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Finding the best film scanner for photos means picking between the best film scanners and the best flatbed scanners. In this guide we will help you find the right one for you, and at the best price. If you’ve been photographing since before the digital revolution, chances are you’ll have plenty of old prints or negatives tucked away, gathering dust. What better time to bring your classic snaps into the digital age for easy online sharing with friends and family, or simply re-live some carefree memories?
With boxes of old prints, digitizing them with a regular flatbed scanner is ideal as it’s fast and effective and there are some great low-cost all-in-one printers that will do that for you. But for the very best digital conversion results, you should scan the original negative rather than a photo print. This can be done with a conventional flatbed scanner that has the option to scan negs and slides, and includes the required holders.
Top 10 Choices For The Best Film Scanner
Here are our top 10 picks for the best film scanner.
1. Epson Perfection V600 Home Photo Scanner
Many film photographers use the Epson Perfection V600 and love it for its flexibility and versatility. You get a solid image quality (supplemented by Epson’s Digital ICE dust and scratch removal technology, which the scanner uses on both film and print scans) and improved compatibility with multiple formats via its holders.
Overall, it is another great scanner that you can consider if scan quality is more important to you than speed and convenience. If you want to save money without really sacrificing quality, you can get the Epson Perfection V550, which is similar to the V600 but only applies its dust and scratch removal feature on film scans.
2. Kodak SCANZA Digital Film Scanner
When you need versatility in scanning your slides and other negatives, this Scanza by Kodak is a first choice and here’s why. The Kodak company is a company that specializes in image technology. Kodak cameras are one of the first cameras that use film negatives. Rest assured that the Scanza can scan your film, slides, 126, 110, Super 8 and even 8mm negatives (black and white or colored).
Scanning with this scanner is not that hard. It has speed load adapters for most slides and negatives. You can preview your images with its 3.5″ tilting LCD. If the screen is too small for you, you can connect this scanner to your TV or even to your laptop (via HDMI). Save your digitized image to an SD card (not included) immediately. It can support up to 128 GB of memory so you have more space to save your images. The digitized output is in JPEG format the same with Super 8 film.
3. Plustek OpticFilm8100 Film Scanner
Plustek OpticFilm 8100 stands out in the First Place of our Best Negative Film Scanners 2021 List & This Film Scanner delivers reasonably high-quality scans. The Plustek OpticFilm 8100 is the best solution for those who don’t compromise on quality. It is a dedicated 35mm film and slide scanner that scans color negative film, black and white negative film, slides, reversal film, and Kodachrome film. The best thing about it is the resolution. This 7200-dpi resolution scanner is designed with state-of-the-art illumination and optical systems. These systems enable the scanner to capture the highest detail and dynamic range possible from your film with accurate color reproduction.
4. HP Scanjet N6350 Scanner
For pure picture quality, you will have a hard time finding a consumer-friendly scanner with this level of performance. It includes six-color, 96-bit scanning to ensure your images maintain rich colors and deep blacks even at very high resolutions. While 96-bit color depth is great, it can be overkill and most images scan perfectly with 48-bit depth. Maximum resolution with this model is great, at up to 4800×9600 dpi, but there are models that offer higher digital resolutions. However, it’s an easy to use scanner that includes some nice dust and scratch removal features, as well as editing software to restore the images from scanned photographs. You also get a built-in adapter that lets you quickly scan up to sixteen 35mm slides or up to 30 negative frames.
5. Epson Perfection V600 Scanner
The V600 is a valiant attempt to deliver the goods at half the price of the flagship V700/V750 but Epson Scan won’t let you profile the scanner and couldn’t deliver reliable results from a variety of Kodak color negatives we tried. The V600 itself did much better when run from VueScan, but if you have to buy software to use the scanner, it puts the flagship scanner back in the picture.
But if you can live with an unprofiled device and primarily want to scan black and white images or slides, the V600 did well enough to make prints to hang at home. Even with competent scanning software, the interface you have to deal with is confused and complex. SilverFast relies on several windows with lots of little icons you need a palm reader to explain — and still basic settings like the color mode is hidden away. VueScan, with characteristic candor, organizes your options in tabs that reveal long, long lists of settings.
6. Canon CanoScan Lide 300 Scanner
The Canon CanoScan LiDE 300 is quicker, smaller, and lighter than most competing scanners and produces better image quality at default settings. Despite its clunky design, Canon’s software works on both Windows and Mac, and provides an array of tweakable settings to satisfy demanding image-quality purists. Setup couldn’t be simpler, since the scanner uses a single cord for both power and data, and it doesn’t even have a power button. Our tests showed that the LiDE 300 performs equally well with documents and photos, and capably handles thicker stuff like books and magazines. It can’t scan photo negatives, and its text-recognition capabilities can’t compete with a portable document scanner, but on the whole it’s the best (or least frustrating) scanner we’ve found.
7. Magnasonic All-In-One 22MP Film Scanner
When it comes to affordability, this is the photo scanner you need. It works to convert 35mm film, 126PK, 110, Super 8 and negatives into high-resolution photographs. The built-in LCD screen allows you to see each photo so you can adjust color and resolution as needed. You can also view them on your television in vibrant and easy to see color. With a generous amount of memory, you can save up to 100 photos, with room for an SD card to save even more. You don’t have to precut anything or worry about lining it up correctly. There’s no computer software needed to operate this scanner.
8. Epson WorkForce DS-410 Scanner
Not as well-known, but nonetheless important, Epson WorkForce determines the scanner’s capability to capture details in the darker areas of a negative. It’s important to consider this factor for images with high contrast. The higher the value is, the more details your scanner will pull from the shadows. The value for highlights is measured in Dmin. In this case the smaller the value is, the more details you will get in bright parts of an image.
In other words, Epson WorkForce represents the dynamic range a scanner is able to see. We measure the dynamic range by evaluating the difference. The bigger the difference, the wider the dynamic range. As you will see later, most manufacturers don’t provide the Epson WorkForce rating of their scanners. We are not sure why this is, but we trust a manufacturer more if they’re not afraid to provide this info.
9. Pacific Image PowerFilm Film Scanner
Here is a real dedicated scanner. It works only with 35mm negatives or slide film and you won’t scan prints with this guy. Of course you can’t expect the best quality in this price range but if your main usage will be online publishing and small printing (up to 16 x 20″ shouldn’t be a problem) then it can be a good alternative to bigger flatbed scanners.
10. Epson Perfection V850 Pro
The Epson Perfection V850 Pro is the best photo scanner for professional photographers, or enthusiasts. Not only does it boast very high resolutions, it can handle pretty much any photo, film or negative, and its dual lens system automatically selects the optimal lens, with up to 4800 DPI optical resolution for reflective photo scanning and 6400 DPI when scanning using film holders. It features the Digital ICE technology found in the cheaper Epson Perfection V600, which automatically repairs old photos, and it has a high dynamic range for enhanced tone reproduction so scanned photographs match the exact color, detail and dynamic range of the original, for impeccable accuracy. It’s expensive, but for professionals this is by far the best photo scanner money can buy right now.
How To Choose The Best Film Scanner
Clearly define usage needs
Currently on the market there are 2 popular types of scanners: document scanner and photo scanner. There are also a number of other scanners such as scanning films, books, newspapers, and business cards Some scanners today support you to scan without a computer and can connect to send files to your phone, and email over the local network, Wifi. Especially, you can choose a scanner that combines both desktop and mobile thanks to the automatic paper feeder design. Understanding your needs will help you pinpoint exactly which scanner features you need and have a scanner that meets all your needs.
The scanner has a flatbed scan tray (Flatbed)
For pictures or other fragile papers, you will need a flatbed scanner (open-cover scanner). In fact, these papers can still be scanned on models that support ADF automatic paper feeders, but scanning adversely affects the durability of the papers, causing tearing or wrinkling. Fortunately, newer models of scanners come equipped with a thin document protection accessory that helps to significantly prevent visible damage. Instead, however, the quality of the scan will degrade.
The scanner has a manual paper feed tray
If you need to regularly scan documents, scan many times a page and continuously for a long time, you need to use the paper feeder. Repeatedly opening the lid and placing documents in the flat glass tray repeatedly will waste a lot of your time. The automatic paper feeder (ADF) is then the optimal solution. You can scan entire documents and still have your hands free to do other work. Current scanners have automatic paper feeders of up to a hundred sheets with the ability to handle hard-card papers.
The scanner supports 2-sided scanning
2-sided scanning is a feature that allows to scan 2 sides of a page at the same time without having to reverse the original. If you have a need for automatic paper feeders, and your documents are 2-sided printing, the 2-sided scanner is the best choice. The features of these machines are that they are equipped with 2 cameras, so it is possible to copy 2 sides of a sheet at the same time, saving considerable time, but the price will be higher than scanner 1.
In the world of film photography, you will encounter extremely polarized attitudes towards scanning film. Many photographers swear by it while others view the entire idea of working with your negatives anywhere external of a darkroom as nothing short of blasphemy. Regardless of where you might stand on the subject, there is no denying that the accessibility and versatility of hybrid processing is something that opens up an entirely new photographic experience. The organic nuances of film blended with the convenience of digital? So, every expert need the best film scanner.