Scanning Solutions for Nonprofit Digital Labs

This is a general question for anyone willing to chime in.
I am the manager of a very small DIY digital lab in Seattle, Wa. We are an arts-focused organization called The Photographic Center Northwest. Our facilities include a full black and white darkroom and a digital lab with inkjet printers, scanners and editing stations. It is my mission to create an environment where the digital and analog worlds of photography can interact seamlessly. I believe that scanning is an important part of preserving the archival integrity of film photography. It’s also the only reliable way to print any color film negative.

With Hasselblad discontinuing their Imacon Flextight scanners and no official support for drum scanners available, it can be tough to find a solution to the gap in scanning technology for digital photography labs like ours. We currently have Epson V850 and V750 flatbed scanners using film trays and Vuescan software. We also have a couple Nikon 8000s and 4000s also using Vuescan software. This system had been sufficient but feels like the bare minimum. The Nikons are slow and prone to user error. The Epson flatbeds work, for the most part, but the film trays are difficult to use with 35mm film specifically (which is what most of our lab users have).

I’m wondering if anyone has any insight on the future of scanning technology. It’s hard to know what to invest time and money in when the devices that I once relied on are fading out of existence.


I wrote an article in 2011 titled “The Future of Scanning” that posited that everything would be going to camera-capture.

Phase One ran with it:

But the newer stitch cameras that take 250mpx pictures with a 3grand DSLR are also possible to rig as a DIY scanner that will probably surpass an Imacon.

best regards,

Do you mean rigging up a camera in a copy stand kind of way?

yep! Exactly,