Scanning old color slides with the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE

I have a small cache of color slides from the 1950s and 1960s that I bought several years ago. I had bought one of those inexpensive film-to-digital converters (review here) and was digitizing the 126, 110, and 35mm negatives I had shot as a kid and young adult. It did a passable job. I was curious how it would handle mounted color slides so I bought some on eBay. I like old cars, so I bought some with vintage vehicles as the subjects.

If you’d like to see how that cheap digitizer rendered them, I shared the scans at Curbside Classic here.

My new Plustek OpticFilm 8100i SE can scan mounted slides, too, so I scanned these slides to see how this scanner would render them. I’m pleased to report that the scans were very good straight off the scanner. I did only minor post-processing work on them in Photoshop. Here they are.

Here’s a VW Karmann-Ghia, probably from the 1960s. While most of these slides are Kodachromes, this one is on unknown film.

Here’s a 1965 Ford F-100, its driver a proud papa.

Here’s a 1960 Ford on a Kodachrome dated 1967.

On a 1967 Kodachrome, here’s a 1967 Mercury Colony Park.

The same family also owned this 1966 Ford Falcon.

Here’s a young couple leaning on a 1950 Chevrolet. A VW Beetle is behind it, and a 1964 Ford Falcon brings up the rear.

I saved the best for last: a 1950 Pontiac Silver Streak convertible.

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Comments

14 responses to “Scanning old color slides with the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE”

  1. J P Avatar

    Love these! I love old Kodachrome slides of any kind, and when they feature cars then all the better.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It was fun to find these on eBay.

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Great scans! The red Ford Falcon, my baby sisters favorite car!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Those must have been championship rusters, because by the time I was a kid in the 70s they were uncommon.

      1. Kodachromeguy Avatar

        https://www.motortrend.com/features/robert-mcnamara-before-vietnam-there-was-ford-2366/

        Recall, the Ford Falcon was Robert McNamara’s efficient family transportation machine. Indeed, many of them rusted quickly, but they served their purpose at the time. And they saved Ford after the huge expense of the Edsel.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          True. McNamara sure seemed like he was anti-fun.

  3. DougD Avatar
    DougD

    Great stuff! I wonder what’s in the box by the 1950 Chevy, those people are keeping their distance alright.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m betting the guy behind the tree was trying to stay out of the picture. The box suggests moving – maybe the couple was just married and starting their life together.

  4. fishyfisharcade Avatar

    I’ve got several hundred old Kodachrome slides (and other stocks) that I’ve bought. I’ve scanned some of them and put them on Flickr here (https://www.flickr.com/photos/abitofthisabitofthat/), but still have hundreds that I haven’t touched yet.

    I find them fascinating to look at and very nostalgic, but also a little sad too, knowing that the reason I now have them is that the original photographer probably passed away and either had no living relatives, or at least none who valued their pictures. And now they’re slides are here with me, looking at someone elses memories and wondering who they were and what they were thinking when they made the pictures.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My mom has framed photographs on her bedroom walls of family members I never knew. When she dies, I won’t know what to do with those images. It’s sad, but I imagine incredibly common.

  5. Kurt Ingham Avatar
    Kurt Ingham

    Great stuff-nice to see some ‘ordinary’ cars -not just the ‘classics’ (and the last is the best)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s what’s fun about slides like these – people are driving what were then everyday cars.

  6. Steve Mitchell Avatar

    I also have one of those cheap digitizers – you can still buy them, but the quality is awful. I have rescanned my slides and negatives with an Epson V800 which does a very acceptable job, especially with medium format, but the plustek has done a great job. Kodachrome slides seem to really stand the test of time, unlike some other emulsions which seem to have degraded badly over time in my experience.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m grateful to my cheap digitizer for letting me quickly and inexpensively scan the scads of 126 and 110 negatives I have.

      Of course, now that I have the Plustek scanner, a third party makes 110 and 126 film holders for it. I may end up buying those and rescanning everything to get a better result.

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