A comfortable mix of innovation, durability, fun, and convenience. That probably sums up the Basic Film Carrier 120 in a single sentence. Designed by the talented folk at Negative Supply, whose Basic 35mm Kit we reviewed a few months ago, this new kit helps you scan your 120mm negatives in a jiffy. Much like with all their other products, you’ll have a fun experience using this one. There’s no other unit quite like it on the market, and it’s worth every penny.
Too Long; Didn’t Read
Around the size of a Fujica GS645 camera, the Negative Supply Basic Film Carrier 120 retains the excellent Tolex exterior and pristine finishing qualities we observed in the Basic 35mm kit. You can scan up to 6x9cm negatives in a single capture and a whole roll in about a minute once you’ve gotten used to the setup. The magnetic clamp feature is ported over from their Film Carrier 120 (non-basic version) to ensure negatives stay absolutely flat for each scan. Scanning is quick and fun with this unit.
Pros and Cons
- Exquisite build quality
- Scan a full length roll of negatives in a little over a minute (or less even)
- Magnetic hinge clamp system ensures your negative stays perfectly flat for a clean scan
- Scans up to 6x9cm negatives in one image capture (645, 6×6, 6×7, 6×8 thus included)
- Fits perfectly over the Negative Supply 4×5 Light Source Basic unit
- An enjoyable experience to use this as part of the Negative Supply product ecosystem
- The Negative Supply Basic Film Carrier 120
- Their Basic Riser MK1
- Their 4×5 Light Source Basic
- Images of the negatives were taken using a Nikon Z6 II camera paired with a Nikkor Z 24-120mm f4 lens.
- Conversion of negatives to positives, where applicable, was done using FilmLab software on an M1 Macbook Air.
- All negatives used for the purpose of this review were supplied by my friend Don Surrendra, who was gracious enough to grant me the use of his fantastic home darkroom set up for my test.
The magnetic hinge clamp is also part of their more expensive Film Carrier 120 model. This is invaluable for keeping negatives perfectly flat, allowing you to get a sharp scan of each negative. No more worrying about old, bendy negatives that look sharp in the center but soft elsewhere. Slide in your negatives, snap down the clamp, and snap away.
Much like the impressive finishing on the 35mm version, the Basic Film Carrier 120 also has a familiar, leathery Tolex exterior, making it easier to handle the unit.
A lot of fine 3D printed parts make up this unit, especially on the interior. Seamlessly machined edges make up the metal portions. The magnetic clamp snaps into place with minimal effort, giving a satisfying click. Overall, the tactile experience that comes with using this unit makes you feel you’re getting your money’s worth.
Ease of Use
Once you’ve plugged in the Light Source 4×5 to a power supply (or even a power bank, as I discovered recently), place the Basic Film Carrier 120 over the center. The dimensions of this unit are such that, when set correctly on the light source, there is no light leakage from the sides.
Lift the magnetic clamp gently and insert your negative strip from the left.
Once you’ve threaded the strip through to the other end, press down on the clamp until you hear a click.
Double-check your focus by using focus peaking on your camera’s LCD if you have this feature. Remember to turn off the image stabilization on your camera and lens. If you’ve got a shutter release cable, use this to click the photo to minimize camera shake.
I didn’t have any 120mm negatives that were in good condition. So I turned to Don, who shoots medium format at least twice a month out here. His collection of medium format cameras (all functional, which he regularly uses) is quite enviable. I turned to him when I realized I needed some excellent negatives to scan. I thought he’d be as keen as me to try this unit out. It turned out he was more than twice as excited as I was.
The scanning process is quick and straightforward. Get your focus right on the very first frame. There’s hardly any need to check subsequent slides for focus accuracy. I used focus peaking along with manual focus for the first frame, then it was just slide, click, slide, until the last frame. Once we had our initial setup done, scanning negatives one after the other was a breeze.
“Our goal is for you to spend more time making photographs, not scanning them.”Negative Supply
Negative Supply Basic Film Carrier 120 Conclusions
- A lot of design research looks to have been invested into making this unit easy to use. It’s not merely a bigger version of the Basic Film Carrier 35 model.
- The magnetic clamp is a brilliant inclusion that keeps your negatives flat.
- As a negative scan holder, it works great. You can scan a roll of 120 film in just over a minute, once you get the hang of the process.
- Fits perfectly over the Negative Supply 4×5 Light Source, with no light leakage from the edges.
- The signature finishing quality of Negative Supply
- I can’t say I have a dislike. Testing the Basic Film Carrier 120 was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
I really had a ton of fun using this unit. The quality of this item makes you want to use it often. There’s so much fun in shooting analog and eagerly waiting for the results of film development, and the Basic Film Carrier 120 just adds to this. It’s simple to go through the process, but if you’re someone who enjoys analog photography as much as we do, you’ll probably spend hours using this in one go. As far as 120 scan holders go, Don has seen quite a few models in the last few years but confessed that nothing comes close to the build quality of the Negative Supply Basic Film Carrier 120.
For its excellent construction, simplicity of use, and quick speed at which you can go through a whole film roll, I’m giving the Negative Supply Basic Film Carrier 120 five out of five stars. Want one? Be sure to check it out on Amazon.