Adventures In Scanning - Lost River Photos

For those that follow me, you know that I still shoot film and just this year started developing my own color film so I could shoot even more. I enjoy the process of using film but recently have grown pretty unhappy with my final results. My negatives look good and film I've sent to the lab to be scanned has always come back looking good. So I figured the weak link in my process was my scanner or at least so I thought.


I own a Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II which I researched prior to buying. Online there are thousands of examples of nice sharp scans from both 120 and 35mm film. A majority of my scans, however, have been a crapshoot at best. Most of them wind up on the soft side and have me thinking either my camera screwed up or I need better glasses to be able to better focus my lenses. It's been so disappointing in fact that towards the end of this summer I basically quit shooting film until I could get a better scanner which is what I thought I needed. At $400-$800 certainly not a cheap upgrade.

With Acrylic Sheet

With Supplied Canon Film Carrier

While saving for this upgrade I continued to research my problem. What I learned was that the cheap film holders supplied with the scanner were not holding my negatives completely flat and as a result, my scans were uneven and soft. So the good news is that I didn't need a new scanner as there were some options I found to remedy this issue.   


Option number one I found was a new 120 film holder that uses an ANR glass insert to keep the negatives flat in the negative carrier. At a cost of $80 certainly much cheaper than a new scanner but more than I wanted to pay for just one film carrier. The other drawback being they do not make a 35mm version and I shoot considerably more 35mm than I do 120. So on to option number two which was to just get a few pieces of ANR glass either cut to size or just a few 8x10 pieces. Sounds easy enough right? Well, here on the Washington coast nothing is that easy. Plenty of places sell ANR glass online but the prices I found to be pretty crazy and where I live there are no framing shops close by I could just go into to inquire about purchasing from. Okay so now what? That's when Twitter came to my rescue. I came across a discussion a fellow photographer ( Joe Pitz ) was having regarding similar issues. His solution was to purchase some thin anti-reflective acrylic sheets from Lowes so that's exactly what I did. At a little over $3 a sheet, I picked up several to experiment with.

With Acrylic Sheet

With Supplied Canon Film Carrier

The other night I made my first test run using the acrylic sheets and I have to say the results blew me away. The scans were nice and sharp and actually have me excited to get back out there shooting film again. Below I am posting the rest of the images I scanned. They are from a roll that I shoot back in June with my Mamiya 645 and Kodak Ektar 100. The side by side comparisons above was also shot in June during Pirate Days with my Mamiya 645 and Kodak Porta 400. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Images below are the straight scans with no adjustments other than dust removal. Click the images to enlarge for better viewing.

Powered by SmugMug Log In