Scanner for 35mm negatives - HELP

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by d_perez|1, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. I have 1000s of negatives of my first 2 children that I would like to turn into digital prints in order to save them onto my external hard drive for back up purposes. I am not computer savvy at all so please answer in as easy to understand lingo as possible. I don't want to spend $1000s on it but do want something with a decent quality. Can you please recommend a good scanner for me? And it has to work on a Mac as I don't own a PC.
    Thank you in advance for your help!
  2. Scanning is an art that takes a long time to master. I'm in the same position as you and I bought a Nikon film scanner several years ago and I'm still not real happy with my scans. If all you want is results, you may want to hire somebody to do it for you. The Internet is full of companies that can do it for you and I'm sure somebody here can recommend a good one. But use caution - some of those companies will ship all your negatives off to India or someplace to take advantage of cheap labor. Make sure you're okay with that. Good luck.
  3. i'm in the same boat. Scanning of a lot of slides with a Nikon Coolscan V is no fun. One option I am thinking about is
    renting a batch scanner (Reflecta/Braun) and scan all the slides and then do a real good scan of the best ones.
  4. I am almost ready to bite the bullet and go Hasselblad.
  5. SCL


    Unfortunately most quality 35mm film scanners's production ceased years ago...although there have been a few high end ones which survived a little longer. Some people have tried using flatbeds, but the quality I have seen for 35mm is pretty pitiful, although it is ok for medium format. Honestly, based on my several years of scanning old negatives, slides, and family photographs...unless you are willing to commit lots of personal time and frustration, followed by $, I'd at least investigate the costs and quality of a professional service. The only reason I'm still doing it is that I have a box in my freezer with lots of 35 and 120mm film, a collection of beloved film cameras, and 2 scanners....otherwise I'd be 100% digital by now.
  6. I would first question whether saving digital files to a hard drive is the best solution for permanence. That question is not yet resolved. Also, I wonder whether it is worthwhile to digitize negatives or slides in huge quantities. One option would be to make (if you are talking of B&W and not color) or have made prints of your negatives and use those as longtime media. There isn't anything much more "relatively permanent" than a well fixed B&W negative and its print, although Kodachrome slides are fairly stable if stored properly. There use to be (perhaps still are) professional services that would copy lots of slides or negatives and put the digital copies on a CD for a reasonable charge. Not sure they still exist. Most 35mm scanners are one by one copying devices and all that takes time, even if you have all the variables well adjusted (and dust removed).
    Personally, I think the best thing might be to do a critical selection of your 1000s of negatives and choose those that are really worth keeping (there will always be lots of "same thing" photos that will also make that easier to do). Even if that turns out to be as many as 50 or 100 selected negatives, the cost of getting good digital copies at a professional facility will not be too high. Avoid buying some very inexpensive slide or negative copiers, they are mostly not worth it, being of low quality.
  7. I can highly recommend digmypics dot com. Last year my brother digitized a large number of negatives through them and was very satisfied. I use a Konica Minolta 5400 scanner for my slides but will be sending a package of negatives to digmypics after the holidays. It really isn't worth the time and effort required to scan large numbers of slides and negatives. We really liked that the negatives stayed in this country (Arizona) rather than the other big scanning service that bundles them and ships them off to India to be scanned.
    Good luck!
  8. Arthur exactly echos my thoughts. Digitized images take a lot of work. I have lost many digital images, mostly due to mistakes in workflow,
    but I have never lost a negative.
  9. epson v700 thru their online store and canon ( 9000 series)
    sell flatbed scanners, but as said the quality is not nearly
    'as good as the now discontimnued desicated 35mm scanners.
    STILL: if you buy and use one, it can also scan documants so you can organize and file and easily make backups.
    as well as use the Flat bed scanner and your printer as a copier.
    getting back toi scanning slides and negatives with a less than perfect flatbed,
    at LEAST you have a printable images.
    it may not be perfect or high quality but at least you have an image that can be put on a cd or external hard drive and stored away. Do not trust cd/dvd unlresds you are sure they are archival quality.
    it is NOT the brand., It is the actual manufacturer.
    still a qualith hard drive like a western digital with a 5 year warranty.
    and then wrapped in anti static plastic and stored somewhere safe..
    be sure it is SATA not IDE. Do not use it except to add files.
    I recently backed up my backupos.
    meaning all my files stored on cd. many were unreadable.
    and some older cd;s were better than newer cd's. possibly the Dye on the disk was better.
    make a second copy and let someone you trust hold the extra.
  10. Simple to use and inexpensive? - check out a Canoscan 9000F. Its list price is US$200 and it sells for less than that on line or perhaps at a big-box store. This is pretty much what the "film" students at the university use, but doesn't require a lot of background to use.
    It does decent hi-res scans and works for 35mm (slides or negatives) on up to medium size negatives from the family archives. It's also reasonably fast. Like some others mentioned it can also be used as a flat-bed scanner for documents, etc.
  11. I have 1000s of negatives ... that I would like to turn into digital prints .... I am not computer savvy at all .... I don't want to spend $1000s on it but do want something with a decent quality. Can you please recommend a good scanner for me?
    Yes--somebody else's scanner. To me, it all points to a service like ScanCafe. They have value kits of 1000 scans of 35mm film for $209.95 and 2000 scans of 35mm film for $379.95. See Basically, with the value kit, you order it, they send you shipping materials, you send in your film, and you get back your film and a disc of the scans. By all accounts their quality is quite decent.
  12. Much depends what quality you desire. You can choose the best slides and have them done locally by a pro outfit (high resolution) can wait for the new Plustek and deal with learning curve and sell it when you're done. You might want to use a camera + macro + attachment and be able to adjust each photo afterwards. According to B&H the Plustek should be available in few days. Anyway, good luck choosing. Most of the scanning places send the work to if they lose the photos....or years and years of memories and'd be totally out of luck. Just saying.
  13. I wonder whether it is worthwhile to digitize negatives or slides in huge quantities.​

    Much better to just scan them as and when you need them and take your time getting a good scan. If you set out to scan 1000s of images, you will get bored very quickly and will either not finish the task or not put enough time into it.
  14. Much better to just scan them as and when you need them and take your time getting a good scan. If you set out to scan 1000s of images, you will get bored very quickly and will either not finish the task or not put enough time into it.
    True enough. I orginally bought my Nikon film scanner with the idea of starting an Internet business scanning slides and negatives. There is good money in it, but I realized I didn't want to spend all my time looking at somebody's kids at Disneyland.
    I question those who say not to digitize however. All your slides and negatives are fading away while you wait. My Kodachromes from 30 to 40 years ago are looking pretty flat right now.
  15. To me, it all points to a service like ScanCafe.

    Personally, I don't wish to outsource my scanning to India, even if it saves a few bucks. I'd rather send them to
  16. david_henderson


    I've had conflicting reports about Scancafe too. Which doesn't change my view that if you want to do this then consider outsourcing it unless you are extremely time-rich, and don't easily get bored. Bear in mind that if you ( or your selected service) use a flatbed or a CCD scanner at low res, then pretty much all you'll be able to do is view then on screen or make 6" x 4" prints that aren't as good as you'd get from the neg.
    I have a lot of medium format slides and I'm personally in the camp that scans when I know I need to, rather than lining up the product of ten+ years work and scanning the lot. Maybe if you're looking ahead a few decades you might be thinking that at the point you or your successors won't be able to get prints made from negs cost effectively? Thats a maybe- i don't have a crystal ball. I'd just point out that whatever medium you choose to store the scans on (and I assume they'd be backed-up also) may not last as long as the ability to print from negs if you take into account that people may not be selling dvd drives at that point, and you might find the external drive fails or won't connect to your then computer without telling you first. So I , at least, don't regard scanning as a guaranteed solution for the long term. future.
  17. "people may not be selling dvd drives at that point"
    The issue in the future won't be the drive but the format. As long as Tiff files continue to be a standard, that's what I'd use.
  18. You must send it out to a service - you will not want to do it yourself. Scanning is one of the most tedious processes there is. Try out a service with a sample set of images. If you like the result, send them more. If you don't, try somewhere else until you are happy. Your question is very commonly asked on this forum. I reckon that if you tried it then you will instantly see why the whole idea of scanning "1000s" of images is just not viable for people who want to keep their sanity and not spend their whole leisure life in front of a computer doing tedious work. Most if us do this all day at work, so I predict it will not be for you when you get home.

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