If you remember back to my last post I had developed my first roll of film and discovered that the light leak was indeed in my camera not the film as I hoped. Examining the negatives though there were some salvageable shots. So I had a decision to make, scan or print.

Printing, by all accounts, isn’t that difficult. The equipment can be picked up cheaply online and the technical side, though not easy, looked do-able. My main issue was the need for a darkroom. Now I know that you can knock one up in the bathroom but at the moment I’m in a small two bedroom place with one room being used as a home office/music studio and the other housing me, my wife and small baby. I don’t think my wife would be happy with my taking over there bathroom blacking out the windows and leaving a large enlarged under the sink.

As you may have guessed I decided on scanning. But what scanner? A lot of people recommended the Pakon. F135+ and it looks like a great piece of kit. It can take a whole roll of 35mm and automatically scans. It’s a minilab and the results are phenomenal. The only problem? In the UK they’re almost impossible to get hold of. I’d have to import one from the US and pay shipping, import duty etc etc.

I turned to my friend Karl Edwards from the fantastic site Streetshootr Karl shoots a lot of film and is a great street tog. Here is the advice he gave me

My advice is to get the very best scanner you can afford. I know that doesn’t exactly help but cheap scanners typically don’t resolve the way i like.

I use the Plustek 8200ai which normally sells for 429 at B&H. But they had a boxing day sale last year and it was on sale for 299 so shop around! Make sure you get the “ai” version as it comes with the full version of silverfast – really comes in handy!

A log of guys swear by the Epson flatbeds. Bit of a PITA with keeping it clean in between scans and doesn’t have the resolution of the Plustek but you can bulk scan up to 24 frames at a time which is something to consider. Set it up and let it run.

Epson just released new versions last year so you should still be able to find the older V700 at a good price.”

So I bought the Plustek 8200i. I have to admit that I ignored Karl a little and bought the SE edition. The only difference is the software it comes packaged with and a lot of people hate the software, Silverfast, that comes with it. I already had a copy of Vuescan so I opted to use that and save some cash.

Scanning looks like the easy option but it’s not! My first scans were over exposed or underexposed. I couldn’t decide if it was me, the film, the camera, the developing, the scanning? There are a lot of variables to isolate when you’re doing everything yourself! After getting some more advice from Karl I think I’ve got the hang of it. I can now get some serviceable scans. The first of which is below!