How to Choose the Right Exposure when Scanning

How to Choose the Right Exposure when Scanning

David Tau

When scanning film, choosing the right exposure is important to ensure that the resulting digital images have good color accuracy, detail, and tonal range. Here are some tips to help you choose the right exposure for your film scanning:

  1. Use the histogram: The histogram is a graph that shows the distribution of tones in your image, from black to white. When scanning film using film holder, you want to ensure that the histogram covers the full range of tones without clipping any highlights or shadows. Adjust your exposure settings until the histogram is well-balanced. 

  2. Avoid overexposure: Overexposure can lead to blown-out highlights and loss of detail. To avoid overexposure, start with a lower exposure setting and gradually increase it until you achieve the desired brightness and contrast.

  3. Watch out for underexposure: Underexposure can lead to dark and muddy images with poor detail and color. To avoid underexposure, ensure that the darkest parts of your image have some visible detail and texture. You can also increase the exposure settings or use additional lighting to brighten up the film.

  4. Take note of the film type and ISO: Different film types and ISO settings may require different exposure settings. For example, a high-speed film may require a higher exposure setting than a low-speed film to achieve the same level of brightness. Be mindful of the film type and ISO when choosing your exposure settings.

Overall, choosing the right exposure when scanning film requires some trial and error, but with practice and attention to detail, you can achieve high-quality digital images that accurately represent the original film.

Shop for 4x5 film holder35mm film holder to scan your negative film.


Back to blog