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I have a box of negatives in a cabinet. Every year, I see that box and clean around it. And every year, I wonder: should I keep these negatives? I kind of hate to throw them away, because they contain memories of my girls’ earliest years and of trips to Europe, etc. Then again, these days it is hard to get photos made from negatives.
I finally came up with a solution. I did some research and found that there are products that can convert negatives to digital images. The one I decided on was the Wolverine F2D Super 20MP 4-In-1 Film to Digital Converter, and I ordered mine on Amazon.
Converting Negatives to Digital Images
I never know what to tell my husband I want for my birthday, but hey — here was something I really wanted! Win-win!
Actually, my little Wolverine can convert several things to digital: 135 negatives and slides (which mine were), also 126 and 110 negatives and slides, and even Super 8 film. Since my project involved 135 negatives, that’s what I’ll focus on here.
First, there is a black plastic insert that I slid into the machine. This makes it possible for my 135 negatives to fit in just right.
In the back of the converter, there’s a slot where you put a camera card/SD drive. This is where the digital files will go.
Get your negatives out, because we’re ready to convert them over to digital files!
Plug in the converter, and hit the POWER button on top. Then, you’ll just hit the yellow button on top to work your way through the menu. I’m choosing 135 negatives, and you can see that I fed the negative in on the right side.
Look up at the very top photo in this post. This is where it gets fun; your negative will show up as a little image on the screen!
Push the “convert” button on the top right of the converter. Then “OK/enter” and you’ll see this little spinning circle as the image saves on the SD card you’ve inserted. It only takes a couple of seconds!
Adjusting Color When Converting Negatives to Digital
That’s basically it! But, if you want to get more advanced — when you’re looking at a photo, press the “OK/enter” button, and you’ll get several color options. You can turn the exposure level, or red/green/blue levels on any image up or down. I experimented a little with mine and found that turning down the red and green one click worked best for most of my images.
After I converted my negative images to digital files, I went over to PicMonkey, a free photo editing site that I love. For each photo, I adjusted the color and the exposure. Really, you could do all your color adjusting at PicMonkey rather than with the converter — it’s easier to see the images on your computer screen than on the tiny screen the converter has. Then, I saved the negatives in folders I created by year (2005, etc). Slowly, I’m putting years worth of photos on a flash drive
Wolverine Converter Caveats
A few things I’ve learned as I’ve done many of these — dust is everywhere! I can’t believe how much dust gets onto negatives, and then shows up on the images. Despite wiping off the light table in the converter, and wiping off each set of negatives before feeding them in, a few images inevitably have a blob of dust that I’ll have to fix before saving the image. I’ve gotten into the habit of pulling the negative insert out of the converter after each strip of four slides, just to wipe off the light table again. Always, there are some dust particles that accumulated in the 60 previous seconds. My husband says this is due to the plate that the negative sits on being electrostatic and attracting dust — or something like this. Regardless, this job would be much easier without dust. Believe me on that one.
Do you have a drawer, a box, heck a ROOM full of old negatives? Here’s a 2017 project for you! I tried to go through my process step-by-step, but if you have any questions (or have any tips I didn’t cover), add them in the comments.