Locked away in attics, stored in dusty boxes, and left forgotten in cupboards – this is the plight of the old films used long before digital technology became the go-to for photography.
But it doesn’t need to be this way. Your treasure trove of family memories can be released if you invest in the best scanner for medium format film.
These scanners are reasonably inexpensive and straightforward to use, turning your negatives and slides into digital images in next to no time at all.
So, what are you waiting for?
Take a look at our list and buy a device to take you on a trip down memory lane.
Comparison Table for Top 10 Scanner for Medium Format Film
5 Best Scanners for Medium Format Film reviews
1. Canon CanoScan LiDE 300 Scanner | Best film negative scanner
The first scanner we are looking at is a brilliant scanner for medium format negatives.
The LiDE range produces flawless scans. Even if setting the dpi at 600, this scanner will produce incredible images. Imagine what you are getting if you use the full power of the LiDE 300’s 2400dpi optical resolution.
Canon software comes highly recommended because the company makes it so easy to download, install, and use. Additionally, it is always great to buy a Canon product because of the number of extra apps Canon has available for enhancing photographs. That is definitely something to take into account.
Don’t be alarmed if your first few scans are terrible. You need a bit of practice to get the right settings for scanning your films, but once you’ve mastered the device, everything will run like a dream.
Finally, this is a great scanner to have if you don’t have much workspace to play with, and you don’t want something that gets in the way. Simply put it on a shelf when not in use. It really is that small and easy to handle.
- Fast scanning – no more than 10 seconds for a scan
- Automatic image enhancements ensure photos look incredible
- ‘EZ’ buttons – quickly get to the scan settings you require
- Compact and light – fits on small desktops
- Powered by USB – no extra plug sockets needed
2. Wolverine Titan 8-in-1 | Scanner for medium format negative
This medium format film scanner is a beautiful way to take a trip down memory lane and view all those photos you took from a time before digital cameras were a big thing.
If you want to convert images from the seventies, eighties, nineties and early noughties then this conversion scanner is right up there with the best you can buy.
The fact that this device doesn’t need to be connected to a computer, and that it is very portable, means you can take this to an older relatives’ house and start reliving memories you find stored away.
Your family members will be delighted when long-forgotten moments pop up on their TV screen (you can connect via HDMI) or show them the images you’ve converted and saved as digital files on your computer.
You will find that the colors of your photos are captured magnificently, and with the right software and image editors, you can give files a nice touch up if you want to make them even more vibrant.
- 3” color screen to help you see the slides being scanned
- Connect to an HD TV to view slides in large format
- No need to connect to a computer for scanner to work
- Fast scan time – negatives into digital images in just 3 seconds
- Push negatives in and press a button – simple scanning process
3. KODAK SCANZA | Best negative scanner
Using high-end multi-purpose scanners rather than a medium format negative scanner for the specific job of scanning old film and slides results in a challenging, tedious process having to be endured.
Why make your life complicated when you can own the Kodak Scanza and get the job done hassle-free?
Making digital slides ensuring that your family history is preserved is a labor of love that doesn’t need to have the ‘labor’ aspect of it so heavily emphasized thanks to this scanner.
Film that is almost 50 years old can be put through the device, and the image you will get wouldn’t be out of place if you put it next to images created by professional print shops with much more expensive equipment.
With the right photo editing software, a few little tweaks will see you with practically perfect digital images. Other more inferior products would require an expert in Photoshop to bring up the quality of the grainy, poorly colored pictures produced.
Operation is simple, and the screen is convenient for identifying what is being scanned. Then you press a button, and your scan is complete in seconds.
- Takes a few seconds to turn your negatives into JPEGS
- Hi-Def 3.5” TFT LCD screen for viewing images
- One-touch scanning process makes scanning easy
- Save and browse your scanned images from an SD card
- Comes with all the necessary adapters and cables for usage
4. Wolverine F2D Saturn | Best medium format scanner
For fantastic results when scanning those old negatives and slides you’ve got stored away, the Wolverine F2D Saturn should be near the top of your list of options.
All the Wolverine scanners are simple to use, cost-effective and produce great images even if the source media you are using is really old, bordering on ancient.
Whether looking to scan negatives to print, or just upload old memories to Facebook or Instagram, you will quickly get your images by feeding the negatives into the scanner and pushing a couple of buttons.
A significant advantage of Wolverine products is that you don’t have to connect them to a computer to make your scans.
You view the images on the device’s preview screen or on the TV, and if you decide you want to scan them, then you have 20MP pictures saved to the SD card in no time at all.
For simplicity and peace of mind alone, the Wolverine F2D Saturn is a scanner worth investing a bit of money in.
- 20-megapixel scanner produces incredibly detailed images from many formats
- Turn your negatives into digital images in a matter of seconds
- Adapters available to convert multiple sizes of negatives and slides
- 3″ screen helps you preview the photos you’ll be scanning
- Attach the device to the TV with HDMI to see images on a larger screen
5. Magnasonic All-in-One | Best 120 film scanner
When you look at the Magnasonic All-in-One, you probably aren’t expecting anything too great – it’s a very unassuming product. But that’s why you should never judge something upon looks alone.
This device produces high-quality scans and does it quickly as well.
Five seconds per scan is a fantastic scan time that will let you run through a series on negatives and slides without the hours ticking away.
If you like editing your images, you can do it via the preview screen, which is good enough for you to work out what corrections are needed. Alternatively, you can connect the device to a larger screen if you want.
The controls for image editing on the device itself are simple to use and will adjust color and brightness at a basic level. However, if you want to manipulate the images to a more professional degree, it is best to transfer the digital files to another device and use a proper photo editing application.
This is a perfect affordable film scanner for medium format and larger. We recommend it highly.
- Create high res 22MP JPEG files from your negatives
- 4” LCD Screen helps you to preview images
- Send images straight to a TV screen for family viewing
- Save images on the device if no SD card immediately available
- No need to pre-cut strips – load and scan in 5 seconds
How do I scan a medium format film?
If you want to create digital versions of your old photos from a medium format film, the first thing to do is ensure that you have a scanner that works with 120mm film.
If you have a scanner that can accommodate this film, you then need to make sure you have the software to make your scans. Check if the default software that comes with your scanner will allow you to get the best scans from 120mm film. If not, then there is third-party software that you can download to help maximize the capabilities of your scanner.
Remember, not all scanners are built equally. If you are using an entry-level scanner, you may need an editing software to make some additional improvements to your final image.
The other option is to purchase a dedicated film scanner that is fully set up to get the best digital images from your old films.
Can you scan film on a regular scanner?
The scanning of film is different from the scanning of documents in that film requires backlighting to produce the image. For this reason, many people prefer to purchase a dedicated film scanner.
However, it is possible to scan film using a regular scanner. This can be done by using a cardboard pyramid, preferably with reflective properties, which is placed on the scanner over the film to act as a light source behind the film.
Templates to create this pyramid (or wedge) are readily available online.
What is a film scanner’s capability?
It really depends on the scanner you are buying.
There are dedicated film-scanners out there that will scan your films and slides but won’t do documents.
But there are also multi-purpose scanners that have been built to scan documents and film. This is because scanning film from decades ago has become common for those looking to preserve their memories digitally.
Scanner for Medium Format Film Buyer’s Guide
There are a few features to look out for when shopping for the best medium format negative scanner. Here we take a look at them.
A high resolution is essential for this type of scanning; otherwise, you could end up with your negatives looking very grainy with reduced color saturation when they are converted into digital images.
There is a range of resolutions available with the devices we have looked at. They go as high as 4800 dpi, which will get you incredible image quality.
However, the lower resolution scanners designed for this type of work will also provide fantastic, clear images.
2. Digital Display
If buying a multi-purpose scanner, you will be looking at your images after they have been scanned to the computer.
However, dedicated negative scanners don’t need a computer connection. Instead, you can use the small preview screen. You need to ensure that this preview screen is of good quality to determine whether you want to scan the negative or not.
Some of the scanners allow you to connect to a television. This is fantastic for sharing images as a group. However, you need to remember that the quality of the picture being viewed may be impacted by being on a larger screen.
There are many different sizes of slides and films that you may wish to transfer from. You can make your life a lot easier by purchasing a scanner with adapters that allow you to load the media of different sizes more comfortably.
This applies mostly to the dedicated negative conversion scanners.
Remember, if you are buying a regular scanner for negative conversion, you may get a much higher image quality. Still, it will be very fiddly work preparing your negatives and slides to be scanned.
For this type of work, you don’t need a huge scanner.
Look for something that won’t take up much space on a desk, and that can be stored away neatly.
Additionally, check how portable the scanner is. You may want to take it to people’s houses to look at their negatives sometime.
The best medium format film scanner can take a negative image and bring the past back to life in vibrant colors.
Investing in one of these devices is a great way to ensure that your family history is kept alive in this advanced technological world.
It is so simple to take your negative films and slides to make digital images. You can quickly get through a bunch of film in very little time, and enjoy reminiscing for years to come.
So, don’t procrastinate and get yourself one of these devices. We are sure you won’t regret it.