What I learned about photography I picked up from my Uncle Howard. He used the ugly little Kodak Signet 50 (pictured above) for 25+ years and was living proof that it is not the equipment that makes the photographer. He could make that old manual fixed lens viewfinder just talk. I’ll never make as good images as he did.
Uncle Howard was a 35 mm color slide guy – Kodachrome mostly. So when I could finally afford a decent camera I followed his lead. Starting around 1970 and up until 1985 that’s how I took photos – first with a Yashica Electro M5 viewfinder and later on with a Nikon FE SLR. If it hadn’t been for the desire to have family vacation albums with actual prints, I probably would have used slide film up until the advent of digital.
As a result I have boxes and slide trays of stuff now going back close to 50 years – early work days, meeting Maria, getting married, Sarah’s early childhood. There are some photos I’m really proud of –
like this one from our honeymoon on PEI. Others, not so much. But it’s all there. Hundreds of exposures and they aren’t doing much good sitting in boxes in the closet.
Now I did make an attempt to digitize some of these images back in the day. In 2002 I bought a Minolta DIMAGE Scan Dual III film and negative scanner. I used it to scan a number of slides back then but I am not anxious to use it any further because:
- The scanner was compatible with Windows 98. Minolta is out of business; there is no scanner driver for Windows 10.
- There is scanner software that might work but it costs close to $100 Canadian.
- The scanner scans in BMP format and I had to convert it all to JPG for viewing and upload.
- The scanner is very slow in high res mode. It would take close to 4 minutes to scan one slide. I did most of my scans in low res 640X480 mode and that’s no good on a modern computer monitor.
- Technology has improved a bit since 2002. Today’s slide scanners don’t need a computer connection. They put the scans on an SD card just like a digital camera would. They do a high res scan in 4 seconds, not 4 minutes.
- A new scanner would cost only about $40 more than buying the software for an old one. No-brainer.
So I’m looking seriously into a new scanner unit. If and when it arrives I plan to re-scan all the stuff I did 15 years ago in higher resolution – then I’ll move on to the scads of slides still in the boxes. After that I still have to despeckle and color correct all that aging Kodachrome. But I think it’ll be worth it.