Film Scanners


TPF Noob!
May 3, 2006
Reaction score
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Since I bought my FE, I've ended up taking my negatives to (usually) Wal Mart so they can put them on a CD for me. I haven't been impressed with the quality, and the prints that come from the scanned negatives are terrible most of the time. Someone told me that if I buy a film scanner, my prints would come out better beacuse they aren't tweaked and 'corrected' by Wal Mart.

So, are there any scanners that you suggest that can scan color and black & white negatives, that is relativly inexpensive? I'd really like to keep it around $150.

Absolutely. Find yourself a good quality Epson flatbed, with a negative scanning feature/transparency lid. I personally recommend the 16xx series.

For some more info on film scanning and the workflow as a whole, have a look at my digital darkroom guide:
For that price kinda limited in choices and scanner abilities.

For a flat bed Epson is selling remanufactured 4870's for $199. That would be the most versitility. I have the newer version 4990 pro. Which has just been replaced by the V770 or something like that. But they are $800 units. So $199 even for a remanu is a good deal. Direct from Epson.

As for film only units. Look into Primefilm. They make a couple lower cost 35mm film scanners. They lack the expensive software that comes with the better units. But put out a decent scan. If you have some troublesome negatives. That would mean more work in a photoprogram for corrections. For your price range Primefilm 3600 is $190 from 1 seller on pricegrabber. It has been out a while so is probably limited on where to get it since its been superceded by a newer version. They have a cheaper one but its scanning is down to 1800 dpi and is probably not really worth it. Deppending on how large you want your scans.

The cheaper primefilm is at B&H for $120 + ship. It's probably enough for 8x10's if you print. But that would be the upper end. According to its site its equivallent to 4.2 megpixles. I have never used it. But it is probably better than the photolab at wallyworld.
So is it really worth it, to buy a flatbed scanner (for other uses besides film of course) that can also do negatives for ~$200? Or should I just keep having Wal Mart put my negatives on CD's?
Walmart processing of any kind sucks.

I use a Minolta Scan Dual III dedicated film scanner and I love it. Very decent 11x14 prints can be made and it’s very easy to use. Units in your price range can be found on Ebay.
I have never used Walmart for scans so I can't say. I guess it deppends on the resolution they scan with. I would imagine its pretty low as they need to keep production moving.

I have not extensivily used my 4990pro. Just for some favorite slides that I wanted to print. I scanned at a medium scan rate at 2400 and printed to 81/2 x 11. I was very impressed. The software does make a difference. But everything the automatic software does, can be done with a photo program. Its just quicker.

Not sure if its on this board or another but someone had initial complained about the Minlota Dual Scan IV. Then used a different software and has changed their opinion about it (came with 2, didnt like the Minolta software, but said the other that came with it made a huge difference). It is film only but probably better results than a lower cost flat bed. I have never had anything drum scanned or scanned on like a Nikon coolscan 5000 so I really can't compare my Epson output to that. But I am happy with what I have achieved so far. But again I bought the top model.

I went with the flat bed as I have 6x6 medium format to scan and have 4x5 slide to scan as well. Will have more from vacation comming up this sumer too. And for me it was the best bang for the buck that I could afford.
I have a canon 4200 .. it was about 120 pounds (year ago) .. scans to very large files, a bit slow though scanning negatives full size, aside from that it's perfect. Im a bit dissapointed I wont be using it anymore because I finally got a digtal camera (canon eos 350d).
I use a Minolta DiMage III. They run in about the price range you are looking for and I have no complaints. I shoot mostly slide film with my Nikon F4s and I am happy with my scan results. Click my signature and look around for the shots using the camera mentioned in the details when you click on a thumbnail if you want to see for yourself.
buckenmeyer said:
I have a canon 4200 .. it was about 120 pounds (year ago) .. scans to very large files, a bit slow though scanning negatives full size, aside from that it's perfect. Im a bit dissapointed I wont be using it anymore because I finally got a digtal camera (canon eos 350d).

I've got a Canon flatbed too, an 8400F, and after using this I find it difficult to see why anyone other than professionals or those with lots of disposable income would spend so much more on a dedicated negative scanner. It scans from 35mm negatives, slides and medium format, the image quality is great (especially if you switch off all the scanner software's processing and do it all yourself in PS) and the 30mb TIFF files put the local camera shop's tiny jpegs to shame. I'm so happy with the results that when I take films in I no longer bother to ask for prints, since I'm happier with my scanned files.
I was at first leery of flat beds. About 6 years ago I bought a Microtek flatbed that came with what they called a film lid. I was very very dissapoointed with it. Now it could have been I just needed better operating software. So I stayed away from scanning but kept shooting slides. When the Epson 4990 came out I decided to give flatbeds another chance. I am very happy with it. I did get the pro model which has the extra software. Not really sure that was necessary. I am sure there are also compatiable or better models from others now. Only problem I have is with my computer. I don't have enough memory to batch scan 12 photo's at once at max resolution.

Most reactions

New Topics