Scanners

5 Best Scanners for Medium Format Films | 120 Medium Format

If you are a dedicated photographer who loves shooting with an analogue camera, then you must have many medium format films that you would love to digitize.

In this article we will have a look at the 5 best scanners for medium format films.

TL;DR

We find Epson Perfection V600 as the overall best scanner in this category in terms of price and quality. However, if you are on a budget, you can also check out the Epson V370. Finally, if you are a professional, we truly believe that Epson Perfection V800 and V850 Pro shine above the competition.

Continuing On…

By transferring these photographs into the digital form, you can better utilize these pictures, by sharing on your social media platforms, creating enlargements for your place, or just for archiving.

Whatever your reason for converting these pictures into an electronic form is, surely you don’t want to lose the quality of the picture.

Conventional scanners are not suitable for creating the same tone, depth, or vividness like the medium format camera. You need specialized scanners that have a high DPI as well as a Dmax greater than 3.0.

You may also want to read about the right scanners for 35 mm negative slides.

FAQ

What is a Medium Format Film?

Medium format is any camera film that is generally larger than 35mm (24x36mm) and small than large format films i.e 4×5″. [Source:PetaPixel]

Epson Takes the Lead

When it comes to best scanners for medium format films, or any other films for that matter, Epson takes the definite lead. Their Perfection Pro series is the real winner. It won’t be surprise if you pick Epson as one of the best scanners of medium format films. Their flatbed scanners are phenomenal.

Almost all of the professionals and film makers that deal with scanning 120 medium format films vouch for Epson, hence the reason why this list has 4/5 Epson printers. (Note that I am NOT an affiliate for Epson)

Here is a video that shows a tutorial on how to scan films with Epson Perfection scanner.

List of Best Scanners for Medium Format Films

We have chosen following scanners as the best scanners for medium format films.

  1. Epson Perfection V600 – Recommended Scanner for Medium Format Films
  2. Epson Perfection V370 – Cheaper Medium Format Film Scanner
  3. Canon CanoScan 8800F – Mid Range Film Scanner
  4. Epson Perfection V800 – Remarkable Scanner for Professional Scans
  5. Epson Perfection V850 Pro – Extraordinary Scanner for Perfectionists

Short Reviews

1. Epson Perfection V600 – Recommended Scanner for Medium Format Films

Epson Perfection V600 is the most obvious choice here. This is one of the most famous scanners not just for negative slides, but also for scanning photographs.

This isn’t too expensive, however, it offers all the essential features such as a very high optical DPI of 6400 for scanning negatives.

It also comes with a built transparency unit for accommodating medium-format films up to 6×22 cm.

Besides that, since this is a slide scanner, it also has a great Dmax of 3.4  and a color bit depth of 48. Most affordable scanners have a bit depth of 24. The higher the bit depth, the more colors they can capture.

In addition to that, it comes with an entire suite of photo restoration and film scanning features. The Digital ICE technology detects any tears or dust on the films or photos and removes it intelligently. It also allows you to intricately restore old and delicate photos.

In the end, when it comes to scanning slides, this is one of the best scanners for medium format films. Not only is it affordable, it is also one of the most famous scanners around.

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2. Epson Perfection V370 – Cheaper Medium Format Film Scanner

Epson Perfection V370If you are looking for the most affordable medium format scanners, then Epson Perfection V370 takes the lead.

While it has a lower Dmax of 3.2 as compared to the Epson Perfection V600, it is still one of the most capable scanners for negatives.

You must note that the scanner comes with a 35mm slides holder. You may need to invest in a separate Epson holder for 120 Medium format films.

While it does not have the exceptional Epson’s proprietary Digital ICE technology, it does have other features like direct scanning to cloud, stitching software that allows you to scan larger images in pieces.

It is also fairly easy to use and has literally no warm up time. Therefore, this is a fast scanner.

While this isn’t a photo perfect scanner, however, if you are looking for the most affordable option, then this is certainly one of the best scanners for medium format films

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3. Canon CanoScan 8800F – Mid Range Film Scanner

Canon CanoScan 8800FCanoScan 8800F is a famous film scanner that allows batch scanning of up to three 120 Medium Format films.

While it does not have as advanced features as the Epson Perfection V800, we have selected this scanner because it’s image quality is comparable to high end scanners.

You can read the entire review of this scanner here.

Besides, it uses one of the easiest software and interface. Therefore as far as ease of use goes, this scanner tops the list.

All in all, if the quality of the scans matters to you but you cannot dish out almost a thousand dollars for top notch scanners, then this is one of the best scanners for medium format films for you.

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4. Epson Perfection V800 – Remarkable Scanner for Professional Scans

V800 is an advance option in Epson Perfection series. It’s a more robust photo scanner with sturdy film holders for accommodating twelve 35mm mounted slides, three 35mm film strips, one medium-format strip and one 4×5 inch frame.

Improving over the quality of previous Epson Perfection series, V800 comes with 6400 dpi, a whopping 4.0 Dmax, and a dual lens system.

Learn more about Dmax, Dmin and Dyanic Range here.

The dual lens system offers two lenses one with an optical resolution of 4800 DPI and the other with a much higher 6400 DPI. The scanner chooses which lens to use to provide the best results.

Compare this to the Epson V600 above that only a single lens with 6400 DPI optical resolution.

The scanner can scan negatives as well as slides from 35 mm all way to 8 x 10 inches in size.

Besides that, this scanner uses the proprietary Digital ICE technology from removing dust and other small abnormalities from the scanned results.

You would choose this scanner if you are a professional and a color perfectionist. As mentioned earlier, it offers a 4.0 Dmax. A Dmax as high as this is concerned perfect for flatbed scanners.

The only scanners more clearer than this are Drum Scanners and they are super expensive.

A high dynamic range provides your results with clear shadow details, smoother color gradients and an excellent tonal range.

All in all, if you are looking for a professional scanner, then this is one of the best scanners for medium format films.

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5. Epson Perfection V850 Pro – Extraordinary Scanner for Perfectionists

This scanner is much similar to Epson Perfection V800, however, it takes things to a higher notch.

For starters, while it has the same dual lens system as the Epson Perfection V800, this creates a much higher image quality thanks to the “High Pass Optics“.

Basically this scanner tends to squeeze out the most out of the image quality that a flatbed scanner can possibly can.

In addition to that, it also gives you twice as many film holders so that you can increase your productivity.

Another highly important feature that it includes for the perfectionist is the “X-Rite i1Scanner” color accuracy software. For those who want to calibrate their scanners, this software would help.

All in all, this is a scanner that would appeal to a very small class of perfectionist. While it costs fairly more than the Epson V800, its additional features make it one of the best scanners for medium format films for professionals.

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FAQ

FAQ

Things to Look for in Scanner for Medium Format Films

Flatbed or a Slide Scanner

Slide scanners are specifically designed for scanning photographs from films, slides, or negatives. These scanners have better color depth, resolution, and Dmax for creating sharp images with all the details.

Flatbed Scanner

Flatbed scanners that are normally dedicated for documents have less resolution, and may not be suitable for scanning high-resolution pictures.

However, some flatbed scanners are available in the market that offers advanced features for high-resolution photographs. They can produce better results, like the scanners we recommended above.

Choosing Resolution and File Format

The choice of resolution and film format depends on what you choose to do with the picture. For example, if you just need it for archiving, 600 dpi is quite ideal. This way you can save some disk space.

If you want to share these pictures online, then scan them as you would scan any high-resolution picture and save it as 200 dpi JPGs. This way you will have an optimal version that can be used later for other purposes.

However, if you need to show these photographs on larger screens, or want to create enlargements from it, then a high-resolution scanning would be more suitable.

What is Digital ICE Technology And How It is Helpful?

The best scanners for medium format films by Epson come with Digital ICE technology.

This technology automatically removes the surface defects from slides and negatives like scratches, creases, or dust.

It does not soften, blur, or remove any part of the picture for restoration, but works inside scanner providing the clear and authentic base image.

No details are lost in this process, and your photographs retain their original quality. That’s why it’s a most coveted feature for 120 medium format scanners.

Conclusion

Here we looked at several of the best scanners for medium format films in their respective price categories.

It is safe to say that Epson surely does take the lead when it comes to flatbed slide scanners.

The Epson Perfection V600 is particularly one of the most famous scanners for negatives in the market. It is highly capable, yet it is still affordable. We too have selected this as the most recommended in this list for an average user.

However, if you are advanced user and money is not an issue, then we believe the Epson Perfection V800 and V850 Pro with their advanced features and a high Dmax would surely interest you.