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Viewing old b&w negatives

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by Dorsey, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. Dorsey

    Dorsey New Member

    Hello everyone,
    Unlike most of you on here I am not a skilled amateur photographer just an interested one so I am not wordly wise about a lot of photographic matters.
    I have a large quantity of negatives - some 35 mm but also some two and a quarter inch square black and white negatives which I would really like to have a look at. The 35mm ones aren't really a problem as I can get reprints done in any High Street shop but the black and whites are an entirely different story. Jessops used to do prints from old negatives but have now ceased to do so and they referred me to a local photo lab who said they would charge £3.50 to scan each negative and then make a further charge for printing. I politely declined their kind offer as I have far too many to even contemplate that sort of cost. I have tried on my own scanner (Visoneer 8700 USB) but nothing happens.
    I am not averse to buying another printer or scanner at a reasonable price but just don't have the first idea what to do or what to look for.
    Can anyone help me please?
  2. Rhys_Hardwick

    Rhys_Hardwick Well-Known Member

    Hi Dorsey, and welcome.

    If you want to scan film, then you will need a scanner that is able to shine light through the film. There are a few options. The best would be to get a dedicated film scanner, but these are expensive, especially for "medium format" (The 6x6cm negatives).

    The other option, the one I went for, is a flat bed with a top section which shines light down through the negative. There are quite a few options out there. The main differences are resolution (2400 dpi should be adequate for most needs) and dynamic range.

    Dynamic range essentially means the range of brightness levels it can record, i.e. the lightest and darkest areas. My scanner has a dynamic range of 4, which is pretty good, and copes with 6x6 B&W negatives with no problems.

    Depending on the quality you are prepared to live with will determine the price. I would have a look around at the different options, looking at the specs as mentioned, and see what you find.

    I'm no expert, and I'm sure someone else will come along soon and point out a few more things. Any questions, just ask.

    Hope that helps,
  3. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    Here is a page of scanners from Amazon. The first one listed, Epson Perfection 4490 Photo, I have used and does a very good job on medium format negatives. It's also very reasonably priced :)
  4. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    Yes a flatbed photo scanner is probably what you want. I have an Epson 4990 which works fine, but I think that it has now been replaced by the Epson V700. B&W negatives are very easy to scan, certainly as compared to colour negative film.

    You can buy a dedicated Nikon film scanner that can handle both 120 and 35mm film, but it is gruesomely expensive. For amateur use a good flatbed is perfectly adequate.

    You will also require a photo editor, the Rolls Royce product is Photoshop but it is very costly. There is a cut down version called Photoshop Elements that will probably do all that you need.

    Just as in using an enlarger, srupulous cleanliness is essential as otherwise you will be spending hours spotting your scans.

    I enjoyed scanning and processing my collection of negatives, and it was one of the factors that rekindled my interest in photography and caused me to pick up the camera again.

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