Topic Author
Posts: 389
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2004 8:04 am

Scanning Films On Flatbed Scanner

Fri Dec 30, 2005 10:43 pm

Hi there,

I want to hear your opinions on scanning negative/positive films on flatbed scanners (with such features). Do any of you do this? What results do you get? What scanner models would you recommend for this purpose?

In particular, do you have any experience with these: EPSON Perfection 3590 Photo, HP ScanJet 4890, Canon CS4200F?

Yes, I know there are 35mm film scanners that do the job much better, but they are much more expensive (I say too expensive), on the other hand apparently flatbed scanners have quite high optical resolutions nowadays. And I would like to do occasionally some regular sheet scanning as well.

Thank you in advance
FAO - Flight Activities Officer
Posts: 251
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2005 9:20 pm

RE: Scanning Films On Flatbed Scanner

Sat Dec 31, 2005 12:51 am


I would not recommend scanning of 35mm film as a way of producing present day digital images but it works quite well for old pictures taken in the pre-digital days. The results are certainly nothing like as good as you get from a present day digital camera but for old slides / negatives acceptance on A.Net is usually achievable provided the original film shot was in focus and reasonably well exposed.

I have been using an EPSON Perfection 3200 flat-bed scanner which has a max optical resolution of 3200 ppi. This has given perfectly acceptable results when scanning 35mm negatives at a resolution of 2900 ppi. Using 2900 gives a slightly faster scan and also seems to pick up a bit less grain in some cases.

After scanning I crop, correct exposure, remove any color cast, sharpen, repair (scratches and dust marks) and resize to 1024 wide using PS elements. If the shot is particularly grainy I will run it through Neat Image to reduce the grain but the result sometimes looks rather unnatural.

This link will let you see a scan from a 35mm neg which was originally shot on a horrible wet day back in 1988 which I processed as described above.

The EPSON 3590 should be better than the old 3200 I am using so I would expect you would be able to get fairly good results from it.

Hope this is of some help.

One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.
Topic Author
Posts: 389
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2004 8:04 am

RE: Scanning Films On Flatbed Scanner

Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:51 am

Quoting Norfolkjohn (Reply 1):

Hey, that is not a bad photo at all!  Smile

Of course, as you say, it will definitely be difficult to get close to recent digital cameras' quality, but still, the photo above shows that you really can get decent results from a 35mm w/flatbed.

Thank you for your reply, it was really helpful.

FAO - Flight Activities Officer

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