The top performers in our review are the Wolverine F2D Super, the Gold Award winner; the Wolverine SNaP-14, the Silver Award winner; and the Sharper Image Photo, Slide and Negative Converter, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a slide-to-digital converter to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of the 10 converters.
In today's world of easy, smartphone-enabled photography, we've gotten used to having all our photographs in the palms of our hands. Old slides and film negatives don't have a place in that world. They gather dust in attics or basements, memories sealed away and mostly forgotten. That's where slide-to-digital converters – slide scanners, for short – come in.
Slide and negative scanners are small, portable devices that usually operate without being connected to a computer. You use them by placing your old media – slides, film negatives and the like – into a plastic tray that comes with the scanner and insert that tray into the device. Inside, a light illuminates the image, a camera snaps a photo of it and software automatically adjusts the exposure and color balance. Some converters have a small amount of internal storage, but all have external SD card slots that can take expansion cards up to 32GB in size, which is more than enough to save every slide and negative in your garage and easily port them over to your computer or phone.
Slide Converters: What We Evaluated, What We Found
A quality slide scanner should be compatible with a wide variety of slide and negative sizes, have a high output resolution, and offer easy portability. As we evaluated the 10 most prominent slide-to-digital image converters on the market, we asked these three questions: What types of slides and negatives does it accept? How crisp are the pictures it converts? And is the converter light usable anywhere, without being tethered to a computer?
Compatibility: Looking Beyond 35mm
Every slide and negative scanner can, at the very least, convert 35mm slides and film. What sets each apart is what other media it can convert. Some have small, flatbed scanners you can use to convert photos, while others accept a variety of slide and negative sizes, such as 126, 110 and even Super 8 film.