Pakon F-135 scanner

This post is off theme a tiny bit, as it’s about a scanner rather than photos, but rest assured, photos were taken this week, and will be shown.

No doubt you’ve had the time consuming pleasure of scanning film.    I’ve had some Epson scanners, which are great, but maybe I have some film which doesn’t need to be scanned at archival quality (like from 35mm toy cameras), or I don’t want to cut the film into strips.    Also, instead of scanning a roll per 45 minutes or an hour, I can scan 10 rolls an hour.

My parents shot a bunch of film in the late 1960s which isn’t cut into strips, and I just don’t want to cut it up.


We have many rolls that were returned from the developer like this.  Wrapped around these thin cardboard holders.

Also, its easy to get behind on scanning, and I learned about the Pakon F135, which are used in some drugstores to quickly scan a roll to put the photos on a CD for the customer.

(Note: there are 2 versions of the scanner.  The “Plus” and non-plus.   The non-plus is about $375, but natively can’t scan at higher resolutions.  The Plus version is about $800.  However, the non-plus can use some software to allow you to scan at Plus-version resolutions.  I got the non-plus version.)

Searching ebay, I found that this seller has them.   Later, I’d hear that others had bought theirs from him as well.    He says they’re tested, and have a 90 day warranty, so I took the plunge.   And so the adventure (struggle) and learning began.

This scanner only runs on Windows XP.  Mac folks use Parallels to run an XP virtual machine.   Fortunately, I already had an XP box that I use because my only scanner that scans 4×5, an Epson 3200, also only runs on XP.   (Yes, I know there’s a hack to get it running on Win7-Win10, which I managed to do, but then running my Epson V500 after that un-did the hack, and I’d have to re-do the hack every time I wanted to use the 3200.)

The first challenge was getting the scanner recognized in Device Manager.   I spent hours trying to get this to work, but although my XP is a fairly virgin install, it just wouldn’t recognize the scanner. Eventually, I gave up on that, and tried with a virtual machine on my Win10 machine using VMWare.    The trick is that the scanner only works with USB2.0, and in order to use USB2.0 on VMWare, you need to install some extra tools, which just resulted in my VM in an endless loop of bluescreening & rebooting.   So I gave up on that, and used VirtualBox, which I found to be a much better piece of software for VMs.

Through this struggle, I found folks on the Facebook group for the scanner to be very helpful.  If you get this scanner, join that group for advice, drivers & some additional tools.   I put several nights into getting the scanner to work.   Apparently, I had more trouble than most people.  Its a quirky device with quirky software.

The default software is called PSI.  The extra one that scans at higher resolution is TLXClientDemo.   There are some very helpful Youtube videos that show how to use the scanner & the software.    This, this, this and this.    As for that last one, I could never get .raw file capture working.   All my output is in JPG.


Here’s a roll scanned in PSI.



Both of these try to read the DX Coding on the film to name the files.  If it can’t read the code on the film, PSI just names them numerically.   TLXClientDemo does not, and would require a bunch of manual intervention, but there’s a way around that.   In the very helpful files section of the Facebook group, you’ll find an one about a program a guy wrote that automates the User Interface of Windows programs. It’s called TLX_Reindex.  You have to install a program on your XP VM to use his script….and I had to re-write his script a bit to get it to work for me, but now I can just run the .exe that the script compiles into, and I get numerically ordered file names.


Here’s my scanning steps:

  1. Start the XP VM  with the scanner connected by USB, but with the scanner off.
  2. Turn on the scanner, and verify that it shows up in Device Manager.  If you try to start the scanner software before XP sees the scanner, you’ll just get errors and may have to reboot.
  3. Start the scanner software.  Do not feed the film into the scanner.  Get the software to the point where it is ready to scan your roll.  It will probably need to warm up the lamp in the scanner.  Wait for all the lights on the scanner to go green.
  4. Wait to hear the motor which pulls the film along to start, THEN feed the film in. Otherwise, just more error dialogs.
  5. Let it scan, and save off the photos.

Here’s some photos from some of the rolls I’ve scanned.


This is “The Babysitter”, which a friend just gave me.   Olympus XA2, with some bulk Illford film another friend gave me last week.


I had a paper bag filled with old rolls that I just hadn’t gotten to for years.  Finally I got around to scanning them, because the scanner made it so quick and easy. (After arduous configuration)


Canon 7s, 50mm f/0.95


Canon 7s, 50mm f/0.95


Me and my mom.  My dad had some kind of Canonet.


Fabulous photo of my mom shot by my dad.


Me and dad.


Me having some wine with dad & brother.

The scanner software doesn’t let me have the same control over exposure, color & resolution that my Epsons do, but for many purposes, its very handy.

5 thoughts on “Pakon F-135 scanner

  1. Nice post. The babysitter is awesome!

    Thanks for talking about scanners around here – it seems to me to be pretty much as important as talking about cameras or film types. Getting good scans is something that is learned, not native to some machine that we plug into (sadly). Just like taking good pictures means learning things about exposure, composition, film, camera controls and so on. In fact, scanning can be the biggest downside to film photography.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It must have been such an amazing feeling … scanning pictures with yourself in them from decades earlier!!

    The last one shows a very tidy house! How old are these pictures?


  3. Great article. I just purchased one (non-plus) and will be going through the set-up process myself on iOS. I submitted my request to the FB group after reading numerous posts of Pakon users who have received assistance with their set up. Great to hear there is such a resource.

    Also, amazing photo of your mom.


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