Scanning So Easy a Kid Could Do It.

Geek Culture


Photo By: Hannah Olsen

Both my daughter and I like to shoot film with our shared 1960s era Canon Demi. It is great for vacation snapshots, close portraits, and just having fun. One advantage is that it takes two portrait photos per frame on 35mm. Twice the exposures is certainly economical, but occasionally the automatic machines get confused and start cutting up the frames. They also seem to have issue processing C41 B&W film, so we are thinking of switching to Kodak T-Max and processing it ourselves.

Before we take that step though I want to be sure we can digitize the negatives and have them printed via any of the inexpensive online photo shops. Unfortunately most dedicated film scanners are expensive, and not very easy to use. I have tried a few inexpensive flatbed scanners with an adapter, but wasn’t too impressed with the quality.


Image: Amazon

One new product on the market, the ION Film2SD, looks promising. It lets you preview your image on a small LCD, and stores the ones you like to an SD card. Importing the photos is then as easy as plugging in the SD card and letting F-Spot do its thing. There are a few other products with similar form factors, but this ION seems to be the only that scans directly to SD.

My only real complaint is that I had to crack open the user manual to understand the cryptic icons on the user interface. Testing with my daughter indicates it is indeed easy enough for her to use, although she did have difficulty popping the negative tray open to insert the negatives. I did notice dust can be a problem too. Even after blasting the negative of me with canned air there were still a few specks on the finished image.

Two more pictures and my conclusion after the jump.

If you want to see full sized images click through to flickr and click “All Sizes”.


Photo By: Anton Olsen


Photo By: Edward Mao

The quality of the scan could certainly be better, but for under $150 it performs well enough and the kids can use it without complicated software. Dust will be a problem, but the healing tool in the GIMP takes care of that nicely. I have to send this evaluation unit back now, but I’ve placed one on my short list of things to buy. We have a lot of negatives to scan and it is time I put the kids to work doing so.

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