Reflecta DigitDia 5000 Scanner – 3,000 slides in 30 days

My slide archive was previously unobserved in a corner of the study, neatly packed in cardboard boxes. Now the Reflecta DigitDia 5000 should make it onto the hard disk of the PC.

  • Pros:
    Processes entire slide magazines
    good sharpness
    hardware-based scratch removal
    Digital ICE
  • Cons:
    Partially blocked with thin slides
    medium density range only

I have pondered the idea of ​​digitizing slides several times, but rejected it again and again in view of the amount of work involved. Most scanners only read a few framed slides at a time, too time-consuming with 3,000 pieces and send off to a scanning service? Possible, but relatively expensive. I also hate to hand over my original slides. Then came the press release from Reflecta.

The company has launched a new version of its DigitDia that can read entire slide magazines. Now or never, I ask for the good piece. The new one costs around 1,000 euros, not a little for a device that you only need once. If it hadn’t worked out with the test copy, the eBay variant would have had to serve: buy a scanner cheaply, read in slides and then resell the scanner with little loss of value.

Scan entire magazines

During the first test run, the scanner pushes the magazine with the thicker, self-framed slides through without looking up. The DigitDia accepts the thinner CS slides just as easily, which I carefully threaded into the supplied 100-size magazine. Then it’s the turn of the no-name prefabricated frames. They only fit in regular 50s magazines. This means that the feed works just as well or badly as with my old Braun projector: about two slides are stuck per magazine and have to be removed by hand.

A more serious complication only occurs once while scanning my archive: the arm pulls in a slide, but comes out again empty. So got a screwdriver, opened the case and took out the slide again. Screw it down, say a little quick prayer and continue scanning.

In principle, scanning with the DigitDia works at the push of a button, as soon as you have found the right settings. I say goodbye to the maximum quality quickly: A single TIFF file with 3,600 dpi and 48 bit occupies over 100 megabytes and it takes a whopping 15 minutes until it is on the hard drive. My old 2.2 GHz PC simply cannot handle the increased data volume.

Compromises for continuous operation

After trying out several combinations, I decide on 24 bit, 3,600 dpi and JPEG format in the best quality. This limits the file size to four megabytes. I activate the ICE and GEM correction procedures, even if the sharpness of detail is reduced a bit. But it’s worth it if I don’t have to stamp thousands of particles out of the picture afterwards. Because even if the slides are subjected to a general cleaning with compressed air: Grains of dust still stick to the corners.

Then the time has come, magazine after magazine moves through the scanner. On average, the DigitDia with the included CyberView software takes around three minutes per slide. In the end, it takes me four weekends and many evenings to scan the entire archive. And the post-processing will probably fill many hours, but preferably next winter. However, I make a few slides presentable immediately after the test.

That means: Correcting colors in Photoshop, adjusting black and white points, making details in the shadows visible with the highlight / shadow function. Then the laptop goes into the basement, to the home theater. The first impression: Wow! The projector throws the scans onto the wall as clearly and brilliantly as my old slide projector and only much larger. So the effort was worth it.

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