Convert Film to Digital

If you have negatives or slides, you can get better quality digital images by scanning them, rather than scanning prints made from these negatives or slides. It's not difficult.

I have shot film for many years. So I have thousands of photos that are still on film that I have not yet converted to digital format. This film includes some 8mm film my dad shot when I was a kid (and before). It also includes thousands of negatives and thousands of slides. Then there are all those prints for which I have long ago misplaced the negatives, and the prints I have been given that I would like to be able to catalog. The negatives are mostly 35mm, but there are also some other sizes, like 126 and 620. Most are color, but I do have some black and white. What a challenge!

Scan from Film

Prints are never quite as good as the film (negative or slide) they were made from. If you have the original negative or slide, you will get better quality scans from that. To scan the negative or slide, you will need a scanner capable of scanning film. Many flatbed scanners now have built-in lights for scanning film. These may be adequate for your scanning needs.

However, if you want the best quality, look at film scanners. If you only have 35mm film, you have many choices. If you have larger format film, be sure the scanner you get can handle the larger size film. Generally, the more expensive film scanners will have better quality and capabilities. I own the Nikon Super Coolscan 4000 ED, and have been very pleased with it. However, Nikon has ceased making their 35mm film scanners. I was thinking of upgrading to the Super Coolscan 5000 ED, but the price has gone through the roof at the places like eBay. Another film scanner option is the Plustek OpticFilm 7600I SE Film Scanner which has received good reviews.

If you want a scanner which can scan both reflective material (prints, magazine pages, etc.) and film, the new CanoScan 9000F is a good choice. Canon CanoScan 9000F Color Image Scanner does a good job at a reasonable price.