This is the highest-quality & most exact type of scanning money can buy.


At Cone Editions Press we scan everything in 48bit RAW and then post-process the scan file with special plugins in Photoshop. The customer actually gets two files if they choose: a raw file, and the finalized scan file.


By default, we give you a flat-contrast positive & cleaned “base scan.” If need-be we can also do full mastering of the file and even match it to a reference print.


Use our order form below to set up a drum-scanning job. Tell us exactly how you want us to do the work and then send us the film. We’ll send an invoice for your confirmation and then do the work when the film arrives!


We have some of the most competative prices on the market and no per-megabyte fees. If your neg is sharp, you’ll be able to print huge no matter the film format.

At Cone Editions Press, we simply make the highest-quality scans out there . . .

Drum scanning is one of those things that costs a lot of money, but when an artist gets their first scan, they know it’s worth every dollar. Drum scanning captures the true essance of analogue film in all its glory. Essentially, a drum scanner is a very complex digital pinhole camera. Film is liquid-wrapped around a glass drum and held in place with optically clear mylar. The film floats in a “pouch” of liquid between the drum and the mylar and that fills in scratches and dust particles and also eliminates newton rings. At Cone Editions Press, we use a Heidelberg Hell drum scanner. Her name is “Helga” and she’s over 1500 pounds. Her mass enables a perfectly shake-free movement at a drum rotation of 1200RPM. This shake-free movement ensures tack-sharp scans day after day, year after year, for decades. We’ve used Helga since the early 1990s and she’s still producing 48bit scans at mutli-gigabtye scale.

HOW WE SCAN: 1,2,3

Step One: Make an Order
The customer fills out the Order Form at the bottom of this page and then ships their film to us for scanning. We send a confirmation of the order by email and any changes can be made by email. After we get the film in, we inspect it and send an estimate of the final job cost.The estimate is approved by the customer before work begins.

Step Two: Scans Are Made
We scan the film in raw and then do post-processing of the raw files in Photoshop. This brings the images to a “flat-contrast” positive state with full highlight and shadow detail. We also clean the scan at this stage. These files will not look perfect but are at a stage where they can be finalized by the artist to really get their unique look and feel.

Step Three: Files & Film Are Shipped
If full mastering is ordered, we will do the additional work at this point. Then the final invoice is send for payment online. After payment, we send download links for the scan files and ship the negatives back via FedEx (Express Insured Sig-Required). If the raw files are requested, we will send these as well, free of charge.

More Details: Generally we scan in 48bit RGB (in Photoshop this is called 16bit RGB). We scan the film in raw. When we open the raw file in Photoshop, it looks exactly like the physical film. If the film is a bw negative, we invert and then add two curves: a master curve to get the image to a workable contrast, and then a tonal correction curve to tweak the contrast in the highlights and shadows to make the image pop just a bit more. We may do some special-sauce conditioning of the grain and noise at this point as well. If the film is a color negative we invert it using CF-Systems Color-Perfect: a plugin that has truly changed the game when it comes to color neg scanning. With CF-Systems we have over 300 different inversion “profiles” that correct for the unique color crossovers in each film brand/type. The result of using CF-Systems is a color quaity akin to a true Dye-Coupler “C” Print from the darkroom. If the film is a positive (slide)* we do the raw scan and then do a “camera raw” white balance and color shift edit in Photoshop to perfectly match the tone and color quality of the original. In short, we’ve taken the cludgy drum scanning software from the 1990s and chucked it in the waste-bin. Instead we use modern hard-ware and software (Photoshop Creative Cloud) with cutting-edge inversion (CF-Systems) to make perfect drum scans that stand up to hard scrutiny! We do not use custom input calibration profiles. Over many many years we have determined that this will actually destroy the histogram. Instead we do most initial color adjustments in camera raw. For special-case film we will sometimes scan at a slightly higher dpi than normal and then downsample that and raw-convert the scan to the optimal resolution. This enables a more analogue replication of the original film. Our trained professionals, who have decades of experience, determine this on a film-by-film basis.

*Please note. 35mm mounted slides have to be removed from their mounts for drum-scanning to occure. We carefully sleeve the slides for ship-back.


Retouching & Mastering of drum scan files happens in various ways. The easiest way to do it is to send a reference print made from the original piece of film. The master printmakers at CEP will match the file to the print. If a print is not made but a there is a reference file (usually scanned on a lower quality machine) we can use that to match your file. If the customer wants us to use our many years of experience & judgement to just make the file look good we can do that as well. Probably where it gets sticky is when the artist has no reference file or print and wants us to do very specific mastering without clear instruction. We recommend sending sample images that are similare to how the customer wants the drum scan file to look. We can then match the aesthetic color grading of the drum scan to the reference file. All of this can be requested with the order form below. 



The prices below are for "base scans." They do not represent the cost for a fully mastered print-ready image file as most of the time the artist's input is needed after a flat-contrast low-saturation positive (base scan) has been created. All additional cleaning and imaging labor to master the image file is charged at our normal hourly labor-rate rounded up to the nearest 1/4 hour. Prices indicate per-neg cost to scan. File sizes per scan range from 300MB to 2000MB depending upon the original film size. We scan at the highest resolution possible at all times. We do not discount for smaller file-sizes as 99% of the cost of drum scanning is labor and materials, not processing size.

Film Resolution Bit-Depth Print Size 1 neg* 2 - 10 * 11 - 20* 21+*
35mm Drum Scan 7000+ppi 48bit RGB 40"x60"  $90 $70 $60 $50
645 - 6x9 Drum Scan 5500+ppi 48bit RGB 40"x60" $130 $110 $90 $75
617, 4x5, 5x7 Drum Scan  3200+ppi 48bit RGB 60"x80" $200 $180 $140 $100
8x10 Drum Scan 2000ppi 48bit RGB 60"x80" $280 $260 $240 $200
11x14 Drum Scan 1200ppi 48bit RGB 60"x80" $500 $400 $300 $275
16x20 Drum Scan 900ppi 48bit RGB 60"x80" $600 $500 $400 $360

* Each neg/positive is scanned raw and then brought to a positive flat-contrast low-saturation state. Then the negative is cleaned of any dust that got into the scan during the scan process. This is what we call a "base scan." All other labor such as surgical cleaning of old negatives, color matching or color grading, etc, is charged our normal labor rate. We charge $187.50 an hour in ¼ hour intervals for mastering and can give you a quote before running the scan if requested in your order.