iPhone 7/8 plus or new X as a 35mm negative film scanner

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by pmouritz, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. pmouritz macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2015
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    I know it is an odd question but I thought that there must be some analogue enthusiasts in here!

    Scanning 35mm negatives with a DSLR is a viable strategy for a high resolution and optimal way to make negatives into positives and digital files.

    I wonder whether or not an iPhone with dual lens is capable of such a procedure as the tele lens allows for a macro zoom as well as high resolution. Additionally, the quality of photos of the iPhones with dual lenses can easily compare to entry-level DSLRs.

    Has anyone tried to do this and how was the results?

    Scanning negatives would require a mount for the 35mm film negatives, a holder for the iPhone used and a light source like a light table or even an iPad. Furthermore, software like Vuescan could then turn the negative into a positive and editting in Lightroom or other could do dust removal and overall optimisation of the quality of the digital photo.

    Lomography has made a mount for smartphones but I can read in reviews that it is viable but not optimal, https://shop.lomography.com/en/smartphone-scanner?country=dk.

    I would like to be able to scan my negatives my self and as the iPhone X cost the same as a high-end flatbed scanner for negatives, I figured that its processing power and 12 MP dual cameras could prove as a sufficient alternative to a flatbed scanner, adding one more excuse to buy it :p
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    There's no way that the iPhone will even come close what a DSLR can do, the tiny sensor, and lack for actual macro ability will mean that you'll lose out on image quality.

    I'm a big proponent of getting the right tool for the job and there's quite a number of film scanners that will do a lot better job then an iPhone. Just peruse the following article.
  3. pmouritz thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2015
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Thanks for the link and opinion! Optimally, I would like either a Plustek 8200 or Epson V800 or such but they are quite costly. Of course they are dedicated for scanning negatives but I will not need to scan that many negatives. The same with DSLR and I bought an analogue camera to avoid DSLRs as I think it is nice to take fewer pictures and concentrate more on the composition of the pictures. Each frame of the film being expensive and I like the idea of everything being a mechanical process.

    I am of course aware of the fact that a good DSLR with a macro lens will be superior to the iPhones dual cameras and that dedicated scanners would be perfect for the job. However, as I already plan to buy an iPhone X, I would love to be able to get decent results from it without any extra costs like buying a dedicated scanner. If I took more photos a scanner would be great but I am barely going through 36 exposures a month, meaning that the cost-benefit for a scanner is not right for me. Perhaps, in the future I will buy a scanner but as a university student, I can't justify the cost of a scanner as I will not be using it much.

    A startup company is trying to make smartphone cameras into decent film scanners, FilmLab (http://filmlabapp.com). I like the simplicity and as a amateur photograph I would enjoy decent results for an extremely low cost.
  4. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I had thousands of 35mm slides, Kodachrome. I sent to one that were really important to me to a company who digitized them and put them on a CD. It was not that expensive.
  5. protoxx, Oct 8, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017

    protoxx macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2013
    "Scanning" prints can be ok. Negatives and slides require a light source behind.

    Look at Epson v550, v600 besides v800. Both $230 or less. All three include digital ice software. Look at included software. Sometimes the included software would nearly match the cost of the scanner if bought separately.

    There are quite a few film/slide/movie film companies that do bulk digitizing for quite a reasonable price. If you have a limited number of negative/slides you can get a scanner and do your scanning and then sell it one ebay or such. Unfortunately Nikon doesn't make their great dedicated scanners. But you can find them on ebay. You probably can't get windows 10 or such drivers for them these days.

    One good thing about scanning services. If you have large numbers to scan (hundreds, thousands) you can get them scanned relatively inexpensively. Inexpensively compared to your time besides the cost of the hardware. Then you can cherry pick the images you want to rescan for the best quality. I found at home that I would average 3 minutes/photo for scanning without any special attention. individual images that I then processed to get presentation/wall hanging photos took 10 min to over an hour each.

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4 October 8, 2017