Scanner Choices


zk-diq

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Jan 1, 2009
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Telok Blangah
I thought you will always print with the chart? Anyway, the change in black at the top doesn't looks like it is able to see that high.
Off topic: Someday I will project a 8 * 10 photo on the side of National Library.:bsmilie:
Off topic2: Got read about the new meet up idea on the old E6 post?;)
I have the gray scale print on with a 1.8 max density.:)
 

justinlht

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Sep 8, 2009
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Don't mind I revive this thread for a bit!

So far in this thread you guys have only touched on flatbed scanners. Would like to post a question to all the technical experts out there, how do the dedicated film scanners perform? Maybe I should break it down...

I've been reading up in search of a long-term film scanner, and know a little bit about bit depth, colour depth, and density range.

1. Film has density range 4.0 (correct me if i'm wrong). Will a scanner with a density range of about 3.5 perform decently in terms of shadow detail?
2. Do softwares such as Silverfast really increase the effective density range of the scanner?

Most importantly,
3. In your opinion, is it worth buying a dedicated film scanner, assuming you already have a consumer-level scanner for documents and other stuff?

I've been looking at the mid-high amateur range like the Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 ii, Plustek 7600i, Reflecta Proscan 7200 - anyone got experience/feedback?

Thanks for all comments!
 

raytoei

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Jan 14, 2010
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justin,

I dunno about your queries, what I do know is that Safra Photoclub has a very nice dedicated Nikon Coolscan 8 or 9000.
takes forever to scan but people generally acknowledge that this is the best scanner out there.

thanks
 

zk-diq

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Jan 1, 2009
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1. Film has density range 4.0 (correct me if i'm wrong). Will a scanner with a density range of about 3.5 perform decently in terms of shadow detail?

Yes It will perform decently in shadow. However you wont see much after 3.5 and above as the sensor not able to record information after that range. (provided the manufacturer spec is in tact.)

2. Do softwares such as Silverfast really increase the effective density range of the scanner?

No. not to what I know of. We cannot create something if we have nothing.

Most importantly,
3. In your opinion, is it worth buying a dedicated film scanner, assuming you already have a consumer-level scanner for documents and other stuff?

Is all up to you. some willing to spend 15k for a lens.

I play with drum scanner, different type and spec do produce different result.
:)
 

wootsk

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It is more about the min D and Max D of your sensor before the range. Anyway ur flatbed is very good to be able to scan till 3.5 range by itself.

I don't know much about this Silverfast software, but I just make a rough guess that the software helps in finding the optimised min and max D of the image to your scanner capability before scanning. You cannot improve the resolution or D range as the limition of the hardware is already there. (The macro glass and CCD sensor capability)

Firstly, what are you going to do with the scanned result? If you are just planning to plainly clean up the image and post on facebook or flickr, have you consider if you or your friend monitor (Assuming calibrated with a IT8) that you share with can produce the amount of bits for the D range your scanner has?
 

kgston

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Jan 23, 2007
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1. Film has density range 4.0 (correct me if i'm wrong). Will a scanner with a density range of about 3.5 perform decently in terms of shadow detail?

If I'm not mistaken, the densest film out there now, Velvia 50, has a Dmax of around 3.5 (avg) and scanner manufacturers don't advertise Drange specs. They only advertise Dmax specs. Dmax specs aren't really helpful in determining how much shadows a scanner can read because if you just throw more light at the film, you can obviously read deeper into the shadows. However this comes at the expense of the highlights which will be blown out of proportions.

I'm not sure which scanner you saw a Drange of 3.5, but usually I don't see Drange specs listed.


2. Do softwares such as Silverfast really increase the effective density range of the scanner?

Well, it depends on which functions of the software you are referring to. Multisampling doesn't really help increase Drange. HDR scanning theoretically helps increase Drange, but there are a few issues. Firstly, HDR tone mapping is not simple nor easy. If you have done HDR imaging before, you know it is a pain and results are not consistent nor does it work every time. Silverfast attempts to implement a one click HDR scanning function with little to no options to adjust for contrast and shadows/highlights nor do they explain how their algorithm works. Do you feel safe leaving it in the hands of their software? I don't.

I have tried doing HDR scans the long tedious way by making scans at different exposure levels and merging them again using a HDR software and I noticed that the gains are little. It is more likely that there isn't much recorded on the film the begin with. Maybe because my scanner has already managed to resolve most of the details from the shadows already? Maybe it works better for lower end flatbed scanner? I can't say for sure.

3. In your opinion, is it worth buying a dedicated film scanner, assuming you already have a consumer-level scanner for documents and other stuff?

As I mentioned many times in my other posts, it depends on your expectations and the cost you are willing to pay. There are no cheap and good things in the world; with every little bit more in quality you desire, the price will increase exponentially. It is up to you to decide where to draw the line. I bought a Coolscan 9000 and have never regretted my purchase (even without the earnings from my scanning service) but the same cannot be said for you.

I've been looking at the mid-high amateur range like the Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 ii, Plustek 7600i, Reflecta Proscan 7200 - anyone got experience/feedback?

I heard many good things about the Minolta and Minolta after all is an imaging and optics company, so I trust in their brand name. On the other hand, less could be said about Plustek or Reflecta. May say they are value for money; it could be a euphemistic way of saying that they aren't so good? I don't know, that is just my opinion as I have never seen anyone post full resolution scans from a Plustek or Reflecta, so I shall reserve my judgement. :)

However, the most immediate observation you can make would be the improved optics. Pin sharp images will make you wonder why you ever wasted time with a flatbed before..:D


Hope this helps..;)
 

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wootsk

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I think I didn't make myself clear about "Anyway ur flatbed is very good to be able to scan till 3.5 range by itself."

I mean that theoretically your flatbed shouldn't be able to scan till 3.5 range because the sensor itself is unable to capture such range of detail so what makes you think that you can magically produce more output when there isn't that much input. I would be looking at the true resolution in DPI able to be produced by the hardware in this area between a dedicated and flatbed more then the D Range since both are CCD (Better CCD, better shade of grey). The flatbed doesn't have a macro lens and ever wonder how they make so high reso scan without a macro lens?
 

zk-diq

Senior Member
Jan 1, 2009
1,387
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Telok Blangah
1. Film has density range 4.0 (correct me if i'm wrong). Will a scanner with a density range of about 3.5 perform decently in terms of shadow detail?

If I'm not mistaken, the densest film out there now, Velvia 50, has a Dmax of around 3.5 (avg) and scanner manufacturers don't advertise Drange specs. They only advertise Dmax specs. Dmax specs aren't really helpful in determining how much shadows a scanner can read because if you just throw more light at the film, you can obviously read deeper into the shadows. However this comes at the expense of the highlights which will be blown out of proportions.

I'm not sure which scanner you saw a Drange of 3.5, but usually I don't see Drange specs listed.


2. Do softwares such as Silverfast really increase the effective density range of the scanner?

Well, it depends on which functions of the software you are referring to. Multisampling doesn't really help increase Drange. HDR scanning theoretically helps increase Drange, but there are a few issues. Firstly, HDR tone mapping is not simple nor easy. If you have done HDR imaging before, you know it is a pain and results are not consistent nor does it work every time. Silverfast attempts to implement a one click HDR scanning function with little to no options to adjust for contrast and shadows/highlights nor do they explain how their algorithm works. Do you feel safe leaving it in the hands of their software? I don't.

I have tried doing HDR scans the long tedious way by making scans at different exposure levels and merging them again using a HDR software and I noticed that the gains are little. It is more likely that there isn't much recorded on the film the begin with. Maybe because my scanner has already managed to resolve most of the details from the shadows already? Maybe it works better for lower end flatbed scanner? I can't say for sure.

3. In your opinion, is it worth buying a dedicated film scanner, assuming you already have a consumer-level scanner for documents and other stuff?

As I mentioned many times in my other posts, it depends on your expectations and the cost you are willing to pay. There are no cheap and good things in the world; with every little bit more in quality you desire, the price will increase exponentially. It is up to you to decide where to draw the line. I bought a Coolscan 9000 and have never regretted my purchase (even without the earnings from my scanning service) but the same cannot be said for you.

I've been looking at the mid-high amateur range like the Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 ii, Plustek 7600i, Reflecta Proscan 7200 - anyone got experience/feedback?

I heard many good things about the Minolta and Minolta after all is an imaging and optics company, so I trust in their brand name. On the other hand, less could be said about Plustek or Reflecta. May say they are value for money; it could be a euphemistic way of saying that they aren't so good? I don't know, that is just my opinion as I have never seen anyone post full resolution scans from a Plustek or Reflecta, so I shall reserve my judgement. :)

However, the most immediate observation you can make would be the improved optics. Pin sharp images will make you wonder why you ever wasted time with a flatbed before..:D


Hope this helps..;)
They reach D3.6 - D3.9. if processing/exp in correct order usually measure is 3.8 and above.:)
 

wootsk

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They reach D3.6 - D3.9. if processing/exp in correct order usually measure is 3.8 and above.:)
I think I cannot be happy even if it is a drum scan with a monitor that can display up to 4.0. I think it has something to do with the slide projector and loupe.:(

Anyway, I am wondering if the guy who ask the initial 3 question are lost with the answer.:bsmilie:
 

justinlht

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Sep 8, 2009
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justin,

I dunno about your queries, what I do know is that Safra Photoclub has a very nice dedicated Nikon Coolscan 8 or 9000.
takes forever to scan but people generally acknowledge that this is the best scanner out there.

thanks
wow i never knew that. can anyone use?
do agree the nikons are stellar pricewise they're way out.

was thinking of obtaining a small and bang-for-buck scanner to use at home. wonder if i'm making economical sense..

thanks anyway!
 

justinlht

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Sep 8, 2009
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I think I cannot be happy even if it is a drum scan with a monitor that can display up to 4.0. I think it has something to do with the slide projector and loupe.:(

Anyway, I am wondering if the guy who ask the initial 3 question are lost with the answer.:bsmilie:
OKAY GUYS just a bit more and you will lose me! so complex! :bigeyes:
thanks for all the replies, really appreciate it!

zk-diq: drum scanner is ideal, but rationality in me tells me not to. moreover need to go rob a bank first..

wootsk: i would like scans that are detailed enough for me to print up to A4 size. I know printer is another business altogether (the spec talk will kill me). Basically, I'd like to extract as much detail from my negatives as possible, accurate colours, sharpness, so that if I want to manually print them at my own pace at home it won't be disastrous.

ultimately i'd like to give a go at wet printing (is that right?) but I do value the benefits of the digital archiving and all.

maybe to give you all a better idea, i'd put myself in the advanced amateur range? i.e. i don't foresee myself printing beyond A4, but quite picky as to how detailed the scans can be

kgston: thanks for the detailed reply! quite fancy the minolta too, just that slightly outside of budget. ideally i'd say that's my number 1 choice atm.

from what i've read the plustek seems decent. seen some scans here and there and on flickr as well. main gripe is that the scanner doesn't have autofocus. seeing that i'm still struggling to produce flat negatives, how important is autofocus / the option to manual focus in a scanner?

i've been reading good stuff about the reflecta. mainly from filmscanner.info. i am aware that they are one of the biggest sellers of reflecta though so i do have reservations. nonetheless their reviews make the reflecta sound attractive!
 

justinlht

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I think I cannot be happy even if it is a drum scan with a monitor that can display up to 4.0. I think it has something to do with the slide projector and loupe.:(
one day i will look through a loupe and confirm think the same thing!

also, can you elaborate a bit on the monitor + scanner compatibility? i'm guessing the monitor must be able to match what the scanner can do right? i'm using a macbook pro. since i'm an amateur user i'll probably stick with that. thanks for the comments!
 

kgston

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Jan 23, 2007
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seeing that i'm still struggling to produce flat negatives, how important is autofocus / the option to manual focus in a scanner?
Autofocus is pretty important in my opinion. Firstly, the DOF in which the frame is in focus is super shallow, probably only 1mm. If your scanner is fixed focus, you will run into issues such as, what if it is not calibrated correctly at factory? can you manually calibrate it yourself? And from film to film, the focus can vary, depending on how much the film warps in the holder. However, even autofocus won't be able to solve the problem of warped film as the DOF is too shallow; all it can do is put some parts in focus while others are out. However, it is still better than a fixed focus scanner. Only solution to scan warped films is to use a glass holder to hold it flat or to wet mount.

Manual focus also isn't very gd, because in order to see the focus, you need to scan at highest res, which is slow and makes the focusing a total pain. After focusing one frame, what about the rest? what if you hit a warped frame that needs refocusing?

These issues may be big or small issues to you, depending on what you desire and your willingness to pay.
 

kgston

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one day i will look through a loupe and confirm think the same thing!

also, can you elaborate a bit on the monitor + scanner compatibility? i'm guessing the monitor must be able to match what the scanner can do right? i'm using a macbook pro. since i'm an amateur user i'll probably stick with that. thanks for the comments!
You will need a wide gamut monitor and one that produce high bit depth. macbkpro monitor is supposed to be good, but i'm not too sure what the specs are though.. preferably to have ARGB gamut and if im not wrong, 12bit colour depth is the highest you can get now. You also need a properly calibrated monitor to properly map the colour and tones accurately.
 

wootsk

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one day i will look through a loupe and confirm think the same thing!

also, can you elaborate a bit on the monitor + scanner compatibility? i'm guessing the monitor must be able to match what the scanner can do right? i'm using a macbook pro. since i'm an amateur user i'll probably stick with that. thanks for the comments!
I don't know where to start on this, so I give it a try (Pardon me as I am a very lousy teacher and in explaining stuff).

1. When you mean bit in monitor display, a 12bit grey is more than a 24bit RGB. A 24bit RGB means each color channel (Red Green Blue) has 8bit each. A 12bit grey means it has 12bit in all channel. 8bit makes a byte and bit are actually 2 power of something (Computer technology are in 0 and 1, so it means 2 in total). In computer technology, 8 bits basically means from 0000 0000 to 1111 1111. so 2 power 8 means it got total of 256 possible digits. so a 24 bit RGB actually has 256 different color per channel (0 - 255). What does all that means? It means that your common monitor which (if I am not wrong) is 24bit display cannot replicate the same result you see with a loupe and slide projector. (Slides has a D range much higher than that Ignore the tech spec about negative and slide D range as they are off. But you can refer to the chart inside for mapping of D range to bits.)

2. Sad right? But I discuss this with roger before and he did mentioned that even though common montiors arn't that powerful, most high end scanner that are able to scan more than what the monitor can display has a auto "Dodge and Burn" or HDR software inside that will overlay the current shadow detail when scan at certain range to allow some details to be shown in the shadow or highlight area. While it won't be exactly what you see in a loupe and slide projector, the details are at least there.

3. Monitor, scanner and printer need to be calibrated to get accurate color though the density value are different in each, the color replication still need to be accurate. To do it, we will need an IT8 and some calibration software for that.

4. Anyway if you are interested, I feel it is easier to absorb if we can meet up if there is a next meet up or outing in the E-6 thread, you just come along and ask more verbally. I get more and more off topic everything I start typing in a thread...
 

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justinlht

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I don't know where to start on this, so I give it a try (Pardon me as I am a very lousy teacher and in explaining stuff).

1. When you mean bit in monitor display, a 12bit grey is more than a 24bit RGB. A 24bit RGB means each color channel (Red Green Blue) has 8bit each. A 12bit grey means it has 12bit in all channel. 8bit makes a byte and bit are actually 2 power of something (Computer technology are in 0 and 1, so it means 2 in total). In computer technology, 8 bits basically means from 0000 0000 to 1111 1111. so 2 power 8 means it got total of 256 possible digits. so a 24 bit RGB actually has 256 different color per channel (0 - 255). What does all that means? It means that your common monitor which (if I am not wrong) is 24bit display cannot replicate the same result you see with a loupe and slide projector. (Slides has a D range much higher than that Ignore the tech spec about negative and slide D range as they are off. But you can refer to the chart inside for mapping of D range to bits.)

2. Sad right? But I discuss this with roger before and he did mentioned that even though common montiors arn't that powerful, most high end scanner that are able to scan more than what the monitor can display has a auto "Dodge and Burn" or HDR software inside that will overlay the current shadow detail when scan at certain range to allow some details to be shown in the shadow or highlight area. While it won't be exactly what you see in a loupe and slide projector, the details are at least there.

3. Monitor, scanner and printer need to be calibrated to get accurate color though the density value are different in each, the color replication still need to be accurate. To do it, we will need an IT8 and some calibration software for that.

4. Anyway if you are interested, I feel it is easier to absorb if we can meet up if there is a next meet up or outing in the E-6 thread, you just come along and ask more verbally. I get more and more off topic everything I start typing in a thread...
Thanks for all the information! definitely need some time to digest all that, but it has been extremely helpful
i wont back in sg till july so maybe after then! hope all you guys are enjoying election fever back home now :bsmilie:
 

losheng

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Oct 29, 2006
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The benefits of digital archiving can often be over-hyped to point of it instilling a false sense of security - think of the beautiful b/w photographs of your parents (ok, if you are still in your teens - your grandparents) that are still so beautiful today, and then reflect on the number failures you encountered with hard drives, DVD, CD, memory cards, etc etc. To reap the benefits of true digital archival you'll have to ask sysadmins about the amount of work and cost that goes in - double, triple backups with remote location storage. And to test these backups for the ability to restore - sysadmins will tell you how often backup fails! On top of that, there's the the routine media transfer before the mean time to failure of the physical media occurs. All this is really expensive and time consuming! Without doing all this - it's a matter of time before one loses the entire digital archive!

Just to prove the point, compare to the contact numbers that you've have on the old telephone books verses the number of contacts you've lost over the years due to the change of phones, SIM cards, and incompatible software addressbooks!

So, consider the b/w negs you keep in the acid-free sleeves - short of flood and fire, these are more likely to be usable 50 years later compared to the chances you've had to take with digital devices! And that's assuming the file format don't go out of date! :)

ultimately i'd like to give a go at wet printing (is that right?) but I do value the benefits of the digital archiving and all.
 

wootsk

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The benefits of digital archiving can often be over-hyped to point of it instilling a false sense of security - think of the beautiful b/w photographs of your parents (ok, if you are still in your teens - your grandparents) that are still so beautiful today, and then reflect on the number failures you encountered with hard drives, DVD, CD, memory cards, etc etc. To reap the benefits of true digital archival you'll have to ask sysadmins about the amount of work and cost that goes in - double, triple backups with remote location storage. And to test these backups for the ability to restore - sysadmins will tell you how often backup fails! On top of that, there's the the routine media transfer before the mean time to failure of the physical media occurs. All this is really expensive and time consuming! Without doing all this - it's a matter of time before one loses the entire digital archive!

Just to prove the point, compare to the contact numbers that you've have on the old telephone books verses the number of contacts you've lost over the years due to the change of phones, SIM cards, and incompatible software addressbooks!

So, consider the b/w negs you keep in the acid-free sleeves - short of flood and fire, these are more likely to be usable 50 years later compared to the chances you've had to take with digital devices! And that's assuming the file format don't go out of date! :)
I think this is petty personal. I do have a backup as I write my contact to my sim and phone memory. Unless I lose my phone or my sim and phone spoils at the same time, I think this shouldn't be an issue. Instead I am thinking of what if you spill water over your phonebook and some paper stained?

If the idea of a digital archiving is to retain a photo as an image to show to kids 2 generation later, I personally find it fine if you keep it raw and store nicely in a well protected media. (You do must constantly ensure the supporting software is still in the market or you have to "migrate" your photos to a newer updated platform / media) Film are not meant to last a century even if you keep it dry and freeze it. (I freeze my films) Paper will turn yellow with many other problems ultimately over time. I am still newbie and it isn't good to share too much of my personal point and ideas here.:embrass:

Fading back slowly under the radar.
 

kgston

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losheng said:
The benefits of digital archiving can often be over-hyped to point of it instilling a false sense of security - think of the beautiful b/w photographs of your parents (ok, if you are still in your teens - your grandparents) that are still so beautiful today, and then reflect on the number failures you encountered with hard drives, DVD, CD, memory cards, etc etc. To reap the benefits of true digital archival you'll have to ask sysadmins about the amount of work and cost that goes in - double, triple backups with remote location storage. And to test these backups for the ability to restore - sysadmins will tell you how often backup fails! On top of that, there's the the routine media transfer before the mean time to failure of the physical media occurs. All this is really expensive and time consuming! Without doing all this - it's a matter of time before one loses the entire digital archive!

Just to prove the point, compare to the contact numbers that you've have on the old telephone books verses the number of contacts you've lost over the years due to the change of phones, SIM cards, and incompatible software addressbooks!

So, consider the b/w negs you keep in the acid-free sleeves - short of flood and fire, these are more likely to be usable 50 years later compared to the chances you've had to take with digital devices! And that's assuming the file format don't go out of date! :)
That is where cloud computing comes in..supposedly :p but then you worry abt security and privacy..solutions generate more problems.. Haha..
 

DeepOne

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Oct 7, 2010
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The benefits of digital archiving can often be over-hyped to point of it instilling a false sense of security - think of the beautiful b/w photographs of your parents (ok, if you are still in your teens - your grandparents) that are still so beautiful today, and then reflect on the number failures you encountered with hard drives, DVD, CD, memory cards, etc etc. To reap the benefits of true digital archival you'll have to ask sysadmins about the amount of work and cost that goes in - double, triple backups with remote location storage. And to test these backups for the ability to restore - sysadmins will tell you how often backup fails! On top of that, there's the the routine media transfer before the mean time to failure of the physical media occurs. All this is really expensive and time consuming! Without doing all this - it's a matter of time before one loses the entire digital archive!

Just to prove the point, compare to the contact numbers that you've have on the old telephone books verses the number of contacts you've lost over the years due to the change of phones, SIM cards, and incompatible software addressbooks!

So, consider the b/w negs you keep in the acid-free sleeves - short of flood and fire, these are more likely to be usable 50 years later compared to the chances you've had to take with digital devices! And that's assuming the file format don't go out of date! :)
digital archiving is not over-hyped if you are doing it, that is scanning the slides into digital storage, it is still a good form of backup, I have CDs that are still working fine since the day it was introduced many years ago, if one does not do a backup of some form for their slides, then the longevity of it serves no purpose if it goes up in smoke tomorrow, okay maybe the cat ate some of it, some got spilled by kopi, some got stolen, but yes any of these can happen tomorrow, then what are you left with. :D

I find you comparing this with contact numbers amusing, if you lose those numbers, does it mean you will break off contacts with them completely, what good would the numbers of some of them be if they died, you go for a different make of phone you might have to start doing things all over again, these toys are meant to be like that. :D
 

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