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13 Best Scanners For Medium Format Films We've Tested 2023

Brandon Forder
  May 31, 2023 5:25 PM

The most efficient method of converting film to digital format is to use a top-tier film scanner. Whether you're a veteran photographer with boxes of old negatives or a budding image-maker who fell in love with film photography on Instagram and bought their first SLR, a film scanner or flatbed scanner will become your go-to tool for digitizing and uploading your images for internet sharing.

In this tutorial, we'll examine both specialized film scanners and common flatbed scanners. Always scan from a negative if at all possible, as this is what film scanners are intended to handle. While more expensive scanners take longer to scan a roll of film, the resulting high-quality file resolves every grain detail.

However, if you have boxes of old slides or prints that you'd like to digitize and bring back to life, a conventional flatbed scanner may be more appropriate. It's the preferable option if you plan on scanning stuff besides film, such documents. If you're using a standard flatbed scanner, you might need to buy a special holder to make sure the film stays perfectly flat throughout scanning. When it comes to scanning film, this is crucial information.

You may want to go back to shooting film when you get your scanner up and running, in which case you should consult our buying advice for film (opens in new tab). If you're in the market for a new SLR or large-format camera, we also have a comprehensive reference to the top film cameras(opens in new tab) available. The market for pre-owned cameras is substantial, and a surprising amount of knowledge and expertise exists surrounding vintage film cameras

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Buying Guide

Pixel perfect 

High scanning resolutions shouldn't fool you. You won't need more than 3,200 dpi unless you're digitizing really slow film. The resolving power of film is inferior to that of modern sensors.


It's important to verify that the scanners can handle medium format film before making your purchase. If your equipment doesn't recognize certain film types, scanning your medium format film will require an additional adaptor and more work.

Find out if the scanner has room for 120 films before you buy it. If they can't, then you know what you're doing and should stay away from those gadgets.


If you're looking for the top scanner for 120 film, then you need to be sure the scanner you're considering can handle the format. You should pay attention to this detail since otherwise you can end up purchasing a format that cannot accommodate this film size.

The scanner's compatibility with Medium format (120) should not be taken for granted, even if it supports a wide range of other formats.


The DPI (Dots Per Inch) of a scanner is a common measurement of its resolution. Higher DPI values naturally result in higher resolution. Choose a high DPI if at all possible.

These days, everyone is used to viewing images in high definition on their phones and computers, so a poor resolution print may fail to wow either you or your audience.

Color Depth

If you're looking for a photo scanner, you should pay attention to the color depth. Since this value is quantified in bits, it is often referred to by that name. To perform the analysis, we simply combine the image's red, green, and blue color channels.

The greater this value is, the greater the amount of original color information the scanner will preserve. Greater bits equals more color and detail in the images. Old photographs can be given new life on devices with a richer color depth.

Most scanners will have a color depth of 16 bits. They'll perform adequately for most scans. Many, though, will have 48 bits, allowing for a more expansive color palette. Your final photographs will have better subtlety and gradation if you use those.

Storage Options

When looking for a scanner, it's important to think about how much space you'll need for saved documents. Consider whether or not the scanner you're considering has its own built-in memory.

A standard 128 MB of storage space will be included in the scanners. You won't need any extra space on your device to keep the scanned documents.

Moreover, you should think about the total amount of space that can be stored on external devices. The maximum storage capacity of the vast majority of these gadgets will be 32 GB. With these, you may keep a lot of data on the SD card without having to delete anything.

The Screen

You should evaluate the screen's clarity and dimensions while shopping for a scanner. Images from scanners can be viewed in more detail on a larger screen.

The majority of the gadgets will have screens of about 2.5 inches. However, some will feature an incredible four-inch displays. You won't need any additional monitors or displays to see the photos well on those.

The overall quality of the screen is just as important as the size. Here, the most critical factor is how the screens can be viewed by the audience.

Ease of use

Convenient though they may be, standalone film scanners that write their scans directly to a memory card are not known for their high quality results.

Hold on tight

Film holders on cheaper scanners are notorious for being flimsy, difficult to use, and ultimately detrimental to the image quality.


Which are the medium format cameras?

Medium format cameras are those that employ 120 film or a digital image sensor of a similar size. These images are significantly bigger than 135 film sizes but significantly smaller than large format 127 film sizes.

Is medium format film better than digital?

As time has progressed, digital has evolved to provide an increasingly high-quality picture. Medium format films, on the other hand, are typically more cost-effective than digital and can nevertheless deliver exceptional clarity and sharpness. Therefore, the medium format is preferable to the digital one when considering cost.

Why 120 Film Is Called?

Because it was Kodak's twentieth daylight loading roll film on flanged spools, 120 film got its name for that reason. In 1901, Eastman Kodak released their Brownie 2 with the first cameras that use this film.

It's a kind of grading scale, with the first level being "101," and the next level being "102," and so on, until the film finally passes. It happened at the number 120, which is why there are now 120-minute films.

How Do I Scan 120 Films With Borders?

Although most scanners will automatically scan without borders, the 120 film format features a clean black border around the image.

If your 120 film has borders, you can forget about scanning it using a film scanner because you can't crop the images outside the borders. With a flatbed scanner, however, you have more options for scanning 120 films with borders.

Using anti-newton ring glass is the most efficient method for scanning films with borders. You may get bordered scans of your films by simply placing a glass over the film in a flatbed scanner.


We hope that this post has helped you narrow down your selections for the finest medium format film scanner for your needs. We'd like to close by wishing you the best of luck and hoping that your photographs turn out beautifully crisp and detailed

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