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Scanner for old 126 negatives

Julie Fairman , Oct 27, 2006; 11:44 p.m.

I'm looking for a reasonably priced scanner to embark on a big stash of my parents negatives from a 126 instamatic camera.

Any ideas? Services I've found are very expensive per frame, and the reasonably priced scanners all say they are for 35 mm.

I'm fine with my current photo setup of a combo of digital and 35 mm - and I send my photos out to print - so this is really a one time thing.

any advice of scanners, services, or how to make this film work in a standard scanner would be much appreciated. Quality is not a huge issue, as these photos were pretty amateur to begin with and are really more about memories than quality.

BTW I'm using Windows XP and am not really techie on the whole inner workings of my PC.

Thanks for your time.

Julie

Responses

Conrad Hoffman , Oct 27, 2006; 11:58 p.m.

A decent flatbed like the Epson 4490 would do nicely for these. The quality of 126 negs was good, but not the same as high end 35mm shots. A better scanner wouldn't likely buy you anything. I can't remember the width of 126 film, but they'd probably fit in the standard 35mm plastic holder that comes with the scanner, or you could cut a mask from cardboard.

Mark U , Oct 28, 2006; 06:07 a.m.

Conrad is right about the film width:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/126_film

You will probably have to scan each frame individually, because the image size is 28x28mm rather than 24x36mm, and the film only has sprocket holes on one edge. Be sure to centre the frame you are scanning between frame dividers in the negative carrier and use the cropped scan feature of scanning software. Don't attempt to scan with the negatives flat on the scanner glass - they would be out of focus, and scans will also likely suffer from Newton's rings.

Karim Ghantous , Oct 28, 2006; 06:07 a.m.

Without actually digging up my 126 negatives (ah those were the days!) I think it's just 35mm film with different perforations. This means that you should have no problem with a flatbed - don't know about dedicated scanners though.

Bruce Rubenstein - NYC , Oct 28, 2006; 10:34 a.m.

A did a number of scans of 126 film with my old HP 20 film scanner. That scanner makes it very easy so set the scanned frame width. That's why it was used for scanning 35mm film from panoramic cameras and why it's easy to scan 126 film. The drawback to the scanner is that it doesn't have dust or noise removal and is only 2400 dpi. The resolution won't be a factor for Instamatic camera shots.

Kelly Flanigan , Oct 28, 2006; 12:24 p.m.

Most all of the 126 Kodapak/Instamatic images shot in the world were with simple single element cameras. Here our old Epson flatbed is used, and is total overkill as far as resolution requirements when scanning a typical customers "126 stuff". Only when the rare high end 126 negatives are seen is our Canon 2710 or Canon 4000 film scanner going to grab some more detail.

With our own scanner, you can spend extra time with the special images, ones that emotionally matter. A scan service doesnt know whether the fuzzy dog image is you first dog, or a neighbors dog, or a dud shot to test the camera. We also dont know whether that faded image of your aunt should have grey, blue, white, or marge simpson hair.

John Kelly , Oct 28, 2006; 02:41 p.m.

Any relatively recent Epson flatbed will give you fun results at 5X7 sorts of size. Minolta and high-end Kodak/Contax Instamatics were as sharp as most 35mm cameras of the era, but the vast majority of 126 were very unsharp, even at 5X7, even when printed skillfully.

Don't be afraid to lay the film on top of the glass...if you do it emulsion-down (against the glass) it will minimize or eliminate Newton's rings.

IF the film's curley you might want to use a piece of high quality glass, such as from a contact printer or something bubble-free from a frame shop, to hold the film flat against the flatbed's glass..yes, you may have newton's rings from that side, but I've found it's not a big problem. Focus won't be a big issue with small size prints.

Using Epson's scanning application you'll have no problem with the 126 format. You may want to cut a black paper mask to minimize flare, but you may find that's not worth the effort...depends on the light source in the particular flatbed (I think moving light sources have more flare trouble than do the fixed light sources of older machines).

Another approach would be to make 126>35mm copies of the negs/slides with a $500 slr digicam (one that'll do at least 1:1...you'd need a tripod or copy stand and some sort of diffused light source (paper taped to a window)...should readily keep plenty of detail of the probably-not-particularly-sharp originals. Then you'd invert (if necessary) in Elements (which might come with the digicam) or Photoshop, then adjust color/density etc. Easy.

XP is fine. Digital and photo technology is a no-brainer until you listen to the "experts."

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