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Noritsu vs. Frontier

Both the Noritsu and the Frontier scanners are excellent tools to help you reach your vision! How do you choose which scanner you should use? Let’s explore the strengths of each, so you can find the right one for your aesthetic and goals:

Noritsu S-1800

Has a higher dynamic range and retains more detail in both the highlights and the shadows, giving you more information to work with in post.

Better able to handle human-made colors, like neon!

Newer technology means it uses the current generation of image-processing technology!

Has more control over contrast than the Frontier SP3000.

Frontier SP3000

Many associate it with a more natural color palette.

Tends toward a higher contrast scan (although this can be altered slightly).

Utilizes optical color correction—the same way color correction has always been done in the darkroom! Optical color correction is when the color of the light passing through the negative changes.

Scanner Examples of Portra400:

Let’s see how each scanner handles the same film stock using the same reference images. Kristine Herman’s roll of Portra400 was scanned on both the Noritsu and the Frontier:

Noritsu S-1800

Frontier SP3000

Noritsu S-1800 (cropped)

Frontier SP3000 (cropped)

Noritsu S-1800

Frontier SP3000

Noritsu S-1800

Frontier SP3000

Noritsu S-1800

Frontier SP3000

The Subtleties Between the Scans.

As you can see, the scans are quite close. Still, there are some important differences to note:

Remember: No One Scanner Is Better Than the Other.

Each is a tool that lends itself to a variety of aesthetics.

You might like to choose a different scanner depending on your environment or the film stock you shot!

Explore the synergy of film stock plus scanner! For example, many of us here at the lab (cough @somemunn and @emilylouisesweet cough) LOVE our black and white film scanned on the Noritsu!

Switch it up! Experiment!

You don’t have to tie yourself down to one scanner or the other. You might find one of your shoots looks best on the Noritsu, while another looks best on the Frontier. Switch it up and experiment!

What does Ektar100 look like on the Noritsu?

How does the Frontier handle Portra800?

Use the synergy of the scanner + film stock to chase the aesthetic you’re after!

More Examples of Portra400:

PV’s own @alexzandriadills on Portra400, photographed by @_ashleyloney and @emilylouisesweet , and scanned using the same reference images: