How to Convert 35mm Negatives to Digital


With advances in digital photography and the limited life of 35 mm negatives, converting your archived film into a digital format is a great way to preserve and organize your images. There are several ways to convert a 35 mm to a digital format.

Step 1

If your scanner has a film-carrier tray, set the film up. Open the tray and align the film's sprocket holes with the carrier's teeth, then snap the tray closed. Place the film-carrier tray in the designated area of the scanner.

Step 2

If your scanner does not have a film-negative tray, carefully lay the negatives flat on your scanner. Do not close the scanner's lid fully on old negatives, as they may be damaged.

Step 3

Select the "Film Scan" setting in your scanner's editing software. Scanning a negative without this setting will result in a negative image that needs to be inverted; if your scanning software does not have a film setting, you will need to convert the images later in a photo-editing program.

Step 4

Scan your negatives. Save the digital files on your computer. If necessary, use the "Invert" function on your photo-editing software to convert a negative image to a positive image.

Tips and Warnings

  • Take care when handling old negatives, as the film can become brittle with time. If in doubt, ask your local photo lab if they offer film-scanning services.

Things You'll Need

  • Scanner

Who Can Help

  • Online Photography Resource
Keywords: film, 35mm, digital, photography

About this Author

Gwen Wark is a freelance writer working from London, Dublin, and New York. She has been a published writer since 1998 with works appearing in both university and local publications. Her current writing projects include SEO, web copy, print and advertising features. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in history from Rutgers University.

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