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A Nikon Coolscan 5000 is your best bet. It is really the only one to ever
have an optional slide feeder, which will cost you an extra $300-500.
Expensive, yes. But, they hold their value. Buy one, even used, slide your
clooection, then resell it and you likely have very little if any loss -
you may even sell it for more than you paid. The CoolScan 4000 will work
also, but you MUST have a firewire port, as it does not support USB.

There is also the flatbed option, for which slide holders capable of batch
scanning up to 15 slides are available. My recommendation there is the
Epson Perfection V700 or V750. Like the Nikon, both of those come with
Digital Ice infrared scatch removal - a critical element as even the best
slides have imperfections. Infrared scratch removal examines the surface of
rthe slide itself for imperfections. Other solutions examine the photo
itself to determine what is a scratch; with those solutions many items
meant to be in the picture get mistaken for scratches or dust.

One other recommendation - do NOT use the bundled software that comes
withthe scanner, even SilverFast. Get VueScan (
http://www.hamrick.com/vsm.html ). I am the restoration artist in you Tom
will be much much happier with this software. You've used enough audio
restoration software to know that the easiest/simplest solution most always
produces poor quality, unwanted distortions, and more. Like better audio
restoration software, VueScan has a learning curve, but the results are
well worth the effort. And, very importantly, VueScan lets you save the
"RAW" scanned information without applying any correction effects, much
like you would first record an LP and save the raw unretouched audio file
separate from that which you apply restorative effects to later. My
workflow with VueScan involves starting  the raw scan, usually in batch
mode as you've expressed a desire for, set to save the results to a file
that inculdes teh infrared data embedded in the file. VueScan can then, one
at a time with you at the helm, reload each file and apply color balancing,
scratch removal, etc (the equivalent of DSP) and see the reults before
saving you final file. The raw scan file can be saved and reprocessed at a
later time (no scanner neessary, just VueScan) should you desire to revisit
the it to apply the digital effect a little differently.


On Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 4:49 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> Hi All:
>
> This kinda relates to ARSC because I'm sure all of us have dabbled in
> multi-media at one point or another.
>
> I have a bunch of 35mm slides I'd like to digitize. They are all good
> condition and almost all are Kodachrome or whatever the film type was that
> holds color and doesn't fade. So they are vivid and not scratched or dirty,
> despite being 50-60 years old.
>
> Back the last time I thought about this, years ago, a Nikon scanner with
> an auto-feed mechanism cost a small fortune and took several minutes per
> slide (this was back in the early Pentium IV days). I have a faster
> computer now (Dell Precision Workstation T3400 with loads of memory and
> fast hard drives), and am wondering what the recommended hardware options
> are. I'm not wedded to Nikon, but I do want a solid scanner with an
> excellent auto-feed mechanism. I'd love to load in a few dozen slides and
> set-and-forget, with the scanner software writing some sort of non-lossy
> format (PSD, TIFF or something else). I'll then look at the results in my
> image-viewing software and decide which warrant further Photoshop work.
> Ideally, the scanner would be unlike my Epson large-format scanner in that
> it turns out a nicely contrasted/nicely-color-**balanced image from the
> getgo and doesn't require Photoshop in most cases.
>
> I notice there are a variety of slide scanners on the market, varying
> widely in price. I don't have to go dirt-cheap, but I want value if I pay
> extra, not just a brand name. I need "good quality personal-use strength"
> not "industrial strength." Total project will be a few hundred slides, not
> thousands and not intending to use this thing every day for years.
>
> Recommendations appreciated. Thanks in advance!
>
> -- Tom Fine
>