I inherited the passion for photography from my parents. They took a lot of pictures. Half of them were in black and white. I have fond memories of my childhood when we developed and printed our pictures, turning our bathroom into a dark room.
The other half were color slides. We spent so many family evenings in front of our projection screen…
We had hundreds of slide magazines in our storage room. One of my dreams, since the late nineties, was to save all those slides from the insults of time, managing to digitize them.
I hoped that, sooner or later, a good technology would have been affordable enough to proceed.
A good scanner with enough resolution was common and relatively cheap yet, but due to the huge amount of slides, I needed something better. I needed a professional scanner for slide magazines, in order to scan 50 or 100 pictures in one shot. I had about 10,000 slides, spanning from 1977 to 2006, which meant 200+ magazines.
In the early 2000’s I put my eyes on the Reflecta DigitDia 3600. It was insanely expensive, but it was exectly what I needed. It was a modified slide projector: a magazine loader, a lamp, but with a scanner instead of the projecting lens. The resolution was still low for my needs, though.
In 2006, the DigitDia 5000 came out. It was still expensive, about EUR 2500.
But I had a plan… I thought that most of the people bought this device to scan their collection, then they would have sold it. So my plan was to look for an used scanner on eBay, scan my slides, then resell it at the same price I bought it.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any used scanner. I browsed eBay for months.
In the meantime, the prices for the new item were slowly decreasing… EUR 2400… EUR 2000… EUR 1600…
At a certain point, I started to think it was the right moment. I was afraid that the demand of these devices would have decreased, and so the prices would raise again.
The new model, called DigitDia 6000, came out. The online shop I was lurking on made discounts for the old model, so it was the right time*.
I also discovered a great thing: that shop had a covering insurance. For a bunch of euros, you could buy an insurance that had these conditions:
50% of refund if you give the item back within 1 year
25% of refund if you give the item back within 2 years
100% of refund (or item change) if the item broke within 2 years
I couldn’t believe at my eyes. The DigitDia 5000 was on sale at about EUR 1000.
My plan was to scan all my magazines within 1 year, and then give the scanner back and get EUR 500 refund. It was still a very expensive operation, but the only alternative was to let my childhood pictures be lost forever.
(well actually it wasn’t the only choice: I could have sent my slides to a lab and pay to have the job done, but -curiously- I never thought of this option).
I bought the machine.
I decided to load one magazine into the scanner every evening and letting the process run by night (it took several hours to scan an entire magazine).
I scanned only 4 or 5 magazines, when the scanner broke.
The sale of the 5000 was over, but I had my insurance and asked for an item change. So the e-shop had to send me a new model, the DigitDia 6000, for no charge.
It was fantastic, even better!
I scanned all my 200 magazines in 200 nights.
On the 200th morning, I woke up in a good mood. My very long work was over!
I went into the room in which I kept the scanner, to discover it was stuck on one of the first slides, and the process wasn’t completed. I was very angry, since this machine jammed quite often. So this discovery wasn’t something new. The thing that was new was, this time, that the scanner didn’t work anymore. It was totally blocked, refusing to communicate with my PC. So I manually scanned the last 50 slides with my old A4 scanner (which had a slide tray capable of scanning 4 slides at a time), and I sent the DigitDia back, getting so a 100% refund.
So I actually had all my huge collection of slides scanned for free!
*I was right to think this. I’ve checked today: they stopped the development of these devices. Today, the DigitDia 6000 is still the last model, it has the same jamming issues (according to the reviews) and it is still quite expensive.
I know this is a long message, but I think the spirit of this thread is to tell a nice story, and not to give quick informations