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I would like start scanning 120 and 35mm films, but my flatbed scanner (Canon Pixma 9155 AiO printer) doesn't officially support this. It doesn't come with a film holder, the software doesn't support this and I also cannot remove the reflective sheet from the scanning unit since it's glued on. I would really hate having to buy a film scanner for the few rolls of film I shoot. Is it possible using some low cost, low effort hacks to still get decent quality scans?

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    To scan film you need a high-DPI scanner (2400pixels/inch) and also a fairly accurate one: a half-millimeter of jitter isn't much on page but much more visible on a 24×36mm slide. Is you built-in scanner up to this? – xenoid Jun 8 at 12:05
  • I will give you the short answer... pay someone else to scan your film. (I get mine done at the same time as I have the film developed.) – osullic Jun 8 at 13:48
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According to the Canon website, the Canon Pixma TS9155 AiO uses CIS (Contact Image Sensor) for scanning. This type of sensor is not suitable for scanning film negatives or transparencies.

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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If you don't shoot that many rolls, it really makes sense to pay a lab with the proper high end equipment to scan it for you. The machines they use can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

You'll get far better quality than doing it yourself on anything in a consumer price range. You'll probably still spend less in the long run.

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