You Can Get Great 35mm Scans From a Cheap Flatbed Scanner: Follow These Tips

Every film photographer out there in this day and age eventually wants to have good scans of their negatives. While it’s not difficult to get a great scan from medium format, 35mm present their own challenges. 

In this video, Kyle McDougall takes a vintage Epson 4990 flatbed scanner which is decades old to scan 35mm film. Granted, McDougall also has an old Nikon Coolscan 9000 which is widely known for being about as good as you possibly get short of scanning with drum scanner which is a much more tedious process. For the Epson 4990, McDougall provides a good roadmap for getting the most detail out of your scans really making them pretty comparable to what you’d get from much more expensive, newer scanners.

As you’ll see from the final result, the Epson holds its own and truthfully, performed far better than I would have thought. Granted, this comes only after a significant amount of work is done to the image but still. Personally, I am in need of a way of scanning 4×5 and I have yet to come to terms with spending $1,150 on an Epson v850 — the only Epson flatbed that can be purchased new for scanning large format. As such, I’ve not previously considered buying a vintage scanner for this purpose but I sure am now. 

Do you have any experience using vintage scanners? What did you think of those scans compared with scans from more advanced scanners?


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