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Negative scanning with Nex

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by xXx1, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    I purchased a Contax 137 MA film body (or got it, a Cimko 28mm/2.8 and about 30 € when I purchased a Yashica ML 28mm/2.8 and those two items for 40 € and going price for that lens is something like 70 € ...) recently. It would be interesting to try film shooting again and I have even some nice lenses in Contax mount. I can have the negatives scanned but that is time consuming and quite expensive and results might be not so good. It did take a few hours to find this:
    http://petapixel.com/2012/05/18/how-to-scan-film-negatives-with-a-dslr/

    I can definitely build a negative holder like that but would prefer something ready made, does anybody know a ready solution? Cheap slide duplicators are out, their lenses aren't very good and I have 4 macro lenses that are much better.
     
  2. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
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  3. HabsFan

    HabsFan TalkEmount Veteran

    258
    Apr 10, 2013
    Ontario, CAN
    You can try using an old slide duplicator with a Macro lens or a regular lens and some extension tubes. I bought a Miranda slide duplicator off ebay and it does work. Accura is another one that looks pretty much the same. Neither have optics inside.

    You might need some spacer rings:http://www.camera-filters.com/pages/spacerrings.htm to get the distance just right. You could also use some old filters and pop out the glass and stack them. The Miranda duplicator has a distance adjustment but it is only maybe on cm.

    Here is kinda what it might look like http://tbwim.blogspot.ca/2013/01/digitising-old-negatives-part-1-kit.html. Instead of the step rings, you can use a spacer.

    By far the hardest part about scanning negatives is the color correction. Most of the good negative scanners vary the light colors individually to combat the orange mask. Usually if you just do a straight scan, you end up with a lot of noise in the blue channel. I've used a blue filter (80a or 80b) in front of my light source to get me in the ballpark. Getting an even bright light source is important. I have not tried it with my flash yet.

    The whole process is quite time consuming and editing is backwards if you are using lightroom after you invert your curves. I don't shoot film any more and have not tried scanning for quite a while as I don't have the time. I'd suggest getting cheapie low res scans as previews. You can then scan with your camera only the images that might warrant it.
     
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  4. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    I might end with a film scanner. I have to see if I will take enough photos with a film camera first.

    The present plan is to have 52 mm of extension tubes (two sets, have one already) with a 55mm macro lens and make a 25 cm L-bracket from flooring laminate. Focusing with a macro rail and a piece of white acrylic sheet as a diffuser and negative holder. I need the one extension tube set only to build the system.
     
  5. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Look at the Nikon ES-1. It doesn't have optics in it and it can be fitted to a macro lens, with step-up or step-down rings where necessary. Works a treat, I've "scanned" a lot of slides with it and the Panasonic GH2 fitted with the native Leica Elmarit 45mm 1:2.8 at the time. Look here for a much more elaborate description. I've never tried to photograph color negatives, only slides.
     
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  6. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    So Ad, do you think this might work with one of the lenses in my signature if I got the proper step-down ring and mounted the lens onto some macro extension tubes (I have a Fotodiox 10mm and 16mm)? There's a boat-load of slides slowly aging in my garage that I'd love to digitize.
     
  7. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Frankly I don't know how your native lenses will behave in terms of image quality when pushed to 1:1 reproduction ratio and I doubt that 26mm of extension would be enough; my experience is that especially zoom lenses hardly ever respond well to extension tubes. I think an old school legacy 50mm macro lens with an extension tube to get to 1:1 reproduction ratio would be your best bet. The native Leica 45/2.8 for the GH2 was designed to get to lifesize imaging all by itself, and did so with very good image quality and Sony doesn't offer any similar FE lenses so far.
     
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  8. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Thanks Ad. I don't know if it's worth it to me to go hunting for a good legacy macro, and then this Nikon slide mount on top of that. Something to investigate and ponder.
     
  9. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    It is worth the time to do this, because having a RAW/TIFF file of a film photo is so much better than the JPEGs you will get from a lab. You have so much dynamic range, with a losless file you can really push the image in lightroom.

    I haven't tried colour film yet, but it is probably better to start with black and white.

    Don't spend too much money though because my scanner is only $311! And I got it on sale for like $250. Well worth the money too. Click through to see the ludicrously high res version of this photo and check out the detail:

     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
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  10. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    That does seem like a better choice. I could probably score a used on on eBay, and when I'm done with it sell it for almost what I paid. Thanks Jai!
     
  11. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    Many thanks for all for information. It seems that a proper film scanner is about 250 € here in Finland. Spending roughly 100 € for a negative holder isn't going to be very cost effective so I think that I will get one if there is enough use for it. However I will experiment with a negative holder and extension tubes (55mm 1:1 macro with 26mm of extension will provide enough enlargement to cover almost whole negative).

    The present plan is to make the base from flooring laminate and mount a macro rail on it and build the negative holder from acrylic sheet using paper as spacer. For color temperature adjustment I will use Cokin P type filters cut to size for flash.

    Cheap UV-filters are probably cheapest source as spacers, they are about 1 USD from Ebay.
     
  12. tillman

    tillman TalkEmount Regular

    91
    May 28, 2014
    Keizer, Oregon
    Tillman
    I'm a bit late to conversation but having "Scanned" about 3000 slides in this manner, I feel I have some input on this. I started out using a Sony SLT-A37 with the SAL30M28 30mm Macro and a modified slide holder. I bought a couple slide holders off ebay when I started my project. I got one that had some glass elements and was intended to be onto a camera body in place of the lens, and another that was intended to just screw onto the filter ring. I ended up using pieces from both to get something I could mount onto the 30mm Sony macro I had. I eventually got something that achieved this however with the pieces I had I wasn't able to get the slide close enough to fill the frame, but it worked otherwise. I shot about 2800 slides with that setup, and set up a Photoshop action to automatically crop the images, which ended up filling about 3/4 of the frame. As time has progressed I replaced the Sony 30mm macro with an old Minolta 50mm 2.8 macro, which with my setup fills up the frame pretty well. I've also replaced my Sony DSLR with a NEX 5t, so I've taken to using this setup with a simple adapter for the lens.

    Lighting was an issue since I was stopping the lens down to about f8 or so to make sure I was getting things as sharp as I could. I found that the results from pointing it at a lamp ended up resulting in uneven lighting of the slide and long exposures. Unhappy with that I used a flash mounted on a stand pointing towards the lens with a wireless flash trigger. This worked alright but since the camera wasn't metering the exposure for flash, sometimes it required multiple shots before I got the exposure correct but after a while I got a feel for things and could estimate the proper exposure pretty well. Something I didn't think about until I was actually working on this is that each slide requires a different exposure since they have different densities. It's very much like being there and shooting these scenes myself. I had to put a diffuser on the flash to avoid a hotspot in the middle of the photo and play around with the distance from the camera, but this worked ok for getting through the slides at a quick pace. I was able to shoot and process about 100 slides an hour if I was working quickly, which is much better than I would have achieved with a slide scanner.

    The main reason I did any of this is that my Dad had tons of slides from my Grandfathers time in the US Navy during WWII as well as his childhood in the 1950's, and my Dad also had many slides from his time in Vietnam during that conflict. There was a lot of history in this collection and I put it together for him on DVD's he can play on the TV with nice cases for the discs and sleeves showing some of the photos that would be found on the disc. It was really some of my best work and my Dad really enjoyed getting nostalgic and watching the discs that had vacation photos from his childhood with my aunt who was his only sibling, and I'm really glad I did this when I did because my Grandma and my Aunt passed away earlier this year, but they had an opportunity to see the old photos again.

    These days I've got the big projects behind me, but I'm still using my setup when I find a few slides or if I decide to shoot some film and want to get it into the computer. The Nex camera is actually a bit nicer for this work because with the touchscreen I can just tap on the area I want to zoom in on and do my fine focusing. The DSLR was usually pretty good for autofocusing but I feel I can get slightly more accurate results focusing manually, and of course that's my only option with the lens adapted to Nex.

    White balance was an issue that I never found a good solution for, I had the ethought starting out that I could set the white balance and be done with it, but since the shots differ in their lighting it's the same as being there and taking the shots myself, obviously we can't just set white balance and have one setting work for everything we shoot whether we're in the sun or indoors, under fluorescent light, etc. I evenutlaly just left the white balance on auto and made color corrections as needed. Most of the shots were OOC Jpegs but I still shot Raw as well in case there was a shot I wanted to fine tune or make a print from, etc.

    Like I stated earlier, I'm a bit late to the conversation but I hope someone finds this information helpful, I know I did a lot of research before I started this project just to see if the results were going to be acceptable and I feel that I achieved the results I wanted as far as quality and the real benefit was the time it saved over using a scanner. Even at the lowest quality settings for most of the film scanners I considered, I was still looking at 30 seconds to a minute per slide. With 2800 slides sitting in front of me, that simply wasn't practical.

    I found this resource and I think this is what convinced me that this could be a viable approach.

    http://thedambook.com/downloads/Camera_Scanning_Krogh.pdf

    - Tillman
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
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  13. tillman

    tillman TalkEmount Regular

    91
    May 28, 2014
    Keizer, Oregon
    Tillman
    The link you provided is a very good resource, I wish I would have found it before I set out on my slide scanning adventure, probably would have saved me a bit of time on trial and error issues.
     
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  14. michelb

    michelb TalkEmount Regular

    194
    Oct 27, 2013
    Greater Montreal area in Quebec, Canada
    Michel Brien
    did it: see http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/finally...c80146_post926073.html?KW=al+my+slides#926073

    The most difficult was actually finding the proper settings: After numerous tests that probably took 5-6 hours to test/evaluate/ re-test and re-evaluate, my final settings were mainly:

    - Manual mode and fixed ISO: Changed aperture when i wanted darker/lighter for over/underexposed originals
    - Flash WB for consistency of color from slide to slide
    - Lower contrast and standard picture mode specified on camera
    - Manual flash at always the same power for consistency
    - Reflector used to bounce flash since i was getting weird elections around the edges of the slides

    If you are on APS-C, my set-up will not allow 1:1 reproduction ratio since the cropped image will not show the entire slide and this set-up can not extend the slide far enough from the sensor.
     
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  15. tillman

    tillman TalkEmount Regular

    91
    May 28, 2014
    Keizer, Oregon
    Tillman
    I'm glad you mentioned the specific settings you used, I set up my equipment in a similar way but I forgot to get into that in my post. I did not have as good of luck with white balance, the slides I was working on had a wide range of locations, such as indoors, out at sea, sunsets, etc. I think this is a really good way of digitizing large quantities of slides, even at the cheapest rates I've seen, paying to have 2000-3000 slides is quite a big bill, and then to do it yourself it's a huge time investment with a film scanner.
     
  16. Kirkp

    Kirkp TalkEmount Regular

    151
    Nov 2, 2014
    The OP was discussing negative scanning. The mechanical issues are similar, but getting the color correct is far more difficult. After reading several articles by people who tried capturing negatives with a camera, I dropped the idea and bought a scanner.

    I have duplicated slides using an old Minolta bellows with a slide holder and had good results. I used auto white balance, but tweaked the white balance if needed when processing the RAW.

    I used a flash as the light source. In retrospect, maybe I should have used a light with the same color temperature as a slide projector, the the white balance on the camera to daylight.
     
  17. tillman

    tillman TalkEmount Regular

    91
    May 28, 2014
    Keizer, Oregon
    Tillman
    I've shot color negatives, take your white balance from the film base in post processing, then invert the colors and work from there. I do a lot of black and white negatives which are obviously pretty straight forward. I've played around with some color negatives but it was more tedious although I don't think the white balance setting in the camera is all that crucial for color negatives since it's necessary to do a lot of that in post.
     
  18. Kirkp

    Kirkp TalkEmount Regular

    151
    Nov 2, 2014
    B&W negatives would be no problem. Color negatives are much more difficult. For example, read this how-to. It seems like lot of labor for each image.
    http://petapixel.com/2012/05/18/how-to-scan-film-negatives-with-a-dslr/
    There's a Photoshop plugin called PhotoPerfect that is supposed to do a great job on negatives. That might make the job much less laborious. I haven't tried it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
  19. tillman

    tillman TalkEmount Regular

    91
    May 28, 2014
    Keizer, Oregon
    Tillman
    I'm sticking to black and white, myself.
     
  20. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    I have put this project away for few months. Absolutely too busy at the moment, spring was used to renovate my parents apartment (successful, apartment was sold a week ago), summer to renovate my summer cottage and now renovating my new apartment (that means I can use about 800 € per month more for hobbies). It seems practical if I use flash and use filter to modify the light so that the mask in films is reduced.