If you don´t have a film scanner then DiY

One thing that I love about film photography is the magic involved with the chemicals to revel what your eyes see against your camera.

I always try to experiment with film, you never know when it is going to end with, last year I created a pinhole panoramic camera I ended with 6 photos from one 120mm film of 6 x 12, a lot of fun. But my problem was in fact that my scanner does not support 120mm film even the new 6×12 frame photo of my pinhole camera.




So I did a little search on flickr and find a cool solution. I did my own film scanner so, my option only to be able to show my experiments was to take a photo from the film. So I created a film scanner using a shoe box I cut the hole and add a 6×6 and 6×12 mask, cut a hole in the top for the flash, and then add some paper to diffuse the light.

LightBox DiY Film Scanner (by RayPG 2.0)

Here is the inside of the box, I added 2 layers of wax paper to diffuse the light.

DSC_5465 (by RayPG 2.0)

You only need to take a photo of the film and then in Ligtroom or Photoshop invert the colors and have fun. Now  you can get a digital copy of your film experiments. This work for me, I know It may not be the best but to share on flickr works fantastic.

Here is one of my experiments using the DiY film scanner

Untitled (by RayPG 2.0)

I hope you enjoy this tip, I originally wrote this post on my blog but its in Spanish so I thought it will be cool sharing here the tip. If you need help you can leave a comment on my blog or on my flickr.


18 comments for “If you don´t have a film scanner then DiY

  1. April 8, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Oh my! You are a genius!

  2. April 8, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    😀 you can use the same principle using a window see the following photo 😀 http://www.flickr.com/photos/raypg/3691706537/ (this is how I first did it, then I came up with the strobe and the shoe box)

  3. April 8, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Thank you raypg for the excellent article!
    This is a great example how you can keep the whole process inexpensive with some creativity and good hands 🙂

  4. April 8, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    You are welcome I love to contribute any place where film photography is appreciated :D. I have in mind other topics and let you know latter what you think 😉

  5. April 8, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    This is a really great idea! Thanks for posting 🙂

  6. April 9, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Love it! Something have a go at over the weekend… Thanks!

  7. April 10, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    This is brilliant — thanks for sharing!

  8. April 12, 2010 at 12:11 am

    What I do is create a white image in photoshop, full screen it on my mac display hold the negative against the monitor and shoot. 🙂
    I used the cheapest Canon camera on macro mode to make the actual “scan”.

  9. April 19, 2010 at 6:36 am

    I like the simplicity of the design and also the moveable/removeable diffusers are a great idea.

  10. Elias
    April 22, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Excellente, I’m starting to devolopping with “caffenol” (caffe, soda vitamin C)
    but my scanner it’s only for 35mm.
    Thank a lot and sorry for my English.

  11. kbw
    June 3, 2010 at 3:31 am

    in this case, why bother to shot with film? just use Dcam directly.

  12. June 21, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Brilliant ! I’ll give it a try. Thank’s for sharing !!!

  13. June 24, 2010 at 7:13 am

    kbw: Well this can be useful if you have old negative film that you need to scan. You can recover those old photos, I don’t believe that you can go back to the past and take a digital photo xD,

  14. Sve
    June 25, 2010 at 5:37 am

    looking for a DIY film scanner, this is the best I found, thanks ! 🙂

  15. Tony
    August 25, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    That is amazing! Wish I could take back my medium format scanner now. I could have saved a lot of money.

  16. orgmuda
    September 7, 2010 at 12:41 am

    cool man…amazing results.

  17. February 24, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Tried this, but no matter what settings I use in camera OR on the flash gun, it’s just blowing out the exposure….
    Could it be because I mounted the flash gun opposite the neg as opposed to in the lid?

  18. June 18, 2011 at 1:48 am

    This is amazing, thanks for the great information. You are in-deed very creative.

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