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Slide duplication v Slide scanning

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago describing how I have a large number of 35mm colour slides to scan and the steps I am taking to recover the best image I can from them. Well in this follow up post I’m going to explain how I’m attempting to modify my original workflow in order to get the job done a bit quicker and better.

I found after I’d scanned about 50 slides that the job was going to take a very long time to do and was not really giving the sort of results I wanted. The scanner I’m using can accept 4 slides each scan, but takes about 5 minutes to complete. Although this would be acceptable if the results were good, they aren’t actually good. If the slide is under exposed the noise levels in the scan are pretty bad and it’s very difficult to get rid of any colour casts.

Because of that I’ve invested £20 in a slide duplicator which I’m trying instead of the scanning. The unit I bought is a slide holder with a short tube fitted with a 52mm filter thread on. I’ve fitted this to a helios 44 58mm lens and used my Sony Nex 6 and a bright light to take pictures of the slides instead of scanning them. One advantage is the speed – in a 5 minute period I can get through about 20 slides once the camera is set up.  The duplicator is shown below.

The other advantage of using this arrangement is the noise levels achieved. In the picture below I’ve duplicated the same picture I scanned for my post about my Lightroom and Photoshop workflow for slide scanning. Although the colour is completely wrong, the noise in the picture on the left is significantly lower than the restored picture on the right. Also the number of dust spots and colour blemishes seem to be reduced. I need to find a way of reducing the colour cast but if I can do that I think this method will give better results.


I’m a software developer by profession but I’ve been taking pictures since I was about 8 years old. In that time I’ve owned cameras of all types and sizes from 120 roll film thro’ 35mm to my current Pentax K-5, Ricoh GXR + P10/S10/A12 28mm/A12 50mm, Canon S95 and recently acquired Sony NEX 6.


  1. I like that you are making photographers aware of those old slide duplicators. One can still find ’em lounging in second hand stores, although because people have no idea how they work I expect they will discard them. I remember sitting on a chair in my employer’s parking lot copying slides to film for three or four days…I’d start in the morning and move my chair with the light till late afternoon.

    1. I had never even thought of using one until I was faced with all these slides to copy and then found it so much quicker than scanning. When it became obvious that the quality was also considerably better I was sold!

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