All Soft
(lowest contrast)

Shadow Hard
 (highest contrast)

All Soft
(lowest contrast)

Shadow Hard
(highest contrast)

Frontier vs Noritsu


-Generally More Contrasty

-Stronger Emphasis in the Yellow / Blue Channel

-Richer Black Point

-Punchier Color 

-Skin Tones Typically More Golden

-Greens Are More Bluish / Green

-Slower / Older technology

-Scans 1 Frame at a Time

-Prints are Great Up to About
30" x 40" 



-More Light and Airy / Soft

-Great Highlight Retention 

-Skin Tones Typically More Pink/Peach 

-Lower Contrast

-Neutral Tones


-Better Contrast Control

-Newer Technology Than the Frontier

-Scans 6 frames at a time
(helps with consistency)

-Better for Huge Prints



Once your film has been shot and developed, the next important step is scanning your film. Scanners are the machine that converts your film negative to a digital file. 

The two main film scanners are the Noritsu S-1800 and the Frontier SP3000. Though the process in which these scanners read your negatives are different, they both are very impressive.


which film scanner is better

What is a Scanner?

Choosing a specific scanner is a big step in getting your unique style. Things your scanner can effect are contrast ratio, hue, tint, saturation, and more. Keep in mind that even more important factors that effect your final image are things like the lighting conditions you shot in, the film stock you used, and whether or not you over or underexposed your film.

The Noritsu and Frontier have different qualities about them so saying one is better than the other really comes down to a personal preference of style or purpose of use. With that being said, here is how they are different.

Why Choosing a Scanner Matters?


Frontier on Left Side 

Noritsu on Right Side 

With both the Frontier and Noritsu, your lab can make adjustments according to your preferences. The Noritsu has more overall contrast control and does a better job retaining detail in the highlights and shadows. The frontier has more pre-determined settings to choose from. 

Below are examples of the main settings that the scanners offer. 

Adjustments From Your Scanner


All Soft
(Lowest contrast)

All Hard
(Highest contrast)

Shadow Soft
(aims to retain detail in shadows)

Shadow Hard
(creates a deeper black point)

Highlight Soft
(aims to retain detail in the highlights)

Highlight Hard (creates a brighter highlight)

Sometimes with  Portra 160 and Ektar films marks can appear on your scans using the Frontier scanner due to retained silver in the negative interfering with the dust and scratch removal system. For these specific film stocks, you can can avoid the issue by using Noritsu. 

Tips for When Noritsu Makes More Sense


See the distortion in the high contrast detail areas in her hair? 






The Noritsu will give you a more natural black and white image, while the Frontier can look slightly muddy brown. 

What Scanner is best for Black and White Film?

 Personally love the Frontier for it's natural rich colors and golden skin tones! I enjoy the blue hue in the shadows and the amount of contrast. 

What scanner do I use?


Try them both using the same roll of film to see which images you see yourself drawn to and remember you can always change your mind. One of the benefits to safety storing your negatives or having your lab hold onto them for some time is that you can have them rescanned.

Still Unsure? 

Take a closer look

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