Noritsu vs. Frontier

Table of Contents

Choosing a film scanner can be a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry, we’re here to help! Both the Noritsu and the Frontier film scanners are fantastic tools that can help you achieve your creative vision. But how do you decide which one is right for you? Let’s take a closer look at the strengths of each scanner. This way, you can find the perfect match for your aesthetic and goals. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just starting out, we’ll make sure you have all the information you need to make the best choice.

Noritsu S-1800 Scanner

  • It has a higher dynamic range and retains more detail in the highlights and the shadows, giving you more information for editing.
  • 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 Scanner

  • 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 passes through the negative changes in order to make a correction.

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:

The Subtleties Between the Scans

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

  • Each film scanner handles the highlight and shadow detail differently

  • The Noritsu film scanner handles saturated colors a bit differently from the Frontier film scanner (which you can really see in the flat lay’s flowers above).

Remember: No One Film Scanner Is Better Than the Other

Each scanner is a versatile tool that can complement a wide range of aesthetics. You might find that your choice of scanner varies depending on your environment or the type of film stock you’ve used. It’s all about finding that perfect synergy between the film stock and the scanner!

For example, many of us here at the lab (cough Chad Munn cough) absolutely LOVE how our black and white film looks when scanned on the Noritsu! There’s something about the combination that just makes those monochrome images pop. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and see which scanner works best for your particular needs and artistic vision. Happy scanning! 

Switch it up! Experiment!

You don’t have to tie yourself down to just one film scanner! In fact, you might find that one of your shoots looks amazing on the Noritsu scanner, while another truly shines on the Frontier scanner. It’s all about switching it up and experimenting to see what works best for you.

Ever wondered what Ektar100 looks like on the Noritsu scanner? Or how the Frontier scanner handles Portra800? The possibilities are endless!

Use the unique synergy between the scanner and film stock to chase the aesthetic you’re after. Play around with different combinations and discover the magic each pairing can bring to your images. Happy experimenting, and may you find the perfect match for every shot!

More Examples of Portra400

Need a few more visuals to see the subtle differences? No problem at all! Behold, PV’s own Alexandria Dills on Portra400, photographed by Ashley Loney  and Emily Sweet, and scanned using the same reference images:

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We’re all visual learners here, right? So which film scanner do you find yourself leaning towards? Can’t wait to hear when you specific it on your order forms! Happy Film Sending!