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How To Scan Film Negatives with a DSLR

Dedicated film scanners are pricey and farming out the scanning of a bunch of negatives is also a chunk of change (and you lose control over the process). This cheap but effective setup turns your camera into a negative scanner.

Over at DIY Photography, they share a detailed tutorial to help you easily and effectively use your camera as a negative scanner. They write:

I’ve seen many articles on the web explaining the basics of digitising film negative or transparencies online. The basics are quite simple: you take a photo of a negative into a light source and invert. That’s it. But that alone led me to scan negatives that looked like the one on the left. Because I’ve never seen one tutorial that told me “the whole story” of how to do it properly, I’ve decided to put together what I’ve learnt during the last two or three of years of scanning film with my DSLR.

Hit up the link below to check out their comprehensive tutorial that covers everything from materials to post-processing tricks.

Scanning Film Negatives With A DSLR – A Maker’s Guide

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/16/12

Comments (2)

  1. TheFu

    Thanks for this.

    Just received a moving box full of old family slides from the 1950s thru 80s that the family would like converted. They can dream. A few of the 24-slide boxes do not appear to have been opened after processing, so there are unseen gems inside. About 25 boxes worth are installed in those metal slide projector boxes with labels. Seems that Dad was pretty organized. Also have a few hundred 110 slides that I shot as a kid too. Most of those will be worthless vacation shots of other people and rides.

    Tried using a negative/slide scanner a few years ago, but the drivers are only for WinXP. I’m hopeful that a Linux driver exists now. Tried to use a flatbed scanner with a slide attachment – I must be an idiot – couldn’t figure it out and the instructions were long gone.

    Using an SLR will be the last choice.

  2. LadyFitzgerald

    @ TheFu. “Tried to use a flatbed scanner with a slide attachment – I must be an idiot – couldn’t figure it out and the instructions were long gone.”

    Have you tried to find the directions for your scanner on the internet. A lot of them are available as PDF downloads.

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