When it comes to finding the best film scanner, your needs aren’t the same as someone else’s needs. It would be nice to find the be-all and end of film scanners, but the truth is that you’ll need to dig deep to figure out which scanner best suits your needs.
Purpose of a 35mm Film Scanners
You clearly know what a film scanner is because you’re looking for the best one. But a bit more understanding about what the product does can help you decide which accessories and features you can’t live without.
The primary reason to own a device for scanning your 35mm film is to bypass the process of using negatives to make prints by scanning those photos directly into your computer via the negatives.
If you’re not sure what is the best 35mm film to use, we have reviewed 12 rolls here.
You can also find film scanners that can move your photos from a batch of slide film all at one time. It’s best to consider what format of photos you’ll be scanning as well as the volume of content.
For a more in-depth guide on slide films, see our 35mm Slide Film Guide here.
How to Choose a Film Scanner
With a wide range of film scanners available, it can be difficult overwhelming when you go shopping. The primary thing to consider is the quality of the scanner. There are plenty of cost-effective film scanners on the market, but the better the scanner, the better the digital resolution will be on the photos you scan.
Flatbed scanner works by reading the intensity and color of an image by shining white light through the glass and capturing the image line by line. These type of film scanners are likely the least expensive but might not be the right choice for serious movie film or important photos.
Negative film scanners work with uncut film and scan the image using a focused beam of light that records each photo, frame by frame.
Drum scanners use photomultiplier tubes that capture each image as it passes in front of optics that transfer the photos to your computer. This type provides the highest image and scan quality but is also the most expensive.
What are the Benefits of this Product?
One of the top reasons to choose home film scanners is the huge cost savings. When you deliver your film to a lab, they typically send it out to be developed, which can be expensive. If you need to scan a high volume of film, your scanner pays for itself in just a few months.
Another perk to using film printers at home is that you won’t have to worry about your photos being cropped, something that happens quite often in labs. Using film scanners at home allows you to customize the settings so you don’t cut anything from your photos. Likewise, you have control over the settings that optimize color and exposure when you develop your own film.
Oh, and while you’re at it – don’t forget how enjoyable it can be to scan and develop your images the exact way you want them.
Things to Look For
Part of what helps you find the best film scanners for your needs is knowing all about the bells and whistles that you can choose from. The best option for you depends on what you plan to do with your negatives.
If you’re someone who just enjoys sharing photos on social media, a basic flatbed scanner will do. If you need higher resolution photos, something a bit more high tech probably fits the bill better. It this case, you need to look for a product that can capture your images via a macro lens.
For more precise images, you can also add a lightbox and tripod to your equipment list.
You’re also going to need some type of software to use with your film scanner. You can try the software that accompanies the scanners, but if you don’t like the way your negative or slide images transfer, consider upgrading to software that enables you to control the sharpness, color and exposure to a higher degree.
What’s the Best Way to Use a Film Scanner?
Many analog camera photographers use scanners to get better prints; plain and simple. By gathering your scanned uploads in one place, you have all the control over how the finished product looks. Your resolution will be better, your color will be the better and your optical density will provide the most detailed image possible.
To get the most out of the film scanner you choose, follow the manufacturer directions closely for tips on hooking it up and the best way to use the model you’ve chosen.
If you’re looking for a new 35mm film camera, see our Best 35mm Film Cameras here.
Prerequisites for Using the Product
It doesn’t take a genius to use even the best film scanners on the market. It’s a pretty basic concept that you can pick up simply by reading the directions. However, getting the most out of yours is another story.
Before you can do that, you should have some basic knowledge about how to capture and develop a premier image. You will also need to know some simple computer skills so you can attach the scanner to your computer and get the photos from the films to the CD or zip drive.
Beyond that, it pays to look at some reviews so you can get a good idea of the best film scanners out there so you have a place to start. Checking out the latest deals can also give you a good jumping-off point.
The Best Film Scanners for You
Epson Perfection V370 Color Photo
This makes the list as one of the top film scanners because of its scan to cloud capabilities and its ability to scan both slides and negatives. You’ll get a range of 4800 x 9600 resolution and the software is compatible with many Windows operating systems.
You can also use this device to scan documents. Use it scan originals and then make them larger or more clear. This scanner is also a good option for restoring old or damaged photos to their original glory.
The Ready Scan technology and lack of warmup time speeds the entire process and gets you from start to finish in no time at all.
● Lightweight design makes it easy to move from place to place
● Operates at a low temperature to protect your system
● Can scan photos and hand-drawn artwork with a high resolution
● May not work with computer software that isn’t updated
● Not the best choice for larger pieces of artwork or images
Check out more info here: No products found.
Kodak Scanza Digital Film and Slide Scanner
- FILM TO JPEG IN SECONDS – Powerful 14/22MP KODAK Film Scanner Converts Old 35mm, 126, 110, Super 8 & 8mm Negatives & Slides to JPEG Digital Files - NOTE; THE SCANZA WILL NOT CONVERT FILMS OTHER THEN 35mm, 126, 110, Super 8 & 8mm Negatives
- LARGE, BRIGHT 3.5” TFT LCD – High Definition Built-In Color Display Features Adjustable Brightness & Convenient Tilt for Easy Operation & Image Viewing
- AN ADAPTER FOR EVERYTHING – Unit Arrives w/Multiple Film Inserts & Adapters for Fast, Flexible Operation; Big One-Touch Buttons Allow for One-Step Scan & Save
- INTUITIVE USER INTERFACE – Includes Helpful Tray & Insert Directory; Easily Edit Image RGB & Resolution, Browse Gallery [SD Card NOT Included, supports up to 128GB] & More
- CABLES & EXTRAS INCLUDED – Mac & PC Compatible Converter Comes w/USB Power Cable, HDMI Cable, AC Adapter, Video Cable & FREE Film Cleaning Brush. Use the included brush to also clean the light box of dust and speckles, to avoid marks on the scanned images.
If converting 35mm film is your goal, this is the machine for you. It can turn film into jpeg images in just a few seconds. The built-in color display makes it easy to customize your photos with the optimal color and brightness. The one-step scan and save feature makes it simple to load a large number of photos with the press of a single large button.
The scanner comes with a converter that makes it Mac and PC compatible as well as a USB and HDMI cable so it’s incredibly versatile to use.
Easy load inserts and labeled trays allow you to get your negatives loaded and turned into photos without any complicated directions.
● Large buttons and simple commands with ease of use.
● Ideal for 35mm film.
● The 3.5-inch screen makes it easy to customize photos.
● This scanner only works with 35mm film.
● It can sometimes be difficult to keep the negatives in place while feeding them into the machine.
Check out more info here: KODAK SCANZA Digital Film & Slide Scanner - Converts 35mm, 126, 110, Super 8 &...
Epson Perfection V600 Film Scanner
This makes the list of top film scanners because it’s affordable, but it’s also ideal for making photo enlargements. You can blow up your negatives into images that are up to 17 by 22 inches.
It’s able to accommodate slides, negatives, and medium format panoramic film so you can use it to turn even vintage photos into prints you can hold and hang on the wall. You can also use it to remove creases and tears from old photos.
Digital ICE technology also lets you print photos without the appearance of dust and scratch that might appear on the originals.
This product is compatible with several Microsoft operating systems so it’s convenient to use.
● Use this scanner for photos and important documents.
● The product works quickly so you can scan a large number of images in a short amount of time.
● This is a good choice for someone new to scanning photos.
● This scanner isn’t always able to operate on a Mac computer.
● It also sometimes stops working if you update your computer’s operating system.
Check out more info here: Epson Perfection V 600 Photo
Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII Film Scanner
- My Image Garden Software handles photo and document scanning and organizes your files in a simple and friendly way so you can get the most out of them
- FARE (Film Automatic Retouching and Enhancement) Level 3: This built-in retouching technology delivers automatic correction to photos and film, removing much of the dust and scratches while restoring their color, all at the same time
- Zero warm-up time and offers lower power consumption with super-efficient white LEDs
- Auto Scan Mode automatically adjusts settings by detecting what you're scanning
- OS Compatibility : Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP and Mac OS X v10.6.8 to 10.7
This flatbed scanner is more expensive than some of the other options on the market, but it can do quite a bit of really cool things with your photos. Use it to organize your photos onto your computer.
You can also see our Best Computer for Photo Editing here.
The built-in retouching technology allows you to automatically improve the image quality by removing dust and scratches, while also restoring the color of the photos at the same time.
The handy auto scan mode detects what you’re scanning and adjusts the settings appropriately.
This one also warms up quickly and eliminates a lot of the waiting around you do with other models.
● This scanner is fast and efficient so it’s great for a large volume of photos.
● Use this product to restore old photos and to enhance damaged photos.
● You can also use this to organize and scan documents.
● The scanner does not automatically size the images.
● The software that comes with the scanner is a bit difficult to set up and isn’t compatible with all computer operating systems.
Check out more info here: Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII Photo, Film and Negative Scanner, Flatbed
Magnasonic All-in-One Film Scanner
- Effortlessly convert your 35mm, 126KPK,110, Super 8 and Negatives into premium high resolution 22MP digital photo JPEG files. Still images only, not video. Relive and share your memories in no time with only the push of a button.
- View your scanned slides and films with the built-in, vibrant full color, 2.4 inch LCD screen or directly onto your television with the included Video Out TV cable. No computer is needed to transform your slides from outdated to updated.
- Thanks to the generous 128MB of built-in memory, save up to 100 images directly onto the All-in-One Converter. The easy to use SD card slot expansion allows you to hold even more of your high resolution images until you are ready to transfer them to your computer, smartphone, tablet or digital picture frame.
- Quickly and seamlessly scan all your film without the need to precut into strips and painfully line up correctly. When teamed up with the one-touch scanning software you can go from loading to saving in less than 5 seconds.
- Start editing your photos right out of the box with the easy to use plug-and-play interface. No complicated computer software or driver installation needed.
When it comes to affordability, this is the photo scanner you need.
It works to convert 35mm film, 126PK, 110, Super 8 and negatives into high-resolution photographs. The built-in LCD screen allows you to see each photo so you can adjust color and resolution as needed. You can also view them on your television in vibrant and easy to see color.
With a generous amount of memory, you can save up to 100 photos, with room for an SD card to save even more. You don’t have to precut anything or worry about lining it up correctly. There’s no computer software needed to operate this scanner.
● This scanner is great for converting slides into photographs, but also works for negatives.
● Scans very quickly – about 5 seconds per slide.
● Use this scanning product to create high-resolution photos and to restore old ones.
● You must return the device to the highest resolution setting each time you turn it on.
● While it’s fast, you can only load one slide into it at a time.
Check out more info here: Magnasonic All-in-One High Resolution 22MP Film Scanner, Converts...
Kodak Mini Digital Film and Slide Scanner
- AMAZING MINIATURE FILM SCANNER – All-in-One Device Lets You Scan, View, Edit, Convert & Save Old 135, 126, 110, Super 8 & Monochrome Negatives & Slides; Turn Your Old Pictures Into Sharp, Clear, Detailed Color or Black & White JPEG Files
- MULTIPLE ADAPTERS FOR FAST LOADING – Enjoy Maximum Compatibility & Ease of Conversion w/ a Variety of Adapters Designed for Fast, Continuous Loading; Improve Quality Up to 14/22MP w/ Adjustable Brightness, Color & Reverse/Flip
- UPDATED USER INTERFACE WITH 2.4” LCD – Dedicated Scan & Home Buttons Provide Easy One-Press Scanning & Quicker Menu Navigation; View & Edit Current Slide or Gallery Pictures on the Color Display [Internal Memory Holds Up to 128MB]
- MEMORIES FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM – Use Any SD Card Up to 32GB [Not Included] Perfect for Enhancing & Printing Old Photos & Sharing Old Film Formats on Social Media
- 3-IN-1 INTERNATIONAL ADAPTER & MORE – Extended Accessories Pack Includes Universal Power Source for US, EU & UK, Cleaning Wand, USB Cable & TV Cable Power Adapter; View Images Big Screen TV, Etc.
As an all-in-one device that won’t take up a lot of space, this one wins, hands down. It’s small enough to keep on your desk and is portable so you can use it on the go as well.
It works to convert 35mm, 126, 110, Super 8 and 8mm negatives and slides into high-quality jpeg images.
The easy to load adaptor takes some of the guesswork out of loading your film and the color screen lets you make adjustments to the photos as you go.
It’s also compatible with SD cards, USB cables, and other universal power sources.
● There are flip and mirror tools you can use in case your insert your negatives upside down by mistake.
● It’s very easy to load the film with different ports for different types.
● You can save the photos to the scanner if you don’t have an SD card.
● Unlike some other film scanners, this one takes longer to use because of its compact size.
● This scanner is not a good choice for scanning large numbers of slides.
Check out more info here: KODAK Mini Digital Film & Slide Scanner – Converts 35mm, 126, 110, Super 8 &...
The film scanners listed here consistently get the job done. They each enable you to scan different types of film so that you can produce high-quality photos from images that are old and damaged as well as those you can’t access anymore due to advances in technology.
It’s a good idea to test out products to be sure they’re the right fit for your needs. For this reason, be sure you have a warranty and are able to return the product if it’s not the one you ultimately want to use.
In the meantime, enjoy looking through pictures that you haven’t seen in a while or learn something new about your family as you sift through old photos. It’s really fun and your scanner should make it even more enjoyable.