Sony QX10 Slide Digitization


The Problem

There are at least a thousand old slides careful stored in drawers all around the house here in Germany.  I’m relatively certain that at least a few must contain interesting and early photos of my wife as a child.  Since Rita lived all over the world in her early childhood travels with her oil engineer father and socialite German mom, there’s likely to be some good slides of those far flung places mixed in as well.  This is the story of how I am going about retrieving those old slides and getting them into a digital format for posterity with the usual Rube Goldberg flair many of you have come to expect from me.  I’m fully aware that there are paid professional services that use dedicated slide to digital conversion scanners.  For those of you not aware, I am a cheap bastard with a penchant for finding a way around giving other people my money for anything I can possibly DIY.  This blog entry is for those with a similar proclivity.

Necessary Equipment

Slide Viewer

At a minimum, you’ll need an old backlit handheld slide viewer and a digital camera with enough pixels and short enough focus to make it possible to get a picture off the front of slide viewer.  If you happen to have an honest to goodness slide projector and screen, by all means use it instead of the small handheld viewer I am currently limited to.  In either case, a tripod for your camera is going to make it a lot easier to keep a consistent distance, focus and steadiness to whatever image you are using as a “master”.

My Gear

My Sony DSC QX10 camera (connected via QX10’s ad-hoc wifi to my iPad mini) is used to collect the photos of the slides as they are taken.  I then dump them off of my iPad onto my Mac Mini for post processing in iPhoto, which involves a quick straightening and cropping for the most part.  You can do any digital enhancement you like after the slides are digitized. I use a mini tripod to provide stability and support for the Sony QX10 as well as positioning for best focal length for macro shots.  Here’s a better overview of the process, and I show the digitization photo.  This slide was not in great shape.  The quality of the final product is, in large part, dependent on the quality of the original slide.  See the sample set at end of this post for a better overview on what to expect.

My Setup

I’m early into this process, having converted less than a hundred slides.  I took the cover off the slide viewer and since the lamp in it was shot, I decided to use an LED flashlight as a backlight for the illuminating the slides.  It’s also a bit easier dealing with the insertion and removal of the individual slides without having the case on.  Once you’re set-up, each slide can be digitized through to the QX10 about every ten seconds or so.  That’s about how long it takes me to physically remove the old slide and insert the next one, so it works out pretty well for the workflow since I’ve got many, many more slides to process.

I keep the QX10 tethered to external power while doing all the digitization so it won’t go dead on me while I am going through a long set of slides.  This assures my QX10 is left in a state of charge where it’s ready to “grab and go” without worrying about the QX10 battery going south on me right outside the door.  I have decided against a strategy of buying extra proprietary batteries for those devices which can otherwise be recharged via lithium battery portable chargers.  They’re now as cheap as the proprietary batteries and can be used on all my USB charged kit.  I’ve currently got two 3000ma ports-chargers in my kit bag.

Samples of Digitized Slides

Chef Tim


I’m starting a series on food so I can adequately address the lack of #foodporn pictures on my website.  It’s bad enough I’ve been remiss on #dogblogging, and lord knows I’ve nearly abandoned #catblogging altogether, so these food pix will have to fill in for the lack of an appropriate amount of hairy fur balls.

In any event, food is as cheap as gas is expensive here in Germany and I’ve already documented that atrocity quite well.  I don’t know if I’ll document the actual prices of these meals because I’m bad about keeping my grocery receipts, but none of them are ever going to be more than five euros unless otherwise noted, and I’ll comment on specific item prices as I remember them.  I’ve done a grocery shopping post that shows items and prices for different things here in the stores.  I’ll probably add more to that series as well in the future.  If you are curious about any particular grocery item(s) not shown, toss it in the comments and I’ll do my best to address your curiosity.


Bachelor foods.  The type of stuff I cook for myself.  Foods which are cheap and relatively easy to prepare.

Today’s Menu


Broccoli florets, tomatoes and carrots with bacon bits.  Topped with shredded parmesan and dusted with ground peppercorns.

List of Ingredients


Florets from one half of a large head of broccoli.

Two medium tomatoes

A couple carrots

Grated parmesan

100 grams of thin bacon

Salt, pepper and butter.

Ingredient Prep and Cooking

I use a large nonstick fry pan for this dish, though I could easily see it being done using a wok.   I fry the bacon in the same pan as the carrots and use the hot grease from the bacon to fry and soften the thinly sliced carrots, which need to be started first as they require more cook time than the broccoli tops or the tomatoes.  See following slideshow for prep pictures.

Total prep time is around twenty minutes, with the frying of the bacon and softening of the carrots taking the largest chunk of that time.  The single most expensive ingredient listed here is the bacon.  I pay 1.29/euro at a local market.  I think I paid two euro for the broccoli, but only used half of it.  So there’s 2.29 euro for the most expensive ingredients in the mix.  The cost of a couple carrots is nil.  There might be a twenty five cents worth of cheese involved.  I’m using some high dollar stuff my wife buys, which I assume is parmesan (package pictured) but you can substitute or omit the shredded cheese and ground pepper to your taste.  I used celery salt on the carrots when I was fry softening them in the bacon grease.  I added a bit of butter to the mix towards the end of the process when I had the lid over the dish, steam-fry softening off the broccoli and tomatoes before plating, garnishing and serving.