jump to navigation

$12 Slide Scanner – Tutorial January 11, 2006

Posted by jessicraft in photography, tutorial.

This Slide2Digital: Low-Tech Digital Slide Scanner page by Chuck Flanagan was brought to my attention a while ago. Seemed like a good idea, so we went ahead and tried one for ourselves. A quick trip to Home Depot and we were off; with a suitcase full of slides of Europe and North America in the ’50s & ’60s waiting, we made this little attachment for my Canon Digital Rebel XT.

In a few simple steps we turn a slide like this:


Into this:

slide final


  • Digital SLR camera with a lens; I used my Rebel XT + 55mm EF-S lens
  • Lens shade; mine is 60mm and looks like this
  • Rubber plumbing coupling; mine is 1.5″-2.0″
  • Foam tape
  • Exacto knife (something to cut into the rubber coupling)
  • Close-up filters; I used +6

That’s it! I call this the “$12 Scanner” because I’m assuming you already have the expensive bits, which are all useful independently in their own right (the dSLR, Lens Shade, Filters & Exacto-knife). The only new additions are the plumbing gear & foam tape.


What you’re going to do is create an extension for your camera that sits on the end of the lens inside the lens shade, with the slides sitting at the end so that they will fill the frame of your dSLR. Put your camera and filters aside for now, it’s time to make the extension.

Step One: Make sure you have everything you need and that it all fits together. Using a lens shade to help attach your plumbing extension to your dSLR I’m sure saves a considerable amount of work.

The rubber coupling will sit inside that.

Foam tape will help give a snug fit and hold everything in place.

Step Two: Put it together! Wrap the foam tape around the smaller end of the rubber coupling so that it will sit snug inside the lens shade; cut 4 marks out of the large end of the rubber coupling so that the slide will sit in the end. This part is kind of a pain, probably won’t end up pretty but it will get the job done.

RESULTS! This is what you end up with. My apologies, I took the picture before I had cut the bits out for the slide.

There’s more! The filters. By using the filters (again, I used +6) on your lens before attaching the lens shade with the coupling you will enable the slide image to fill the entire frame.

*CLICK!* Time to snap away. This should be done with your camera on a tripod and using some careful focusing. This can be done automatically or manually, whatever works best and is most comfortable for you. Remember that your slides are sitting at the end of the lens and will twist and turn while you make your adjustments. This is okay because you will be able to fix things as necessary on your computer. To get a nice even light source, face the camera at your computer screen with a white screen showing (I open Microsoft Powerpoint and fill the screen with a blank slide).

Upload the pictures to your computer.

Now, just use your favorite photo editing software and make any minor touch-ups as necessary. It works quite well, I have even used this technique to ‘scan’ negatives into my iBook and fiddling with the image from there.

Simple and straightforward.



1. canon slr rebel xti - September 25, 2009

I like this.It is present just enoughly,Good…Thank for the new knowledge.
you have a great blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you! Thank you for your info.And this is Canon SLR Rebel XTi Price site/blog. It pretty much covers Best Canon SLR Rebel XTi camera related stuff.

2. Gaksninna - December 11, 2009

Seems like you are a real specialist. Did you study about the subject? lol

3. Micherte - January 30, 2010

I can’t see the photos anymore. Please upload them again. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: