How To Scan 35mm and 120 Film At Home w/ Negative Supply
Scanning your own film rolls can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Learn how to effortlessly scan high-quality film rolls for a fraction of the time.
Flatbed scanners take an eternity to produce quality results.
Scanning film rolls at home with a DSLR is much more instantaneous. The primary carriers from Negative Supply ensure your scan will be ready in under 2 minutes with unmatched quality in the comfort of your home. I've been shooting analog for several years and have tested various flatbeds, apps, and DSLR scanning with an iPad, and honestly, it just never looked exemplary to me (no shade if that's what you have at your disposal!). There are months when I shoot over 20-30 rolls for client work, and taking that insane amount of time to scan each frame became a huge hassle that took me away from actual shooting time.
I was blown away by the results from Negative Supply's at-home scanning kit. The time spent scanning was shorter than setting up my camera gear, and the quality of scans paired with my Canon R5 was fantastic. I mainly shoot a mix of 35 and 120 (both color and b&w), so it's nice to have a single setup that allows me to scan both mediums swiftly and efficiently.
Note: For this example, all images on 35mm were shot on a Contax G1 and a Fuji GA645i for the 120 images. Film stocks used were Kodak Portra 160, Portra 400, and Kodak Gold 200.
Negative Supply Complete Basic Kit (this includes both the 120 and 35mm film carriers)
Basic Film Carrier 35 Scanning Hood (This helps with eliminating extra light to get better results)
4x5 Light Source Basic ( I used the 99 CRI version)
Computer with capture software (I used Lightroom for this)
Canon EOS R5
Sigma 105mm f2.8 Macro Lens
Uncut Film (I ask for it to be uncut from the lab after it's processed, so it's faster to scan).
Complete Basic Kit for 35mm/120 Film Scanning
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Basic Film Carrier 35 Scanning Hood
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4X5 Light Source Basic 99 CRI
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For this particular shoot, I grabbed a few of my buddies to skate around a few of LA's sweet spots under various lighting conditions to test any possible mixed scanning results. It was a sizzling temperature; thankfully, we drank a ton of water and crushed the shoot. Shout out to them for killing it and making these images possible.
The scanning kit's 35mm film and 120 film scanning methodologies are virtually the same, though you'll need to adjust the camera's height to ensure each negative fills the frame. This once seemingly complicated process has never felt more straightforward.
1. Mount the camera, with a macro lens attached, to your riser (aka copy stand). You'll most likely want to invest in a level to ensure that your camera is perfectly balanced.
2. Grab your light source and plug it in.
3. Get your holder, and you'll find that it perfectly aligns with the light source. See how easy it is?
4. Plug your tether cable to your computer and start up your software (Lightroom, Capture One, etc.) *This step is optional, and you can shoot to a card, but I find it easiest not to have an extra step of importing later. Plus, you'll be able to see your images more straightforwardly and ensure they're looking good.
5. Load your film into the scanning carrier and make sure it's flat and centered.
6. Turn your camera on and switch your lens to manual focus. Make sure the camera is focused on the image's grain.
7. Set your camera to manual and ensure that your image is well exposed without clipping in the highlights/shadows. I used ISO 160, shutter 1/5 and an aperture of f10 for this example.
8. Start snapping your frames until you're all done. This is where having uncut film helps to speed up this process, but it's not too much longer if your film came back cut from the lab.
9. Convert your negatives to the post. I used the Negative Lab Pro plugin in Lightroom, but you can do it manually in Lightroom, Photoshop, or use another plugin of your choice.
Extra thoughts and tips...
1. Make sure that your film is uncut.
2. Try scanning in a dark place or at night to avoid extra light spills.
3. Experiment and see what works best for you.
4. Tethering cables are a huge bonus.
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Professional Gold 200 Color Negative 120 Film - 5 Rolls
Shoot with the Legendary Kodak GOLD 200 120 Film! A low-speed color negative film, offering outstanding color saturation, fine grain, and high sharpnessBuy for $45.99