Whether you are a professional photographer, a media manager looking to revitalize the old and forgotten negatives films to engage your visitors, or just a hobbyist who wants to digitize some old, worn out family picture, a negative film slide scanner is your best option for converting original films into digital files.
Digitizing negative films is important for sharing, archiving, or printing your old picture. Therefore, to make your life easier, here we will review some of the best 35mm slide scanners.
We will have a look at the slide scanners from different price ranges so that you can find the one that suits your budget.
Comparison Table of Top 35mm Slide Scanners
What is a Slide Scanner?
A slide scanner, also called a negative film scanner or transparency scanner, are specifically designed to scan old films.
There are two types of slide scanners: flatbed and continuous loading scanners.
The flatbed are very common scanners and you may know them as the average document scanner. However, you must note that not all flatbed scanners are capable of scanning negative films.
The second kind, i.e the continuous loading scanners, are specialized and built specifically for negative films only. These are convenient in the sense that they have an LCD screen which shows the preview of the negative photos in real time. They also do not need a computer connection since they support SD cards.
Unfortunately, since these scanners are limited in use and not suitable for document scanning, they only make sense if you have a load of negative films to scan not just now but on a frequent basis.
You can learn more about film negatives here.
We cover more details regarding the slide scanners in the Buying Guide below.
List of Best 35mm Slide Scanners in 2019
We have selected the following as the best 35mm slide scanners.
- Epson Perfection V370 – Budget Flatbed Option
- Kodak Scanza – All Rounder – Specialized Scanner
- KODAK Mini – Budget Continuous Loading Scanner
- Epson Perfection V850 – Expensive – For Professional Studio Use
- Pacific Image PrimeFilm XEs – Premium 35mm Slide Scanner
Note that not all 35 mm slide scanners can scan 120 Medium film format. There are separate scanners for those.
Short Reviews of the Selected Slide Scanners
1. Epson Perfection V370 – Budget Flatbed Option
Epson’s Perfection V370 is perhaps the cheapest flatbed slide scanner that you can find in the market. Therefore, if you are tight on budget, then we recommend this as one of the best 35mm slide scanners.
In fact, as far as the value of money goes, there are few scanners that come close to this. The benefit of a flatbed slide scanner is obvious. You can use them not just for your film negatives, but also for your everyday documents and sheets.
The flatbed on this scanner has the size of A4/Letter size document and it has an optical DPI of 4800. Which isn’t the best, but it isn’t too bad either. It is common to find budget scanners with a mere 1200 DPI.
A higher DPI means you can enlarge the photos, zoom into the minute details and edit them comfortably using software like Photoshop.
To facilitate scanning of 35mm slides, the scanner comes with a built in 35mm transparency unit.
The scanning process is as simple as pressing a button and since the scanner has no warm up time, you can scan your negatives fairly fast.
It does have one drawback though. Since this is a low end Epson scanner, it does not come with the famous Digital ICE software that automatically corrects the discrepancies on your negative films. It does come with a separate dust removal software.
All in all, if you came here looking for a flatbed scanner for your negatives, then this is one of the best 35mm slide scanners at a budget.
Also Read: Best 8mm Film Scanners
2. Kodak Scanza – All Rounder – Specialized Scanner
This powerful Kodak scanner can convert your old 35mm, 110, Super 8 & 8mm Negatives & Slides to JPEG Digital Files. The best part about this is that it comes with a 3.5″ LCD screen which you can use to preview your photos as you scan.
In addition to that, it also comes with an HDMI/TV out in case if you want to project your photos onto the TV as you scan.
Another highly lucrative feature on this is that you don’t need to connect this to a PC at all in order to scan. The scanner itself supports a maximum of 128 GB SD card (not included) which can be used to save all the photos on the fly.
Basically, procuring this slide scanner makes sense if you are a home archivist and you have a ton of negative films to scan.
Let us face it, sending your tons of negative films to a studio for processing can cost you way more than investing in this instead.
The scanner utilizes a 14 megapixel sensor to capture the photos. This is fairly large and can easily be used for enlargement in case you want to print your photos out to frame them.
In the end, if you need a specialized slide scanner, then as far as the popularity goes, then this is one of the best 35mm slide scanners in the market.
Also Read: Best Photo Scanners with Feeder
3. KODAK Mini – Budget Continuous Loading Scanner
Next we have another dedicated slide scanner from Kodak. In terms of functionality, this is very much similar to the Kodak Scanza. However, it is a bit cheaper and smaller. Therefore, not only is it easy on the pocket, it is also easy to carry around.
As far as the core features goes, this scanner can also scan 35mm, 126, 110, Super 8 and 8mm film negatives like the Scanza above. Furthermore, this also has a 14 megapixel sensor for creating detailed photos.
Moreover, it also comes with HDMI/TV out so that you can project your photos onto the TV as you scan.
The prime difference between the two, other than price and size, is that this has a smaller screen size of 2.4″ and only supports a maximum of 32 GB SD card.
Scanza, on the other hand, has a 3.5″ screen size and supports a 128 GB SD card.
Therefore, the Kodak mini is good for carrying around, but it has a limited capacity.
4. Epson Perfection V850 – Expensive – For Professional Studio Use
If you want to invest in the epitome of slide scanners, then this is one of the best 35mm slide scanners currently available in the market.
Be warned though that this is a very expensive machine and therefore it only makes sense to invest in this if you run a professional studio. After all you will need a positive ROI in order to justify this purchase.
The scanner can scan almost all kinds of film negatives under the sun including 35mm. It comes with transparency units not just for 35mm slides but also for medium format films as well as 3″x5″ frames.
However, what separates this from the rest is not the amount of negative film holders it comes with. Instead what truly differentiates this is its image quality and optics technology.
Since this is a premium scanner, it has a Dmax of 4.0 – which is considered top notch for flatbed scanners. A higher Dmax translates to better tonal variation, shadow and hue capture.
Furthermore, instead of using the normal CMOS sensors, this uses CCD sensors for scanning even the tinniest of details from the negatives.
Moreover, this one of two scanners (the other one being the Epson V800) that offers dual lens system. One lens on this scanner has a DPI of 4800 and the other has a DPI of 6400. The scanner chooses the right lens for you.
While this isn’t the highest DPI available for scanners, the output quality of this scanner is second to none. The DPI is more or less like the MegaPixels on a camera – higher does not mean better quality. The quality comes from the optics and sensor technology used.
This scanner uses High Pass Optics technology to makes sure that no detail is left out from your negative films.
I am sure all this sounds fantastic, but the back breaking price tag on this isn’t really justifiable for an average archivist / photographer.
All in all, if you have the means and if you foresee a positive ROI, then we recommend this as among the best 35mm slide scanners in the market.
Also Read: Best Flatbed Scanners
5. Pacific Image PrimeFilm XEs – Premium 35mm Slide Scanner
While this Epson Perfection V850 above was the premium FLATBED scanner for negative films, this Pacific Image PrimeFilm XEs is the creme de la creme of dedicated slide scanners.
For starters, with a DPI of 10,000 this scanner has one of the highest DPI that you can imagine on a slide scanner. Again, higher DPI means you would be able to either enlarge your photos, or you would be able to zoom into the smallest of details for editing.
Secondly, like any premium scanner, this also uses CCD sensor instead of CMOS sensor. CCD sensors are expensive and superior at capturing the details.
Thirdly, this scanner also has a very high Dmax at 3.9 – usually found on scanners much more expensive than this.
Finally, it comes with all the premium technologies for image improvement that ranges from dust removal to Multipass Xposure which can be used to increase the detail capture from the negatives.
While this is an excellent 35mm negative film scanner, investing top dollar on a scanner that cannot scan documents may seem less lucrative. However, if you are old sold by the notion of a dedicated film scanner with an LCD for previewing, then we highly recommend this product.
Here we looked at two general types of 35mm slide scanner: flatbed and continuous loading. They both have their pros and cons.
The good news, however, is that the best 35mm slide scanners can be found in almost all price ranges. If you are on a tight budget you can look into the likes of Epson Perfection V370 or Kodak Scanza.
Alternatively, if you are a hardcore hobbyist or if you run a studio, then you can look into the likes of Epson Perfection V850 or Pacific Image PrimeFilm XEs which will naturally cost you a pretty penny.