Poor Man Scanning Method


Not everybody who shoots films have their own film scanner, especially the new Lomographers or analogue users. Even I don’t have a proper scanner, because every time I have the money, I buy films and save some for developing and scanning at a photo lab.

So, this is what I usually do when I don’t have the money to scan properly. Its not that great since I’m using handphone camera. Use DSLR or any high megapixels digital camera if you want to have a better results.

The things you need:

  • Any LCD screen with flat surface of course
  • Presentation editor (In this tutorial, I use Microsoft Office PowerPoint 207)
  • Electrical tape / cellophane tape
  • Scissors (to cut the tape)
  • Handphone camera / digital camera / DSLR
  • Film sheets
  • Photo editing software (in this tutorial, I use PhotoScape and Adobe Photoshop CS5)

Using PhotoScape:

Using Adobe Photoshop CS5:

The results:

AMARAN / WARNING / ACHTUNG: The results is not that great, so don’t compare what can a proper film scanner do with this method. :D

Inspired by aimoto : Film negatives to jpegs without film scanner

written by oxgn on 2011-09-01 #gear #tutorials #tutorial #scanning #tipster #lomography #cheap-scanning #how-to-scan-without-film-scanner #sprocket-scanning #poor-man-scanning-method #film-negatives-to-jpegs-without-film-scanner


  1. stratski
    stratski ·

    I find this works best with B&W pics (no color to screw up...). See for instance my album www.lomography.com/homes/stratski/albums/1670564-neative-to…

  2. ptjuderi
    ptjuderi ·

    If you are capturing the images with a DSLR, you will want to use the following to "color correct" your color negatives.

    Find out if your DSLR has a custom white balance option. If it does, Hooray for you! Continue... If not, carry on.. :(

    1) Set your custom white balance to its capture stage
    2) Shoot a capture image of the BLANK LEADER of your film...
    3) Snap your negatives as scans.....

    This will color correct your negatives so now, you can invert the colors (GIMP, Photoshop) and have minimal tweaking to do.... Voila!

  3. oxgn
    oxgn ·

    @strafski, thank you for the tips, and nice album you have there ^_^

    @ptjuderi, wow, thank you for the add on tips, maybe it can help anybody who have DSLR :D

  4. wonderdude
    wonderdude ·

    Interesting article. FWIW, an Epson V500 scanner is less expensive than Photoshop CS5.

  5. oxgn
    oxgn ·

    @wonderdude: I just use the crack CS5 so it is free LOL. Well now I just got an Epson V330 and yeah, proper scanner make a proper picture :D

  6. kingofthebeach
    kingofthebeach ·

    This is the method I use! However, I find that if you take a photo of the negatives when it's too close to the screen, it can look quite pixelated, due to the pixels on the screen. What I normally do Is hold the film a bit further away from the screen :) Also, for getting rid of the dreaded blue tint whenever I invert my Negs, there's a great free website which you can use to color correct any negatives pixlr.com/editor/
    Love this method of 'scanning' though!

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