worm.gif (3649 bytes) Imagelab FS5CO5 Slide and Negative Scanner
A product review

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Returning It





If dust gets into the Imagelab FS5CO5 gizmo -- and it invariably will -- there seems no way to blow it out. You're stuck with getting the same blotches on all your negatives.

The negative and slide carriers are awkward to open.

For slides:

The image size which results is not the same as what shows on the small LED screen... and it truncates part of the edge of the picture. In other words, the aspect ratio of 35mm slides and negatives does not match that of the Imagelab thing's LED screen.

Quick Read Synopsis -
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 Only 3 slides fit into one carrier.  If it had been 4 I would probably have saved two days of scanning (I scanned a lot of slides).

Some glass-mounted slides won't let the slide carrier close and thus must be opened to be scanned.

For negatives:

The "sprockets" on the negative carrier don't match the holes in 35mm film!  Imagine that!

You can't use the negative carrier with filmstrips that are more that 4 frames long.   Only about 5% of my negative strips were that short or shorter. To use the carrier you must cut your film.  Short, 1 or 2 frame strips are difficult to put into the carrier because the "sprockets" on the negative carrier don't match the holes, as stated.


My unit's internal backlight flickered occasionally.

Scanning the same image twice will not guarantee identical pictures.  Color may vary.  Cropping may vary.

There are may small design improvements which should be made that would improve this gizmo's utility quite a bit.

Image quality:  Because I had to remove many dust artifacts using PhotoShop, many images suffered.  The small (ill-fitting-for-35mm-format)  LCD is a farce -- An optical system, perhaps instead, a simple integrated magnifying lens such as commonly seen in slide viewers, would have been cheaper to manufacture and might have had less user-obfuscation, more utility, clarity, ease of use than that small LCD screen.

The negative and slide carriers are awkward to open... at least there could have been a small notch for one's fingernail to catch to help snap the hinged lid open... easy to do but thoughtless to omit.

This is the only unit like this I've used; I can't compare with others. I had some other gripes but I forget them now :(  'Nuff said.


another view -- from a reviewer on

By D. M. Morris (California)

I've worked in the film industry for over twenty years, and helped develop scanning technology for negative/digital conversion of motion picture film. For this price, and the convenience, the ImageLab FS5CO5 scanner is a good choice for home-quality slide conversions. However, it is not without some definite shortcomings...

Scanning slides on my illuminated flatbed scanner was a slow and tedious process, especially since they had to be loaded one at a time, and took several minutes to calibrate and scan. That was fine for a few slides, but not when doing stacks and stacks. I've been looking for something quick and easy that my parents could use to import our thousands of family photos into the computer. I had looked at these hand-held "scanners" before, and the high prices and lack of quality always kept me from springing for one. There are also scanners that can scan multiple images, and are automated, but they also cost significantly more.

There are some very nice design elements to the ImageLab FS5CO5 scanner which set it above the other quick-shot scanners. Its' design is clean and self-explanatory. The functions are clearly labeled. There's one button for slides, and one button for film negatives. It also has a very handy "live" screen so you can see what's positioned and ready to scan. It's very fast, and although the scans come out very contrasty, a couple of quick adjustments in iPhoto produce very nice results, considering for the speed and simplicity. If you don't have iPhoto, or some basic knowledge of adjusting photos in another program, you might not be happy with the images as they come straight from the scanner. Some of my slides produced blown out highs, and inky black shadows before I tweaked them in the computer. If you do have iPhoto, load the scan, brighten the shadows, and lower the highlights, for a quick, and massive, improvement.

Some of the benefits of the ImageLab scanner.
-5 mp images. If the image is sharp, this megapixel size is enough for cropping and enlarging.
-SD Card. I love this feature. I have a Mac, and lots of computer hardware will only include software for a PC. With the simplicity of using a SD memory card in the ImageLab FS5CO5 Scanner, I can load the scans to my computer as easily as I upload my camera's photos. It also makes it very portable, for scanning slides when on a trip or visiting a relative.
-Quick Scanning. Flatbeds frequently take several minutes to scan a slide. This produces the best result, but if you're doing hundreds and hundreds of slides, it can take forever. This one is as fast as a camera. Push/click/done. Technically, this is a camera and not a scanner, which is why it works so fast. The camera just takes a close-up pic of the slide. It's never as good as the slow version, but you can save the time-consuming efforts for the special slides.
-Feels solid. Nice construction. Seems durable. Doesn't have that "cheap plastic" feel.
-Slide trays easily snap in place inside the scanner. Once loaded, the trays just slide in, and click in place.
-Good price.


Some of the weaknesses of the ImageLab FS5CO5 Scanner.
The slide trays are not as well designed as they could be. They have a very shallow "footprint" to position each of the slides when being loaded. With the comparative depth of the closed tray, the frame could have been twice as deep, which would have made it much easier to drop the slides in place. As it is, you have to gently nudge the slides into place before the lid will close on the slide tray. This might not be a problem when doing a couple of slides, but when attempting to get through a bulk of slides, this gets progressively annoying.

The 35mm negative trays are another matter entirely. The standard 35mm negatives that I attempted to scan would not fit within the guides. The 35mm negatives that I tried were ordinary, flat, negatives that had been stored in a sleeve. There wasn't anything unusual about them. However, they puckered when trying to force them between the guide rails of the tray. I realize that film may have some organic irregularities, but this seemed significant. The gap between the outer edge of the sprocket and the rail beside it is very narrow, and would not accommodate any of the negatives that I tried last night. Ironically, with the guide sprockets for registration, you don't really need the rails in the first place.

So, until they fix the 35mm negative tray, it's questionable if you'd be happy trying to preserve family photos while potentially creasing or scraping the negatives. But, for a quick and easy way to get slides into the computer, I'd definitely give the ImageLab scanner a good consideration. It's not "archive quality" to the point that you could get rid of old slides, but it sure does make it a lot easier to enjoy them now.

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Last updated: November, 2013    Unpleasant experiences with companies, professionals and organizations. Scams.
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