The film holder review by

A better film-holder for the Epson V7xx and V8xx series of scanners

The first impression I got when I opened up the package was wow!
This is the way the new Epson V850 holders should have felt like then the "Pro" branding would have been more easy to absorb.

The Betterscanning holder doesn't flex or warp when I hold it in my hand it feels stiff enough to make me confident that it will stay in the shape it is even under the weight of the scanner lid.

My unit was delivered with a set of two 3mm thick AN glass inserts. (Real AN glass unlike the V850 holders that uses a polymer AN sheet).

The thickness of the glass adds enough weight to keep most curled film flat. It also makes them feel tough enough to be handled and used for a long time without fear of breaking them. The AN or ANR (Anti Newton ring) surface on one side of the glass ensure that no such thing as Newton rings would show up in your scanned photos.

It is incredibly easy to load the film-holder, just place the film in the holder and put the AN glass on top (the slightly glossy side against the film). I load my film either emulsion up or down all depends on how curled/bowed my film is.

Use a piece of scrap film or thin stif black plastic sheet to support the edge
      of your filmstrip In case the strip is shorter than the film gate.

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The film-holder itself is made of two sheets of tough dense polymer that are laser-cut to a shape and size that will work with, in this case two strips of 120 film.

The two parts are bonded together to form a rigid support for the film and AN glass.

A nice finger grip is formed in the two front corners of the holder to make it easy to lift the holder from the scanner for loading of the film.


The upper polymer sheet of the holder forms a frame and boundary for the AN glass.The walls of the recess formed by the upper part will also be the placed where the T-locks when used will be press fitted against.

T-locks (above) can be used to keep the film flat when AN glass is not being used.
Mostly useful for smaller frames like 6x6 and 6x4.5 if you intend to scan frames like 6x7 and larger the better option is to use AN glass inserts.

The white square to the left is located on the scanner glass bed side (Bottom of film holder) to make it possible for the scanning software to auto sense that a film-holder are in use.

Step-less precise height adjustment

The design of the Betterscanning film holders will allow you to make a precise height adjustment by turning the 12 nylon grub set screws in full or parts of a turn.

My only two complaints is the twelve (12) set screw heights to keep track off, and that the setscrews have a bit to low friction to make me confident that my settings don't drift over a time in use!

Well this is not a big issue since the Epson V700/750 and V800/V850 are fixed focus designs and the adjustment of the holder should be a one time set and forget operation. When you found the optimum height for focus I suggest that a small amount of silicone or similar to be applied on each set screw to prevent it to drift.

Readjustment of the film-holder will only be necessary if you replace or repair your scanner.


The level of adjustment table.

1/4 turn (e.g. from 12 to 3) = .2 mm
1/2 turn (e.g. from 12 to 6) = .4 mm
3/4 turn (e.g. from 12 to 9) = .6 mm
1 full turn (e.g. from 12 to 12) = .8 mm

And 1/8 is? And two turns is ;-)

Link to full height adjustment instructions:HERE

For even more precision try this.

A dirt cheap (About 12usd) Digital Depth Gauge can make it even easier to do the adjustments and can help you to keep track of your trial and error "set-scan-exam" procedure until you have found the optimum focus height.


Digital depth gauge for precise film holder adjustments.

This depth gauge is originally intended to use for tire thread depth measurements.

It only required some scrap parts from my D.I.Y store to transform it to a film-holder height adjustment caliper :-)

This works for me but I bet you can do a slicker caliper mod!

The essential thing is that with a tool like this you can adjust all 12 setscrews to the exactly same height and avoid any kind of rocking when the holder are placed on the glass bed.

Super glue was used to perform the mod!

Feet's could also have been a pair of nuts.
The probe got a larger surface with a square nut and a thin steel plate cut from a razor blade.

The resolution of this caliper is .01 mm (I have been told :-)


Height gauge used to adjust film holder for Epson scanner.

The height gauge in use.

1. Adjust or chose one of the screws to be the reference.

2.Put the gauge above the reference setscrew an adjust the probe against the screw.

3. Remove the gauge and press the "Zero" button on the gauge.

4. Use the height gauge to set all remaining setscrews to show 0.00 on the display of the height gauge.

5. Now you can feel confident that the film-holder sits level.

Get your own Digital Depth Gauge here!



How to find optimum focus.

My method is to start coarse and then as I get closer I try some smaller adjustments until I find the best height. In case you own several film-holders then you can use the measurements to set them all to the same focal plane The focal plane is the distance at which the sharpest focus is attained.


Above: This is the pre-scann. The red left square is the part that I will scan repetitively after each adjustment until I find the sharpest scan height for the film-holder. The crop to the right of the overview/pre-scann is a crop form a Canon FS4000US slide scanner.

The film used here is a single 24X35 slide frame so I had to tape it to the AN glass to be able to use it for this purpose. I could have used one of my 6x17 Velvia frames but the chosen one is an old trusty friend for this type of work :-)

OK lets start with the fun!

Sharpening used for the crops below are: First A400 R1.0 T1 then A300 R0,3 T1 (Amount, Radius Threshold). Put your mouse pointer on the image to see the straight unsharpened scan.

Look at the man in the basket, the small yellow reflex in one of the cross bars and the step pins of the ladder at the back of the elevator structure.

[0] No lift of the holder add 2.5mm and you get the default film to scanner glass-bed height. In this case 2.5mm (The thickness of the film-holder base )
[+1 turn] holder .8mm above glass
[1 1/2 turn] 1.2mm
[1 3/4 turn] 1.4mm
[2 full turns] 1.6mm
[2 1/4 turn] 1.8mm (My winner).
[2 1/2 turns] 2mm
[3 full turns] 2.4mm

Download all crops here!



Another good aid to find best focus is a resolution target. The best value and sufficient for all scanner measurements is a USAF-1951 target that can be bought from Lasersoft.

I don't own a real USAF-1951 Target but a self made the one you can see to the left here. It is produced by photographing a large laser printed paper target on fine grain slide film.

The full target to the left measure 4x4mm and is from the center of the film. Even the smallest segment can be seen if scanned at high resolution or by looking at it with a sharp lope however this DIY target can NOT be used to estimate/measure the scanner resolution.

In the series of images below only the mid section will be shown. That small part of the film is only 1x1mm on the film!


Below my 2nd series of scans to sett the film holder to the best possible focus height. All scans are sharpened to emphasize the difference between the different height settings. The Epson V700 (Virtually the same as V750/V800/V850) is used in all scans except the first one.
This will be the reference just to see how much detail an old Canon FS4000US can reveal.
Holder as close as possible to the glass that is 2.5mm above the scanner glass bed with the BS film-holder.
Holder with set screws adjusted down to lift the holder .6mm (3/4 of a turn) Epson V700 again.
Holder with set screws adjusted down to lift the holder .8mm (1 full turn) Epson V700
1 1/4 turn 1.0mm Epson V700 will be used for all the rest of the scans to.
1 1/2 turn holder 1.2mm above glass and film will then hover about 3.7mm above the scanner glass.
1 3/4 turn 1.4mm
2 full turns 1.6mm

2 1/2 turns 2.0mm


3 full turns 2.4mm

I find it hard to find an exact candidate for best focus here but by looking at the third smallest bars I give the victory to 2 turns. (I didn't try 2 1/4 in this series of scans).


Final verdict

This is a great product that is a stable platform that will help you to get the best possible result form your scanner.

If you scan a lot I suggest you get two units to maximize the productivity.

For us others a single unit with the AN glass inserts will be good enough, after all the handling and loading of filmstrips is much faster than the original Epson V7xx and V8xx holders.

The BS holder can also be used glassless and with the use of the T-locks* that can be placed anywhere along the holders film channel the individual film frames can be hold flat as long as the film frames doesn't get too wide (I suggest AN glass for frames larger than 6x6 and whenever the best flatness control is desired).

It is also worth to mention that the new Epson V800 and V850 holders for 120 film is a single strip design while the V700/750 and the have dual film strip capacity.

*Note from Doug Fisher at
"We are having problems supplying T-locks. T-locks are very difficult to produce in a way that allows them to perform well. My supply has been sporadic over the last couple of years. I have kept the T-lock configuration/option up on the website because I have been able to provide them occasionally from time to time. Also, I still hope that I might be able to provide T-locks more consistently in the future."



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