Scanning Film: A Buying Guide

Scanning Film: A Buying Guide

In an age where darkrooms are scarce, yet film photography is seeing a resurgence in popularity, a scanner can be your best option for converting film originals to usable digital files for printing, sharing, and archiving. Whether you are an active film photographer or just have an archive of negatives and slides from the past, a film scanner is a useful, dedicated tool that will breathe new life into your film originals.

Ranging from the most basic models for simply producing a web-shareable image, to the top-of-the-line versions for creating large-scale, print-worthy files—all film scanners, in their most basic sense, perform the same function—using a light source to illuminate your film and an image sensor to record the details. Where scanners begin to vary from one another is the precision and sophistication of this process, along with the technologies used for recording. More than offering just an increase in resolution, higher-end scanners will also provide you with longer dynamic range, higher Dmax, more accurate color balance, greater sharpness and, to put it simply, better, more realistic results. The ultimate goal of a scanner is to acquire as much information from the original as possible to give you latitude for further editing, retouching, and printing.

How Will You Be Using Your Scanner?

Scanners should also be chosen based on how you plan to use them. From entry-level options that only support basic scanning of 35mm film strips, to high-end variants that scan numerous mounted slides in batches, the least expensive or the most expensive model is not always the right one for you. Consider the film format you plan on scanning most frequently, as well as the volume you intend to process, and the ultimate image quality you wish to achieve.

For example: For medium format, make sure your scanner can accommodate 120 film.

If you're looking to archive your closet full of thousands of 35mm slides, look for a model that allows batch scanning of multiple originals with one command, to save time and effort.

What do you plan on doing with your scans? Are you looking to create simple digital versions of your old photos to share on social media, or are you an active large format photographer without a darkroom looking to produce large-scale, fine art prints?

In addition to the scanners themselves, the software used to control the scanner is an important consideration. Many scanners come with a robust application that is capable of reaping all of the benefits afforded by the hardware, while other scanners support optional third-party programs to improve the overall performance. In the case of some entry-level models, as well as the top-quality scanners, proprietary drivers may compel you to rely on additional editing software to fine-tune your results.

Other Factors to Consider

Dust-reduction technologies will cut down on additional cleaning time of your photos after scanning. This should not prevent you from cleaning your negatives with a cloth, blower, or compressed air prior to scanning, regardless of how effective a dust-reduction feature claims to be.

Scanning resolution: Your scanning goals will determine how high a resolution you need. If you want archival-quality scans or to create large prints from your negatives, you’ll need a scanner capable of scanning at 4,000 to 5,000 DPI. But if you’re just planning to look at the images on your computer, post them to social media, or make small prints, you only need a scanner capable of scanning at around 2,000 DPI.

Color depth (or bit depth) are other numbers to consider when making comparisons. The higher the number is for these values, the better. Simply stated, color depth is measured in bits, and is usually presented as the summation of the three color channels of an image—red, green, and blue—so 16 bits per channel would read as 48-bit. The greater the number of bits per channel, the wider gamut of colors possible for creating more nuanced images with smoother gradations.

Dmax is a measurement of optical density and the amount of detail the scanner is capable of recording in the thinner parts of film (shadows in negatives or highlights in positives). A higher number represents a greater ability to reproduce detail in the deepest of shadows. Refer to our article on dynamic range for more information on Dmax.

Entry-Level Film Scanners

For the most basic analog-to-digital conversions, a range of compact, entry-level models is available to perform the straightforward task of providing you with a digital file of your film for online sharing or printing. Designed to simplify the scanning process, these models tend to incorporate automated film handling and frame-recognition capabilities, along with auto-exposure and color corrections. Typically quite affordable and compact in size, these scanners’ merits lie in ease of use, stand-alone operation, speed, and convenience at the expense of resolution and control. They are typically intended for scanning 35mm film—either strips or mounted slides—or sometimes smaller formats, as well as an occasional 4 x 6" or 5 x 7" print.

Wolverine is a popular entry-level scanner manufacturer, and its key entry in this genre is the F2D Titan 8-in-1 Film to Digital Converter. Capable of scanning many popular film formats, including 35mm strips, slides, and smaller film formats, this scanner uses a 20MP sensor for producing JPEGs in as little as three seconds per scan. It also has the convenient ability of stand-alone use, features a 4.3" LCD for previewing scans, and can save files to an internal memory bank or directly to SD memory cards. Similar, but updated to handle medium format 120 film and 127 film types as well, there is the F2D Saturn Film to Digital Converter, which borrows much of the Titan’s feature set and accommodates larger film formats.

F2D Titan 8-in-1 Film to Digital Converter
F2D Titan 8-in-1 Film to Digital Converter

And, for those working with moving pictures on film, Wolverine also has a pair of 8mm/Super 8 converters: the Film2Digital MovieMaker-PRO, which can output full HD 1080/20p movies, and the Reels2Digital MovieMaker, which can output HD 960 x 720/30p movies.

Along similar lines is the Kodak Mini Digital Film Scanner, which can handle 35mm, 126, and 110 film formats, has 14MP resolution, and 128MB of built-in memory, along with an SD card slot, for storing your scans. In the same league, but with a few more tricks up its sleeve, is the NovoScan 3-in-1 Scanner, from Braun. It, too, scans 35mm negatives and slides, at 5.1MP, but it has the added ability to scan prints up to 5 x 7"—perfect for digitizing family archives made up of film and prints.

Kodak Mini Digital Film Scanner
Kodak Mini Digital Film Scanner

Midrange Film Scanners

A midrange film scanner differentiates itself through the use of higher-resolution sensors, for recording at greater dpi values, as well as an improved range of manual controls for fine-tuning the look of your scan. Models in this range also tend to include more sophisticated software applications, refined dust- and scratch-removal capabilities, and improved image quality and sharpness to support making larger print sizes, in addition to sharing your film photos online.

Pacific Image is another popular scanner manufacturer, whose models begin at the midrange, with the Prime Film XEs super edition, which allows you to record up to 10,000-dpi scans of your 35mm film strips or mounted slides with a 3.9 Dmax and 48-bit color depth input, for outputting 16-bit JPEGs or TIFFs. Multiple-pass scanning, also called multiple-exposure scanning, is featured in this model and uses several scanning passes over a single frame to gain more shadow and highlight details than a single scan can record—similar to HDR photography. Additionally, this scanner has Magic Touch Technology, to minimize dust and scratches for cleaner initial scans.

Prime Film XEs super edition
Prime Film XEs super edition

Plustek also makes a trio of what could be described as midrange film scanners, each of which is designed to handle 35mm negative strips and mounted slides. Beginning with the OpticFilm 8100, this sleek model offers a 7200-dpi hardware resolution along with a 3.6 Dmax and 48-bit color depth. Fast scan speeds are possible, with full-resolution scans taking just under 2 minutes to perform, and half-res scans taking about 30 seconds to complete.

OpticFilm 8100
OpticFilm 8100

This scanner is also bundled with SilverFast SE Plus 8 software—a more advanced software option for greater control over color, exposure, contrast, and other image adjustments. A step up is the OpticFilm 8200i SE, which adds an infrared channel to the 7200-dpi hardware resolution, 3.6 Dmax, and 48-bit color of the 8100. The IR channel adds the ability for the included SilverFast SE software to detect dust and scratches in scans more effectively, for instant removal using the iSRD function. Also, for both scanners, Silverfast SE Plus 8 also allows you to perform multiple-exposure scans for extended detail with less noise.

Rounding out Plustek's lineup is the OpticFilm 8200i Ai, which features the same functionality as the 8200i SE, and adds a more robust software counterpart, SilverFast Ai Studio 8, as well as an included IT8 calibration target. In addition to a greater range of control features offered by the software, it most notably includes the Auto IT8 Calibration feature that works to ensure consistent and accurate color balance from your scanner with a two-minute routine calibration.

OpticFilm 8200i Ai
OpticFilm 8200i Ai

High-End and Specialized Film Scanners

Closing our look at the range of options for digitizing your film is a look at the top end and some more niche models of dedicated film scanners, with options that represent the utmost in quality and capability. The first model that separates itself from the pack is the PowerSlide X Plus Scanner from Pacific Image. Dedicated to batch-scanning mounted 35mm slides, this scanner employs a slide magazine for scanning up to 50 slides at a time under a single command. The CCD sensor records imagery at up to 10,000 dpi with 48-bit color depth, and automated Magic Touch technology can be used to reduce dust and scratches, adjust color balance, and reduce the appearance of grain to cut down significantly on retouching time. Prior to loading up the 50-slide magazine, a Quick Slide Viewer light box is also built into the exterior of the scanner, allowing you to preview individual slides prior to the scanning process. This is the ideal scanner for users looking to digitize expansive collections of slides in the most efficient manner.

Pacific Image PowerSlide X Plus Scanner
Pacific Image PowerSlide X Plus Scanner

Flatbed Scanners

While not truly a film scanner in the sense of the aforementioned scanners, there are a select number of flatbed scanners available that incorporate a transparency unit for converting film originals to digital files. Previously lamented for their inability to resolve fine details and produce true blacks, a crop of "photo flatbed" scanners now can hold their own against many dedicated film scanners, and typically have the distinct advantage in allowing more versatility over the film format you are scanning, with most allowing you to scan medium format 120 film, and with a couple being the sole new options for scanning large format sheet film.

Epson has been a leader in this genre of apt-performing flatbeds for film scanning, beginning with the Perfection V600. This mid-level film-scanning flatbed has a 2.7 x 9.5" transparency unit for scanning 35mm and 120 film formats using the included holders. Optical resolution of 6400 dpi, along with 3.4 Dmax and 48-bit color input, avails high-resolution, well-articulated scans of negatives and positives, and DIGITAL ICE technology helps to reduce the appearance of dust and scratches from scans. It also includes ArcSoft PhotoStudio software for greater control over the look of your scans, as well as the ability to refine the look of imagery after the scanning process.

Epson Perfection V600
Epson Perfection V600

Moving up a degree in quality and versatility, Epson’s Perfection V850 is a popular option for achieving high-resolution, well-detailed scans of film up to 8 x 10" in format. This consumer-level flagship photo scanner offers impressive 6400-dpi optical resolution, 48-bit color depth, and 4.0 Dmax for increased detail in the darker regions of scans, as well as an extended tonal scale between shadows and midtones. The Perfection V850 utilizes a unique Dual Lens System and ReadyScan LED light source for intuitive switching between reflective and transparency scanning, as well as quick performance with virtually no warm-up times. It features a built-in 8 x 10" transparency unit and includes sets of film holders for scanning 35mm film strips, 35mm mounted slides, and medium format 120 film strips, and a 4 x 5" sheet film holder, as well as a film area guide for scanning 8 x 10" sheet film directly on the glass bed of the scanner. Additionally, it is capable of batch scanning to automate a portion of the process and is compatible with an optional fluid mount tray for boosting the apparent sharpness of scans. Finally, the V850 also features an impressive software package comprising the robust SilverFast SE Plus 8 scanning application, as well as X-Rite i1Scanner for critical color profiling and ensured color consistency.

Scanning without a Scanner

Finally, despite film’s increasing popularity, film scanner evolution seems to have plateaued (or at least dramatically slowed down), causing a unique discrepancy between renewed excitement to shoot film without a wide range of new and exciting tools with which to share and work with the images after they’ve been processed. One popular alternative to the film scanners mentioned above is to re-photograph your film using a mirrorless or DSLR camera in conjunction with a macro lens and a light table to gain a high-resolution digital version of your film negative or positive. There is a pair of articles on Explora—Scanning without a Scanner and The Franken-Scanner—that cover this topic in much greater detail. But in short, your current digital camera may be a perfect solution to digitizing your film if you’re willing to put in the added time and effort, compared to the relative ease of a dedicated scanner.

Let us know if you have any film scanner questions in the Comments section, below!


I have several hundred mounted slides from the 60's and 70's that measure 2 3/4" square (ie 70mm square). Could you please recommend a scanner that can accept this size of slide,

2 3/4" square, (70mm square) mounted slides are medium format. Dedicated film scanners allow the scanning of 35mm mounted slides or medium format film strips. 

For medium format film not in strips you will need to take it out of the mount. And use a flatbed scanner that scans medium format film, like the Epson V600.  The link for that is. . 

I have the Nikon Coolscan 8000 ED and have been very happy with then 4000 dpi scanning. The 14 bit images when scanned into Nikon's RAW format work well for extra processing later.

I definitely agree that the software was not supported by later operating systems, although I do have a driver that will allow this scanner to work with at least windows 7.

A comment re resolution - 4000 dpi (dots per inch) equates to approximately 6um (micrometer) dot spacing which, I believe, is way smaller than film grain size (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). So using higher dpi should not improve the resolution at all and simply increase file size and scanning time.

Are there high quality scanners that will scan 120, 35mm and mounter 35mm slides?

If you are looking for a dedicated film scanner that can scan 120 film as well as 35mm negative film and 35mm mounted slides, the only option I see in our inventory that meets that specification as of the date/time of this reply is the recently-announced Pacific Image PrimeFilm 120 Pro Plus ScannerB&H # PAPFM120PPLS.  If you are interested in a document scanner that has film holders to scan 120 film, 35mm negative film, and 35mm mounted slides, I would recommend either the Epson Expression 12000XL Photo ScannerB&H # EP12000XLPH, the Epson Perfection V850 Pro ScannerB&H # EPV850, or the Epson Perfection V600 Photo ScannerB&H # EPPV600, for your usage needs.

Does anyone have experience using the Epson V600 and a dedicated slide scanner like a Plustek or Pacific Data ?  I have the V600 and have a thousand or so slides to scan. Would I be happier with the ease of use and scan quality of a dedicated slide scanner ?

A dedicated slide scanner such as the Plustek or Pacific Data would be advantageous to the Epson V600 due to their extra scanning speed for scanning slides.  Using a dedicated film scanner would offer benefits in total scan time as they can scan faster at the same resolution compared to the Epson V600.  I would say they also have better ease-of-use as they are dedicated to film scanning.

I have read with great interest the posts and all the comments. They are extremely useful to decide what scanner to buy. I am aiming for a mid-range scanner to scan 500 b&w negatives and a few hundred mounted slides, probably a Plustek OpticFilm 8200 AI or a Pacific Image Prime Film XAs super edition Film Scanner. But I wonder what how worth are Nikon scanners, especially CoolScan III and IV that are pretty available in the second hand market. Are there as good as Plusted and Pacific Image? Kirk, you don't mentioned them at all in your review, which worries me. Thanks

Hi Nicolas,

We're glad to hear that these posts were helpful to you in purchasing a new scanner.  While the Nikon Coolscan III and Coolscan IV were excellent for their time, they don't offer the resolution or the updated connectivity that the Plustek OpticFilm 8200 AI or the Pacific Image Prime Film XAs super edition Film Scanner would offer, hence the Nikon models being omitted from any of our recommendations. In addition, both of those Nikon models are discontinued, so there would be little to no support for them. If you're working with older hardware and resolution is not an issue, then one of those Nikon models would suffice. On the other hand, if resolution is very important and you're working with newer hardware, then going with the Pacific Image Prime Film XAs super edition Film Scanner is your safest bet in my opinion. 


In reference to the Nikon Film Scanners of days gone by:  I am still using a Nikon Coolscan V ED which has an Optical Resolution of 4000 dpi.  I would never use anything approaching the 7200 dpi of the Plustek 8200i Ai, for instance.  In fact I get excellent results (and reasonable file sizes) using 2000 dpi.  A drawback to using the Nikons is the fact that the included software no longer works on the latest operating systems.   I use a program called VueScan by Hamrick Software with Windows 11 which sells for $99.95 (one time!) and includes all updates.  It actually works better and is easier to use than the software that originally came with the Coolscan V ED. 

Is there a scanner that can scan both prints (old photographs) and film negatives?

I'm noticing that the Epson scanners do not support recent to current Mac or Windows OS. Do you have information on these scanners as far as support for new Macs in particular? Concerned about connectivity as well as os support.

According to Epson, there are drivers that support both Mac OS 12 Monterey and Windows 11 depending on which Epson product is being used. 

Is there a film scanner that will scan both 126 and 127 negatives?

For a dedicated film scanner for 126 or 127 film, the Wolverine Data F2D Titan 8-in-1 High-Definition Film to Digital Converter, B&H # WOF2DTITAN, would work for your usage needs.  If you are looking for a larger document scanner that would also work with film, the Epson Perfection V850 Pro Scanner, B&H # EPV850, and the Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner, B&H # EPPV600, does have a transparency area that allows you to scan larger format film, and would both work for your usage needs.  For more information, you can see the following link by either clicking directly on it or by copying and pasting the link into your internet browser's address bar:





I need to be able to scan 35mm b&w negatives cut in strips of 7. Most of the options I'm seeing are with cut strips of 6. What midrange to pro options are available? Not that concerned about price, very concerned about getting high quality scans.

Thank you!

The Pacific Image Prime Film XAs super edition Film Scanner would be a model to consider being that it doesn't use a film holder. It can accept film that has 3 to 40 frames.

I want to scan Polaroid images for posting to the web. Can I use one of the budget flatbed scanners from Epson such as the V19 or V39? Thanks.

Hi Dean,

Yes, you can definitely use the Epson V19 or V39 to scan your Polaroid images for posting on the web. 

I have 2 questions:

1. I have a Minolta damage multi scan 'll scanner, which is old but did very high quality 35mm and medium format scans. It had a scsi connector, so I had to buy a very expensive adapter to FireWire 400. I briefly used it with my Mac mini years ago ( os9),and it worked. Now I want to use it again, but aside from a couple scans it did where half the neg (35mm) was scanned and half black, now I can't even get the mini to recognize the scanner...with vue scan,which is supposed to get scanner to work with different is. I have also tried with a 400 to 800 FireWire adapter, to use my imac and vue scan, and it wasn't recognized. Advice I get from vuescan has not been helpful, but I am no whiz. the problem all the adapters..scsi..400fw..800fw, vuescan or my inability to figure out vuescan advice..which doesn't match what is on the screen . I would hate to throw a perfectly good dedicated scanner out..but...

2nd question:   my other option would be to buy a panda cue scan 120 or Pacific image of 120 pro multi?  I don't know if they are affordable. Not sure about Epson 750 or 850. I would have to buy used and there are contradictory remarks about dust for b and w film, which most of is. Lastly maybe best would be to use my Nikon d600, my Nikon pb4 bellows, a Nikon 55 mm flatfield lens and some holder to keep the film flat in front of the lens. Would that combo of lens and bellows work..and what can I use to hold 35mm or 6cm. X 6cm film strips.

That's it thank you




In regards to your first question, one issue could be the connections. Either the SCSI connector is failing or it could be the Firewire adapters. Another issue could be that your Mac Mini and iMac are auto-updating their OS, which could cause older device to stop working on them. As for getting a new film scanner all together, the Pacific Image PF120 Pro Multi-Format Film Scanner, BH # PAPF120P is really the least expensive option for scanning both 35mm and 120 (6x6) film strips. Aside from that, the Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner would be a flatbed option at a much lower cost and with the advantage of scanning prints/flat art if you ever needed to do that.


I am looking for an AUTOFEED film negative scanner that can digitize UNCUT 36 exposure 35mm negative rolls. I have hundreds of rolls to process and cutting the rolls into strips is more labor than I want to undertake. I already have an Epson V550 Flatbed Scanner and an Epson FF-680W Print Scanner which are both excellent at what they do; however it is not this. Any suggestions?

Although we do have film scanners with an auto feed option, they would only accept film strips rather than uncut rolls. I'm very sorry. 

Thank you Kirk! Which of those do you recommend?

B&H has the Pacific Image Prime Film XAs which does take whole uncut rolls. I believe it may be on sale at the moment (2/13/2021). I think it might pay for itself if you have a lot of 35mm rolls to process

Thank you Dillon!

Any suggestions for APS Cartridges - I have a bunch of those too;) ...and there are probably some 110 Format strips lying around somewhere! HaHa!

I have all the prints to accompany my negatives; however my thinking to date has been that the ultimate end quality achieved by direct scanning of negatives will be higher than that from scanning prints. As of now, print scanning would be with the Epson FF-680W.

However since the final results will be for "snapshot viewing", not professional use, is it worth it? Perhaps I am overthinking this. All polite suggestions appreciated. Thank you!

Pacific Image PowerFilm Scanner sounds ideal for me, as I want to quickly scan the cut negatives without the hassle of mounting. But the reviews are not mostly good. And the scanner appears to be 10 years old on the PI website. Is this the only unmounted feed scanner available anywhere? 

Hi, I have many old black and white rolls of unmounted 35mm film. They are not cut in strips, but full rolls, and I would not want to cut them. Which scanners allow feeding in full rolls of film? Also, the film is slightly  curved and i am afraid this would distort the scan unless the film is pressed in the scanner.  But pressing the film while moving it frame by frame may scratch it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Dear Sirs,

I have inherited hundreds of 60x60mm (56x56mm) negatives. Could you kindly give me your advice on which scanner should I buy? My question might have been asked already but I can’t find it. Please kindly help. Most grateful

The Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner, BH # EPPV600 would be ideal to scan your negatives using its 6 x 6 cm film holder.



I have inherited hundreds of negatives that I believe are a mixture of 35mm, 110, 126, 127, 120, 620 & as yet unidentified size. I have looked at the Epson flatbeds but they will not scan 110. Is there a scanner that could handle all of these sizes or will I have to buy 2 scanners to cover all the formats, eg a V600 to cover 120/620 & a Scanza for the 110?

While there is a scanner such as the Wolverine Data F2D Titan 8-in-1 High-Definition Film to Digital Converter, BH # WOF2DTITAN which can cover 35mm, 110, 127, & 126 film formats, this would still require another scanner just for the 120/620 film such as the Epson V600.



Time to update this article as a large number of products mentioned are discontinued/no longer available, so it's not very helpful in deciding what to buy.

Have you considered the relatively new Kodak Slide n Scan?  I'd be very interested to see how it compares in the rest of your list.

Hi Michael- I haven't yet tried the Slide n Scan, but from a quick look at it, it seems to be pretty similar to the Kodak Scanza. The form factor is a bit different between the two but I think the functionality and scan quality should be very similar.


I am new here. Researching scanners to archive old family photos. Some date back to (est.) 1915's or so and thus black and white, until the dawn of color film. I have all sizes. I can not find any discussion about flat bed scanners vs (for example) the Epson Fast Foto FF 680W. Some of the pictures are mounted on the thick, what I would call, framing board or post cards of the time so I have to use a flat bed for them. I understand the Epson is great for archiving mounds of photos that are boxed up - zipping through a stack of 36 at a time - but nothing i have read suggests it is good for archiving old and faded photos.

I have a CanoScan 8800F with Windows Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 (the guide is copyrighted 2007) which still functions well. BUT is is ghastly slow. I can put on several pictures of different sizes, and with adequate spacing, it reads all of them. I can also do film and slides which I don't have as many of and not as concerned about right now. Just lots of old pictures to deal with. I tried scanning in at 300 dpi and 600 dpi but when I went to crop and zoom for more detail on the scans at 600 dpi on faces the "pixels" showed up more pronounced and the effort was useless.

I am hoping to purchase a scanner that is faster but gives me very good detail. I am most interested in archiving then producing books as family keepsakes. Some of the pictures are full body and I would like to be able to crop and zoom in, especially on faces. I also need to photo shop many of them to refresh the color, adjust lighting, hues, bring out the details, etc. and save as a copy.

All the advise you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Should I continue with my current CanoScan or is updating going to save me time and give me better quality results?

Thank you,


Never mind my questions.  After reading through the questions and answers list for the Epson 680W on B&H reviews..... This unit is useless since it will not support Tiff for old photos. Bummer because the reviews otherwise were very encouraging. Oh well, since the Epson is a bust I guess I am back to researching flat beds. Bummer.

"Note that this scanner always returns JPEG-compressed data. So even if you select uncompressed TIFF as the output format, you're always getting lossy JPEG data from the scanner.

Answered by Peter on May 31, 2020"

Hello Denise,

We’re sorry to hear that you’re having trouble.  A scanner that we were going to suggest is Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner, BH # EPPV600 which will offer higher resolution for what you're trying to achieve. It can also scan negatives and slides if needed at some point.


Hi There,

So I've gotten back into 35mm analog photography & have been developing my film at home. Now I need a scanner. I used the Epson v750 while taking a photography class but one if my classmates suggested the Plustek 8200i SE. I use a Mac & just updated to the new OS Big Sur. I have read that Plustek does not readily update compatibility with Mac so I'm in the fence as to what scanner to get. I want good image quality however I'll be using LR for editing. I was also leaning towards an Epson v600. What are your thoughts? Thx!

Which scanner you choose would depend on if you are only planning on using the scanner for 35mm film.  All of the scanners listed above have their benefits.  The Plustek 8200i SE is only designed for 35mm film, but does have a higher 7200 dpi resolution for scanning.  The Epson Perfection v600 has an optical resolution of 6400 dpi, but it has the benefit of scanning both 35mm film strips, 35mm mounted slides, and medium format strips in addition to photos and documents up to 8.5 x 11.7" in size.  If you are only scanning 35mm film, then the Plustek scanner would be a good option for your usage.  Unfortunately, the Epson Perfection v750 Pro has been discontinued and is no longer avaialble for purchase, but it has been replaced with the Epson Perfection V850 Pro Scanner.  Epson currently has drivers and software for macOS Big Sur 11 support.  I contacted Plustek concerning their drivers & software, and they state the scanner's software, Silverfast, is compatible with the newest Mac operating system.  However, they are still developing an update for the drivers to run on the latest Mac operating system.  They state they expect the update to the drivers in a few weeks​.

I'm looking for the best film scanner I can find, bar none. I shoot primarily B&W - 6x6 and 5x7 mostly - though occasionally shoot 35mm and 6x6 color transparency, and, as well, have fifty+ years' worth of 35mm slides, many of which I'd like to scan. 

Is the Epson V850 the best possible scanner available today? Its technology has been around awhile, though. Is there any chance there'll be an update before too long? I've found an Imacon FlexTight Precision II, but I don't know whether to trust expensive, unsupported hardware, even if it's currently working. Seems like a pretty pricey gamble. It's just that I've compared scans made by both Imacon and Epson scanners, and Imacon won, hands down. But it appears that that's a technology that's sadly long gone. 

Hi Stephen,

Yes, the Epson Perfection V850 Pro Scanner is the best possible option to scan film behind the medium format size. As of now, Epson hasn't shared any plans to update the V850 any time soon. If and when they do make an announcement, we will make this known through our e-mail newsletter. 

Hi there, do all these scanners allow for brightness adjustments? Some of the scans I've received from my local film labs have dark grey or dark purple shadows, so I'm thinking that scanning the negatives myself would be better than editing in post.

Hi Lucy- the scanners themselves don't allow brightness adjustments, per se; rather, it's the scanning software and photo editing software will permit you to increase brightness. But simply put, yes; all of the scanners and their respective software applications will let you adjust brightness, contrast, and color.

Hi Guys: I am a professional photographer in the process of building a new web site to re-launch my business in a new region. In addition to my newer digital work, I have a ton of old 35mm negatives and mounted 35 mm color slides. I may want to use some of those shots on the new site. That said, I have to be cost-conscious as I capitalize the new business launch. I will not need digital files for printing huge wall sized enlargements. I will only need to use the files for imagery on the upcoming web site. Therefore, I'm trying to find the right compromise between high-resolution and cost-effectiveness since I need to be careful with expenses as I capitalize the new business. Do you have any advice about which device might be best for me?  Thanks!

There is an option for cost-effectiveness and high resolution with the Pacific Image Prime Film XEs Super Edition Film Scanner, BH # PAPRIMFILMXE which will offer a 10,000 dpi scanning resolution and a user friendly interface.


Thanks for the quick feedback, Kirk.

I can see that the Prime Film XEs Super Edition scanner offers a higher scanning resolution than either the Plustek OpticFilm 8100 or the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE. That said, how would you compare it to those products with regard to ease of use, compatibility with a MacBook Air, etc.

p.s. I'm also a little concerned about the Prime compatibility since the specs on your site indicate it needs to work with a Mac OS of 10.5 or later and I'm up-to-date on my MacBook with a 10.15.6 OS... which is a bit confusing, unless it's a typo on your site.

Hi Robert,

You're very welcome. All three of those models are user friendly, but the Plustek models would have better dust and scratch removal software to utilize. In terms of compatibility, the XEs Super Edition is going to work with your Macbook running Mac OS 10.15.6. 

I really appreciate you for publishing this blog here about photography and buying guide; it’s really a helpful and very useful for us. This is really appreciated that you have presented this data over here, I love all the information shared. Great article 


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