By Ann Young 4 days ago Camera & Lenses
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If you want to digitize some negatives, you must understand that there is a wide selection of film scanners on the market. A simple comparison might not be enough because with different hardware and additional features the scanners can still produce equally good results.
Film scanners are aimed at working with negatives, slides, a variety of films. To choose an appropriate photo and negative scanner, consider the type or source format, its optical density, the desired resolution and speed of the scanning. You will find that typically people need to digitize 35mm film and small slides.
Type: Flatbed | Resolution: 6400 DPI | Scan Formats: Up to 6 x 22 cm | Interface: USB 2.0 Type B
⊕ Very fast in a standard mode
⊕ Automatic modes to improve scanning quality
⊕ High resolution
⊕ Determines the size of the scanned area
⊖ Haven’t been found
The A4 flatbed Epson v600 film scanner is capable of working with photo, paper, small format (35 mm) and medium format films/slides. Thanks to a convertible interface, it allows novice users to get the optimal result with minimal effort and the more experienced ones to squeeze the maximum out of the original by operating the numerous settings.
One of the model’s main features is the presence of Digital ICE for eliminating traces of foreign particles and mechanical defects (which are usually present on old films). On the one hand, this significantly affects the price, and on the other hand, the additional expenses on the film scanners pay off during operation.
Thus, the model has all the necessary features to become a reliable assistant for amateur photographers, who still use film technology or who need to digitize an extensive collection of old photographic materials.
Compactness film scanner
Type: Film Scanner | Resolution: 7200 DPI | Scan Formats: 35mm negatives/slides | Interface: USB 2.0
⊕ High-resolution scans
⊕ Good quality-price ratio
⊕ Multi exposure feature
⊕ Convenient bundled software
⊖ No infrared dust removal
⊖ Tricky to align frames properly
⊖ Bothersome driver installation
This Plustek film scanner generates sharp results with abundant detail at 3600ppi that can be printed as big as A3 size (when the initial quality of the frame permits that). The maximum resolution doesn’t produce a considerable difference so it is quite unnecessary.
Don’t be misguided by the scanner's underwhelming dMax of 3.6 because combined with the Multi-Exposure, it actually extracts a great deal of detail even from the overly contrasted images.
The provided NegaFix profiles can’t be called great but they are helpful in balancing the colors when working with negative films. Unfortunately, this model does not support the intelligent SRD function, but the regular feature from the software can actually be very effective.
Like any negatives film scanner, this model takes up little space but comes in a large box. It is supplied with a padded carrier and a set of 35mm film holders (one for loose strips of no more than 6 frames and another that can fit four separate slides.
Perfect film scanner for professional work
Type: Flatbed | Resolution: 6400 DPI | Film dimension: Up to 6 x 20 cm | Interface: USB 2.0
⊕ Helpful manual to set up and start scanning
⊕ Irreplaceable for slightly curved negatives due to the improved holder
⊕ Comes with time-saving software
⊖ The software may fail sometimes
The only difference here from the previous model is the installed LEDs. The scanning process or the quality of the outcome isn’t influenced by such a change.
The negatives scanner reviews also indicate that the film holders are slightly modified. The height is now adjustable so that you have better control over the focus. But simultaneously with this strong feature, the holders are provided with glass covers which prove to be disadvantageous and decrease the quality of the scanning result.
Those, who make use of the enclosed software, will find that it handles the tasks perfectly and is helpful in getting good results. But, the SilverFast software can offer better functionality with the Multi-Exposure-function.
Try using the Ai Studio software and that will give you access to IT-8 color calibration.
For those, who need maximum quality
Type: Film Scanner | Resolution: 10,000 DPI | Film dimension: 35mm, 126, 110, Super 8 & 8mm Film Negatives & Slides | Interface: USB 2.0/SD
⊕ 4 frames fit on the slide holder
⊕ Up to 10,000 dpi output image
⊕ 48-bit color depth support
⊕ Auto color correction
⊖ 35mm film and slide scanning only
⊖ Not standalone
This compact scanner is easy to carry around but does not compromise on the image quality. You will get a scanner with a 3.9 dynamic range, 48-bit color depth and a resolution of impressive 10,000x10,000 dpi, so you can expect to get high-quality images and beautiful large prints from the scans. All of this can be done in mere minutes due to the one-touch scanning technology.
Additionally, the infrared sensor can detect scratches or dust on your negatives to give you beautifully sharp images. The scanner will also reduce noise which is a typical feature of images that are received from scanning slides or film.
All in all, if your negatives are a bit faded, there is an auto feature for color correction. The output image can then be saved in either JPEG or TIFF formats.
For work with a large number of frames
Type: Flatbed | Resolution: 9600 DPI | Film dimension: Up to 6 x 22 cm | Interface: USB 2.0
⊕ Basic and understandable software
⊕ Vast scanning area
⊕ Built-in dust and scratch elimination feature
⊖ No automatic image sizing
⊖ Hard to set up the computer program
The film scanner boasts a great feature that automatically takes care of all the undesirable imperfections like specs of dust or scratches. You can achieve the color depth of 48 bits and the resolution of 9600x9600 dpi.
Keep in mind that running Canon slide scanner at such high values is merely a theoretical opportunity because it can only make some difference with the best-quality films of 35mm or less.
You get one film holder that can locate four mounted slides side by side, another one for strips of 35mm film up to 6 frames long, and an additional one for medium format film strips no longer than 22cm.
With 35mm slides you have more freedom because you can slide them in regardless of the thickness of the frame. The only inconvenience of this model is that you have to load it while the fixture is on the scanner itself, which proves to be tricky.
A simple film scanner for advanced purposes
Type: Film Scanner | Resolution: 3600 DPI | Film dimension: 35mm film or slides 5x5cm, up to 3.2mm thick | Interface: USB 2.0
⊕ Highest resolution scans
⊕ Effective dust elimination
⊕ Sturdy holders for slide and film
⊕ The program works with several file formats
⊕ Histogram compensation adjustment
⊖ Long scanning time
⊖ Somewhat high price
⊖ Low productivity
It weighs about as much as a regular scanner but is half the size of one. It has an impressive 3.8 Dmax and can produce images with a maximum of 3600 dpi which are greatly improved by the built-in infra-red dust detection system.
The film scanner reviews state that the provided fixtures for film carriers are sturdy and convenient, especially the slider one which is easy to load due to an improved design with an opening at the bottom. To align the negatives properly before scanning, you can use the back-lit viewing window.
The hardware includes a few great features, such as the ICE³-technology for removing traces of dust and scratches, the ROC for restoring natural colors, and the GEM to equalize film grain.
It comes with the Cyberview program but in case you want more features you can also set up Silverfast for the purpose. There is a positive film filter but when you work with negatives, you need to specify the kind of film from a provided list.
The big button on the negative film scanner is meant to start the process, but you additionally need to twitch some settings (the first time I pressed it nothing happened).
For those who work with 35mm films
Type: Film Scanner | Resolution: 3600 DPI | Film dimension: 35mm Film, Slides & Negatives | Interface: USB 2.0
⊕ Super practical
⊕ Seamless connection
⊕ 3-rd party image editing is supported
⊖ High price
Plustek Opticfilm 135 negative film scanner has a lot of features that make it very practical. First, it boasts an integrated infrared channel that detects dust or scratches on your film. Besides, it also supports 3rd party image editing.
The device has a holder to accommodate up to 6 35mm film frames and up to 4 mounted slides. One of the big advantages is also the quality of the device itself. There are proper hinges and everything is held by magnets, which is more securely than by plastic clips that you can usually see on scanners like this.
I really wish, though, that this device had some sort of marking or notches for the perforation of a film. Without these, it’s a bit challenging to understand how the film should go in the device.
Good-quality and very quick film scanner
Type: Flatbed | Resolution: 6400 DPI | Film dimension: Up to 6 x 22 cm | Interface: USB 2.0
⊕ High-resolution scans
⊕ Effectively dust removal
⊕ Scans can be saved in a variety of file formats
⊕ Histogram compensation correction
⊕ Simultaneous scanning of up to 12 frames
⊖ Slow capture
⊖ Auto exposure misbehaves with all negative types
The resolution of the CCD sensor is 6400x9600 dpi, which is enough for most cases. Although the engineers decided to add the ability to raise the figure even higher, up to 12800x12800 dpi. The color depth is 48 bits. Thanks to its high resolution and optical density (3.4 DMax), the device accurately reproduces the slightest color shades.
There is one fixture for holding either slides or film and it seems simple to use. You place the slides into the frame which lies on the glass of the device and orient yourself with the tabs on the outer side of the frame for better alignment.
The negative scanner reviews note that the plastic of that frame feels somewhat flimsy. The device has an ICE technology, a separate dust removal feature, a color restoration function, and a film grain equalizer.
The result that you get can be printed on an A3 format or even larger with just some basic adjustments.
Portable and universal negative film scanner
Type: Film Scanner | Resolution: 7200 DPI | Film dimension: 127, 126, 110, APS, 35mm slides and negatives, 8mm & Super 8 motion picture film | Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI, SD/SDHC
⊕ Very fast
⊕ Standalone scanner
⊕ LCD Display
⊕ SD/SDHC card compatibility
⊖ Internal memory for just up to 40 images
⊖ May require an image editor/enhancer
⊖ Made from rather low-quality materials
Wolverine Titan has several features that make it a great choice if you are looking for a negatives film scanner. First, a large 4.3-inch LCD screen is not only perfect and large enough for viewing the scanned images but it will also work great in case you need to make some edits.
One thing we all look for in a device like this is image quality and Wolverine Titan definitely delivers it. It has a 20MP sensor, which is rather high for a converter with similar features, and the resolution of scans it gives is up to 5,472x3,648 pixels.
Another amazing advantage is the speed of conversion, which may take about 3 seconds with the highest quality settings.
This scanner can be used as a standalone device completely it allows you to perform editing without an additional computer. A slot for an SD card and a large screen make Wolverine Data F2D Titan 8-in-1 very convenient and easy-to-use.
3-in-1 negatives film scanner with an LCD screen
Type: Film Scanner | Resolution: 3600 DPI | Film dimension: 35mm Film, 135mm Film, Slides & Negatives | Interface: USB 2.0
⊕ Files are easy to transfer
⊕ Scanning is fast
⊖ Low screen resolution
This reliable and practical scanner definitely deserves its place on our list of the best film scanners. The features I want to mention first are the CD management system and auto image processing.
Besides, the scanner comes with a 2.4-inch full-color LCD screen that will let you preview images before choosing which ones you will keep. All of these make editing and managing the files more efficient.
The device is not too big and can be easily transported wherever you need it. Finally, even though the Pyle Digital 3-in-1 Photo Film Scanner has an SD card onboard, you can easily transfer the scans with a simple USB connection.
Compact film scanner with LCD Display
Type: Film Scanner | Resolution: 2400 DPI | Film dimension: 35mm, 126, 110, Super 8 & 8mm Film Negatives & Slides | Interface: USB 2.0 / HDMI / SD
⊕ 22MP resolution
⊕ Special trays for fast scanning
⊕ Tilting LCD Display
⊕ 128GB of SD memory support
⊖ Output needs improving
⊖ Resolution isn’t perfect
With Scanza, you can scan film, slides, 126, 110, Super 8 and 8mm negatives (both B&W and color ones). Kodak, after all, is the company that specializes in photography technology and their cameras were the first to use negatives.
Working with this device is quite intuitive. The adapter trays that are used for slides or film negatives speed up the process. The full-color 3.5” LCD tilt screen allows fast and convenient previewing. If you feel that the screen is not large enough, you can connect the device to a TV or your PC with an HDMI cable.
All the images can be instantly saved to an SD card (you need to get it separately). A 128GB SD card that is supported by Scanza is enough to store all the images you need.
However, you are more likely to be unhappy with the quality of the output images that more often than not require additional improvement in Photoshop or Lightroom.
Shopping for scanners can be quite difficult just because there is such a huge variety of different models on the market. Below I have gathered some useful advice and special factors you should take into account when trying to find the best film scanners.
This is probably one of the most important technical features of a scanner. These devices have the resolution measured in dots per inch (dpi) and it will directly affect the quality of the scan. Naturally, if you want to have images with great quality, you need to look for a 24MP scanner. You can also think about getting a device that has 7,200x7,200 dpi to ensure great results.
The vast majority of scanners work perfectly fine with a USB 2.0 port to connect to a PC, laptop or tablet. However, a lot of scanners still have outdated LPT jacks, and you should watch out for that. Another type of connection to consider is via Wi-Fi. It is perfect for work in an office when you may need to send the scanned image to several PCs at the same time.
Broad compatibility means that a scanner you choose can process a variety of slides and film sizes (35mm, 110 or 126). Another aspect is that the device should work on different operating systems, which will definitely increase the convenience for users.
The best film scanners are capable of scanning at high rates even when their resolution is as high as 7,200 dpi. The file you get as a result is quite large and only with the high transfer speed you will easily save it onto the internal memory or an SD/SDHC card.
A great negative film scanner is not difficult to use. All that is required from you is to put slides or negatives in it and your images will be digitized in just a few moments. If you are using a standalone scanner, the whole process will be autonomous and will not require a computer to scan, save, and even edit images.