch processing of 50 mounted slides at a time using white and infrared LEDs and producing a resolution of 3600 dpi in 80 seconds per slide. At the bottom of its range, Pacific Image has discontinued the PrimeFilm 3650u, still selling in November 2010 for less than £97, and introduced the PrimeFilm 7250u and 3600u for lower-volume scanning of 35mm slides and film. Although the 3600u can capture up to 18 megapixels per image, it uses a cold cathode fluorescent lamp and therefore does not offer ICE correction.
"Macworld" Magazine's Macbuy pages list a simple, low-cost "Slides 2PC" scanner by Ion Audio that reads one slide or filmstrip image at a time with fixed focus and automatic colour balance and exposure and sends a 5-megapixel jpg file over a USB cable to your computer. Ion expanded its low-cost image-conversion line in 2010 with a number of options that basically leave the processing to you on your Mac before you store your new digital files to a CD.
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