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Epson Scanner and All-In-One range: Guidance and troubleshooting for scanning film or slides


  • Scanners with a TPU/Film Adapter
  • All-In-One products with a TPU/Film Adapter
  • Scanning film/slides/transparencies
  • Scan quality issues
  • Windows 32Bit and 64Bit
  • Mac OS X


If the scanning material, scanner and scanning software are not set correctly, you will experience problems scanning film or slides. Symptoms you may experience include:

  • The scanned image is dark or under-exposed.
  • You cannot select 'Film' or a 'TPU: xxx Film' option in the scanning software (EPSON Scan, or EPSON TWAIN).

Follow the step-by-step instructions to ensure you setup your scanner/All-In-One and place your materials for film scanning correctly. Guidance is also provided on the appropriate settings you should make in your scanning software.


The images used in this article primarily depict the Perfection 4490 Photo scanner and Stylus Photo RX620 All-In-One. These are used as examples to help illustrate the described parts, checks and steps as these are generally common to all scanners and All-In-Ones which are capable of film scanning.

For product-specific information and images, please refer to the User's Guide that came with your scanner/All-In-One.

  1. Make sure the document mat is removed from the scanner cover. Open the scanner cover and gently slide up the document mat to remove it.

    For scanners with optional film adapters, you may need to remove the detatchable document cover and connect only the optional TPU/Film Adapter. For further information, please see the documentation that came with your scanner and film adapter.

    Scanner All-In-One

  2. If your scanner or All-In-One has a transportation lock, make sure that this is set to the unlocked position. You should only lock/unlock the transportation lock when the scanner or All-In-One is powered off.

    For scanners, the transportation lock is located either at the side, back, or bottom of the scanner. For All-In-Ones, it is located under the document cover. See your product's user guide for instructions and a guide to the scanner parts and functions.

    Some examples are provided below.

    Sliding lock (underside) Coin-style lock (side)
    All-In-One sliding lock (under document cover)  

  3. If your scanner has a transparency unit (TPU) lock (e.g. Perfection 4490, 4990, V500, V700, V750), make sure that this is set to the unlocked position. You should only lock/unlock the transparency unit lock when the scanner is powered off. See your scanner's user guide for instructions.


    For scanning to take place, the scanner's transportation lock must be in the unlocked position. You should only try to move the transportation lock to the locked or unlocked position when the scanner is powered off.

  4. Make sure the scanner cover cable is securely connected to the scanner's OPTION port.


    This step does not apply to the following scanner models as the scanner cover cable is not detatchable. Move to step 5.

    • Perfection V100, V200, V300, V350, V370, V550, V600
    • Stylus Photo RX520, RX640

    • Power off the scanner and disconnect the cover cable.

    • Check the connector for any bent pins. If it is OK, securely reconnect the scanner cover cable to the scanner's OPTION port, and then power on the scanner.

    • Next, quit any open applications and restart the computer.

      Scanner All-In-One


      Before connecting or disconnecting the cover cable, power off the scanner using its power switch. For scanners without a power switch, unplug the scanner's power cord to power it off.

  5. Use a soft cloth to wipe the transparency unit window and the document table before placing your film or slides.

    Scanner Example using the Stylus Photo RX640:

    'a': transparency unit window

  6. Insert the film in the corresponding film holder, with the shiny base side facing down. Your images and any wording on the film strips should appear backwards on the side that faces up (like a mirror image).


    Hold the film at the edges, or else use gloves. Touching the film surface with bare hands can leave fingerprints or other traces on the film.

    Make sure the white stickers on the back of the film holder and the areas around them are not scratched, dusty, or covered in any way. If the areas are obscured, the scanner may have trouble recognising your film in Full Auto Mode.

    Do not cover any of the tiny holes in the film holder or the scanner may have trouble recognising which film holder you are using.

  7. Close the covers over the film and press them down until they click. Then press down on all the edges of the covers to secure them.

  8. Make sure the film or slide holder is placed on the scanner correctly. See your scanner's/All-In-One's user guide for further assistance on placing film or slides.

    • If the film holder has tabs, make sure that the tab/s on the film holder fits into the corresponding area labelled on the scanner's document bed.
    • If the film holder has an arrow in one corner, make sure that this corner fits into the corresponding corner labelled on the scanner's document bed.
    • If the film holder does not have either tabs or arrows, place it on the document table in alignment with the upper corner of the document table as you would for reflective document scanning.

    Scanner All-In-One

  9. Leave the part of the film holder or film area guide shown below uncovered. The cut-out section of the film holder is the calibration area - this should not be covered or obscured otherwise the colours in your scans will be affected or scans will be dark and under-exposed.

    Example using the Perfection 4990:

  10. Open your scanning software and make sure the Document Type setting is set correctly for your film/slide type. Auto mode can be used to scan 35mm colour film, but we recommend using the Manual Mode (Epson TWAIN), or the Home and Professional Mode (Epson Scan) if you are experiencing image quality issues.


    In Full Auto Mode, you can scan only 35 mm colour negative film strips or slides. You cannot scan black & white film in this mode.

    • EPSON Scan:

      In Professional Mode, make sure the Document Type setting is set to Film, and Film Type settings are set correctly for your film/slide type.

      In Home Mode, make sure you have correctly set your film/slide type from the Document Type drop-down menu.

      To change the scan mode, click the arrow in the Mode box at the top right of the EPSON Scan window. Then select Home Mode or Professional Mode from the drop-down list.

      Professional Mode

      Home Mode


      In the Manual Mode, make sure the Document Source is set correctly for your film/slide type. Depending on the type of film you are scanning, it should be set to one of the following:

      TPU Color Neg. Film, TPU: Monochrome Neg. Film, TPU: Pos. Film.

      Make sure that the Image Type settings are set correctly for your film/slide type. When Document Source is set to TPU: Monochrome Neg. Film, or the Thumbnail preview is activated, only Color Photo and Black & White Photo are available in the Image Type list.

  11. Once you have selected your basic settings, resolution and destination options, you can preview your images and select or adjust the area of the images you want to scan. The scanning software displays the preview images in a separate preview window on your screen.

    There are two types of preview:

    • Normal preview displays your previewed images in their entirety. You must select the scan area and make any image quality adjustments manually.

    • Thumbnail preview displays your previewed images as thumbnails. EPSON TWAIN or EPSON Scan automatically locates the edges of your scan area and applies automatic exposure settings to the images. Thumbnail is the default preview type when scanning film or slides.

      When you use the Thumbnail preview, EPSON TWAIN or EPSON Scan automatically creates marquees around your image(s) for you. If you need to adjust a marquee, click inside it and click the delete marquee icon. Then select the Normal preview mode and preview the scanner bed again - this will allow you to select and adjust the scan area yourself.


    Some scanners that support medium format film, such as the Perfection 4490, V500, V600, V700 and V750 Pro, allow you to use the thumbnail preview mode with medium format film.

    • To view the thumbnail preview of images from medium format film, first click the Configuration button in EPSON Scan, then click the Film Size tab, and select the correct size as the Medium Format Film Size setting.

    • For example, with the V700/V750 models, the medium format choices are (inches): 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7, 6x8, 6x9

    If you want to check or change the preview type, follow the instruction below:

    • Epson TWAIN: Click the Configuration button in the Manual mode window. Clear the checkbox next to Automatic Thumbnail Preview for Film in the Preview tab.

    • Epson Scan: Clear the tick in the checkbox beside Thumbnail (located under the Preview button). For some models, you will need to click the arrow next to the Preview button, if it is available.

    You can now select and adjust the scanning area yourself. Use the Zoom function when using marquees to ensure that the edges of the film are not selected or the surrounding area, and only the image itself. If the selected area contains information outside the film then that information will be included in the exposure calculation and may result in an inaccurate exposure and therefore incorrect colours.

    You can select the scan area using a marquee. A marquee is a moving dotted line that appears on the edges of your preview image to indicate the scan area. This is particularly useful when you want to scan multiple film frames (e.g. on a film strip) on the scanner bed at one time and have complete control of the area that is scanned.

    • If you are viewing the Normal preview and you only have one photo on the document table, you can click the auto locate icon to automatically draw a marquee.

    • If you are scanning multiple images at the same time and you want to apply any image adjustments to all of your images or scan areas, click All in the Preview window before you begin making your adjustments.

    • If you draw multiple marquees, make sure you click All in the Preview window before you scan. Otherwise, only the area inside the last marquee you drew will be scanned.

    More information: Previewing and adjusting the scan area

    Refer to your user's guide for specific information relating to scanning the film sizes supported by your scanner model, selecting and adjusting the scan area, and making software settings. The following articles may also offer some assistance, depending on your scanner model:

  12. When you are finished scanning film, be sure to replace the document mat before scanning documents or photos.

    For All-In-One products: When not using the film holder, you can store it inside the document cover.

    • Open the document cover. Slide the film holder into the document cover.
    • Insert the reflective document mat. Close the document cover.
    • For more information on storing the film holder, please see your user's guide.

    Scanner All-In-One

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