Scanning 120 – An experiment!

A stone wall in the country

A better title for this post might be Not scanning 120! Having recently sorted myself out loading rolls of 120 into my spiral that likes 120 film, I’m now Ok at processing 120 B/W at home. I would stop short of saying I’ve mastered it. After my recent holiday I’ve got 5 rolls to scan – but don’t have a 120 scanner. I did recently up-date my cheap and cheerful 35mm scanner to the much better Plustek, which after a bumpy start with the software am now ok with. I didn’t feel like forking out over £2000 for the 120 version!

I should say before going any further that I do have “access” to one, but it’s not always convenient either for me or it’s real owner! The other problem is that the holder contains cheap and cheerful plastic that is a dust magnet, and it drives me mad!

The other thing I should say is that I do realise many other people have mastered what I just tried, so I realise this is nothing new!

What I do have is my Fuji X-Pro2, an old Jessops light box – 5×4, and an extension tube! I also have the 120 holder from my (hardly ever used) enlarger. So I did a quick set up as an experiment..

Fuji X-Pro2 looking down onto a light box!

There are many problems here – not least reflection on the shiny surface of the neg, keeping it flat and square, focus, exposure and so on. What I did get from this set up is below..

The Wall – my test neg!

Into photoshop I inverted and cropped the image, and got this…


With a little more work, converting to B/W, one level of sharpening, and some levels managed to coax out this….

getting better

This is Ok for most purposes that I actually use scans for, of course the system needs refining I need to basically build a little rig, so that..

The neg holder is held slightly away from the light box. I can scan from left to right, rather than back to front. I can hold the camera above the centre point and get closer to use the extension tube to nearly fill the frame. At the moment the little tripod legs get in the way! Having said that I’m encouraged with the results for such a quick crash test!

crop to show detail or lack thereof!

3 thoughts on “Scanning 120 – An experiment!

  1. Hi Andy, Re the 120 scanner issue I use two old flatbed scanners an Epsom Perfection 2480 and a Genius Colorpage-HR 7X. Both handle film, slide or neg. The Epson is 2400dpi and the Genius 1200dpi both have software that interpolates and increases the dpi. Both come with masks for 110, 35mm, 6 x 6 and 6 x 9 (6 x 9 is my favourite size). I use mine for B & W negatives For circa 20 year old machines they are very good. Not looked on ebay but sure there will be some available.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ed, My work place has an Epson, something or other! I think it’s a V750 maybe. Anyway I use that sometimes during a lunch break or after work, so I can get scans, and then do some work on them in Photoshop at home. It works fine, although I’m not a fan of the holder. I’ve been looking into the V600, that seems a good buy, and it looks like the holder is without plastic!! Until I need to – I’ll probably plod on as I am for a while! All the best – Andy


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