Best Photo Slide Box to Safely Archive Your Slides — Logan Slide File Review (Video)

For anyone who is unable to watch or listen, I have provided [CC] captions in the video as well as a full text transcript below.

Transcription of Video::

If you’re looking for something to store all of your 35-millimeter slides in, you should consider checking out the slide file made by a company called Logan.

It’s a very nice all-metal box with a hinged lid, two metal clasps to keep it shut and a little handle to carry it by.

I’m Curtis Bisel from Scan Your Entire Life and I bought three of these because I actually couldn’t find what I thought I was looking for, which were these small, little cardboard boxes that hold maybe 70 or so slides that my dad had been using for many, many years to keep his entire slide collection in.

The Logan Slide File is about US$29.95 a piece. When I bought mine they were $26.95 so they’re not cheap. But almost anything slide-related seems to carry a premium right now in the digital era. But from every slide container I found, this seemed to be the best.

I was very happy to read that this slide file box has been made for about 40 years now and for those who like buying US products, you will be happy to know that they’re all made here in the United States in the City of Bartlett, Illinois.

These really are well-crafted. They feel really sturdy, really well-made. My dad still has one of these built by their other company named Smith-Victor and it’s still in great shape.

My dad had just moved so his entire slide collection had just been unburied. Most of them were all stored in those plastic slide projector carousel trays and then those are stored in a big stack of Bankers Boxes.

So this became a perfect project for my dad and I to get together and transfer all these slides. As you start putting slides in, you realize it’s almost easier to hold the ones that you just put in with one hand while you’re transferring new ones in with your other.

If you don’t, they will tend to want to fall over. Logan included a perforated sheet of cardboard that had little dividers you could punch out. You also get a sheet of paper which is divided into 30 squares.

The idea is to write down a description for each group of slides you have in each quadrant that’s defined by all of your dividers. Once you have it all written out, you could easily tape it to the inside of the lid. For my dad and I, it seemed easier just to line up entire rows of slides.

For those looking for airtight containers, know that these corners have small cracks. I really don’t think it’s a huge deal though. I think the main thing to be concerned about is not having light come in and this does a pretty good job and what’s great about these cardboard boxes that they’re shipped in is that for long term storage, they’re the perfect size to fit in standard size Bankers Boxes that you can find at office stores, even the plastic variety.

I read a bunch of reviews before I bought mine and there were a couple of things that stood out that concerned me. A couple of people said they received manufacturing defects in that the slide rails weren’t perfectly even. So they could put slides in one end but as they got to the other end, it became more narrow where they weren’t parallel and they couldn’t even get slides to go in.

Another negative review I read said that even though Logan claims this slide file can hold 750 slides, they weren’t even able to get 500 to fit.

I’m happy to report that in the three slide file boxes that I bought, slides seem to fit perfectly in my rows. I didn’t seem to have any manufacturing defects and as far as the amount of slides I could store, I think Logan’s claim of 750 is probably right on. In fact in this box, without any dividers, I think the count is 813 slides.

Logan does make three other models of this slide file. So if you’re not watching this video on my Scan Your Entire Life website, check out the link at ScanYourEntireLife.com/YT3 for YouTube video three or if you’re watching this on YouTube, click on the link directly underneath the video.

Either way, it will take you to my post that lists all the models, how much they cost retail, their differences and what I think of them and where you can buy all of these models.

All of this will help you choose which slide file will be perfect for you and your collection. I’m actually really happy I never found those little white cardboard boxes.

So I hope that you enjoyed this video. If you just started scanning your collection or if you need help with any of your photos, check out my website at ScanYourEntireLife.com and I would encourage you to sign up for my newsletter.

Take care. Cheers!

 

First, let me point out that I love how in this video, my Dad and I are both drinking a glass of V-8 vegetable juice! Too funny. You can’t get much more “father and son” than that — unless we were playing catch in the backyard. (If you missed it, it’s at 1:43 into the video)

I was pretty thorough in this almost 5 minute review video, but there were some things I left out because the video was getting too long, that I would like to mention here.

Logan Slide File Model #200

Logan Electric Slide File Model 200 Item #750523
Logan Electric Slide File Model 200 Item #750523 (click to enlarge)

The model I bought and specifically reviewed in this video is the Logan Slide File model #200.

I chose this model because it held the most for its size — 750 2″x2″ 35mm slides, I could have rows without any kind of divider, and it was single layered. (More on that later)

Dividers

My first reaction to the dividers when I picked up a sheet of them was, “Really? The outside is steel but then you make us use cheap cardboard to divide up our slides!? Why not a really nice piece of lightly textured plastic or even a beautifully finished thin piece of wood?”

But, then it occurred to me the reason they went with cardboard was so that you could easily write on the top tabbed part with any type of pen you owned. If they went with plastic, you would for sure need a good permanent marker — like a Sharpie.

But then I put a divider into one of the pre-cut slots in the steel frame and then added a bunch of slides. I quickly realized this might not be the case.

Logan Slide File Slide Box - Tab barely sticking up
Here’s how one of the included tab looks seated in one of the cut out slots in the steal inner railings. Notice how it barely sticks out above the row of slides.

Usually when you think of tabs like these, you would assume they would stick up high enough to be able to write a short bit of information out on them and still be able to read them from above the tops of the slides.

However, I noticed these stick up less than you would expect or even want. Writing would be illegible with my slide collection. Maybe my cardboard mounts are unusually high compared to other varieties.

Possible Placement Problems

There are 6 rows to place slides inside of each Slide File box. Each row has 4 evenly spaced pre-cut slots so that you can drop in up to 24 of their included cardboard dividers.

Because both sides of each divider sticks into the slot ever so slightly, it provides support to keep a set of slides from within from pushing it over. You just might love this freedom to add and subtract dividers as you wish — it’s very nice!

Logan Slide File 200 from above showing pre-cut slots for dividers
Evenly spaced pre-cut slots for cardboard dividers to slide into.

But a possible disadvantage for you will be that you are forced into their pre-determined spacing.

This could be a problem if you want to put just a small set of 5-10 slides in for example because they will more than likely just fall over due to the excess amount of space between the two dividers.

I’m not sure what the perfect solution would be to make 100% of people happy. I think possibly having a total of 8-10 slots per row could close the gap a bit. (pun intended)

Make Your Own Dividers

There is certainly nothing that would stop you from making your own dividers if you were handy with a piece of cardboard and scissors.

And you could make yours just a tiny bit higher so that you could easily see your handwriting at the top.

I tried this with an old one-sided business card. I cut it down to 2 ¼ inches high. This was just high enough so I could read the writing at the top but low enough that it appears to clear the lid as it comes down on top.

And the width is narrow enough you can stick it in anywhere in a dense row of slides you would like. The thickness of the business card barely uses up any space, so you have room to stuff the maximum amount of slides in there!

Logan Slide File Model 200 — Homemade divider from business card
Homemade divider made with an old business card.

Additional Logan Slide File Models

As I mentioned near the end of the video, the company Logan Electric does offer 4 models of their Slide File line. They are all very similar in craftsmanship and dimensions, but they each carry a couple unique traits that you should probably be aware of if you are thinking about getting one or more for your collection.

And let me just say, it can get confusing if you try and figure out the labeling. So if this becomes important to you along the way, here’s some background information so you don’t think you’ve gone insane when you run into this:

Smith-Victor has been making these photo slide boxes for a long time now. In December of 2005, they acquired Logan Electric who also makes photography products. Since then, they have integrated both lines together.

Confusingly, the Slide Files are now labeled on the outside of the boxes as being made by “Logan Electric”, but they are still being displayed on Smith-Victor’s website but as Logan Electric products. You won’t find Smith-Victor written anywhere on the packaging — at least, I couldn’t.

Anyway, here’s a chart that quickly summarizes the differences I’ve found in the Logan Electric line. Below I explain in more detail.

Logan Slide File Models Available
Models 110 200 215 1500G
Image Logan Slide File — Model 110 — Part #750504 Logan Slide File — Model 200 — Part #750523 Logan Slide File — Model 215 — Part # 750542 Logan Slide File — Model 1500G — Part # 750561
Part # 750504 750523 750542 750561
Slides Held 300 750 750 1500
Storage Method All metal individual slots Movable cardboard dividers Groups of 25 Groups in “double decker” design
Size 7 1/2” x 14 1/2” x 2” 7 1/2” x 14 1/2” x 2” 7 1/2” x 14 1/2” x 2” 7 1/2” x 14 1/2” x 4 1/2”
Weight NA NA 2.95 lbs. NA
Features consistent across entire line
Slide Type 2″x2″ 2″x2″ 2″x2″ 2″x2″
Color Choice Blue Blue Blue Blue
Material High grade steel High grade steel High grade steel High grade steel
Finish durable baked enamel durable baked enamel durable baked enamel durable baked enamel
Quality Archival Archival Archival Archival
Manufactured Bartlett, IL USA Bartlett, IL USA Bartlett, IL USA Bartlett, IL USA
Cheapest places to buy
Est. Retail $29.99 $29.99 $29.99 $49.99
Amazon NA Check Price Check Price Check Price
B&H Photo Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price
Adorama NA Check Price Check Price Check Price
Differences in Models
Logan Slide File — Model 110 — Part #750504Model #110

These are the cheapest boxes in the line and therefore hold the least — merely 300 slides. They’re great for small collections, especially if you like the idea of having an individual cut out slot for each of your slides.

The downside is you have no official dividers if you want to organize in groups. You could make your own (see above) of course, and stick them in a slot where a slide was intended to go. And since there are no dividers, you won’t be receiving the paper insert that included in the other models to mark what events are in your groupings.

I am having a hard time finding the #110 in stock anywhere. It makes me wonder if they are discontinuing this model.

Model #200

Logan Slide File — Model 200 — Part #750523For the same retail price, you can store up to 450 more slides in this model because they have made additional room by removing the individual slide slots. Instead, you are free to place entire rows of slides (touching each other) without any requirement of separation.

If you want any extra separation, they have included 24 punched-out cardboard dividers that you can place in 24 pre-cut out slots along the 6 inner railings to create small groups.

Model #215

Logan Slide File — Model 215 — Part # 750542This model is very close to the #200. Instead of having the option of placing 24 individual cardboard dividers into designated slots, you get a thin plastic tray inside that has been divided up for you in 25 groups. (This tray appears to be black in some product photos, but other times a yellow color)

Also, the handle on the outside front is not a metal squared off loop like the #110 and #200. It’s a white rubbery (possibly plastic now) carrying handle reminiscent in the “classic” Smith-Victor” line. (In my video, I show my Dad’s old Smith-Victor slide box and this has the same handle)

Model #1500G

Logan Slide File — Model 1500G — Part # 750561For a $20 bump up in price, you can have this model that stores twice as many slides — 1500. I guess that’s why they named it the 1500G. (But then why aren’t the others called the #300, #750A, and #750B?)

The dimensions of the case is exactly the same as the others, except instead of being 2 inches high, it’s 4 ½ inches. This added height allows them to add a separate steel tray inside that comes out. They call this their “Double Decker Slide File.” (These trays appears to be black in some product photos, but other times a yellow color)

It’s easy to miss in the photo, but additionally, the front of the case folds down like a flap to make it easier to access the tray inside.

Though I haven’t seen one in person to be sure — you can’t see in any of the photos I’ve seen so far — unlike the other models, there is a carrying handle riveted to the outside center on top of the lid. This would seemingly make it convenient to carry around the additional weight more like you would a fisherman’s tackle box.

The downside I can only assume, is that would make it difficult to stack more than one of these on top of each other (if that’s your intention) and have them lie flat without leaving them in their cardboard shipping container box.

Cheapest Places to Buy

I did a lot of searching around before I bought mine to find reliable places that would ship to my door, and have the lowest prices. Here is that list — I ended up buying from B&H Photo.

Disclaimer: The links in this article are affiliate links. It won’t cost you any more money, but if you end up buying through them, I will earn a small commission paid for by the retailer. The best and cheapest places I found these Logan Slide files happen to be companies that offer an affiliate program. These companies are awesome and I order from them regularly.

If you choose to buy through them, please email and let me know. I would love to personally thank you for your gracious support.

Cheers!

Logan Slide File Models Available
Models 110 200 215 1500G
Image Logan Slide File — Model 110 — Part #750504 Logan Slide File — Model 200 — Part #750523 Logan Slide File — Model 215 — Part # 750542 Logan Slide File — Model 1500G — Part # 750561
Est. Retail $29.99 $29.99 $29.99 $49.99
Amazon NA Check Price Check Price Check Price
B&H Photo Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price
Adorama NA Check Price Check Price Check Price
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6 Comments on "Best Photo Slide Box to Safely Archive Your Slides — Logan Slide File Review (Video)"

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Art Taylor
Guest

Hi Curtis,

Good post on the slide storage boxes. Thanks for the info re the Smith-Victor/Logan merger. I was not aware of this, although I’ve had samples of both brands’ products for at least 25 years.

The model #110, with the individual slots for slides, can be a pain to put slides into and remove slides from when you come anywhere near filling a particular row. In theory, it may be archivaly better for the slides since they don’t touch each other and air can circulate around them. However, unless the slides are in glass mounts, there’s a good chance of scratching either or both film surfaces on the corners of the slots if you’re not careful to have each slide perfectly aligned with the slot. Cardboard and thin plastic mounts, especially those without glass, usually fit easily but GEPE, WESS, or other plastic-plus-glass mounts, and some European plastic mounts, may be a little too thick to fit easily or at all.

The cardboard divider tabs you found are likely meant just to support smaller groups of slides within a row and are not intended to have labels like the index label cards in an old-style library card catalog. They are helpful in keeping slides from sliding down parallel to the bottom of the box as you’re putting in or removing large groups of slides. Possibly the reason for the spacing for about 20 slides is that was the number of slides the Kodak Carousel Stack Loader and the old Bell & Howell Slide Cube would handle on their respective projectors. Just don’t get me started on a comparison of these two competitive products as I have very strong opinions about them. Also, films used to come in 20- and 36-exposure rolls before they increased the shorter length to 24-exposures back in the late ’70s or early ’80s. You’d be able to get one roll’s worth of slides into each section of the box, unless you shot 36-exposure rolls. Even then, it wasn’t unusual to get from 37 to 39 shots on a roll if you knew your camera and how to load it carefully before auto-load became common. I’d be upset with myself if I got fewer than 38 shots on a roll of 36 because it meant I’d been sloppy in loading that roll.

The main concern about these dividers or any home-made ones, is the quality of the paper/cardboard used. Is it acid-free and lignin-free or will it eventually cause damage to the slides as it off-gases harmful fumes? Companies like Light Impressions and other archival supply companies do offer archival safe card stock which could be used to make indexed dividers as you’ve suggested.

My guess as to why some of the interior compartments are yellow in some photos and black in others is just a change over the years. Most, if not all, of mine, are yellow and they go back at least 20 years. Probably the black ones are of more recent manufacture. I don’t know what particular material the plastic inserts are made of but I’d hope it’s polypropylene or some other PVC-free material, again for archival storage. This might be a legitimate concern, especially if choosing between the model 200 and model 215 boxes.

Your comment about the handle on top of the lid of some boxes is absolutely right. It’s convenient to carry the box but it does make stacking multiple boxes a pain.

The white handle on the front, as in your photo, is sometimes easier to grasp than the metal handles that fold flat to the front panel but it does not fit as compactly into a given storage space on a shelf since it sticks out so far. If you’re purchasing new boxes that come in cardboard storage/shipping cartons, keep these to store the metal boxes in. If you’ve inherited, or found a batch of slide storage boxes at a yard sale or eBay, try to get cardboard shipping cartons to fit or be prepared to need a little more storage space for the slide boxes.

The labeling may have changed over the years, but the difference in storage capacity used to specify, often in relatively fine print, that the maximum quantity was available only for cardboard or thin plastic slide mounts and was an absolute maximum. If a variety of slide mounts in different thicknesses was included in a box, you might not get anywhere near as many slides in as anticipated. As I recall, they used to specify 300 slides in glass mounts or up to 600 with cardboard or thin plastic mounts.

Hope this helps clarify a few points you’ve made.

Art

purpleswirlarts
Guest

Curtis, thank you for captioning your video, and for noting that it’s captioned. I’m deaf, and have depended on captioning since it started on television in the late ’70s. Those who have lost or are losing their hearing through illness or aging, though, often feel a stigma and don’t use available technology– such as captioned video and television, or the Cap-Tel services which use an operator to listen to the other end of the phone call and type it to you, while you continue to voice for yourself. By making a public note of this at the top of the page, you are are contributing your own little pebble thrown against stigma for deaf and hard of hearing people.

Nancy C.

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