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Home /Science / How Do I Convert 35mm Slides to Digital?

How Do I Convert 35mm Slides to Digital?

By Christian Roemer

I always liked to imagine that the inventor of slides was some sort of super villain. Think about it. Photos already existed. You could pull out a picture anytime and just...look at it. Then some dastardly doer blasted those photos with a shrink ray and forced you to load those perfectly fine photos into an annoying projector first in order to view them. 

Instead of whipping out a box of photos and perusing them with your oculars, you have to buy extra stuff first. Slides require a blank wall, electricity, time, patience, a light bulb, and more.

Evil, right?

That’s the part that always got me about slides. You need something else to look at them. I mean, technically you could get out the slide binder and squint your eyes at them for a few minutes, but who wants to do that? Not me.

So what are you to do? You have basically two options: keep looking at your slides the old fashioned way -- with projector -- or digitize them. Obviously we recommend the latter.

If you’re looking to transfer your 35mm slides to the digital world, you sort of have three options. I don’t really think they’re options when you actually weigh them out, but you can choose between three different things to do.\


Act like you’re bootlegging a movie at the theater in the 90s 

If you’re anything like me, you bought a bootlegged version of the Lion King on VHS in the 90s. Bootlegged videos were filmed on a camcorder in a theater and then sold as the real thing. You could even see people walk across the screen periodically. To digitize your slides this way, set up your projector, stand up a tripod, and photograph your projected slides. I’ll go ahead and open the door to the jank-wagon for you.


Buy a digitizer and spend hours (days, months, your LIFE?!?!) digitizing slides

Amazon sells digitizers made specifically for 35mm slides. They vary in price from about $50 to almost $300. I’m not completely against digitizing things this way, but there’s a huge catch: you have to have tons of free time. Digitizing stuff takes time. You have to individually scan each slide to your computer, name the files, set up the folders, and back up the photos to a thumb drive or DVD. So much work!


Let Southtree digitize your slides for you 

When I said there were kind-of-three-options for digitizing 35mm slides, Southtree is really the only option. All you do is ship your slides to Chattanooga, TN. They do all the hard work and send you a convenient thumb drive with all your pics on them. You can do basically anything else in the meantime. Take up cross-knitting. Go jet skiing. Write your penpal in the penitentiary. You’ll be doing whatever you want except wasting your time digitizing things yourself, which is a huge win in my book.

When it comes to digitizing your 35mm slides, you have three options: bootleg, buy some expensive stuff, or let Southtree do it for you. I know myself. I’m too busy thinking about all the things I’m planning on doing, that I don’t have time to actually do anything. That includes digitizing a bunch of old slides that were probably invented by some villain with a shrink ray.

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