There is a surprise element in analog photography. After every snap-shot, there is this lingering question—how might the picture turn out to be? Was I looking okay in the photo?
Gone are those times when we needed to wait for hours, or even days, to develop negatives and finally take a look at the photos.
One gift of modern science that will save you the hassle of waiting around for photos is a film scanner. It is a very convenient machine which will quickly digitize your old negatives, films and slides, to colorful photos which you will be able to share online with your friends and relatives.
Most scanners support 35mm films and slides. So what are the features of the best 35mm film scanner? Let’s take a look at an array of available ones.
Comparison Chart For Top 10 35mm Film Scanner
DPI And Pixels
Epson V370 Document Scanner
4800 x 9600 DPI
KODAK SCANZA Scanner
Epson Perfection V850 Pro scanner
KODAK Mini Scanner
Veho Smartfix Scanner
QPIX Digital Scanner
10,000 x 10,000 DPI
Epson Perfection V550 Scanner
ZONOZ Film & Slide Scanner
Best 35mm Film Scanner Reviews
1. Epson Perfection V370 Document Scanner- Best 35mm Slide Scanner
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A film scanner is a go-to for any photographer. If a photographer wants to share his photos online, say on Instagram, then he must scan the negatives first.
Scanning digitizes the photos and transfers them to your computer, from where you can upload them to any social media platform! It’s that easy.
All this and more can be done with the film scanners by Epson! With its built-in 4800 x 9600 dpi and transparency unit, you can scan and archive the digital photos and documents, and even enlarge them. The scans can be directly transferred to Cloud services such as Sharepoint, Evernote and Google docs.
Its ArcSoft Scan-n-Stitch software further enables you to scan oversized documents, like album pages or artwork. The ReadyScan technology of this scanner does not require any warming up, you start it and it is good to go! Not to mention it can scan 35mm film negatives and slides with an incomparable ease.
The scanner offers touch-screen panels, with buttons like “scan to email” and “convert to pdf”, which makes it super convenient and time-efficient. Not only this, the scanner can also be used to scan books and 3D objects. Its Easy Photo Fix feature will re-color the old faded photos, so that you can relive your memories.
2. KODAK SCANZA Digital Film & Slide Scanner- Best 35mm Slide Scanner For Mac
Photographers turn toward film scanners instead of document scanners, since the previous are designated to make scans from camera films.
Document scanners depend upon the light that gets reflected off a document, whereas film scanners pass light through a frame, digitize them and send them to your PC.
When you are looking for a good film scanner, Kodak Scanza is one good brand to turn to. Their digital scanners are almost futuristic, where you can digitize your films and slides to JPEG in seconds pressing just one button. The scanner provides you with 4 trays and 2 adapters so that you can scan a variety of undeveloped photos.
The interface is split into 3 modes with convenient functions making it extremely user-friendly. One of its most interesting features is its Video and HDMI output which can display your photos from the scanner straight to a bigger screen of a TV or a PC, for your whole family to enjoy.
The scanner also has wide 3.5” LCD display which can be swiveled in all directions for a superior viewing convenience. It comes with USB cables, so you save your files to SD card first, before transferring them to your PC. The display also has 14-megapixel sensor to produce crisp HD images.
3. Epson Perfection V850 Pro scanner- Best 35mm Film Scanner For Mac
Film scanners replicate your film negatives and slides into digital versions, which you can edit in any software and share them with your friends. It is just like taking some really old cassette tapes and recording them as MP3! Most film scanners support 35mm scans, while others are more versatile.
Old photo negatives can be brought to life with Epson V850 Perfection scanners. Its 6400 dpi resolutions and dual-lens generates scans that will take your breath away! If you have snapped photos using a non-digital camera recently, now is your time to flaunt your photography skills to your friends and family.
The scanner comes fully equipped with film holders whose heights could be adjusted to house 18 frames of 35mm film stripes and 12 frames of 35mm mounted slides. It can also support 1 medium-sized strip of size 6 x 20cm and 1 frame of size 4” x 5”. There are 2 holders available, so one could be prepared while the other is being scanned.
Add details to your old photos with the help of SilverFast SE plus software! You can add shadows, highlights, gradations and color. You can also descreen, scale and sharpen the images. Epson also offers its signature Easy Photo Fix feature which brings faded photos back to life.
4. KODAK Mini Digital Film & Slide Scanner- Best 35 mm Film And Slide Scanner
If you are a film camera photographer, you have a classic taste! The anticipation of how the pictures will turn out after a long process of developing the negatives, gives you unparalleled pleasure.
The only thing you might have missed out on is being able to digitize the negatives, and that’s where film scanners step in!
Scanners by Kodak are highly dependable and convenient. Now change your old films into bright and colorful JPEG files that can saved by internal or external storage devices. A very exciting feature is its in-built high-tech edit function which allow you to optimize color and brightness without the need to use any software!
The scanner is equipped with an array of adapters which are interchangeable and go hand-in-hand with old negatives and slide formats. The different types of adapters include negative and slide ones, 110 negative film tray, 110 slide tray, and a super 8 slide tray. Loading these adapters is super convenient.
Photo editing features of the scanner allow resolution adjustment from 14 megapixels to 22 megapixels. The scanner has a 2.4” LCD monitor which shows all commands clearly. The buttons are conveniently labeled for ease of maneuvering.
5. Veho Smartfix Portable Film & Slide Scanner- Best Budget 35mm Film Scanner
Take a trip down the memory lane by digitizing an old bunch of photographs from your childhood! Share a hearty laugh with your family of the time when your face was smudged with chocolate cake all over! Or share with your spouse the time when you exchanged rings at your wedding.
Scanners by Veho allow scanned images to be directly transferred to the SD card where you can edit the images, before sending them to your PC for archiving or sharing online.
This scanner is like no other because you can carry it with yourself wherever you want—it runs on lithium-ion batteries and also has USB connection.
It has a 2.4” LCD screen which built-in editing features which can help you to see the images while correcting color and adding details.
Not to mention its array of adapters that can easily support 135 slides, and 110/126/135 film. It is an all-in-one standalone scanning machine which does not require any software.
How To Choose The Right 35mm Film Scanner?
Old is gold, and even in this era of digital photography, we see a resurgence in analog photography. It is a delight for classic-lovers to incline toward collecting albums of negatives, almost as if a preservation of ancient art.
If you have a good collection of films and slides, and you want to share some fun past memories with your friends, then you may opt for a film scanner, and a good one at that.
So what are the features that should be present in the best film scanner for 35mm films and slides? This buying guide will help you make a wise purchasing decision.
Light Source And Image Sensor
All film scanners use these primary features, as without them the scanner will not function. The light source brightens up the negatives or slides, while the image sensor detects and records all details of the photo. Scanners, no matter manufactured by which company, slightly vary from one another on the basis of these two features.
What you should look for is the resolution, Dmax, color balance and sharpness of image, which should be able to give a result as close to the original picture as possible.
There are mainly two variants of resolutions used in scanners—hardware and optical, where hardware uses interpolation feature while optical ones are more dependable on the image sensors.
Most 35mm scanners offer 12-22 megapixel resolution, with editing features to enhance color, add shadow, highlights and other details. Some high-end scanners come with interchangeable dual-lens, one lens with 4800x9600 dpi, while an alternative super lens works at 6400x9600 dpi.
Dmax (Density + Maximum) is responsible in recording details from the darkest portions of the negatives, and the higher the amount of dark details it can record, the better. Density values are measured in logarithms (base 10), and range from 0.0 to 4.0.
Color or bit depth is a very important factor to consider in a film scanner. Bit depth is measured, you have guessed it, in bits, and the higher the number, the better.
There are three color channels in scanners or RGB-red, green and blue, and each color has designated 16 bits, summing up to 48 bits. Bit depth ranges from 30 to 48 bits. Higher bit depth ensures more colorful images with sharper color nuances.
Trays and Adapters
Most scanners come with an array of trays for housing film stripes and slides. See if they can support 35mm/126/110/135 films and slides, 8mm and Super 8 negatives, and the availability of trays depend on your preferences. Usually, the adapters are numbered for ease of use.
Dust Reduction Technology
High-end scanners, like the ones by Kodak, use Digital ICE feature that automatically removes any defects, including dust and scratches, from the surface of scanned images.
Some scanners come with film cleaning brushes. If your scanner does not come with one of these, you would need to clear the scans manually, using a cloth or blowing compressed air.
Analog photography will always remain a favorite of photographers who have seen the 80s and the 90s! The excitement of developing negatives, and finally getting to take a look at the photos after many days of waiting, is incomparable.
If you have age-old analog negatives or slides in your collection, and you are looking forward to relive some old memories, then get yourself a film scanner.
Brands like Epson and Kodak are offering some of the best 35mm film scanners there are in the market. The amazing picture quality will definitely take you and your family on a time travel.