S2D - THE BRIEF HISTORY


NOT OUR FIRST RODEO
BUT WE SAW A NEED

We have nine decades in the photography business as lab owners, store owners, retail sales, and shooters.  We worked in Journalism, Weddings, Commercial, Sports and owned many labs running C41, E-6, B&W, and ran a photography school.  We saw a need as we realized an upsurge in slide to digital work being requested by our customers asking for help. 

We know slides.  We are wet and dry experienced printers and lab technicians building 6-tank automated E-6 line processors capable of hundreds of rolls a day.  We knew we could and should develop a simpler machine, capable of being used by either a consumer, a commercial photographer, or employee that will make or save you money.

▶️  We based our S2D machine on a similar slide copier with built in color correction we made in the eighties to duplicate slides or transfer the images to C41 copy film to print slides to pictures faster than slide direct.

▶️   As retail photo dealers, we had the usual options, farm the work out or tackle it ourselves with in-house scanners. 

▶️   Our demographics are strong with older folks who have millions of slides, or passed them on to their siblings.   

▶️   About 99 % will never pull out the projector and or follow up with that outdated process.  

▶️   Most can’t as the slides are possibly beyond saving or the projector is non-functional.

▶️   As with the few remaining full service retail photo stores we had the equipment usually a Nikon, Noritsu or the Frontier attachment but not the time during a seventy hour work week.  

▶️   We farmed it out which was additionally expensive, about a 66% profit loss, or doing it ourselves for short runs on the Nikon scanner. The Nikon scanners are slow which meant we couldn’t charge enough for volume work based on time per scan.

▶️   It was designed and named THE SUPER INTERDUPPER MARK II.  (BANNER SHOT ABOVE USED IN ADS)

▶️   We also built our own crude digital units from time to time with the advent of the digital era but never thought of sharing the process with others.  Our units wouldn’t pass being sold as retail muster since they took up a whole desk, for us they were wonderful, made us money but an ugly looking contraption that worked remarkably well.


A CORNUCOPIA OF CONTRAPTIONS
LED TO THE DRAWING BOARD 

▶️   The web opened our eyes, perusing the myriad of imported plastic strange devices, ideas, solutions and concoctions.  Frankly the low ratings on 90% of the various archaic plastic Chinese slide duplicators were indicative of poor design, low resolution and poor quality.  Great for Amateurs! 

▶️   From 2007 -2011 several folks on the web, many from Europe, had made attempts with varied and in some cases minor success using European projectors, like Wollensak, Leica Pravdovit’s  one or two using  KODAK Carousels as far back as 2005, even automating the process.  

▶️   Producing these machines for us was easy with a few technical changes.  We looked at the competition who will baffle you with an array of technological discourse and try to impress you with all the consultants needed.   Thats great.  Extreme overkill in areas that did not need it.  Thats great!  Grossly overpriced and not economical, thats not so great.  We can almost send you two of our machines for the price of one of the competition.  

 ▶️  We work in the photographic industry and we deal in down to earth common sense applications of computer science, experience in the repair of  Kodak Carousels and one hell of a lot of photographic lab experience keeping the doors open in a tough environment.  We were driven by our industry teaching us frugality,  not a whole bunch of over/under engineering.  Five cooks making soup sometimes makes bad soup and then there’s the payroll.

▶️   When you sublet your construction, both electronically and mechanically you are also outsourcing your funds and it literally doubles the cost of something being produced then sales has to get paid, regional distributors, payoffs and the price has to go up and your bottom line goes down.

▶️   We wanted quality because there is real money in enlargements and followed our own knowledge base. Their camera has failures in quality and just recently he has copied us.

▶️   Then you add baffleization (see Jacobs Dictionary) which theoretically explains grossly overpriced.


ADVANTAGE WITH S2D
THE BUILD STRATEGY

▶️   We knew we could build one model with the quality of a machine that could cost double from the competition without the pitfalls of point and shoot cameras not needing a high end DSLR.  Better optics and a better camera was one thing and it meant we only build one model.

▶️   We had theory plans on paper in an hour, actually on a napkin over lunch at a local barbecue joint.  It was easy since we had been selling, repairing and servicing Carousels for forty years.  We had a working slide digitizer model “E”  blueprinted sketches in less than two days and a few days day later we built the machine from backroom parts.  Voila!  I laugh when I hear about years of development.  We did it in days, hours since we still had a lab to run.  No bull dedication here, we do this for our living.

▶️   A new internal single modern bulb light system was developed, re-wiring as needed for DC  since the entire projector is high voltage AC powered.  So far so good, we didn’t waste thousands on R&D nor increasing the cost of production using LEDS for the light and again outsourcing the mechanics of it. We made our own system.

▶️   The longest part of the initial build was testing all the possible camera and lens combinations, with real testing and not guessing.  Vigorous testing, it took a whole day.  One combo blew the others away and we were amazed at how simple that rig and how off the shelf parts went together.   Recently, our competition knocked us yet on his newest model he copied everything we did.

▶️   We built ours, the first week, a job came into the store and we made a bunch of money at it.  Close to $5000 in profit from slide work we took in.  

▶️   Making money is getting tougher in the photo industry and whether you are a lab, retail outlet or photographer cutting costs and making margin requires adapting and broadening.  We know we had to expand,  offering new in-house services to broaden our market, now it can broaden yours.  

▶️  We are frugal thinkers. Frugalistic thinking, is not a negative, it’s a nice expression, meaning it does work without a waste of time, resources, money, parts and so forth.  Cheap on the other hand means poorly made, under thought, under built and not worth it.   We are frugal but not cheap.

▶️  We are highly selective and have to be as the analog portion, the projector units are not new and we know what we have to do to make them better.  We rebuild them as needed.  

▶️  Our first test for production results produced better quality slides, blazing fast, and for a whole lot less, and thats the beauty of keeping things simple.  We carefully selected all the components used, retested and limited the optical gear selection by using the best with complete simple alignment and positioning as the final units were developed. 



BASIC ENGINEERING
KEEP IT SIMPLE

▶️   Using a board concept eliminated and absorbed any vibrations from the Carousel, literally reduced it to nil and added to the clarity of the image.  An added benefit came from no-slip tabs  and a unique solution similar to free floating an expensive rifle to eliminate all vibration harmonics.  

Being a gunsmith taught me that.  Its simple, like floating a barrel on a rifle.  It works, and makes the unit totally portable.  And we didn’t need to Consult Engineers, Gurus, Shaolin Priests, Aliens, Klingons or Romulons, more important we didn’t have to pay them and add 600.00 dollars for a mount you should have been given in the first place.

▶️   We visited a plastics distributor supplier and found the perfect base material for us.  1/2 inch thick, workable, a rippled black extremely durable, inert Marine Plastic used as a wall, for it’s insulating and isolating material in black, with noise abating properties on multi-million dollar yachts.

▶️   Frugal thinking, smart value, simple solution.  Saves a lot of money. No overdone expensive mounts when combined with our adjustment rig.  We had the prototype projector modified, completed and working on all cylinders in days.

▶️   It went to work, minutes after it was built and thoroughly tested with our SONY-SIGMA-EXT setup combo.   One of the first test slides of all the combinations of cameras lenses and mounts tried is shown. 

▶️   Thats a full blown Shirley, remember them?  It captured the entire color matrix and grey scale.  It filled my thirty inch high-res screen and it was encouraging.   What you see is computer size 72 DPI, at 24MP and when printed at 300 DP, the results were incredible. 

▶️   We brought 20x30 inch prints to the trade show because we could not find tubes to send the 24x36 inch prints in. Didn’t matter the post office lost it anyway for two days.  We blew a few minds, our pricing really ticked the competition including the spies he sent to look our stuff over.

▶️   The S2D Slide Digitizer debuted in mid July at the IPIC yearly meeting and trade show in Las Vegas.   We displayed 24x36 inch prints made from slides that were 50 years old, Batch cropped direct to a wide format  old reliable Epson 7800 printer.  The clarity and definition of these supersize prints, the strength of our construction features, the superior pricing and optical advances  amazed the photo lab owners.

▶️   These are 24x36 inch prints from slides digitized.  These slides are from April 1957 and shot by  Tom’s dad, a career Air Force Chaplain.  He took the pictures on Kodachrome ASA10.  The ambulance, my favorite, is from the original movie “Farewell to Arms” starring Rock Hudson.  The shots were handheld using a Nikon S w/135mm Nikkor at ASA 10, Tom stood beside him shooting 2 1/4 square in B&W.


▶️   Think!  As a retail printer all the opportunities that just floated to the surface.  Easily 24x36 (20x30 for the show) inch prints made from KODAK K10 process slides, taken 50 years ago, BatchCropped automatically (No borders shown) sent direct to a 24 inch Epson printer.   

▶️   This is how we make additional money from Slide to Digital conversion.  Its called up-selling.  Additional revenue gained from large prints based on the digitized slides and or bulk prints can be surprisingly profitable.  Some family pictures are like diamonds. Basically diamonds are a rock, but their sentimental value is priceless.

▶️   The clarity and definition of these supersize prints, was to demonstrate our building simple in many cases is better if you put into your product quality components,  more modern engineering, simplify the construction to keep costs down, and combining more modern optical and scientific advances you have a better slide trap.    


CHALLENGED 
ACCEPTED

Our competition was upset, someone had made accusations that our prints were fakes.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Understandable, there are those who never displayed large prints.  The truth tells me their system is just not that good or they don’t know anything about printing or never worked in a photo lab...

We have been in the photographic industry since the sixties doing slide copying and scanning  since the 1980’s.  We have little in common with whats out there. Our lighting system is more modern and inexpensive.  Our controller is a computer driven, upgradeable and state of the art,  included, very different and soon to be more expansive for other applications, our cameras are better, so much better.

The prints are authentic, no one in fifty years in the industry has ever accused either of us of anything dubious or our honesty or authenticity.  I guess losing all those sales to us has made him bitter.


FEATURES AND BENEFITS