Resources for film scanning

As the years go by, good digital cameras are getting cheaper and cheaper, but dedicated film scanners are becoming more scarce. Konica-Minolta folded a few years back, leaving Nikon (and a few low-end manufacturers) as the only significant player in the dedicated film scanner business. At the same time, Epson keeps rolling out improved versions of their flatbed scanners, many of which are capable of really nice results. Questions about how to best scan negatives pop up on the forums all the time, so I thought I’d collect some useful links in one post.

  • Scantips.com — Scantips covers the basics on how scanners work, what the important specifications are, and how to do good basic scanning.
  • NormanKoren.com — Norman’s site has been providing useful info on film scanning and the digital darkroom for a very long time (it was once one of the only places to get this kind of info on the Web). There are good discussions on scanning and dynamic range.
  • Scanning Film Made Easy — from PopPhoto.com. A lengthy article outlining the relative merits of flatbeds and dedicated film scanners; it also addresses some of the technical limitations of scanners.
  • Thoughts on Scanning — from Larry Bolch. Larry’s article is aimed at people thinking of scanning a large archive of slides or negatives. He argues that scanning at the maximum resolution isn’t always the best idea, and gives suggestions for streamlining the workflow.
  • Getting the Most from Your Scanner — from Paul Butzi. Paul addresses the issue of scanning in grayscale vs. colour using his own equipment. In my own work, I haven’t found that scanning in colour provides any advantage (for B&W negs, of course!) I suspect that every model of scanner is different in this regard.
  • The Film Scanning forum — from HybridPhoto.com. There are a LOT of very good discussions here. Have a look through them before asking your own questions.

Any other suggestions? Add them in the comments!

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