What is Camera Scanning

Camera scanning, or sometimes called DSLR scanning, is the process of photographing a piece of film using a digital camera to create a digital reproduction of the image. This is a great alternative to scanning using a traditional scanner because you take advantage of advances in modern digital imaging technology while not relying on old technology that might break or become incompatible with modern computers.

Photographing film using a camera has been done since the advent of photography to reproduce originals, it is often called reproduction or just repro. When done right, the results using a digital camera are very comparable to traditional scanners because scanners are, in essence, cameras with lenses.

Scanning using a camera requires some set-up: In addition to a film holder, you need:

  • Camera
  • Lens (we recommend a macro-lens or enlarger lens -
  • Light Source
  • Camera stand: Copystand or tripod

Finally, negatives also need to be converted from a negative to a positive. This is not a direct inversion, and additional software such as Negative Lab Pro or FilmLab, is very useful.

VALOI has a Gear Guide that can help you find the right supporting accessories, and a Technique Guide that will help you get started.