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35mm Film Resolution

Here is the upshot: Resolution of film is, in general, 5.6K. And, we scan at 6K. Scanning at any higher resolution does not improve the image any. So, fancier transfer equipment does not yield a better image.

If you print at 300DPI (the printing standard), you can expect a quality print from our high resolution scan. This will be true for images printed up to a size of 18.7" x 12" (for 35mm film.)

Keep in mind that the quality of the image will vastly depend on the original type of film used (fine-grain or regular) and the type of lens that was used (sharp and expensive or a budget-lens.) Additionally, the outcome will depend upon the prowess of the photographer.

MP (Megapixel), DPI (Dot Per Inch), and Printing Size

DPI Megapixels Image or Frame
Size in pixels
Print Size in inches at
300DPI
VHS (NTSC) 0.16MP 480×333 luma
480×40 chroma
1.6 × 1.1
VHS (PAL) 0.19MP 576×335 luma
240×40 chroma
1.9 × 1.1
2MP 1600 × 1200 5.3 × 4.0
Full HD  2K 1920 × 1080 6.4 × 3.6
3MP 2048 × 1536 6.8 × 5.1
5MP 2592 × 1944 8.6 × 6.4
 3K 7MP 3072 × 2304 10.2 × 7.6
8MP 3264 × 2448 10.8 × 8.1
10MP 3648 × 2736 12.1 × 9.1
UHD TV  4K 4096 × 2160 13.6 × 7.2
Apple iPhone X  4K 12MP 4032 × 3024 13.4 × 10.1
14MP 4288 × 3215 14.2 × 10.7
Resolution of 35mm Film
(1) (2) (3)
5.6K 4,000 20-21MP (3) 5600 × 3620 18.7 × 12.1
Our FilmFix slide transfer system (4)  6K  4,400 24MP 6048 × 4032 20.1 × 13.4  (10)
Braun 6000 (5)  7K  5,000 37MP 7150 × (7150) 23.8 × (15.4)  (10)
Canon 5DS (6)  8K 6,500 50MP 8688 × 5792 28 × 19.3 (10)
10,000dpi Scanner (7) (8)  7Kn/a  5,00010,000 (9) 37MP (9) 7150 × (7150) n/a (10)

Foot notes and sources



1 35mm film 20MP https://pic.templetons.com/

2 35mm film 21MP https://www.quora.com/

3 20MP "A 35mm scan with an effective resolution of 3900 contains about 20 million pixels, that's enough in order to take out all image information from a 35mm film in terms of resolution." (source)

4 FilmFix visually inspects and manually adjusts each slide for its optimal exposure. The camera we use is a Sony a900 12-bit and has a Dynamic Range of 10.6.
"In theory higher bit depth provides an advantage in terms of image quality, but frankly I don't see it." (source)

5 Braun 6000 (16-bit) if scanning for ME MultiExposure "The tool is called ME in the software and serves as a means to increase dynamic range" up to Dynamic Range 3.8 Dmax

6 Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR Camera (14-bit Canon Origin), Dynamic Range 10.6 Dma

7 Braun 7000 (48-Bit)

8 Pacific Image PowerSlide X Automated 35mm Slide Scanner (48-Bit)

9 "Is advertised as 10,000dpi but is 5,000dpi" (source)

10 It can be argued that printing anything larger than what the film resolution holds will bring a better image, but the only thing it will do is increase the grain size and produce a fuzzier-looking grain.

Author: Nathaniel Courtens
Friday, July 26, 2019



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