A buying guide to film scanners ...

ALLAN WEITZ, EXPLORA:

"It's been a while since darkrooms have played an integral part in the art and craft of taking pictures, professional or otherwise. Enlargers, sinks, chemicals, safelights, print tongs, and makeshift doo-dads for burning and dodging have long been replaced by app-enhanced smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi-enabled you-name-its, and desktop printers... wireless, of course.

"While all this technology is marvelous and, more often than not, fun to use, it also means an untold number of slides and negatives taken by the previous generation or two may never see the light of day, let alone an enlarger bulb or slide projector lamp. Considering how culturally ingrained image sharing has become over recent years, it's ironic that many of these pictures may never be shared.

"The best tools for converting slides and film negatives into digital image files that can be edited, enhanced, and easily shared with others are dedicated film scanners. Unlike chemical darkrooms, film scanners can be used in bright sunlight and don't turn your fingertips yellow.

"The lowest-cost dedicated film scanner can be had for less than $50, which for some hobbyists with modest needs, might be sufficient. From there they inch up in staggered levels of quality and advanced features until you come to the state-of-the-art, multi-format standard bearers that will set you back upward of five figures."

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