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I have recently bought a CanoScan 8800f scanner for digitizing my 35mm negative. On the software side, I'm using VueScan and GIMP running on Ubuntu LTS. However by comparing my scans with the ones I've got from the lab, I find the latter considerably sharper.

Here's a example

I was wondering if there was any possibility to get better results. So far I'm using the standard film holder. I've tried as well to put the negative directly against the scanner bed, with a glass on top for flattening the negative, but it didn't produce any better results.

I've heard that one can buy after market film holder like for instance the lomography digitaliza, but I don't know if it will be any better. Thanks for your answers.

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    The lab may be using Wet Mounting, which involves placing the negative in a layer of fluid while being scanned. This increases the clarity of the image as well as helps with scratch and dust reduction. – Michael C Jul 15 '13 at 12:36
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Dedicated film scanners will always yield better results than a flatbed, as they are optically built to scan at an exact size as opposed to being A4 document scanners with a fine interpolated mode for negatives. You could try the "wet mounting" method as mentioned above, mounting it directly to the glass of the flatbed. I believe plain distilled water would be suitable (but please investigate this first!!)

  • Thx I'll have a look at this – m0g Jul 15 '13 at 15:11
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    +1 on dedicated 35mm scanners. I have a Nikon Super COOLSCAN 5000 ED and I like a lot. Sadly, Nikon doesn't seem to offer any consumer priced scanners anymore. I think I paid about $500 for it, they sell on ebay for twice that. – Pat Farrell Jul 15 '13 at 16:05

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