Thursday, 25 August 2011

Slide Scanner Software: What Scanning Software Works Best To Get Quality Digital Images

In this article you’ll learn that the software that came with your scanner is probably why you’re not getting quality slide or negative film scans.  If you want to save time and frustration with your home scanning project, here’s the scanner software that worked and DID NOT work for me:

(1) What Scanner Software DID NOT Work:  I’ve been scanning for a while now.  In fact I’ve scanned over 500,000 slides, negative and photos.  Here’s a list of software packages that were the most frustrating to use:

Digital Ice: A lot of scanners use this software / technology.  In my opinion, what you save in time and convenience you will pay with quality.  

Silver Fast:  Very convenient to use but, again, you will pay with quality.

Why do these not work?  Well, these scanning software packages are quick fixes.  They are usually bundled and work with the built-in software that came with your scanner.  And that’s the problem.  You’re trying to use the scanner to do two jobs: scan pixels AND edit those pixels.  

(2) Scanners Were Made To Scan Not Edit Digital Photos:  Here’s a funny story-- I scanned a slide with my $200 Epson and my $3000 Nikon scanner.  What I did was produce a “natural” scan from each scanner.  A natural scan is where I don’t press any of the scan enhance features that came with the scanner, i.e. colour fix, dust / scratch removal.  All I wanted to do is compare pixel to pixel.

And guess what? I could not tell the difference between the two slide scans. When I zoomed all the way to the pixel level, that’s when I could see a difference.  Of course, my Nikon uses technology that is a lot more sensitive and superior to the Epson.  But is it worth the extra $2800 for a difference you can only see when you zoom in?

Scanner manufactures know this-- they know that all scanning machines can pretty much do the same thing.  So to compete, they offer you one-button solutions called Digital Ice or Silver Fast.  But often these quick fixes are just marketing to get you to buy their scanner.

(3) What Scanning Software Works:  How I scan my slides and negatives is I do a natural scan and edit the digital photos in software designed for editing.  Remember, I skip all the scan enhancement features that came with the scanner.  I just want my scanner to pick up pixels, and do nothing to them.  Then I use either these three software packages to edit scans:

GIMP: Do you want to use FREE software that is far superior to Digital Ice or Silver Fast?  GIMP is an image editing software tool that has all the same features of Photoshop.  The best part is, it’s open source, meaning it is totally FREE.

Photoshop Elements:  If you don’t want to break the bank on image editing software, I suggest using PS Elements.  It’s not quite as powerful as Photoshop or GIMP, but it is easy to use.  And it still can give you better quality slide and film scans than what came with your scanner.

Photoshop: I use Photoshop CS5 to edit my scans only because I do this for a living.  If you’re a big digital image geek like me, I’d really suggest you use CS5 to edit scans.  But if you’re just doing some home scanning, and want quality digital images, GIMP will work just fine.

How To Use Software To Edit Slide, Negative, Film Scans

My name is Konrad Michnieiwicz, and I invite you to discover how to edit your family scans using GIMP, Elements, or Photoshop.  Go to, and you’ll find a FREE step-by-step guide on how to scan your family’s originals like a pro. 

Scan tips brought to you by the dedicated team at Slide, Negative Film, Scanning Services Toronto