Scan Your Old Films For The Cost of A Happy Meal

DIY 35mm negative duplicator - front (by iamclaus)If you’ve been around from before the digital age, chances are you have stacks and stacks of negatives and slides stuffed in a box somewhere neatly ordered in dedicated archival grade binders.

Those binder (or stuffed boxes) are not the best performers when it comes to finding photographs, making prints and most importantly, they are not back-up friendly.

For those reasons (and more) it is a good idea to scan your old film into digital format. If you shop around there are some pretty good film scanners for about $150, and the Nikon monsters that will set you back a few months rent.

But there is also another way that involves some toilet paper rolls, gaffers tape and old slide frames.

Photographer Claus Thiim built a negative scanner by connecting two TP rolls to an old broken polarizer filter.

DIY 35mm negative duplicator - full assembly (by iamclaus)

Click the image above or at the beginning of the post for more details, or watch the entire set here.

Now slides can be “scanned” into any DSLR relatively quickly provided that there is a good even light source behind the film. You will not have the power of hardware based tools like dust-removing-ICE, but you will have Lightroom, Photoshop or your favorite editing software to adjust and manipulate the images.

If the focusing distance is not enough for you, you can add a third TP roll or use any hard tubing material.