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"I'm sitting on 1,000 slides. What's the best way to get them into the computer?" is a frequently asked question I get from both friends and readers. Of course, the easiest solution is to send them off to someone else. But that can get expensive, and many people don't want to subject their prized photos to the disinterested hands of a technician. That leaves you with a scanner as your only option. For speedy, unattended scanning, a dedicated slide scanner with an automatic feeder, such as the Nikon Coolscan V, is a good bet. After you're done with the slides, though, it becomes an expensive paperweight. So after the costs and benefits play out, your best overall choice turns out to be a really good flatbed scanner--like the Epson Perfection V700.
The V700 improves upon its popular predecessor, the Perfection 4990 Pro, not to mention that it beats that model's price by about $50. You might also notice, however, that its design radically differs from last year's models; a switch from all rounded curves to sharp angles and corners. I happen to prefer the flat-topped version, because every large object on my desk must be able to hold a pile of something or other. Speaking of which, you'll need to allocate a big chunk of desk space for the V700: 6 by 12 by 20 inches.
Epson includes a variety of carriers in the box: one holds 12 slides, another four six-frame film strips, one for two 4x5 transparencies, and one for eight medium-format frames. They're all well designed and easy to load, and they each snap into a notch to lock in place on the scanbed. My biggest problem with the myriad mounts is finding places to put them. A version of the V700, the V750-M Pro, also offers a liquid mount, as used by drum scanners. This allows the film to press directly against the glass, which maximizes sharpness and minimizes artifacts. Though the V700 doesn't supply this, it does use separate lenses for reflective (hard-copy) and transmissive (slides and negatives) originals; since the latter generally need to be optically enlarged far more than the former, the lenses need to be optimized differently. One lens is designed for optimum resolving at a horizontal resolution of 4,800dpi, the other, 6,400dpi. Of course, the scanner can interpolate way beyond that, and for small originals, you generally find yourself in interpolation territory.