Most people have an old pile of negatives lying around from the heady days of film-based cameras. Some may even have the job of getting some duplicates made or turning them into photos, way down on their to-do list.
Unless you have a dedicated photo printer with a suitable tray, it’s the kind of thing that’s awkward enough to remain on the ‘do it another day’ list, so this USB film scanner from Veho would appear to be the ideal solution.
It’s reasonably compact and is capable of scanning at the equivalent of 5-megapixels in quality, or 2,592 x 1,680 pixels in image size.
As the name suggests it plugs straight into your USB port and, after installing the software and drivers provided, is ready to use. Two slide holders are supplied for positives and negatives and these must be fed into the slot in the scanner manually, which was a slight disappointment, though in truth the often haphazard nature of negatives does mean that you’ll probably appreciate the ability to adjust position slightly to get the best fit.
ArcSoft PhotoImpression will help you grab the pictures using the dedicated capture tool accessible from the main interface. Here you’ll find a 12-slot virtual reel onto which photos are placed when they are captured, so you can take up to 12 at once by moving the slide holder through between each one, before saving them all to disk. There’s a nice degree of control over the capture quality and you can choose either JPG or TIF formats to save your images.
Once this is done you can edit photos and create slideshows through the ArcSoft application, as well as applying a range of effects to jazz things up.
Photo editing is something we’d certainly recommend, as although pictures are sharp and of good quality, we noticed that colours appeared rather washed out when compared to the developed original. There’s an auto-enhance tool here and other typical editing features such as red-eye removal, crop, straighten and colour enhancement.
There are also photo retouching tools which may well be necessary to remove artefacts from the image that carry through from the negative. Because these are quite common, it’s recommended that you clean the film as well as possible before scanning, and Veho provides you with a soft cotton swab for just this purpose.
The film scanner is certainly fast and convenient, but don’t expect great results instantly. You’ll have to take quite a bit of care with the scanning process and would benefit from being a dab-hand at photo editing if you’re expecting results comparable to printed images and today’s digital cameras. For an easy way to digitise negatives and slides, though, it’s a tidy solution that’s pretty capable at what it does.