Scanning 35mm film with a flatbed scanner isn’t great, so I bought a PrimeFilm XAs scanner to see if that would help. It didn’t.

The XAs creates large, sharp scans…when it works. I was excited by the prospect of scanning an entire roll of 35mm film in one go. Just feed the film into one end and it comes out the other, leaving behind up to 36 5000dpi scans.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t turned out that way. I was only able to scan a full roll once without issues. Alignment just never worked and I’d end up with offset frames for 3/4 of the roll. I never did figure out why it worked sometimes but not others.

I normally cut rolls into 5-frame strips, but scanning those didn’t fare much better. Half the time, the strip would get stuck and would not eject, so I’d have to yank it out of the scanner. But the worst thing—the deal-stopper—was this:

Scratched negative after using the PrimeFilm XAs

The scanner scratched several frames in more than one roll. At first I thought my new Leica MP was causing the scratches, but negatives from other cameras also ended up scratched. I eventually proved this to myself by first scanning a roll with the Epson flatbed for comparison. The scans from the Epson were fine, but then the ones out of the PrimeFilm had scratches.

All in all, the PrimeFilm XAs has not proven to be an advantage over the Epson.