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Best Slide and Film Scanner 2017 Review

Updated on February 14, 2017

A slide scanner is the perfect device for someone who wants to convert all of their old photo albums and/or vacation slides to a digital format. Replacement parts for projectors are getting harder and harder to find, and film slides yellow and deteriorate with age, so a film scanner is something that will allow you to keep your memories forever.

Here's a review of the five most popular devices out there for the secret archivist/slideshow nut inside us all, including some devices that also scan print photographs and documents.

#1 Ion Slides 2 PC Film Scanner Review

The all-around best negatives scanner of 2017 is the Ion Slides 2 PC film scanner. This device will scan your negatives or slides and convert them into five megapixel digital images, which is pretty high resolution (1800dpi x 1800dpi) considering that the price is only about $40. It connects to your PC via the included USB cable, uses an LED light source, and can also scan your 35mm film negatives.

The included software leaves a little to be desired. It doesn't allow magnification of the scanned images, which is no doubt annoying when you are working with small images. But if you don't have any real image managing software like Photoshop, you can work around it by going to Pixlr, a free online image editor.

#2 Plustek OpticFilm 7600I SE Slide/Film Scanner

Plustek OpticFilm 7600I SE Slide Scanner
Plustek OpticFilm 7600I SE Slide Scanner

Next we have a little number called the Plustek OpticFilm 7600i SE. This one doesn't impress me very much. It costs $250 and the only substantially different feature it has from the Ion Slides 2 PC is that it has higher resolution, 7200dpi x 7200dpi.

That's three times as much resolution for more than five times the price.

If you're really interested in that high of a resolution, be my guest, but remember that print quality resolution for books is only 600dpi2, and the Ion Slides 2 PC has three times that capability (magazines might go as high as 1200dpi2, depending on their budget or target audience or other factors).

While it's hard for me to see the value in the Plustek OpticFilm's resolution, its included software is another story. It's called SilverFast, and it has a noise-removing function and can also remove dust and scratches. This might make it worth it for you if you are really into slides and aren't very skilled with digital image processing via programs like Photoshop.

#3 Wolverine F2D14

Next is a scanner that brings to mind a certain Marvel superhero, the Wolverine F2D14. Like its namesake, the Wolverine's operation is simple and straightforward. There is no software installation required—you can connect it to your computer or scan your slides and 35mm negatives straight to an SD or SDHC memory card. It's ready to operate right out of the box with the single push of a button.

Its resolution is supposed to be 14 megapixels (see first review for a rough estimate of megapixel to dpi conversion), but more than one reviewer found the actual picture quality to be much less. Therefore it probably isn't worth the $85 it costs. Looking at it objectively, this scanner has so few useful features I have to wonder how it got so popular. The only thing it has going for it is the ease of setup, but to me that's not worth spending twice as much as the Ion Slides 2 PC, which I'm sure can be easily installed as well.

#4 CanoScan 5600F

Next is the CanoScan 5600F flatbed scanner from Canon. This is a fine example of making existing technology better. I'd guess that the sales pitch for this scanner goes something like: "This is the only scanner you'll ever need." It looks like an old-school scanner from the late nineties, which goes nicely with the price, $90. The maximum document size is indeed 8.5 x 11 inches, and the dimensions of the machine itself are only slightly larger, 10.7 x 19.4 x 3.8 inches, which suggests that this scanner is built with only one thing in mind—scanning.

The highest resolution it is capable of is 4800dpi x 9600dpi, which is seriously huge! Here's the thing: it's not necessarily a film and slide scanner, but with its high-res capability and "EZ" design it's certainly more than up to the task. It has seven EZ buttons that come preset with or can be reset for settings for copies, scans, e-mails, and PDFs. There's also an auto-scan mode where the machine can tell if the original is a document, photo, or negative, and automatically choose the best settings. Something else that blows me away about this scanner is that it has zero warm-up time! The only downside I can think of is that this scanner is not also a printer.

#5 Ion PICS 2 SD

Last of all, we have a repeat offender: the Ion PICS 2 SD film scanner. As you might expect, it scans your 35mm film directly to an SD memory card. There's no software because it doesn't connect to a computer. It has its own LCD screen to view the scans right away. At $90, this sounds like a good idea—cut out the middleman, right? The downside probably is that I personally would rather scan to a computer anyway, so I could touch up the photos with an image editing program and email them or upload them to a website more easily. For someone like me, the Ion PICS 2 SD actually creates a middle man.

Which slide scanner did you go with? What project are you currently working on? I'd love to hear more. Leave a comment below.

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