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Digitizing negatives

bdbits

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I have a bunch of negatives collected over a lifetime I would like to get into digital form. I think there could be a few thousand of them, but at this time I have not counted them. In my looking into options thus far, I have found a few different ways to go about it and wondering what might be most effective, or if there is another approach I had not run into yet.

There are "shoebox" services, where you send your precious negatives off to who-knows-where-it-goes, possibly even overseas, and they do everything for you. This option makes me nervous, and I am unlikely to pursue it.

You can get a copy stand and use your own camera and a good macro lens. While this would likely yield high quality results and might be worth it for the best photos, I think this would get really time-consuming. So I may do this after the initial run for a few important photos, but probably not most of them.

Then we have the scanner option. The Epson V370 seems to get the most attention in this category. This would be faster than using my camera, and I think yield pretty good results in image quality. I am thinking either this or the last option.

Which is a purpose-built scanner. An example is the Wolverine F2D, which appears to be a popular choice in this class. Here is an affiliate link to what I am talking about on Amazon: Amazon.com: wolverine f2d mighty 20mp 7-in-1 film to digital converter. This looks to be quick and easy enough to use that my wife could assist with the scanning. The apparent ease-of-use means we would probably manage to get everything scanned, even more-so than the Epson V370 scanner mentioned above. And I think the image quality is probably decent, but I do wonder how it would compare to the V370.

So if anyone has gone through a scanning project like this for themselves, I would be interested in hearing of your experiences and the method you used.
 
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JMM

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I have a duplicating set from pentacon that i've bought for 40 USD (tripod, tripod head, bellows, copier). It's working very well and it's eazy and fast with slides, slightly slower with negatives. Once you set it up, all you have to do is move the negative and press the shutter. I've copied about 200 slides and few negatives in below an hour.
 
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I have scanned all my father's and my own slides, started out with a Canon FS4000 scanner and continued with a Panasonic GH2, Leica 2.8/45mm macro and a Nikon ES-1 slide adapter (no optics in that one) because scanning was way too slow. With the GH2 the graininess of the slides was resolved very well so I figured 12 MP resolution was enough. I have now started to scan my old negatives, B&W and color, with the A7, Minolta Auto Bellows III + Slide Copier and the Minolta Auto Bellows Macro 3.5/50mm. So far that works well; I don't need to focus in-between shots when using f/8, the grain is critically sharp. For masked color negatives I have experimented with a blue filter to counteract the orange mask, I still have to see if that really works, first I have to scan some 400 rolls of B&W film :eek:.
 

davect01

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Like you said, this is a VERY time-consuming project.

We found a massive box of slides at my Mom and Dad's place. Found a local facility to digitize them all.
 

bdbits

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Well, I am surprised copying is faster than scanning. I may have to reconsider my options.

Yes, I know it will be very time-consuming Dave. But, I am not aware of any places here that offer this service without sending it somewhere or I would probably do that. I just cannot stand the thought of possibly losing the negatives.
 

davect01

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Well, I am surprised copying is faster than scanning. I may have to reconsider my options.

Yes, I know it will be very time-consuming Dave. But, I am not aware of any places here that offer this service without sending it somewhere or I would probably do that. I just cannot stand the thought of possibly losing the negatives.

Totally get the hesitation to ship them off somewhere. I simply did not want to spend the time doing this.

Best of luck getting this done :) It's fun going through old family memories.
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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Back in '14 (wow, that's a long time ago, digitally speaking) I rigged up my D7000 with my newly acquired Micro Nikkor 55mm lens, a tripod, a piece of old PVC pipe (black), and a laptop computer screen with a piece of mylar over it for the back lighting, and I digitized some (100+) slides I had in a shoe box. It was tedious, but fun in a way as it gave me a chance to think about each picture and when it was taken etc. I've yet to try it with my A7ii and the newer version of that lens that I now have. I looked, but I can't find a picture of my setup. It was a real Rube Goldberg type affair, but it worked pretty good.
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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I happened to find a picture of a set up I put together for slide copying. Just thought I'd update this thread with the pic. All of it except the camera-to-bellows adapter was purchased used.

OK. I'll go back under my rock now.

DSC05964 (Large).JPG
 
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bobbill

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Me too hates scanning, so fargin boring...but....

So AoA you take pics of negs with rig...kinda works for me...might go further, good time with cold weather and C-19 culling going on...

I must add that my negs range from the ubiquitous 35mm to ancient onces like 620s etc from 30s...(me Mom)...basically negs range from 35mm to 2.25 square, but most are small.

Can you elaborate a bit for us? Am not an equipment dodger, so any help is appreciated. And, with all my doings, it may be a day or so before I come back.
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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Basically the rig I put together is just a Nikon bellows set up with a slide/negative attachment.
I'm not sure how you'd use it with other than 35mm slides. I think the main problem would be holding the larger slides/negatives flat and square to the sensor plane. The bellows attachment solves this problem nicely.

As a side note, I had a lot of fun 'finding' all the pieces and figuring out how they all worked together. I even went so far as to get reversing rings so I can turn the lens around for really close macro work. I would highly recommend you use a macro lens, too. I did some research on what would work and found the Nikon micro series lenses were developed for document work so they are especially well suited to this slide copying task.
 

bobbill

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Always on Auto. Thank-you. I must ask you, as I really hate scanning anything, due to the boredom....
Is there a time saver here? INOW, will my lack of knowledge end up cancelling any time saving here?

Also, whilst you are out from under, can you define for this dimbo, the equipment you depicted, from body outward, which would be an enormous assistance...? (LUcky me...I have a 55 Nikkor Macro, which I have not used much..._)

I
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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Here is the setup hardware:
Sony A7ii>Fotodiox Sony-to-Nikon adapter>Nikon PB-5 Bellows Focusing Attachment>Nikon Micro Nikkor 55mm>Nikon PS-5 Slide Copying Attachment

That is the set up shown in my picture. The bellows on the PB-5 is fully collapsed, unlike the one on the PS-5 which is expanded.
I'm not sure how long it would take you to figure out how to scan your slides with a setup like mine. Once I figured out the focusing and lighting of the slides it was pretty quick for me as nothing really changes when you change out the slide. Maybe a little fine tuning of the focus as the slides don't always repeat in the way they seat in the PS-5.

Hope this helps.
 

SpecFoto

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The bellows shown above is needed in @AlwaysOnAuto setup because he is using a crop cameras and for more accurate focusing. When I did the same with my Nikon D800 I used the Nikon ES-1 slide copier adapter, got it for $39, and attached to the front of my Nikon Micro 55mm f2.8 lens. The adapter is about 2-1/2" deep and weigh practically nothing and a bellows, nor the rail to hold the setup, was needed. Since this 55mm Micro lens is only 1:2, I needed the PK-13 extension tube made for this lens that makes it 1:1. Another option is to use the Nikon 60mm f2.8 Micro which is native at 1:1.

I set up a constant color balanced bulb in a Home Depot reflector behind and did hundreds and hundreds of mounted slides this way. Just make sure to use lots of compressed air to clean the slides or film, as the dust will show up.





.
Nikon ES-1 Slide Copying Adapter.jpg


Nikon ES-1 Side View.jpg
 
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SpecFoto

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Yes I saw that. My understand is the bellows replaces the extension tube needed on the 55 f2.8 Micro to get it to 1:1 reproduction. The advantage of the bellows is that you can go higher or lower in magnification easily and you can also make up for the DX crop cameras. Is yours the PB-4 bellows?
 
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MWhite

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I only used a scanner previously - a very good one, that I recently sold (Nikon LS 9000). It did a nice job, but what a PITA! It took forever to scan 5 slides and made a noise that made a dentist's drill sound like a symphony. If I ever have to scan something again (fingers crossed against such an evil calamity) I will try something like AlwaysOnAuto's setup.
 

bobbill

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Spec-Foto wrote, "Just make sure to use lots of compressed air to clean the slides or film, as the dust will show up."

A small thing but important....
 

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