If you’re interested in learning about scanning film, we have a fantastic guest article today by Emma Lewis.

The interest in analog photography has increased in the past few years. Now many people from across the globe are trying to figure out the beautiful world of photography. Those who love taking pictures surely know how to scan films, and those who are new to this field might be learning its basic concept and how to get their hands properly on it.

Since childhood, I have loved a camera and photography, which is why I have a deep interest in it.

To me, scanning films gives multiple times better results than scanning results due to different reasons, but the significant reason is that the original thing always comes out perfect as compared to duplicate one.

Hence, I thought, why not share every detail with everyone regarding scanning films and why one should prefer it.

Let’s get along with the article and discuss the critical points, in particular, to know it comprehensively.

scanning film

The Ultimate Getting Started Guide to Scanning Film

The trend of capturing every moment has enhanced to a great extent. Now people feel more connected to the photos and want to keep them forever.

For this purpose, they want original and HD quality images with the best results, and what can be better than scanning films for better results?

The process of scanning films is relatively the same as scanning print, yet surely there are a few differences that make it worth experimenting with.

To know comprehensively about Film scanning, one should understand what makes Film scanning different than Print scanning and why it is nowadays given priority.

Let’s talk about those differences.

  • In Film scanning, the film fits precisely the same in the frame while in print scanning, it gets cropped a bit.
  • The film is typically small; that’s why the scale factor and resolution size we use is significant in size. It is scanned at 2700 dpi, and the scaling factor is 1000% or, in a few cases, more than that.
  • If you scan one inch of film at 1800 dpi, you will most probably get the size of 1800 pixels while, on the other hand, if you scan 6 inches of print at 300 dpi, then you will get 1800 pixels.
  • The most significant difference is that film can quickly originate original point at resolutions like 2700 dpi, but the color photo print merely does not tell you additional points beyond about 300 dpi.
  • The following significant advantage is that film can offer a lot more extended contrast range. Slides can have an outrageous density range, and the best scanner equipment is none too acceptable even to consider going profound into the slides’ dim zones.

What is a Film Scanner?

Let’s talk a bit about Film scanners. It is a device that scans your film without using any printer or printmaking device.

Various film scanners are available in the market to make your experience exceptional. A film scanner can either take up a strip of 35mm or 120 films.

Moreover, it scans individual slides, and many people find it more manageable. A film can be scanned by using conventional scanners, but it will not turn out exceptional.

For this purpose, special scanners are used that make your photos out of the ordinary. By special scanners, you can get your desired results quickly.

How to Develop Films?

If you are in the initial stages of learning, by the end of this article, you probably will know how to scan and develop films without difficulty.

The time has gone when photographers had to view the images in the darkroom. Now the process of scanning and developing photos has revolutionized.

It requires a simple and straightforward process that can be done by a common man with a comprehensive understanding. Let’s begin the steps that require in this process:

Step 1: Purchase Tools

To develop and scan a film, you need to purchase some tools, and above all, a starter kit is a foremost requirement.

The kit you purchase depends on your budget, according to which you can get your hands on any kit starting from a different range.

A few items included in the kit are One FPP C-41 Powder Chemistry Kit, One Measuring Beaker, One funnel, Two Rolls 35mm Color Film, and a few others.

Step 2: Heat your developer

Now heat your developer on 103 degrees Fahrenheit. During this process, you need to obtain a thermometer.

The next step requires loading the film in the development tank with changing bags throughout the process. Don’t forget to wear gloves while holding chemicals. Efficiently wash out your film and wait for 4 minutes.

Step 3: Take your Developer, empty it into the tank to fill it

Move the compound around in the tank and unsettle it consistently. Later with the help of funnel available in the kit, put the developer in the container back. Again, move the chemical around wearing gloves.

Step 4: Wash the film

Wash the film that is in the container by taking out 2 reels and for cleansing put them in a bucket of water. Clean the development tank and put in stabilizer chemicals. The next step requires unreeling the film from the reel and place in the stabilizer chemicals.

Step 5: Keep it there for the next 1 minute

Later dry the film with the help of Squeegee. Hang your film to try. It is how you can do these steps at home, without any difficulty. At the start, you might need someone’s help, so make sure to keep 1 professional with you. Later you will be an expert in it.

How to Scan Films

Once you have developed the film, let’s proceed to the scanning that requires a few steps. To digitize the images, you need a flatbed scanner.

Always remember that an ordinary scanner doesn’t have this facility for processing color negatives. It can only be done with a special scanner that can scan the negatives effectively. For this purpose, we recommend you to purchase Epson V550.

Once you are done with the scanner, proceed to the next level. Let’s discuss scanning points step by step for detailed comprehension.

Step 1

To start scanning the film, cut your film into 6 different frames. As you have already dried your negatives, make sure that they have cut down effectively to avoid any problem later.

You can put a heavy object on the negatives for proper shape. It will help you in making the simple process and straightforward. Always remember that negatives should be flattened without any curl.

Step 2

The next step requires holders that should be well suited with your machine that you have used for scanning purposes. Now start placing the negatives in that holder carefully. To put it, use the shinny side and do it downwards.

As I said above, negatives should be straight and correctly lined up. To remove any dust or dirt, you can use spray or any micro fiber cloth. It will turn out to be a clear and error-free image.

Step 3

The next step depends on the scanner and software that you are using for scanning purposes.

However, it is essential to make use of color negative or B&W film whenever you scan your negatives.

To get the best resolution, your dpi should be approximately 3200, and for image type, the color film should be of 48 bits while black and white should have 16 bits. It is how you will get the best scanning results.

Once you are done with the entire developing and scanning process, you can further proceed to the color edits and adjustments.

For this purpose, you need to import the files in the darkroom. Sometimes due to scanning, your image might be compressed for which you should adjust the values and contrasts appropriately.

This step requires your creativity to apply and retouch the film so that it looks useful and practical.

Though scanning and developing films at home is uncomplicated and straightforward, you need to consider a few steps mentioned above. If you have all the objects available at home, go for it.

Scanning Issues

If you have ever get your hands on film scanning, you must be aware of all the issues that come your way during the entire process. Even if you are a professional photographer, you often encounter a few problems that need to be resolve on time. Let’s discuss those issues and the methods to fix them.

1. Underexposed Film

This issue usually occurs when you keep the image on light for a too-short time. You can easily recognize this issue if the image starts getting dark or faded with low contrast. However, there is a simple solution to fix this issue. Adjust your camera settings with the help of a light meter to help you adjust different light scenarios.

In order to get the best grip on exposure, shoot a test roll. Moreover, you can also fit affected frames in a photo editor. It is how you can get your hands on this issue that doesn’t require any hard and fast rule.

2. Obstruction in Your Camera

Sometimes a speck of dust or hair enters your camera that results in poor scanning. Even a protective paper can become a hurdle. You can easily recognize this issue if some dark marks tend to appear on film roll/scan, or sometimes it starts occurring on multiple frames. It is quite simple to get rid of this issue.

Keep your camera clean and dust-free all the time with proper home maintenance. Various objects are specially designed for this purpose. You can use canned air before every scan or shoot. Sometimes, this issue occurs due to your camera’s problem so better to make it checked from a camera shop.

3. Hurdle in Film Scanner

The reason can be the same. Dust or hair can make your scanning process inappropriate. If the tiny marks tend to appear on film scans, it means there is an issue in the film scanner that needs to be resolved as soon as possible for better results.

However, to eliminate this issue, keep all the essential objects with you, including bushes, to vacuum your negatives that remove dust or any scratch. After thoroughly cleaning everything, if you still notice any dust, better consult a professional that better guides you in this manner because there might be a big issue.

4. Light Leaks

If the light enters the camera, it is an alarming situation. It can be due to a flawed back, in which light-close seals are harmed or worn.

You can easily recognize this issue if the light releases show up as blurred or stained streaks or rushes in an output—they will reach out outside the edge to the refund edge.

However, to avoid such an issue, make sure that the seals on your camera are light-tight. If it comes back dust-free, it means there was a simple issue, but if there is dust, then it needs to checked by professionals.

5. Fogging

This issue can originate due to different factors. It can be due to heat damage, accidental exposure to light, or film aging.

Fogging is like a light hole, causing blurring and staining. In any case, it influences the film surface all the more uniformly, while a light hole usually radiates from a concentrated spot.

To fix this issue, dispose of the factors to discover the base of the problem. Shoot a test move with a brand-spanking’ new roll of film.

If it returns clear, at that point, the issue was brought about by your unique film. If not, make a beeline for a camera mechanics shop because the issue might be significant.

Scanning Film – Final Thoughts

In today’s age everyone wants to capture their special moments forever. A trend of film scanning is increasing with time due to the benefits you can get compared to print scanning.

If you also want the best quality results, I will recommend you to do film scanning by purchasing scanners mentioned above.

I have mentioned all the possible details in this article that might be helpful for you in the future. You can do film scanning at home easily without any hurdle. I have likely mentioned possible errors that might occur during scanning.

Moreover, the solutions are also mentioned. I hope you will find this article useful and informative.