35mm Film Scanner
March 20, 2005 10:00 PM   Subscribe

Can I scan 35mm film negatives with my Canon LiDE 30? Other flatbed scanners come with an adapter that allows for this, but this scanner didn't. Is there an off the shelf widget that will work?
posted by aladfar to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There is a "widget" that is basically a pair of mirrors to reflect the flatbed's light through the backside of the neg. My experience is that these do a poor job - the marketing department at my old job had one, and it so exasperated me that I took my negs to a photo shop to have it done. How many photos are you talking about, and are they negs or slides? You may be able to talk your way into the photo dept at a community college and use a *film* scanner there. Also, how big do you want the results? The LiDe's 2400x1200 dpi might be ok for web stuff, but if you intend to print anything bigger than a snapshot, you're not gonna get enough resolution. Matter of fact, you may be better scanning in the prints, if you have them.
posted by notsnot at 10:24 PM on March 20, 2005

Response by poster: Well, I want the photographs to look decent when scanned, and pretty good after a run through Photoshop. The goal is to get photos from my film SLR into iPhoto and Flickr. I figure I can save a little money if I scan the negatives rather than have them all printed.
posted by aladfar at 11:30 PM on March 20, 2005

Are you mainly wanting to scan negatives you've already taken, or stuff in the future? If it's the latter, you'll spend less on a new DSLR like a Canon Rebel XT or a Nikon D70 than you will on a decent negative scanner. I have a Canon 10D and would never consider the film alternative anymore.

Consider dynamic range values in a scanner, too, in addition to resolution.
posted by jimmythefish at 2:03 AM on March 21, 2005

Negative scanning technology is still in its infancy. Getting the colors and saturation right is tricky business. Unless you get really high-end equipment, you're not going to get good quality scans. And maybe not with the high-end equipment, either.

You may have to bite the bullet and make prints.
posted by zardoz at 3:37 AM on March 21, 2005

Here's my comment from a related thread.

You can't scan the negatives with your LiDE30 because it doesn't have a backlight or the logic necessary to process the negative's data. Your best consumer option (if professional quality is desired) is likely one of the Epson models (4870 or 4990). And while zardoz is correct about the quality of high-end equipment (see my other comment re: Coolscan 4000), using some of the newer consumer scanners will provide more than adequate results for your needs (flickr). I've even had good success with lesser-quality $100-range film scanners.
posted by Hankins at 5:52 AM on March 21, 2005

Speaking from experience scanning film negatives on an Epson flatbed: the dust and hair will drive you mad, and the colors on negatives will often look like crap without extensive correction. The sharpness will also be sub-par. And it's slow, since these things are tuned for full page scans at 100 dpi, not 35mm scans at 2400 dpi. In all, it's barely sufficient for web stuff and slides.

A real dedicated negative scanner is the best solution, but they're pricey enough that I would just buy a digital SLR instead and skip the film step entirely.
posted by smackfu at 7:13 AM on March 21, 2005

Response by poster: I have no money whatsoever, so a high end negative scanner or digital SLR is out. I think I'll just go with prints, and/or ask the photo place to put the images on a CD for me (I think that's fairly reasonable).

Thanks all for the excellent advice!
posted by aladfar at 7:49 AM on March 21, 2005

Check out this site lots of good scanner information

posted by flummox at 11:41 AM on March 21, 2005

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