What scanner will you buy to digitize films and slides – flatbed scanner or dedicated film scanner?


What kind of scanners would you choose to buy to digitize your collection of films and slides?  A flatbed scanner?  Or a dedicated film scanner?

If you need some advice on the pros and cons, don’t miss Cameron Kline’s recent article at Film Shooters Collective.  Cameron is a Pacific Northwest editorial photographer.

The OpticFilm 120 is a dedicated film scanner that’s capable of digitizing negatives from 35mm up to 6x12cm. It’s the ideal solution, in my opinion for any photographer who does not need to scan prints and who is not shooting sheet film. If you’re shooting roll film then this is most likely the scanner for you if you want the ultimate quality. You could pay more for a Nikon Coolscan if you want to, but you won’t likely get a warranty with it and you probably also won’t be able to return it if you have an issue with it.

If you’re in the market for a dedicated film scanner there’s a few options out there, but most people will likely opt for a flatbed due to cost and flexibility. Flatbed scanners are a great option for photographers, but they do have some shortcomings. The most notable, for me, has been sharpness. Now, I am not a pixel peeper, but I am keen on making the sharpest scans that I can with what I have available. What’s the point in seeking out the best optics for my cameras if I’m going to settle for out of focus scans later on?

I’ve used ANR glass. I’ve used better scanning holders. I’ve gone so far in my quest for good scans with a flatbed scanner that I actually had custom ABS holders made for the formats that I shoot most often. And while these worked pretty well, they were cumbersome to use with any sort of volume and on occasion the results were hit or miss. …

The first thing that got me excited about the OpticFilm 120 were the film holders. These film holders have been designed to provide the flattest film and therefore give you sharp results. …

The most important thing you should know about the OpticFilm 120 is about the quality of the output. Depending on your workflow your mileage may vary, but for me the quality of the scans I was able to turn out was excellent …

The resulting files from the scanner are rich, gorgeous examples of how special film is. In my workflow they could replace lab scans, given their quality, with the only sacrifice really being the time it takes to create the scan. For my needs the OpticFilm 120 is about as good as it gets and I really can’t see any situation where I’d want more from a scanner than what this one offers. It’s rare that I get to use a piece of equipment that changes the way I think about my workflow, but for scanning at home, this is as good as it gets.

To read the complete review article, please visit Film Shooters Collective.


One Comment on “What scanner will you buy to digitize films and slides – flatbed scanner or dedicated film scanner?

  1. Pingback: Open Box Review on “Photography Blog Recommended” Awarded Film Scanner: OpticFilm 8100

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: