Scan-It-Yourself Tips: Scanning with an Ordinary Scanner and a Tablet


Do you want to scan your negatives but don’t own a flatbed scanner? Do you have an ordinary scanner and a tablet? Look no more, I have a solution for you.

I’ve always wanted to scan my own photos. It gives you some kind of freedom and it saves you money. But to tell to truth, where I come from, flatbed scanners are quite expensive. I managed to save some money and bought a flatbed scanner for 35mm films and that saved quite a lot of problems I had but I still couldn’t do anything with 120 negatives. I tried posting them on my window and shoot them with my camera and I tried with a glass table but that takes quite a lot of time and you have to do quite a lot in post-production.

Then one day, when i was just surfing the youtube I saw a video with a tutorial how to do it with a scanner an a tablet. I immediately tried it and was impressed.

You need:

  • an ordinary scanner ( I used a HP F380)
  • negatives
  • a tablet (I used an Ipad but you could also use others, maybe even a big enough smart phone)
  • an app that gives you a white shiny page on your tablet ( I used a flashlight app)

The procedure is so simple it’s almost funny. Open your scanner, put negatives on the glass, cover them with a tablet with a white shiny page on, cover the scanner and scan with the program you usually use for scanning photos.

When you scan the negatives, invert colors and voila, that’s it! If you’re not satisfied with colors or contrast you can of course edit them a little bit. I didn’t do anything with mine, I was satisfied with them even though they might have a little bit of a blueish tone.

Credits: lomofrue

written by lomofrue on 2013-04-26 #gear #tutorials #negatives #tip #scanning #tipster #scan #scanner #tablet


  1. wuxiong
    wuxiong ·

    Smart idea...^..^

  2. segata
    segata ·

    It is a good idea for black and white but doesnt seem to work with colour, Ive tried it with colour negatives and couldnt get good results on a Kodak Hero 5.1 however much I tried fixing the picture in photoshop or

  3. lomofrue
    lomofrue ·

    @segata what seemed to be the problem with scanned photos? it's true i'm using this only for my b&w but i remember guy in the video doing it with color negatives and scanned photos seemed to be good

  4. segata
    segata ·

    @lomofrue Well what resulted was either a very sharp black and white image or a very poor quality colour image, almost as if it was being displayed by a very old computer, I know it wasnt the negative at fault as it was one the lab had done previously as a print.

  5. attelid
    attelid ·

    I used color negatives and they came B&W! LOL any solution? Cool tipster anyway :)

  6. simizak
    simizak ·

    Hi! Could you share the link to the video please? I have the same issue with colours.

  7. graindecafe
    graindecafe ·

    Thanks a lot for these tips, it's really helpful to me !
    I think it's the best result I've ever got but I still have a little problem : I can see the pixels on the scanned film and it's quite disturbing, how did you do to have a smooth image ?

  8. bogpok
    bogpok ·

    Guys, seems like color availability depends on a light source, which you put on the background for the process. When processed by an ordinary scanner, film with smartphone screen on the background gives only bw hue.

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