How to Scan Transparency

There is a chance that while collecting your family negatives or slides, you receive a bunch of negative or slides. You might be more interested to include those slides into your family history or you want to publish those images on the website or you want to make them as digital copies and want to share with your family members.

Do you ever try to scan the slides or negatives on flatbed scanner? If yes, then you will know that they do not work. The output of this scanning is a big black square. In this article, I’m going to explain how to scan transparency and what are the issues that you will face.


The key benefits of the scan transparency:

Here, you will first get to know about the benefits of scan transparency and then about scanning a photo. When you are using scan transparency, you can use total area of negative or slide whereas in photo scanning, it will provide the same version of the photo. In the process of converting slide film into positive, you have to insert the colors into that and remove the orange shade from the negative.

The flatbed scanner is designed for photo scanning and other images scanning. The main problem with this scanner is the light that passes through the image rather than reflected off image. If you want a successful scan transparency then you have to use scan transparency adapter.


For perfection, a scan transparency adapter is not a best solution for this problem because your flatbed scanner contains a piece of glass between the sensor and the negative.


Other than flatbed scanner, DPI or Digits per Inch resolution is around 600 and the interpolated DPI resolution is 1200. Let your flatbed scanner has 600 DPI resolution then it will produce 4x4 inches picture with good quality of resolution that means half of the letter – sized paper. The calculation is like, if you are printing 1 inch at 600 DPI, which means 1x600 pixels, then the total is 600 x 600 pixels. The output resolution is 150 DPI that is 600 / 150 = 4 inches. If you are printing at high output resolution then the final image will be reduced very quickly. For example, if you are printing at 600 DPI and the output resolution is 300 DPI then it will reduce to 2 inches that means 600 / 300 = 2 inches.

Based on this calculation, your flatbed scanner with scan transparency adapter will provide focus on the negative or film. In some scanners, the focus is very less and so the result is less sharp than the original one. If you want sharp scan then remove the slide from the mount.

If you want better scanning with high resolutions and high quality then get film scanner, which is also called as slide scanner used for scanning slides and negatives. In this, you need not have to use extra scan transparency. The DPI resolution of this scanner is 2400 or high. Once you created positive from negative, use photo-editing tools to modify the image.