Welcome to Reviews OnLine: Film Scanners
Film Scanners
Turn your 35mm film images into digital assets
(March 20, 2001)

Photography is turning filmless for a variety of reasons -- No film chemistry required, faster turnaround, improved feedback while taking pictures and easier transmission. But what if you already have 35mm negatives or slides taken years or decades ago?

To turn your 35mm media into a digital format, you will need a 35mm scanner. While some consumer flatbed scanners have attachments that can perform this function, most of these scanners have been created to handle larger documents like letters or faxes. They also tend to have optical resolutions in the 300-600 dpi range, which is generally not high enough to adequately handle the tiny image found on 35mm film (a little over a square inch). 35mm film scanners have resolutions that range from 300 dpi to over 4,000 dpi and include software that can specifically handle negative images and differences in film types.

Here are some models from the following manufacturers:


Acer ScanWit 2740S
The Acer ScanWit 2740S is probably the lowest priced film scanner with Digital ICE. Digital ICE, which must be built into a film scanner, helps to remove surface defect from the film such as scratches, fingerprints or dust. This can be accomplished automatically, without altering the image details or quality. It is certainly a necessity for any quality conscious photographer, amateur or professional. What makes the Acer ScanWit 2740S so compelling is that it is priced at around $600, while some scanners with Digital ICE are nearly two thousand dollars. It's simply high quality on a budget.

The scanner features a one touch button that enables you scan either 35mm slides or 35mm negatives. Its auto-loading mechanism can hold six frames at one time so you can load up and walk away while the images are stored. The 2740S also features 2700 x 2700 dpi optical resolution. The image resulting from a scan is much better than any consumer or prosumer digital camera. Only professional digital cameras, costing thousands of dollars, will be able to match resolution this high.

So for the cost of an average digital camera, you can continue to use your present 35mm camera and then digitize the images you want. It's a bit more work, but it turns your older 35mm camera digital.

The Acer ScanWit 2740S also:

- takes only 40 seconds to complete the scan at full resolution (2700 x 2700)

- scans in a single pass, 36-bit (48-bit enhanced) in 68.7 billion colors

- has a 3.2:1 Dynamic Range

- can scan 4 mounted slides or 6 negatives on a film strip

- interfaces via SCSI-II

- requires either a Windows Pentium system with 32 Mb of Ram running Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT or a Macintosh PowerPC running System 8.0 (both need CD-ROM drives)
- is bundled with Adobe Photoshop LE and ULead Photo Express

- carries a one year limited warranty that includes a swap-out within 48 hours.

- is about 6.4" x 6 x 13.6" in size

- weighs about 6 pounds

- requires about 25 Watts of power

- runs on 110 Volts AC

If you can't afford the Acer ScanWit 2740S, a lower priced version is available with roughly the same specifications, but without Digital ICE for about $400.



Tamarack ArtiScan 2400FS
35mm film scanner
If you are an amateur or professional 35mm film photographer and want to get with the digital generation, you can use the Tamarack Artiscan 2400FS, a low priced 35mm film scanner. It can digitize your negatives and slides which you can then store on your hard drive, on CD-ROMS or in digital photo albums or slide shows.

The Artiscan 2400FS is supplied with many software packages. The DocuPal and DocuMan software assists with your scanning needs and can and be used to print your images as part of the scanning process. Since slides and negatives can take awhile to be scanned, this software allows you to scan an image and save it, while you are using your PC for other functions like word processing or Internet access. Also included is Xerox TextBridge software, but the most important supplied package is Adobe PhotoDeluxe. Using PhotoDeluxe, you can transform your film images into works of art or simply crop them - something that is much easier to do using a computer instead of a “wet” darkroom.

The Tamarack Artiscan 2400FS also:

- is parallel port compatible - no need (or cost) for a SCSI card like most 35mm scanners (a USB version is available)

- requires a PC compatible (486 or higher) running Windows 95/NT or higher (Windows 98 for USB)

- has a 36 bit RGB color depth for both 35mm negative and slide (positive) films (68 billion colors)

- provides a 4096 Gray Scale for black and white 35mm film (12 bit grayscale), 3.2:1 dynamic range

- has an optical resolution of 2400 dpi with an interpolated resolution of 9600 dpi

- scans a single 35mm frame in 60 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on resolution and computer speed.

- is TWAIN compliant

- provides Gamma Correction

- installs easily via plug and play

- is compact (8.0” x 4.4” x 4.6”) and weigh under 5 pounds

- runs on AC power (100/120V or 220/240V 60Hz) 


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