A negative film reader records high-resolution optical density changes across negative film radiographic images to allow precise image dimensions to be determined. A laser light source capable of high-resolution focusing is passed through an intensity control filter, focused by a lens, and reflected off a mirror to focus in the plane of the negative film. The light transmitted through the film is collected by a second lens and directed to a photo diode detector which senses the transmitted intensity. The output of the photo diode signal amplifier is sent to the Y-axis input of an X-Y recorder. The film sample is transported in a plane perpendicular to the beam axis by means of a slide. The film position is monitored, with the signal amplified and recorded as the X-axis on the X-Y recorder. The linear dimensions and positions of image components can be determined by direct measurement of the amplified recording.