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.

Gear Used...

Moment Negative Supply CBKITMK2 Complete Basic Kit for 35mm 120 Film Scanning thumbnail

Negative Supply

Complete Basic Kit for 35mm/120 Film Scanning

Are you a film shooter wanting to scan 35mm and 120 film at home? Here's an all-in-one kit from Negative Supply that has everything to make that easy for you.

Buy for $899.00
Moment Negative Supply BFC35 HOOD Basic Film Carrier 35 Scanning Hood thumbnail

Negative Supply

Basic Film Carrier 35 Scanning Hood

Looking for the perfect scanning accessory for your Negative Supply Basic Film Carrier 35? This Scanning Hood reduces glare making your scans extra crispy.

Buy for $30.00
Moment Negative Supply 45 BLIGHT99 4 X5 LIGHT Source Basic 99 CRI Thumbnail

Negative Supply

4X5 Light Source Basic 99 CRI

Scanning larger format negatives at home? The Negative Supply 4X5 LIGHT Source Basic 99 CRI will give you a nice even light with super high color accuracy

Buy for $299.00

The Shoot

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.

Captured on 120 film, scanned on the 120 film carrier.

Captured on 120 film, scanned on the 120 film carrier.

Captured on 120 film, scanned on the 120 film carrier.

Captured on 120 film, scanned on the 120 film carrier.

Captured on 120 film, scanned on the 120 film carrier.

Captured on 120 film, scanned on the 120 film carrier.

Captured on 120 film, scanned on the 120 film carrier.

Captured on 120 film, scanned on the 120 film carrier.

The Process

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.

Captured on 35mm film, scanned on the 35mm film carrier.

Captured on 35mm film, scanned on the 35mm film carrier.

Captured on 35mm film, scanned on the 35mm film carrier.

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.

Moment kodak 1808674 Professional Portra 160 Film 120 Propack 5 Rolls thumbnail

Kodak

Professional Portra 160 Color Negative 120 Film - 5 Rolls

Treat your film camera! The Kodak Portra 160 120 film features a significantly finer grain structure, exceptionally smooth, and natural skin tone reproduction

Buy for $59.99
Moment Kodak 1075597 Professional Gold 200 120 Film 5 Rolls thumbnail

Kodak

Professional Gold 200 120 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 sharpness

Buy for $44.95