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Thread: Lightbox for film scanning

  1. #51

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    Re: Lightbox for film scanning

    Sandy: Reading your account makes me wonder to what extent stitching with a Sony is a hands-off process? If the camera can make the images and software stitch hands-off... then we have a process that approaches a scanner's "convenience". Tired of waiting on a scanner, I'm back to camera scanning - though with a Nikon D750 because I just don't enjoy digital shooting per se. Sold off the Sony.... and frankly that was easier at this with its 12X zoom manual focus. But seeking out a used Imacon or Howtek.... which are the other options (eventually) ain't on my list for now. I've not done stitching so far despite Mark's (luminous Landscape) encouraging articles years back, but I'm convinced it is the future as the scanning tech fades from development. I'm using Negative Solutions and Negative Lab Pro which force Lightroom (though I prefer Capture One), and digitizing is better than it used to be - especially with 35mm, and certainly quicker on a one-scan than my aging and much serviced and retrofitted Nikon LS8000. As a beginner with 4X5 these days, I guess scanning's the latest mod to my hybrid process.

  2. #52

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    Re: Lightbox for film scanning

    Quote Originally Posted by roscoetuff-Skip Mersereau View Post
    Sandy: Reading your account makes me wonder to what extent stitching with a Sony is a hands-off process? If the camera can make the images and software stitch hands-off... then we have a process that approaches a scanner's "convenience". Tired of waiting on a scanner, I'm back to camera scanning - though with a Nikon D750 because I just don't enjoy digital shooting per se. Sold off the Sony.... and frankly that was easier at this with its 12X zoom manual focus. But seeking out a used Imacon or Howtek.... which are the other options (eventually) ain't on my list for now. I've not done stitching so far despite Mark's (luminous Landscape) encouraging articles years back, but I'm convinced it is the future as the scanning tech fades from development. I'm using Negative Solutions and Negative Lab Pro which force Lightroom (though I prefer Capture One), and digitizing is better than it used to be - especially with 35mm, and certainly quicker on a one-scan than my aging and much serviced and retrofitted Nikon LS8000. As a beginner with 4X5 these days, I guess scanning's the latest mod to my hybrid process.
    Not hands off at all as there are lots of steps involved both in digitizing the film and then processing in software. But in spite of the many steps I still find it much more time effective to digitize a sheet of 5X7 film with lightbox and camera than to make scan with a high end flatbed or drum scanner. So it makes sense to use a camera if you already have one as high quality digitizing is definitely feasible. High end flatbed, drum scanners and dedicated film scanners such as the Nikon LS8000 make excellent scans, but the technology is old and takes a lot of work to keep it going. Kind of like the aging human body I guess, still works but needs a lot of care to keep going!

    Sandy
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
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  3. #53

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    Re: Lightbox for film scanning

    FWIW, I've used a Logan A-5A from some years back and it seems to work fine. I mis-documented here the other day. I keep confusing Negative Supply, Negative Lab Pro and Negative Solutions! Too many negs! I'm actually using holders from Negative Supply for 35 and 4X5 and will soon have the 120. The 35mm scrolling holder is amazing and the 120 will follow in the same mold. The 4X5 is just a basic flat piece of translucent acryllic.... WAY better than nano glass for this purpose. I have not tried wetting the surface first for 4X5 because the negs lie "flat enough" but I'm sure that would add. Mostly, I'm scanning as quickly as I can with the camera to then move the image into post where Negative Lab Pro manages the conversion which has forced me back to LR. Eventually, I may try stitching. Won't be convinced it's worth the buzz until I see it in a side-by-side 16 X 20 on the wall. Kind of on the fence whether to scale up Piezo printing I've done on an Epson SC600... which limits size... or whether to toy with enlargers. Latter is a remote possibility given constraints, but may not be completely out of the question. Nearest college lab is a good 30 minutes or more.... and it does seem to me that ink printing is pretty doggone fine - ESPECIALLY for color. But B&W.... hmmm.... still to be determined?
    Last edited by roscoetuff-Skip Mersereau; 22-May-2020 at 07:08. Reason: formatting looked odd

  4. #54
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Lightbox for film scanning

    Quote Originally Posted by sanking View Post
    For what it is worth I have been quite pleased with the Kaiser 10X15" LED light panel. I am digitizing LF film with the panel placed about three inches from the film (on glass) and lighting is very uniform. I am mainly interested in B&W film but I have digitized quite a number of 4X5/5X7 color negative and transparencies, and with my digital camera set to AWB the colors look quite acceptable. Unfortunately nearly all of my color slides and negatives, made from about 1980 through 2005, have experienced significant shifts in color and fading and thus require post digitizing processing in PS. In my case don't believe there would be much to be gained by investing in a more expensive light source, and fortunately since I work for myself I get to make these decisions.

    I settled on a work flow with a Sony a7r IV that involves three-pass stitching of 4X5 and 5X7, with pixel shifting. After merging in PS the final size of my 5X7 files are about 50X70 inches at 360 ppi, and image quality is similar to what I get with a Howtek drum scanner, though processing a color negative is much easier with the Howtek.



    Sandy
    I bought the same Kaiser and found my sample to be very uneven-shifting nearly 1/2 stop from top to bottom and not evenly. I'm shipping it back tomorrow. I think I should give another sample a try before I give up.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 71:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
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    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  5. #55

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    Re: Lightbox for film scanning

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    I bought the same Kaiser and found my sample to be very uneven-shifting nearly 1/2 stop from top to bottom and not evenly. I'm shipping it back tomorrow. I think I should give another sample a try before I give up.
    In general the Kaiser light box gets very good reviews so sounds like something may be wrong with the one you have, could be a few dead leds strips.

    One question, though, were you digitizing with the film media directly on the led panel? If so, you should try to place the film on a sheet of AN Glass located about two inches above the led panel. I constructed a small box for this purpose and place the glass over the top of the box.

    Sandy
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
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  6. #56

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    Re: Lightbox for film scanning

    A naive question... If you're shooting/copying/scanning with a digital camera then is having a 100% color-accurate source really necessary? Or am I misunderstanding how a lightbox will be used for scanning? Or is the proposal to use a film camera...

  7. #57

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    Re: Lightbox for film scanning

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    I bought the same Kaiser and found my sample to be very uneven-shifting nearly 1/2 stop from top to bottom and not evenly. I'm shipping it back tomorrow. I think I should give another sample a try before I give up.
    I'm interested in this. My Kaiser I recently bought seems to have visible unevenness at the very top and bottom edges, I can see where the LED lights actually are in other words at the top and bottom. I haven't looked it or measured anything enough to know if the area towards the middle has unevenness... I will do that now.

  8. #58
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Lightbox for film scanning

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    I bought the same Kaiser and found my sample to be very uneven-shifting nearly 1/2 stop from top to bottom and not evenly. I'm shipping it back tomorrow. I think I should give another sample a try before I give up.
    I have a small 5000 Kelvin Kaiser that I checked out with my "puck" from my Spectraview II calibration kit for my NEC monitor. It's the small one so it might be different than their larger units. I tested it on batteries and with the 120vac powering it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Kaiser Slimlite Plano Kelvin 2453 test.jpg  

  9. #59
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Lightbox for film scanning

    I agree with Sandy's advice. I've looked into this a fair amount. I've never found an illumination system that was ready to go right out of the box. Whether I'm making the unit myself using LEDs, or using some kind of panel, I make a container for it, using various reflectors and diffusors to get the the light even over the area of the negative. I've found that it's very helpful to have a light source measured at where the negative sits, to be at least two inches larger than the negative. So the light source for a 4x5" piece of film should be at least 6x7". What I mean is that the white Plexiglass that the negative sits on is that back. It's helpful if the actual light emitter used in the system is even bigger. The distance from the light emitter to the negative plane diffusor is very important. As Sandy says, about 2" is often good, but by all means experiment.

    Regarding light quality, having good output at the R,G,B colors that match your camera is what is important. You could use a red, blue, and green narrow band LED if it matched properly. But in practice, getting a high CRI, TCLI... source is often easier, cheaper, and it works well enough.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
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  10. #60

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    Re: Lightbox for film scanning

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    I agree with Sandy's advice. I've looked into this a fair amount. I've never found an illumination system that was ready to go right out of the box. Whether I'm making the unit myself using LEDs, or using some kind of panel, I make a container for it, using various reflectors and diffusors to get the the light even over the area of the negative. I've found that it's very helpful to have a light source measured at where the negative sits, to be at least two inches larger than the negative. So the light source for a 4x5" piece of film should be at least 6x7". What I mean is that the white Plexiglass that the negative sits on is that back. It's helpful if the actual light emitter used in the system is even bigger. The distance from the light emitter to the negative plane diffusor is very important. As Sandy says, about 2" is often good, but by all means experiment.

    Regarding light quality, having good output at the R,G,B colors that match your camera is what is important. You could use a red, blue, and green narrow band LED if it matched properly. But in practice, getting a high CRI, TCLI... source is often easier, cheaper, and it works well enough.
    I’ll just add a +1 to Sandy’s and Peter’s comments, based on research I did a few years ago for an unrealized sensitometry “project”. You’ll pretty much always need to jury rig at least a little (diffusion, spacing, oversizing etc.). Disregarding colour temp/spectral distribution stuff, making a LED light panel with a high degree of uniformity right out of the box is not trivial. There are some you can buy off the shelf, but they are very expensive.

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