Complete Beginner-Seeking Advice


I am very happy to have found this forum.

I want to get into scanning and I hope I can ask a few questions.

  1. Very tempted to buy a Skier Copy Box but some people like it or some indicate it does not keep the film flat.

  2. Negative Supply MK1- I took a glance at these negative holders. I need 35mm and 120 negative holders. This would be a little pricey if I am reading this correctly.

  3. Make my own. I like to make small dovetail boxes. I could make a wooden box and then replicate, to a degree the Skier Copy Box. If I did this but make it a little larger can anyone recommend a light source? Also, I was thinking of using two anti-newton ring pieces of glass and simply place the file between the two pieces. Would this work? Any suggestions on where to buy anti-newton ring glass?

I am in the state of Minnesota.

Thank you very much.


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I personally have and enjoy my Skier copy box v2. I see complaints about the film not being held flat, but in my experience any minor amount of film curling has not caused any issues with sharpness of my “scans,” given the depth of focus at f/8 to f/11 is more than enough to allow for any small amount of film curvature. I don’t think this is as a big of an issue as people like to make it out to be. I scan both 35mm and medium format (6x6 and 6x7), so my thoughts apply for these formats.

The light source does get warm if left on for extended periods, however, which can cause/exacerbate film curling. However, my negatives never stay in there long enough for this to be an issue since I basically just have the box on when I’m aligning the image and then as I’m digitizing each frame, and then I’m mindful to turn it off when I’m done digitizing/while I’m post-processing. Also, any curling that is exhibited as a result of the light source getting warm has not been permanent.

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The f stops you use make sense. I don’t know if you are in US, but I am wondering best place to order one? Dealer in US or another place?

Thank you.


I am located in the US (in Iowa). Version 3 of the Skier box is set to release any day now (“mid-July” per their website), so best place would likely be to (pre-)order directly from them, since it’s unlikely any US distributors will have a box on hand before Skier themselves are able to ship. I know Cinestill’s website had previously made the v2 box available, but this went OOS when Skier stopped making/selling v2.

Better to buy one then horse around with making my own and using the anti-newton glass?



The Aputure Amaran AL-M9 looks good. It is a credit card size light, quite affordable and seems to have good light quality if we believe in published specs and reports. Check the link in this post: Suggested backlight sources for scanning film with DSLR - #134 by JYG

Regarding DIY: Have a look at this: Let's see your DSLR film scanning setup! - #48 by EricBB for inspiration.

Hope you’ll enjoy the forum!

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Take a look at my Essential Film Holder

35mm and 120, just ÂŁ90 GBP inc free worldwide shipping

…and if you need a quick no-BS overview of the Camera Scanning process check here…

Thanks for the input!!

You asked about light source.

  • Flat light panels, e.g. Kaiser Slimlite… Good light, but will have 1/3 sec exposures
  • Video lights, daylight balanced… Good light, I prefer these, about 1/100th
  • Electronic flash, good light, eliminates issues of movement/vibration, harder to rig.
  • iPhone, iPad recent models, good light, longer exposures.

Holding the film flat is a matter that was well solved in the analogue days of enlarging.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel - mostly any old enlarger film stage will work as a film holder many with AN glass …

Kaiser even adapted one to a repro scanning holder.

I haven’t had flatness problems with skier but the holder allows too much wiggle in the 135 neg so it’s very hard to get each frame lined up, particularly if you don’t want the sprocket holes which can show because of the wiggle room. It gets very hot and I find you need to turn it off after about 10 mins, not sure how bad it would get after doing say 3 or more rolls of film.

In a way the heat is it’s best feature because the heat comes from the high output LED it uses, which is very good and allows reasonable shutter speeds, 1/100 plus, unlike light pads where you are down at 1/5 or so. It’s also good at masking the light as the holders fit over the light source fully, but it does have holes in the side where light spills out, but can’t say they’ve been an issue.

I can’t get the 120 holder to work, the film just does not go in easily so have given up with it.

I am using the “essential film holder” at the moment, I have only used 135 so far but it holds film far better with less wiggle, but doesn’t come with a light.

I think like me you may end up going through a few holders / lights until you find one you are happy with what it gives and suits your workflow.

Would you recommend the essential film holder?

Can you remove the bottom opaque part if you don’t need it?

Interesting holder.

SM 1

Smorton 1

You can remove the opaque bit of the unit, in fact it all comes apart. But you wouldn’t want to as that is a major part of what makes the unit better according to the manufacturer. Contact Andrew who has posted a couple of links above, he is the manufacturer.

Hope that helps.


With the essential film holder, do you have to use a low shutter speed to achieve F8?

I know it would depend on the light used, but I thought I would ask.

Thank you.


The opaque section reduces the light slightly, I haven’t done any real measurements but probably a stop.

But, it depends how bright your light is, I adapted the Skier light so still get high light levels about 100 - 150 at F9.

The opaque section is supposed to spread, or diffuse the light so there are no hotspots which in turn gives more latitude to use any type of light source, as long as it has a reasonably high CRI for good colour reproduction. The rest of the holder, without the opaque section is just a hole so has no restriction on light.

Hope that helps a little.