View Full Version : I'm building a LF SCANNER camera

Project ESE
5-Mar-2010, 03:26
Hi, I'm Dario, from Italy, and I went to this forum in search for experts in medium and large format photography, because I have some dilemmas about my project, and I hope you can help me.
Like the title says, I'm building a large format camera, using a flatbed CCD scanner instead of film.
Here it is the gallery with all the photos of the work in progress http://www.flickr.com/photos/projectese/sets/72157623187612134/
and this is a video I've made some time ago, about the camera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXxjsz6J5Bg

Am I doing it wrong? Do you have some suggestions about the shape and the features of the chassis? Any idea about how to make a "working" ground glass? any suggestion about how improve the overall design? any feedback of some sort?

Also I''m searching for a wide angle lens, or at least something wider than the Industar 300mm.. but I don't have thousands of euros to spend in this project.. there are dozen of large format lenses on ebay under 300$ but I'm not an expert, I don't know what is good or bad.. so again: ...any suggestion?

Thank you in advance.

Peter K
5-Mar-2010, 03:50
Am I doing it wrong? Do you have some suggestions about the shape and the features of the chassis? Any idea about how to make a "working" ground glass? any suggestion about how improve the overall design? any feedback of some sort?
Do you know this (http://www.sentex.net/~mwandel/tech/scanner.html) site?

Have fun


Project ESE
5-Mar-2010, 04:57
Yes I know the site, it's probably one of the earliest about this kind of thing.
From there the scanner technology has done some big steps in terms of resolution and performance.
He was using the lens fixed to the ccd and moving the whole thing: If the motor has enough power and the lens assembly is not heavy is the best choice. I can't do it with the large format solution, but in future if I will use a small or medium format lenses is the system that I will choose.

Walter Calahan
5-Mar-2010, 07:54
Very very cool.

Are you machining the metal yourself?

They way it is structure it appears you are sticking to a horizontal orientation. Wish I was as mechanically minded because, if I were, I'd love to do this too.

Good luck. Can't wait till you post images made with this camera!

David McNiven
5-Mar-2010, 08:37
Hi Dario, have you already hacked the scanner's software? I was googling around the subject a while back & found a site with lots of scanners listed for which hacks were offered - for free I think.
I don't think I bookmarked it but may be able to find it again if it would help.

Project ESE
5-Mar-2010, 11:43
well, as far as I know the only alternative for me is use VueScan, but is basically identical to the epson, or even worse. I've seen a site where a guy has made a custom driver for his scanner in linux, and he can control everything, and the thir party Linux standard drivers for my scanner are better, because it's possible to have access to some important features, like separate horizontal and vertical resolution.
At the moment the only problem with the drivers is the shift of the color channels and the anamorphic resolution: now i'm shfting the channels in place with Photoshop, but in high contrast zones there are some aberrations.

@Walter: this design does not require machining metal: the chassis is made from standard aluminium profiles and L joints with bolts and nuts. You can build it with a saw and a drill. and if you want to see some images there are on the link in the first post: there are not very beautiful but the camera was different from now.

5-Mar-2010, 12:11
Every one of these I've seen has some troubles with banding. Has anyone managed to solve these yet?

I'd love to see how it works out. Like a BetterLight for us non-rich non-pro's.

Linux is nice. If there is a driver offering full controls that is probably the way to go. There are some embeddable i386 platforms that might be built into it... saving the weight of the capture computer system and cables. Lots of people code under Linux for free, if you need something done often a cheap bounty can make it happen because the writer won't be used to getting paid at all.

Michael Nagl
5-Mar-2010, 12:12

this is super cool! A digital camera with - how many gigapixels? - for a few hundred Euros! I do wish you a lot of success!
One thing IŽd like to know though, will it be possible to use short lenses or will the different angles at which the light rays hit the sensors be a problem? And how do you deal with the electricity problem when you want to leave the studio?
Besides, IŽve experienced various troubles with my Epson, so IŽd be thankful to learn about those hacking possibilities, maybe that would make it easier to find a solution.

5-Mar-2010, 12:58
A Canon CanoScan LiDE 100 scanner is powered off of the USB connection to a laptop. So, it is simply one cable connection. With a newer 'netbook' computer, you should be able to capture a few images in the field, where the weight of the netbook is far smaller than the camera the scanner is attached to.

I have seen a couple of scanner cameras that have solved the banding problem in post processing. So, there is software available to do this.

I recently bought the above scanner to try to use it on a scanner camera. It cost me about $60.00 from B&H Photo. Since the hardware has to be modified to make it work, I did not think the cost was that great. At some point, I will tackle this project myself, so that I can use it on my Cambo Legend 8x10.


Jason Greenberg Motamedi
5-Mar-2010, 14:42
With your current set up I wonder about focusing. It will take a really long time to focus using the scanner instead of ground glass.

5-Mar-2010, 16:28
We did similar project in the beginning of century. Here are few things that I recall.

CIS vs CCD sensors - we did one based on CIS sensors (google it) in Canon Lide, one big advantage of it - it is wide and cover 8in area and covers 8x10 nicely. Another - simplicity, powered by USB and lightweight - even usable in the field, 3rd price - ~$80, we wasted about 3 scanners. You will need to take it apart pop wide micro lens at top of CIS. One disadvantage of Canon Lide was that CIS was mounted about 2mm bellow assembly surface - somehow limiting with very wide lenses. There were a lot of similar projects at time - google canon lide camera.

By using short CCD on 8x10 you're pretty much wasting real estate:)

Software - your best bet is Sane:

You'll need generic unix understanding, also it runs on modern MAC's. Full open source code drivers for a lot of scanners . At time we're been doing it there was no Lide driver and we had to piece one together from other drivers, I should still have source for it somewhere. But I'm sure Lide is very well supported now.

Besides basic servo motor/CIS control/exposure timing we had to deal with color regeneration and stripes. Later I've seen someone did similar and published reasonable article - google for it.

That was 8x10, nowdays I see 4x5 CIS scanners aka:
Can make very portable back.

If you want to stick with CCD, again Sane will give you access to software, you'll need to find scanner with large Kidak linear sensors, here are specs:

here's pic of sensor in my PhaseOne scanning back:


5-Mar-2010, 19:14
Here are few links that I can find today.
Coupe of camera designs:


Good article:

Project ESE
5-Mar-2010, 19:39
when I was talking about linux before, I was referring to Sane software, I know it, but I don't know anything about programming, and if I can find someone who can help me for the software will be in the other side of the world from me and he must connect to my scanner.. not easy.

before going further with the topic I'd like to make the point about the sensor:
For a quality scanning the sensor has to be CCD, because the CIS sensor has too many problems with dead pixels, instability of exposure and f course the system itself cannot capture a color image;you have to do three photos with three RGB filters(a CIS scanner illuminate the paper sequentially with a RGB LED, take BW lines and recompose the RGB image.
The only problem with the CCD is its dimension, but you can take multiple scans and cover a large surface. It doesn't generate aberrations, banding, lines, etc.. If you want to work in LF, one other problem can be the lower light sensitivity, but in sunlight is not a problem at all.
Professional line sensors, like the Kodak from the Betterlight can cost several hundreds of euros, and you have to build all the electronics and software..
The other long line sensors, like the ones in A3 scanners, are very rare and also pricey.
The solution is reducing the format: the sensor has the right height to work in medium format: you have only to build a smaller box and some gears to reduce the run lenght of the scan.

For those who was asking, yes you can reduce the format and the lens as you want or use a wide angle LF lens.

Focusing: yes it's a very tedious routine (preview, zoom preview, look at the image, move the lens, zoom preview look at the image.. etc..) because now, with this design I don't have a ground glass. With the previous scanner and chassis I had a ground glass but not very precise, I used it only for approximate focus befoer the real focusing routine. If you have any idea will be apprecciated.

Electric source: it's 13,4V, so it can run on batteries. However for the moment I'm using an inverter from my car when I go to shoot outside. If you are planning to build a scanner camera try to avoid USB powered scanners because they have CIS sensor and they are slower.

6-Mar-2010, 03:05
Am I doing it wrong? Do you have some suggestions about the shape and the features of the chassis?
Thank you in advance.

Unfortunately, the basic frame of your construction (the chassis) is - from the mechanical point of view - incorrectly constructed and nonsensical. PM me if interested.

Project ESE
6-Mar-2010, 06:02
Unfortunately, the basic frame of your construction (the chassis) is - from the mechanical point of view - incorrectly constructed and nonsensical. PM me if interested.

why PM? I think it's better to keep he discussion as public as possible, because maybe in the future other people wants to know how to build a proper scanner camera.

@VictoriaPerelet: yes I know those sites, but I think it could take another 3-4 years before the CIS scanners will be at the same level of CCD scanners. I had a couple of LiDe200, and it takes too much of processing and post processing to have a correct color image. the only advantage is the sensor lenght: It can be a not so bad choice if you are interested in only BW photos.

Project ESE
6-Mar-2010, 08:31
This is what is look like right now:
the black hot glue is very ugly and unprofessional, but it helps a lot blocking the light and it's very lightweight compared to bolts and screws. Also it helps keeping a simple structure.

6-Mar-2010, 10:38
Why can't you remove the light entirely?
All non-value added components should be eliminated if possible.

I realize all of this has been accomplished before...
But I wonder what result would be produced if the image was projected onto an intermediary translucent film of very fine grain. My gut tells me this would introduce an unwanted "haze" to the image.... But maybe rough focusing could be accomplished through the view film. Then the scanner would capture the image just as it would normally perform a scan on reflective or film media. The lens on the scanner sensor is optimized to capture an image at a predetermined working distance with flat geometry.
Then again, you could probably sit there with your laptop and get fast low res scans to tweak the focus and see the content... else rely on infinity and small aperture.

I've wanted to perform a similar setup as an alternative to X-ray film imaging. All the instant Polaroid sheet film is going away. You can't use the multi-packs because they will all get exposed if even a single one gets exposed. Using large senor CCD and image intensifier of any size approaching 4x5 is very expensive. Using conventional 1/3" CCD with large image intensifier is cumbersome and difficult to scale the real L/mm resolution of the instant film when using so many varieties of items that need x-ray inspection at our facillity, mostly the Beryllium windows of each x-ray generator. Spots on windows are bad for our customers that use the device to image (FYI: image intensifier converts x-ray photons to electrons to visible light as seen by the CCD). Being able to capture 1:1 or 2:1 what was captured by the Polaroid film would be advantageous. Point is,... we wanted to construct a large image intensifier to use with a flatbed scanner similar to what you are trying to achieve... but a whole different animal of complexity.


Project ESE
6-Mar-2010, 13:21
the light is essential: first because if you remove the light the scanner cannot initialize,second, I have a dimmer on the back of the scanner for tuning the light power: if the light decrease the brighteness, the ccd compensate increasing the amplification of the sensor, so it behave like an ISO control knob.
In daylight the scanner works even without the LED light, because of the light entering from the lens is sufficient to simulate the original light, but if you want to control the exposure you need to block the light from the lens while the scanner initialize the scan and use the LED light.
It also behave like a white balance control if you put a colored filter on the light (blue filter->warm image and vice-versa)

6-Mar-2010, 16:45
Please don't take this the wrong way... But while you find the lamp useful to manipulate light levels it just didn't make sense to me...
In my mind I would probably modify the circuit to change sensor amplification by knob or software and make the assembly light tight. I can't think of one reason you would want stray light to interfere with a LF camera sensor during image acquisition.

To date, I had never read or looked at any websites, or seen the MAKE video/ magazine, etc,...
After seeing your post/ commnets I decided to take a look at what people have posted on the internet... and found this one:
Here's a quote from website:

"The scanner camera that I'm using right now uses the frame of an old Horseman 450L monorail 4x5 camera, which I purchased secondhand with the support of the Audi Design Foundation. The scanning back is an extensively modified Canon LIDE 20, from which I have removed the lamp, pinhole lens assembly, and CIS sensor housing. I've made the scanner light-tight using duct tape and putty, covered with a hefty dose of black spray paint."
"The first part of the LIDE 20 that can be modified for better photographic results is the lamp. When scanner photographs are taken with the lamp intact, the ambient light that it provides tends to drown out the light being projected through the lens, causing the captured image to become weak and washed out. Getting rid of the lamp, or disabling it, can allow a scanner camera to capture a much higher quality image.

The simplest method of disabling the lamp is destruction. Smashing the LED point source by pinching it with a pair of pliers is simple and safe, and prevents the lamp from ever working again. While this is undoubtedly an effective method of lamp removal, I don't like it for several reasons. For one, it is extremely permanent... the destruction of the LED prevents the scanner from ever working normally again. Also, it feels like an ugly solution to me; the arbitrary crushing of scanner components feels a little bit too crude.

An alternative to the destruction of the LED light source would be to cover it up. This is also an effective method of disabling the lamp, and is a little bit less permanent. The lamp can be covered with a small sticker, preferably foil-backed"...

Anyway, I am very interested in your post and congrats on the progress you have made... Definitely sparked my interest to follow through at work on a potential project.


6-Mar-2010, 17:18
Some scanners are too smart for their own good wrt this purpose: they (firmware actually in the scanner, not the drivers on the controlling PC) use the light as a calibration source for the CCD. If no light is found, the scanner goes offline and reports "lamp or CCD failure". So removing the lamp requires that you have a scanner that's not that smart.

6-Mar-2010, 17:59
There's an old saying...
"You can hit a nail with a sledgehammer..."

And another...
"There's no free lunch..."

Maybe Project ESE is entirely on-track and satisfied with the results? Not sure?
From what I can tell, there are other people who have done an enormous amount of experimentation to get to the point of minimizing the aberrations and stop-gaps. This includes disabling the scanner errors to allow an entirely different hardware application. My suggestion is to have a longer term approach that would allow optimizing the scanner hardware for a camera application.

Quote from Golembewski - "The true usefulness of the SANE drivers lies not in the front-end applications, but rather in the fact that the raw code for the back-end is open source. This means that the LIDE 20 driver itself can be modified and changed, allowing the scanner to perform functions that the manufacturer never intended.

Unfortunately, driver programming is a complex thing, and is an art in itself. Years of dedicated study are required before a programmer can successfully attempt to write a device driver from the ground up. However, those with a decent amount of programming skill can easily use a combination of detective work and intuitive guesswork in order to modify aspects of the SANE drivers.

I was able, with a bit of practice and programming study, to disable the calibration and error correction routines found in the driver for the Canon LIDE 20. This allowed me to use the more extensively modified scanners easily and effectively, and was vital in letting me create the higher quality photographs of the later-model scanner cameras."

Project ESE
6-Mar-2010, 18:56
Some scanners are too smart for their own good wrt this purpose: they (firmware actually in the scanner, not the drivers on the controlling PC) use the light as a calibration source for the CCD. If no light is found, the scanner goes offline and reports "lamp or CCD failure". So removing the lamp requires that you have a scanner that's not that smart.

exactly: some scanners like the ones with CIS sensors are so simple, in the mechanics and the electronics, that they don't care about light, or even about the sensor position. If you disassemble a CCD scanner from 2005 and CIS scanner from 2009 you will understand what i'm talking about. It's like comparing a car with a bicycle. However some new CCD scanners, like the V30 that I'm using, has both the simple design and the great electronics.
If you take a look at my gallery (link in the first post) you can see some of my previous scanners. the last I was using before the V30 had a fluorescent light and I had to make system to replace it with a adjustable LED light. But was different: that scanner was taking the minimum and the maximum light turning on and off the light but if you disconnect the light the scanner doesn't care, no errors, no alarms, but the exposure is f****d up. Also the circuit was not based on a single microchip, so probably with some deep knowledge in electronics you can build a real ISO control, but a that level probably you are able to make the motherboard for yourself!

Here are some people who has build scanner cameras, but in medium format: all of those people have the LEDs with the dimmer just like me.




I had very similar results of the Golembewski's scanner camera when I was using the LiDe 200, and without tweaking on the drivers, because the exposure is fixed and you have only to block the light coming from the LED (if you try to take off the led, the scanner die).

Project ESE
7-Mar-2010, 13:44
Today I've just completed the camera
with bellows and I am satisfied with the results: the focus procedure take about 5 minutes, it's not that difficult, and the shifting of the back now is perfect, remains in focus after a lot of movements.
The only real problem now is the manteinance: it's really hard to clean the sensor because I have to take down the bellows every time.

However, I've done some test shots and uploaded a photo on flickr


8-Mar-2010, 11:52
You could possibly speed up focusing by using a laser rangefinder to find the exact distance to the focus point, then use a distance sensor like those used in cheap electronic calipers to set the lens->film plane distance to the correct value. Basically it would be an assisted rangefinder system. The system would know the correct distance between then lens->film plane (from the laser rangefinder object distance) and it would notify you once you hit that point via the distance sensor mounted on the focusing rail. I've been trying to workout such a system for a Speed Graphic but it would be much easier for a larger camera like this.

Project ESE
8-Mar-2010, 12:50
I like that system, I don't know how much cost the laser rangefinder, but if it is cheap I can build it.
but first of all I must do some little things here and there to the chassis, to make it as straight as possible.
As you can see in the latest test( http://www.flickr.com/photos/projectese/4416899011/ )
the lens is not really parallel to the scanner.

Project ESE
10-Mar-2010, 03:26
I've done another video about the scanner camera:

by the way probably this weekendI will go to the "photoshow" in Rome, looking for a used large format lens.

Do you have any advice for a cheap but good lens, shorter than 300mm?

13-Mar-2010, 09:56

14-Mar-2010, 16:57
can't remember the place... but there was a mention of this one person in... i think it was popsci or popmech. either way, it was large format scanner cameras with 128mb images, made with broken cameras, duct tape, etc. i'll post it when i find it again.

Project ESE
15-Mar-2010, 03:28
can't remember the place... but there was a mention of this one person in... i think it was popsci or popmech. either way, it was large format scanner cameras with 128mb images, made with broken cameras, duct tape, etc. i'll post it when i find it again.

mmm.. 128MB sounds too little.. anyway if you find it i'd like to see it!

anyway, I'm doing some practice with the camera in the weekends, and I'm quite satisfied with the results:
It's a little too difficult to take the full frame because of the weight of the file, and because of the movement of the back. Also I think there's some problems with the bellows, brobably it causes some reflections or diffractions on the edge of the full frame: on the very left end of the frame the image become yellow-ish.
Another bad thing is the tendency to hot spot but I suppose is a lens fault, but when I don't use the whole frame it's not visible. I thinh this camera is better for static objects in controlled enviroments, like products, cars, house interiors etc. because the landscape photography has too many variables.
Actually another limit is the amount of RAM memory on my netbook (1GB) so I can't take 48 bit images when I use the full frame and the postprocessing become more difficult.
In my gallery (http://www.flickr.com/photos/projectese/sets/72157623187612134/ ) you can see some of the last shts I've done: some landscapes and some automotive photos.
here some examples:

(single scan almost full frame)
(double scan almost full frame)
(single, cropped)
(double, cropped)

17-Mar-2010, 20:04
Cool to see I'm not the only one still interested in this.

I'm wondering, would any Canon Lide scanner work, or only specific ones? There are several available used in my city for less than $50 and I'd like to know which is best..

17-Mar-2010, 21:08
I think you've done a pretty decent job! Some of the images have come out great! Will look forward to seeing where you go with this.

Project ESE
18-Mar-2010, 06:29
Cool to see I'm not the only one still interested in this.

I'm wondering, would any Canon Lide scanner work, or only specific ones? There are several available used in my city for less than $50 and I'd like to know which is best..

Well, using a Lide scanner you will not able to capture color images because the scanners with CIS sensors use a different method:
the light illuminate the subject alternating red, green and blue light, so using a different kind of light the result is a BW image.
Also they have some issues with the quality of every single pixel sensor and most of the time you can see some dead pixels as well.
Anyway, any scanner can be a camera, and there's not a big difference between a Lide 25 and 200.

But if you want better results you have to use a CCD scanner like me. It has other problems, but the quality is much better and can capture color images in a single scan and without filters.

So, the pros an cons of those 2 kind of sensor are:

CIS sensor:

-large format sensor
-low price
-simple construction

-black & white images
-poor quality
-no sensitivity control

CCD sensor:

-high quality color images
-sensitivity control


-higher price
-the sensor is only about 2 inches
-anamorphic images (if you use it with the original gears)
-the modificaion can be difficult for beginners

using the ccd sensor, I think the best choice si to convert it in a MEDIUM format, building a proper chassis and gears, but only if you have some experience about making cameras.

Martin Miksch
20-Mar-2010, 03:53
Project ESE, where in Italy are you placed? I am also interested in a scanning camera and maybe I can come and visit you.

Project ESE
20-Mar-2010, 05:33
I'm in Florence. Are you planning to build one too?

Project ESE
23-Mar-2010, 13:38
(there was a post by someone asking how I manage the power supply when I am in the field, but I think it's been erased because of some spam links in the message. anyway this was the answer)

Using batteries, but most of the time I shoot near my car because it's not easy to walk far with this camera, so I connect it to the car.

13-Dec-2010, 23:54
Hi Everybody,

I'm pretty new to this forum. I am trying to construct a LF scanning back for my 8x10 setup as described in this whitepaper that others have referenced here:


I bought a LiDE 80 on eBay and attempted the mods discussed in the article. I removed the plastic LED magnifier and filter in front of the sensor array, then scratched out the LED element so it doesn't light up.

I thought I'd test out the scanner so I fired it up and discovered it would not advance beyond recognizing the device (no preview scan). So I de-soldered the LED element from the PCB board containing the sensor.

Now the scanner works but I am getting images like the ones below. The first is with lights off -- you can see the basic pattern. The second is with a light on and my hand held over the scan area.


Did I mess up the scanner? Do I need to start over? What should I do differently? Besides scratching out the LED, I removed the other two parts pretty carefully. This site mentions blacking out the LED with paint:


Is there anybody out there who has done mods to these scanners who might be able to help? Did you leave the black plastic piece on top of the PCB board after your mods? Does this reduce light getting to the sensor? I cannot seem to find a more detailed description out there.

Many Thanks!!

21-Jan-2011, 14:13
Hey everyone,

I am a newbie around here and just like many of you me too I am attempting my first built of a LFC using a scanner.
After reading papers and watching websites online I have come to understand the difference between the CIS and the CCD; while I am waiting for my Epson v30 CCD I am giving a CanonLide210 a go.
I have followed Golemebski's advice and went to hack the scanner.
I have masked the LED sensor with electric tape after doing all the rest of the template as advised here http://cdn.makezine.com/make/scannercamera.pdf
Now the scanner won't be recognised no matter how many softwares I try to open and use; the CIS board after moving to its original position, it won't be going more than a few steps up and down the scan. Despite my efforts I can't seem to be able to get VueScan or ImageCapture to scan the image, even after installing the SANE TWAIN drivers. I am working on a Mac and thinking about installing Unix.
Did anyone have the same experience so far?

Any help will be extremely appreciated.

thanks everyone!


I didn't scratch out the LIDE neither destroy it, I have masked it out with black tape and then I was suggested to let the scan run its normal alignment (through the CIS LED light). But even like this it won't work

21-Jan-2011, 14:28
All I can say is, after 3 scanners in a month I gave up and bought a used BetterLight. I eventually got one of the LiDE scanners to work by using black paint over the LED, but it took forever. Many times it would fail, as you described, with the head jerking on init and refusing to advance, or the SW not recognizing it at all. I used several models of Canon LiDE and all were very finicky. Good luck to you!!

22-Jan-2011, 07:46
prohtex, you have to remove the black plastic from the pcb entirely in the LiDE.

Here's the results (http://www.flickr.com/photos/j03/3296237781/#/photos/j03/3296237781/lightbox/) from my scanner back camera experiments.

23-Jan-2011, 09:26
Hi j03, what is plastic I need to remove exactly? I have removed all black plastic from the board, only leaving enough 'frame' to hold the Sensor (the green bar) in place.
I have kept a visual rec of all I have done so far here:
is there anything wrong or anything I still need to try?
Scanner is not being recognised and the scan head isn't going further than a few cm only to go back to its original position. Any suggestion is more than welcome :)

20-Apr-2011, 07:09
was seraching for info when i came across this thread ...
i mucked around with scanners in 2002 & have (in the last few months ) been revisited this project /

intital scanner was a ccd based plustek based (epson perfection 1250) usb scanner / & i fitted the ccd into a 35mm frame & hacked up sane software to drive it ...
example pics on FB:
example pics on FB (http://www.facebook.com/media/set/fbx/?set=a.10150202740536110.375827.834696109#!/photo.php?fbid=10150202740706110&set=a.10150202740536110.375827.834696109&type=1&theater)

latest project is using a CIS based canon lide210 .. & am now looking for an aprop. lens/bellows arangemnt .. & am currently rewrite/modifing the software to drive this ...

I hasn't thought of the color issues with CIS :( i do like the small size of the electronics

most of the OLD scanners i've come across do not support USB2.0 so can't keep up to the data stream

Ideally i want a the low power & would prefer a CCD (35 mm sensor length size) & 10000 elementx3 but high speed USB ..
Still hacking ..

Steven Scanner
22-Dec-2011, 08:31
I'm a novice at LF scanner camera's. Right now I've got a cardboard box with a magnifying glass at one end and an unmodified flatbed scanner on the other end. Standard software, black & white images, BMP file output.
The magical appearence of a picture is part of the fun. I see I have a long way to go and a lot to learn. For now I'm going to make my own LF camera from scratch, but in a way that it is easy to alter for better lenses and scanners.
I don't have a lot of knowledge of software (barely made it installing the standard software from the scanner. :) )
Now I'm going to read the pages of this thread again for more info.

Steven Scanner
1-Feb-2012, 00:00
Finished the camera (for now)
More info here:

10-Feb-2013, 10:46
Hi everybody,

here are some sample pictures of my scanner camera and comparison of 2 lenses:


The scanner was a really cheap lifetec USB scanner.



Steven Scanner
11-Feb-2013, 00:00
Nice photo's Skywatcherjan. Did you alter the scanner? I have difficulties with shooting outdoors, I think to much UV light.

11-Feb-2013, 10:24
I took all the hardware out of the scanner and mounted it into the camera box.
The lifetec scanner software (old stuff : Windows98) is very cool and allows for almoste everything to be set after I run a preview scan: levels, curves, filters, contrast, ......
The scanner does one calibration at the first use and then reads what it calls "shading data" if the software is restarted. I don`t know where it is stored, might be in the hardware itself.
So after a succesfull calibration (basicaly holding the bar over a white paper) I covered the led light bar for taking pictures so no stray green light comes in the camera dark box.
I did not alter the scanner electronics nor the software.
The CIS moves in a curve in my camera because it lies in a deep groove and has to be pointed at the incoming light over the whole scan. The center of the curve is at the diaphragma of the lens and the radius equals the focal distance of the lens (more or less).
Here are some technical shots:
I hope this helps you

Steven Scanner
13-Feb-2013, 02:21
That helps. I'll try the calibration, perhaps that works. The light bar and the CIS seem to be in the same casing, removing one would mean I also remove the other. Perhaps another scanner could do the trick.
The deep groove you're talking about works as a pinhole. Most scanner camera builders remove the deep groove but your sollusion works to.
I have this problem: When I want to take photo's outside, like this one

I get an image like this:

The vingette is because I didn't remove the deep groove. That is actually not the problem right now. The problem is the over exposed tree. I tried to ajust the settings in the software, I tried a filter in front of the lens. UV and colored gel filters, but it doesn't take away the flare. It doesn't happen when I shoot indoors with artificial light, just with natural light. As you can see here

13-Feb-2013, 02:48
Hi again,
I had that kind of image from outside too when scanning in a linear path : I believe it is called the keyhole effect. With the curved path this is solved.
As for the contrast:
1- calibrating :
The lifetec scanner I used does calibration by giving a series of light pulses with decreasing intensity while not moving the scanner head under the white strip on the glas plate. then it gives constant light and moves slowly onder the white strip. The calibrating can be done on demand with a button in the software.
I tried all kind of things for calibrating with external light sources eg uniform white surface through the lens of the camera holding the CIS in the centre etc etc. Nothing performed better then letting the scanner using its own light bar over white paper: probably because of the several steps it uses with the decreasing intensities.
2- preview
After doing a preview scan procedure , I do the settings: levels, curves, Gamma nearly 0 !!!, ...
I then select the area I really want to scan: redo the settings, because it changes completely (histogram seems to be rearanged with the data in the selection and somehow stretched ?

It seems I realy got lucky with this old scanning software from lifetec, it solves a lot of problems


24-Feb-2013, 13:55
These are my best portrait images as yet with the DIY scanner camera.
The lens was the Wollensak Velostigmat , stopped down about halfway.
Captured with lifetec scanner software 2400 DPI
Exported as 16 bit TIF image with microsoft photodraw edition 1998
Imported on linux with RAWTherapee : something like "bridge" for photoshop
Processed in Gimp, 8 bit TIF grayscale
Exported as JPEG:



Thanks for looking