Using Epson V500 to scan negatives


Written By Joey Holland, October 2014

DUPA has an Epson V500 flatbed scanner in the House 6 darkroom that can be used to scan your developed negatives to digital files on your computer.  You can use the provided desktop computer in the darkroom or download and install the Epson Scan software and V500 drivers (see here for downloads) on your own laptop.

The V500 flatbed scanner has a special backlit lid and negative holder that allows one to scan negatives at a relatively high-quality.  This tutorial will cover how to scan 35mm and 120 film negatives on this scanner, although it can also be used to scan prints, etc. too this is not covered here.

You will need

Please ensure that you have the following:

  • Scanner connected to a computer via the USB cable provided.
  • Scanner turned on (switch on right side at rear).
  • Your film negatives (recommended cuts: 35mm into sixes and 120 into threes).
  • Recommended – a microfiber cloth.

Starting off

  1. Firstly lift the scanner lid and remove the white document mat (labelled a. in diagram below) if still attached. This slides upwards using the tab/handle at the top (when lid fully open).
  2. Ensure that the transparency unit lock (labelled b. in diagram below) is in the unlocked position – to the right.
  3. Give both the document table glass (labelled c. in above diagram) and the transparency unit glass a quick wipe with the microfiber cloth to remove any dust.
    There are two film strip holders, get the film strip holder to suit your film type and insert the film as shown below.  Also, you can give the negatives a quick wipe with the microfiber cloth before placing in the holder too.

    1. If using 35mm use the holder with the section marked A.Image 2Image 3Image 4
    2. If using 120 film use the holder with the section marked B.


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Film should be inserted ‘upside down’ with the emulsion facing up and ‘shiny side’ down.  See markings on the negative holder.

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  1. Insert the film strip holder into the scanner as shown below:

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5.Now open up the Epson Scan software. If it says that it cannot find a scanner please check that the scanner is on and that the USB cable is securely connected.

Using Epson Scan

1.Open the Epson scan software. Ensure to select the Professional mode.

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2.If scanning 120 medium format film select the Configuration button, Film Size tab and select the appropriate medium format film size. C41 based film and silver based black and white film must use different settings.  See below for 35mm and 120 film.  Use the following suggested settings (you can tweak bit depth, resolution, etc. to your needs if desired – note the larger the settings, the longer to scan!).

a.C41 based film and slide film (Click on image for Enlarged View):

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b.Silver based black and white film (Click on image for Enlarged View):

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Digital ICE (dust removal) does not work with silver based black and white films such as Ilford HP5, FP4, etc. as the silver interferes with the infrared detection used in the Digital ICE.  Removal of dust can be done later in software such as Adobe Lightroom.

  1. Click the Preview button to start a quick scan.
  2. A second preview window will appear, use this to rotate some shots and to select/unselect shots.
  3. Once happy, click the Scan button in the main Epson Scan window. This may take up to 20 minutes or more – this all depends on the bit depth (12, 24, 48 bit) and the scanning resolution chosen (1200 dpi, 2400 dpi, etc.). The settings provided above are a trade-off between quality and speed of scanning and should be perfect for printing digitally up to 8 inches or just displaying via a web page.
  1. Select the destination for the scans and also choose the image format. TIFF files are the recommended format to get the most information that can be utilised later in Adobe Lightroom, but you are free just to choose JPEG here also.
  2. Click Ok and the scanner will start to scan the negatives.
  3. Once scanned the digital files can be opened in image/photo software and enhanced, sharpened, etc. as needed.