How to Get the Negatives From APS Film

Written by shawn m. tomlinson
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How to Get the Negatives From APS Film
The APS film cartridge can be opened to allow access to exposed and processed negatives. (aps film image by Dubravko Grakalic from

Advanced Photo System or APS film may have been a step forward in traditional film when Kodak introduced it in 1996, but it quickly was outdated by the advent of digital photography. APS film produces significantly smaller negatives than traditional 35mm film, but it adds digital exposure information in a transparent magnetic layer. The exposed negatives are also stored inside the original film cartridge. In most cases, companies that developed APS film had machines that took the film from the cartridge, processed it and printed it.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Small flathead screwdriver
  • Flatbed transparency scanner
  • Photo editing software

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  1. 1

    Hold the APS film cartridge upright and locate the locking mechanism. It is in a small, round hole near the edge of the section of the cartridge where the film leaves and enters the container. With your small flathead screwdriver inserted inside this hole, move the locking mechanism toward the edge of the canister to unlock it.

  2. 2

    Open the cartridge door by turning it clockwise. This does not open the entire cartridge, only the door where the film exits and enters. You do not need to open the entire cartridge to get the film negatives out.

  3. 3

    Insert your screwdriver into the main, centre hole on the end of the cartridge. This will act the same as the spooler inside your camera. Turn your screwdriver counterclockwise to begin moving the exposed and processed negatives out of the cartridge. Pull the negative film strip out of the cartridge, making certain you do not detach it from the core of the APS film canister.

  4. 4

    Cut the negative strip out of the canister if you want to store it some other way or need to scan the individual negatives in a film scanner. You can keep them in individual or sheet-sized negative holders for future use. Do not do this if you want to continue to store the negatives in the canister when you are finished with them.

  5. 5

    Layout the negative strip across the glass surface of your flatbed transparency scanner's glass and close the lid. Set your scanning software to the best or highest resolution you can to get usable digital images. Because APS negatives are small, the better the resolution, the better your final images will be.

Tips and warnings

  • One of the advantages of APS film is that it remains relatively dust- and dirt-free inside its cartridge. The cartridge also keeps it from getting scratched. So, even if you are taking it out to scan it or to make prints, rewinding it into the cartridge when you are done will continue to keep it safe.
  • Make certain you already have exposed and processed the APS film before attempting to get the negatives out. Performing the above procedure on an unprocessed film cartridge will expose the film to light and ruin it.

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