Scanning Film with the Epson v850

Epson v850

And the new Silverfast Express AI software.

I splashed close to £1000 for the scanner and software upgrades as after taking some advice and seeing in person a real world difference between DSLR and the Epson v850, it was obvious to me that my DSLR scans, although good, where letting down my image taking in there representation.

So after getting over the financial hit the items arrived and I setup the scanner in quick fashion, downloaded the SilverFast full version which now includes Silverfasts “Express” scanning, more on that in a bit, installed and got myself familiar with it all, swearing at the screen only once which is good for me.

First impressions of the v850.

Epson v850
Epson v850

A solid bit of kit that looks well made. The included film holders cover all that I think I will do in photography ie 35mm film, 35mm slides, 120 film and 4×5 and Epson have given me 2 of each tray which makes processing say a roll of 36 exp 35mm film as fast at it can be.

On my windows 10 PC it all install fine after I downloaded the latest driver pack from Epson.

SilverFast 9 with Express scanning.

Right there is no soft way around this. You will need to spend an extra £200+ to get the full suite of Silverfast which now includes the Silverfast Express scan if you want to make stunning scan of your film and as fast as scanning high res files can be into the Home / Home office situation like mine. You do get an upgrade discount but you must install and register the ver 8 that comes free with your scanner, again if you do not have a CD Rom like me then need to register your copy first and then download it to install it.


So by know if you are following along you should of

  1. Bought the Epson v850 scanner
  2. Unboxed it and installed it
  3. Registered your free version of Silverfast 8
  4. Upgraded to SilverFast Archive Suite 9

In Operation

You have shot a roll of 36 exp film, developed it, cut it into 6 x 6neg strips and are now ready to scan your film and digitize it.

For the run through I am going to focus on scanning a Black and White film. Later I will run through Colour which has a couple more steps but doing B&W first gives you an idea of the process.

Epson give you 2 trays to load your negatives into, each holding 3 x 6 neg strip, 18 negatives.

To load them pop some gloves on so that you do not get finger prints on your negatives which is fixable but annoying.

Lift the tree retaining hinged holder sup revealing the place where you will load your negs. Give it a dust so that the perspex is clean.

Now turn a stip of 6 negs so that the shiny side is facing down and the numbers on on the right handside as you look at the strip of negs.

Back on the tray there are two little clips and you neg strips leading edge slide under here.

This is really really useful with “curly” negatives as this acts as a third hand so you can roll out the neg and close the clamp holder down, securing your negatives.

With nice flat negatives this is even easier. Just slide the leading edge into the 2 little clips and make sure you negative strip is within the groves fo the holder and close the lid dowm.

Repeat this for the other two slots.

Scanning your Negatives.

Open the scanner lid. If you can not see the glass on the underside of the lid this means you have the white backing plate installed. Remove it and store it somewhere safe, as it is not needed for negative scanning.

Now put you negative tray into the scanner by aligning the two pins on the right hand side with the two holes on the right of the scanner.

Tip: The trays can be raised and lowered using any of the 4 sliders. This is to optimize focus. So far I have found setting all of them in the middle gives me focused images but you might need to do a few test runs adjusting the sliders to get optimum focus for your scans.

Close the list and power on. Give it a couple of seconds and start your copy of Silverfast.

This is how I currently do my scans which might change as I to get used to the many options in Silverfast.

First I hit the prescan button. This gives a sample scan of the tray of negatives from which you make adjustment and then scan you final files.

Once the prescan is visable i then click on “Frames” and then find frames in 35mm Tray. Silverfast will attempt, sometimes it misses, to find all 18 frames in your holder. If it misses some, they are highlighted red, no proble, Just click and drag a suitable size frame around each “red” frame so that all the frames are now selected.

Click on the first frame. This is where we set our options to then copy to each frame later.

Give the frame a name, I often stick with just “image” as the software will add numbers as it goes along to keep each file unique & save as a TIFF file type to give me all the data needed for editing later.

Choose a location to save your images to.

Silverfast, any version, automatically inverts your negative so you do not need to. This can be fine tuned via Negafix and selecting your film and ISO before scanning.

Leave the DPI to 300 and see the PPI slider to 2400. For Printing to A3 or posting on the web this is more than big enough. If you are doing larger prints then a higher PPI might be beneficial.

As I edit my images in Photoshop I leave tinkering with the image adjustment boxes alone.

Now in the Frames option select copy to all frames. This will copy all the setting from the frame you selected to all the frames so you do not have to.

Now click “Scan Batch” and a dialog pops up. Just double check where it will save them and click scan.

Silverfast Express Scan.

Now this is where the new “Express Scan” dialog should pop up. Just click ok.

Express scan scans the tray in sets of 3 images rather than earlier versions which use to scan each frame separately taking an age to complete.

Express scan scans the first three frames, saves them, you can now got to work on them if you wish, and then scans the next three and so on. Speeding up scanning a full tray of 18 images massively. Making scanning many negatives less of a time consuming chore.

Now edit your saved TIFF files in Photoshop or your daily image editor.

Some of you out there who have Silverfast might know better, or faster, ways of doing things, and I look forward to you sharing that wisdom to help us all get better scans from our Negatives.

Note: Links might be affiliate links where I will make a small commission if you choose to purchase the item. For which I thank you in advance for helping me in my Film journey.

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