Betty's Travel Kiosk

Digitizing A Slide Using My Scanner

Golden Pavilion, Kyoto

I used to use a negative retoucher, my camcorder and Snappy to digitize my slides for the web. But just came up with another, easier way to do them using my flatbed scanners (HP ScanJet 5p or 3400c) and a FLUORESCENT flashlight.(See #1)After trying this with other scanners, I find that the results depend a great deal on the scanner light and your other light being compatible. But have no suggestions for determining the compatability other than experimenting.


 Lift the lid of the scanner. Cover the frame of the slide with a black  mask and place it in the upper right corner of the scanner. (See #2. So you can see the slide, I have not placed mask on.)


Using black (or dark blue) paper with area cut out for slide, cover the glass. (See #3)


Then place a little flashlight with a FLUORESCENT bulb over it, turn on flashlight and scan. (See #4) Using this procedure, the scanner is more apt to expose just for the slide.
                                          #4                           #5

If you are having trouble with dark areas or streaks across the top and/or bottom, use a diffuser. I place an old Tupperware top between the slide and the flashlight. That sometimes takes care of the problem. (See #5)

Thanks to Alan Fisher who sent me this image (See #6), I found that the results are much improved if I place a piece of very white paper behind the bulb. When I use the white paper, I can do away with the Tupperware diffuser. Alan uses metal in this image, but a white item works even better.


My scanning software programs (DeskScan II or PrecisionScan LTX) let me do a little adjusting before the final scan. And normally that is all that has to be done to the image although I may use PhotoShop for finishing touches.

 Here are two renditions of the same transparency. "A" was executed my old way, "B" was using my new procedure.



I must give credit to Don Maxwell from whom I originally got the idea. I used his methods and then tried to improve on them. That's when I came up with the above procedure. To reach Don's page and read more about my method, either click on his name above or go to:

And if you haven't read Wayne Fulton's pages on Scanning, you have a treat. He has the most comprehensive site you will ever see. I recommend it highly.

Additional photographs on my other pages.


For Windows users: If photos appear grainy, if the colors are off or the resolution is poor, check to see if your monitor is set to get the best it offers. Right click on the Desktop, select Properties, choose the Settings tab. On the left is the Color Palette. High(est) Color or True Color are far superior so if you are offered an option, select either one.

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