A drum scanner a film scanner that makes the best scans of negative and transparency film. Nothing else captures the dynamic range, tonal quality, detail, and sharpness of your image. These are professional machines designed for exacting reproductions. Our Tango drum scanner is five feet tall and weighs 550 pounds. Our Aztek (the small scanner) weighs 140 pounds.
Your film is fluid-mounted to an acrylic cylinder (the drum) and sandwiched between optically clear Mylar. The fluid mounting increases highlight and shadow detail in your scans. It improves fine detail while removing much of the dust & scratches, emulsion blemishes, etc) in your film, and reduces film grain. There’s no way to simulate the improvements fluid mounting your film offers – you can only fluid mount film with drum scanners and some flatbeds, not with an Imacon or Noritsu scanner. The end result is drum scans that are cleaner and sharper, without feeling like the scans have been sharpened with a filter.
After mounting, the drum is loaded into the scanner, where it spins at high RPM as the scan head (also called the “periscope”) travels up and down in a series of extremely precise micro-steps, slowly yet faithfully recording the film’s details line by line. A medium format negative may take up to 2 hours of scanning time.