I'm an amateur in the analogue photography scene and don't have the resources to "build" an analog lab where I live. However, I want to make some experiments with some developed film I have at home and then digitize the negative to process the results. Now the problem is that this is going to be an experimental thing and would like to buy a scanner with a good value for money. During this research I saw this scanner being mentioned several times, but when I see the reviews, people mostly buy it to scan documents and whatnot, and I'm having second thoughts. Has anyone tried it with 35mm film?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think this scanner provides a back light option to scan transparencies. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric S
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ “ analog lab “ = Darkroom - “ analogue photography “ = Film Photography. “ digitize the negative to process the results “ = Non analog photography!🤔 \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 4:51

2 Answers 2


According to the Canon website, the CanoScan LIDE 400 is "made for scanning photos and documents". The type of sensor it uses is not suitable for scanning film negatives or transparencies. (CIS = Contact Image Sensor)

Other options include:

  • Flatbed scanner with transparency adapter. Many people seem to get good results with Epson Perfection V### scanners. They usually include the backlight and film holders needed to scan a variety of film formats.

  • Dedicated film scanner. The highest rated film scanners, made by Nikon and Minolta, appear to no longer be in production. Mid and low-end models from other manufacturers are still available.

  • Film digitizer. These use digital camera sensors for capture. They're faster than true scanners, but have reduced image quality from the small sensor size and color array. Some models capture directly to SD card. They are fast and easy to use. Depending on your needs, this type of digitizer may produce adequate results.

  • Slide-copy attachment. There are two types. One has a built-in macro lens that attaches directly to your camera. The other attaches to the filter threads of a macro lens you already own. The quality of your captures depends on how careful you are with setup, lighting, and post processing. This is the most time consuming option.

  • Have someone else scan your film for you. Most labs offer this service along with development.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Anecdote here about my experience in getting the lab to scan film (but for 120 film). One lab (B+W lab, doesn't process color) local to me is charging around $20/image for its lowest resolution scan. So it doesn't take much scanning to add up to the price of a decent scanner. If I get low res scans with development at another lab its $5 to process and $12 more to scan the roll at the same time (but I'm not happy with their scans). So the overall outsource vs buy economics are important. After my last shoot I'm halfway to the cost of a V850 after selecting just the best pics only. But YMMV \$\endgroup\$
    – Peter M
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 14:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ I looked at the LIDE series when I was shopping for a scanner (literally over this past weekend) and dismissed them when I noted that none offer a backlight. I wound up buying a used Epson 4870 which, at 4800 ppi, should pull about 31-32 MP out of a 35mm negative. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 13:36

I've not used that particular scanner, but based on my experience with other flatbed scanners and dedicated film scanners I'd say you'd almost certainly be better off using a dedicated film scanner that typically has higher resolution and better backlighting of the negative than flatbed scanners do. Just be sure to get one that allows you to connect it to your computer to control it as it scans using an application and that allows you to save the results in at least 16-bit TIFF, rather than converting them to JPEG before sending them to your computer.

But to get the best results requires equipment well out of that price range. If possible, get the negatives scanned by a pro lab with very high end scanning equipment and request the image be delivered in 16-bit TIFF format, rather than converted to JPEG.


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