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Thread: Scanning one's collection of negatives and slides.

  1. #1

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    Scanning one's collection of negatives and slides.

    Up to now have relied on various setups to produce digital files from B&W negatives and color transparencies. Finally decided that I should digitize all of most treasured film images. Decided on using a Nikon D850 to digitally capture the images. Its sensor's resolution exceeds what I need to make my final prints (largest size is 11x14) from. Evenness on the illumination beneath the film was my first concern. Flare could be easily handled by masking off the film being photographed. Lens options ware my biggest concern.

    Came up with the following procedures:

    35mm B&W negatives and slides: These proved to be the most challenging. In the past had limited access to an Imacon scanner. Tried several ways to shoot the 24x36mm format, but in comparing my scans to those that I once did on the Imacon, the Imacon's scans were superior. Fortunately when I had access to an Imacon, scanned dozens of 35mm film images. Haven't shot 35mm film in probably 10+ years. Decided to just work with the scans that I had done with the Imacon.

    120 negatives and transparencies: Previously had shot them with my Multiphot. 120mm f/6.3 Macro-Nikkor stopped down one f stop. Lighting could be either a light box or the Diascopic Illuminator (Kohler Illumination) or a combination of both with a double exposure. Initial exposure with the light box gave me the tonalities and the second exposure with Kohler illumination in effect acted as a sharpening filter. Double exposures worked out the best, but the ratio of each of the exposures was hard to calculate... it seemed to be different depending on the particular image. Decided on doing the following: shoot the film using a light box as the light source. Then I import the images into Topaz Studio's Sharpen AI app and apply a degree of sharpening. Using the compare images slider, I can view the sharpened image verses the unsharpened image in pretty much real time. This far beats making sometimes 10 double exposures at different exposure ratios and later reviewing them in Lightroom or Photoshop to see which one (if any) worked the best. So far the above has worked out fine for me.

    4x5 up to 11x14 films. Up to now, simply used my Epson V750 PRO Scanner for up to 8x10 films. For 11x14 had been scanning the film in usually 6 parts, having them merged into one image in Photoshop. Unfortunately the glass in the scanner is recessed and the film can not lie totally flat on the glass. Resulting merged images left a lot to be desired especially where the images were merged together. So decided to use my D850 and shoot the films on a light box. For a light source, I use a flat LED light box with a thin sheet of opaque plexiglass over it. Film images are always masked. Initially used a common 60mm Macro Nikkor. Now I have begun to compare using a 65mm Macro-Nikkor and a 120mm Macro-Nikkor off my Multiphot, 8cm Leitz Summar, and an 12cm Leitz Summar. I believe reversing the lenses might be the best way to go. I have a 4x5 (actually slightly smaller) film Kodak IMAGE TEST CHART which I need to reproduce a lot smaller on Kodalith film to judge resolution with, and a Stouffer Industries film 31 step tablet to compare tonal reproduction. Flash some 4x5, 8x10, and 11x14 film and process it to a density of around .75, then cut out rectangular openings to place a resolution target in the center and in one corner of the sheet film. Another rectangular hole to house the Stouffer step tablet. Shooting these sheets of film with a density of .75 should emulate shooting a normal LF or ULF negatives. Test target films should be easily to create in one evening.

    Comments welcome, especially if someone picks up on a flaw in my plans.

  2. #2

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    Re: Scanning one's collection of negatives and slides.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    I have a 4x5 (actually slightly smaller) film Kodak IMAGE TEST CHART which I need to reproduce a lot smaller on Kodalith film to judge resolution with, and a Stouffer Industries film 31 step tablet to compare tonal reproduction. Flash some 4x5, 8x10, and 11x14 film and process it to a density of around .75, then cut out rectangular openings to place a resolution target in the center and in one corner of the sheet film. Another rectangular hole to house the Stouffer step tablet. Shooting these sheets of film with a density of .75 should emulate shooting a normal LF or ULF negatives. Test target films should be easily to create in one evening.

    Comments welcome, especially if someone picks up on a flaw in my plans.

    Judging resolution sure may need some type of high resolution test chart. However, for tonal reproduction I would just shoot in AWB, in manual mode with exposure time adjusted visually based on your desired f/stop , and in RAW. This will leave you with maximum file information when you later process digitally the image files. That of course assumes that you will edit your files from RAW.

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  3. #3

    Re: Scanning one's collection of negatives and slides.

    Looking forward to seeing what your tests come back with. Camera scanning can be a bit of a rabbit hole. I'm not sure if you follow the other thread on the subject but I use a Panasonic S1R and a Sigma 70/2.8 ART Macro at 5.6.

  4. #4

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    Re: Scanning one's collection of negatives and slides.

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    Looking forward to seeing what your tests come back with. Camera scanning can be a bit of a rabbit hole. I'm not sure if you follow the other thread on the subject but I use a Panasonic S1R and a Sigma 70/2.8 ART Macro at 5.6.
    Have been following threads on this topic. "Rabbit Hole", yes I agree. An evenly illuminated light source threw me for a while. Having the camera back, lens, and film on perfectly parallel planes also took me a while. Now finally to choose a lens, which just might be the easiest part. Ironically I'll be using the film scans to produce digital negatives to finally print Platinum/Palladium.

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