Microfilm scanners are devices designed to digitise and convert microfilm images into digital formats. Microfilm is a medium that has been historically used for long-term storage of documents and images in a compact form. Scanners for microfilm play a crucial role in preserving and accessing the information stored on microfilm by converting it into a more easily readable and shareable digital format.
ScanPro microfilm scanners are affordable, high-speed, desktop scanners capable of digitising all film types including fiche, 16mm open spool, 16mm cartridge film, 35mm roll film, ultra fiche, micro opaque cards, and aperture cards.
ScanPro microfilm scanners can scan at 100 images per minute with exceptional accuracy. With the ScanPro All-In-One, you can scan your film onsite in the security of your own business whenever it is convenient and right on your own desktop. And, the All-In-One microfilm scanners are exceptionally affordable.
Types of fiche/film
Microfilm is a roll or spool of film with sequential frames of images. These film reels look similar to rolls of movie films. Microfilm rolls come in two standard sizes: 16mm and 35mm. The images in these rolls can be master copies, duplicates, positives, or negatives.
16mm Roll Film
This film is used for storing images of A3 and A4 paper-size documents. Documents often include records such as building permits, financial, or medical charts. 16mm film can be found in various collecting bodies like government offices, insurance companies, or museums. A single roll of 16mm film can hold 2,400 images of A4-sized documents.
35mm Roll Film
This roll film size is typically used for oversized documents such as newspapers, building plans, and engineering diagrams or drawings. 35mm roll film is preferable to 16mm when archiving older, delicate documents. The 35mm roll can capture images at a higher resolution due to a lesser reduction ratio.
16mm Roll Film 3M Cartridge
These cartridges consist of 16mm roll film inside a square, hard plastic case. They are self-threading, and when in use, the fill from a cartridge will be wound on a separate spool.M-type cartridges are the same as a standard roll of 16mm roll film in the size and types of images stored on them. 16mm Roll Film 3M cartridges will often require a special adapter to load on a reading or scanning device.
The second type of microform is microfiche. Microfiche are small (10-by-15-cm) flat sheets of plastic with a series of micro images in a grid-like shape. A standard sheet can store between 60 to 100 images. There is usually a “title strip” with information and details related to the image on each sheet or card.
Fiche Negative and Positive
Microfiche has a polarity that is based on the colour of the film’s image and the background colour. Microfiche with a positive polarity will show black images or figures on a transparent or white background, while microfiche with a negative polarity will show white or transparent images on a black background. Each image will have both a positive and a negative fiche copy that can be used to view the images. Negative microfiche has less contrast than positive fiche. Through digitisation and editing, a negative fiche image can be made more precise.
Jacketed fiche are made of cut strips of either 16mm or 35mm film. The film strips are placed into a clear Mylar envelope or jacket, which helps stabilise and preserve them.Typically, these jackets are larger than a standard index card at 4 inches tall and 6 inches wide and hold the film horizontally. 16mm jackets can hold five to six strips of film, whereas a 35mm jacket can hold two strips of film. The film can be removed, updated, changed, and duplicated. Jacketed fiches have been used to store medical patient records.
Micro-opaques, also known as micro-cards or micro-prints, are no longer produced but can still be found in many libraries’ archival collections. The images on micro-opaques are arranged in a grid-like pattern printed on photographic paper or card stock rather than film. The images are reduced in size and could contain forty images per 3-by-5-inch card. Micro-opaques are stored in sleeves or boxes and require specialised equipment to print and read the cards.
Aperture cards are pieces of card stock that have a single frame of 35mm film mounted into an aperture hole. There are two general formats for aperture cards: Hollerith and Standard. Hollerith aperture cards are similar to the old IBM punch cards. The punch card part uses multiple holes to identify the data in the card’s image. These holes also allow the cards to be mechanically stored. Unlike their counterpart, Standard aperture cards do not have hole punches. The indexing information for each card will be either on the top of the card or the card must be scanned to gather the data. Aperture cards were once widely used in the architectural and engineering industries to preserve maps, blueprints, and drawings. These cards need to use specific scanners and printers that have been designed for aperture cards.