Cheap way to scan negatives at home?


#1

Hello everyone,

Does anyone know a good and cheap way to scan negatives at home?
I know you can buy a scanner like the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i but it’s not exactly cheap… I already have a standard printer/scanner at home and I’m looking for a good and cheap way to scan your negatives at home.

Thanks!


#2

What are you wanting to scan, 135 or 120?

If 135 and you have a digital camera with a macro lens you could build a little rig to shoot them with it.

Like this


#3

Thanks. I want to scan 135 films.
I have a digital camera but it’s a Fujifilm X100T so there’s no macro lens for it.
Is there a way to scan negatives with a regular scanner?


#4

The X100 series have a macro mode that could maybe work (only trying will tell though).

If it’s just a regular scanner you’re talking about, then most likely no. With flatbed scanners that can also scan film the scanning element move to a different registration height to take into account the carrier the film sits in. You also would have to devise a lighting setup to backlight the negatives.

If scanning negatives is something that you will be doing from then on I’d suggest starting to look for second hand scanners or looking if there are places where you can rent scanners by the hour (Self-Color in Paris does that for example).


#5

Thanks for your answer! I’ll look at my X100T to see where’s the macro mode.
I just have a regular scanner so yes I think it’s pretty much impossible to obtain good result with it.
Scanning negatives is something I do regularly and from the beginning I’ve also been to my local Photo shop but it’s not cheap… Unfortunately, I’m not in Paris (Tours, around 200km south of Paris) but I’ve been looking for a while for buying a good scanner like this one. Do you know if there’s a better scanner for this price range (200-300€)? Thanks very much.


#6

I use a flatbed Canoscan 9000f (I think there is a newer model out now). It came with film carriers for 120mm and 35mm films. You might check and see if your current scanner includes film carriers as an accessory. Sometimes the scans need a little cleaning up because of dust, but I’ve been pleased with its function for the cost.


#7

I have a shitty scanner and it can’t scan negatives.
But do you think I could scan them using a light table, a tripod and my Fujifilm X100T?
Or I was looking for buying a cheap scanner like this one or a more advanced one like this one.


#8

My setup for scanning negatives at home is, a tripod, cheap light pad, fuji xpro2 with 23mm f2, chinese made macro extension tube (3rd of fuji equivalent prices) and a homemade negative holder made from mount board to keep the negatives flat.

I’ve attached a sample image.

The main challenge for me is the last bit as using the macro extension tubes makes the focus plane very narrow and any slight curve in the film can render parts of the image out of focus. You also need a really steady tripod that can be micro adjusted to ensure you are shooting parallel to the image.

With the X100T I guess it would be best to do a quick and dirty test to see how good the macro capabilities are. You may not need all the detail in the world and cropping into the image might be sufficient even though you’ll lose a lot of detail.

On the same subject, I recently learnt a useful (i think already well known) trick for quickly reviewing negatives. That is to set the ‘Accessibility options’ on my iPhone so that I can invert the screen on the phone, which when viewing a negative through the camera, turns it into a positive image. I’m sure other phones would have the same options.

I’ve bookmarked some useful tutorials on how to invert the image in Lightroom if that would be useful?


#9

The other night I was watching videos on Youtube because I’m thinking of getting into medium format film photography and I remembered about Nick Carver, I noticed he recently did a video about dry-scanning (using a flatbed scanner) and he shared some great tips and insights. It’s for 120mm film but this also applies to 35mm. You can find Epson V600 for quite cheap now (used or new) and the quality you can get out of it if you set it up correctly is quite amazing.

Here is the video: