How can I convert scanned 35mm negatives to Digital positives online?
Question by Barb /

Is there any capable software or websites that offer the free conversion of 35mm negatives (film) to positive digital images? I’d also be able to work with a step-by-step for beginners.

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Answers (10)
  • WorcesterJohn

    On a MAC get yourself a free copy of Seashore. Then import the scanned negative and go to “selection” then ‘colour’ and then “invert”

    • Dacker

      Jack, I would STRONGLY discourage anyone from buying a device such as these. Will they function properly, maybe. Would anyone be happy with the results? Not a chance.

      It would be analogous to using a VGA webcam to shoot home movies. Yeah you got a movie, but you cannot tell who is whom.

      To get good results, you would need to drop $2K on a new Nikon film scanner, or $500 and up for a used one on eBay. I’m not an elite purist, is just that these cheap film scanners are just garbage, pure and simple. My opinions also comes from almost 20 years working for Eastman Kodak.

    • Aibek

      thanks for the input!

  • Neil

    Hi Barb,
    Assuming you have a scanner to can convert your negatives into a digital image, you can use an online application to reverse the negative image. One such website is:

    1) Import your image.
    2) Choose “Adjustments” from the menu; then choose “Negative”.
    3) Save your image.

    It’s as simple as that.

    If you do purchase a scanner with a negative holder to scan 35mm negative film, often the accompanying software will have the option reverse the negative for you.

    Hope this helps!

    • DonnaL

      THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! I just purchased a small scanner that puts the negatives on a disk but had NO idea how to turn into an actual photograph again. This is the first time someone has solved my problem so quickly and easily.


  • Dacker

    As bakari45 said, a piece of hardware, a film scanner, is required to digitize your 35mm film into digital images.

    There are many online companies which will do the work for you at a reasonable cost, about $.25-.50 per frame. I would also suggest checking Costco, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target, Walmart and the chain photo stores as well.

    Do you own a flatbed scanner for documents? Another possibility is that your document scanner may support scanning film. The results would not be as good as using a real film scanner, but perhaps it will meet your needs.

    If your quantities are larger, you may be tempted to buy a film scanner. Whatever you do, DO NOT consider buying one of the many film scanners selling for a few hundred dollars. You will be very disappointed with the results. A good film scanner costs about $2000.

    Another consideration for the DIY approach is that you would need to carefully clean the film to ensure it is entirely free of dust, fingerprints, or other artifacts which will appear in the scan. You would need to invest perhaps an additional $30 for the equipment and supplies.

    I hope this helps rather than confuses….

    • John

      If you now use a digital slr you can use it to photograph your films or slides. If you use different exposures you can increase the dynamic range in software latre by combining your different exposures

  • Bakari

    Hmmm, Barb, this doesn’t seem possible to do online. Whether online or not, you would need a special scanner that could of course scan negatives.

    • Barb

      That is indeed what my initial search lead me to believe, so that’s why I turned to the experts here! :) Any input at all is greatly appreciated