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Thread: What is your digital camera “scanning” setup?

  1. #1

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    What is your digital camera “scanning” setup?

    I didn’t see a general thread like this (if there is one, please merge!), but while I was trying to get away from computers, my darkroom has been unusable for a few months, so I haven’t been able to view my negatives as positives, so I broke down and decided to setup scanning with a digital camera as a temporary measure. While I’d probably get better results with a scanner like a V850, I seriously have nowhere to put it. My computer is a laptop that I use on my couch, so a big bulky scanner really isn’t usable.

    So here is my current setup for “scanning”:

    - Pentax K3 II, APS-C sensor, 24 mega pixels
    - Pentax Copipod stand
    - Fuji transparency viewer

    The copipod is less than ideal, with 4 legs, I need to find a lens that allows the legs to extend far enough that the Fuji viewer fits between instead of under the legs. On the plus side, it is small and easy to pack away. It’s not as rigid as I like, but I deal with that by taking all the shots with a several second delay. I’ll probably find a remote trigger for it.

    I think I can make it work with two lenses—a 35mm f2.8 will allow a 8x10 to mostly fill the frame. Right now I have a 50mm f1.7 that works for 5x7 to mostly fill the frame, but it won’t focus close enough for 4x5 to get more than ~8 megapixels after cropping. I’ve ordered a 50mm f2.8 macro lens that should work for both 4x5 and 5x7.

    If I had a full frame camera, I’d probably be using a 100macro for the smaller formats, and a 50 macro for 8x10. Overall, the results I’m getting are…ok. I’ve only done a dozen test scans, so I haven’t tweaked it yet. So far, it’s good enough for web and simple proofing, but doesn’t feel radically more resolution that my medium format scans.

    Right now the software I use is Apple’s discontinued app—Aperture—because I know it, and own it (no subscription.)

    I’m very curious what other people are using, what your process looks like and how satisfied you are with the results?

  2. #2
    darr's Avatar
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    Re: What is your digital camera “scanning” setup?

    I have been camera scanning for more than a few years now. I left behind my Epson V700 and other Microtek scanners years ago. Photography is fun for me, but not scanning, so digitizing film via a camera and copy stand works a lot better for how I like to work. I mostly use my digitized images for prints less than 18x24" (although I have had prints printed larger for exhibit shows), and web usage. My setup reflects the commercial usage side of my work, but whatever equipment one has to start with I would recommend they begin. I have a room dedicated in my home for my stored film and digitizing workstation. I started with a smaller Kaiser copy stand, but quickly learned it would not be sufficient for my medium format digitizing workflow. It does a good job with my smaller setup and is portable whereas the CS copy stand is not. My digitizing station reminds me just a little of the enlarger room I had setup in my prior home, and the fact it is permanently setup makes it an easier task for me to use.

    --

    My LF/MF setup for the past few years:

    Beseler CS Copystand
    ALPA TC camera body
    Hasselblad CFi 120 macro lens
    Hasselblad Variable Extension Tube
    Hasselblad CFV II 50c (upgraded from CFV 50c)
    Skier Sunray Copy Box 3 (upgraded from Box 2)

    Setup for 35mm films:
    Fujifilm X-Pro3
    Kaiser Lightbox (contact sheet creation)

    --

    Here are a few links to articles I wrote a couple of years ago if anyone is interested.
    Just remember some of my gear has changed since I wrote the articles, but it can give an idea of what is involved.

    Digitizing Film - Part 1
    Digitizing Film - Part 2

    --

    A snapshot of my current setup in use with 4x5 film (from World Pinhole Day shoot):


  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: What is your digital camera “scanning” setup?

    Since I only scan for online imaging

    I am now using iPad5 on a camera copy stand, using a grid to align

    I scan small prints, but also use a V700 for LF negs

    iPad lighting is very good
    Tin Can

  4. #4

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    Re: What is your digital camera “scanning” setup?

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    Wow, that is a nice (and rigid looking) setup. At 18x24, do you feel the digital capture isn't evident in your end result? I don't think my setup would manage that yet (maybe when I get the kinks worked out.) The main benefit I'm hoping to get from a macro lens (aside from the fact that the tend to be sharper) is that (at least on Pentax) the macro lenses' focusing have much more throw, so I'm hoping it will be easier to dial in accurate focus. I have a 100 macro but aside from being too long for the copipod, being an AF lens, if I put it in manual mode, it creeps horrible. (worse on the copipod because the lens is supporting the camera.) Aside from that it is a beautifully sharp lens with a huge long turn to get from infinity to 1:1.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    iPad lighting is very good
    When I was camera scanning medium format, my first try was a white screen on the iPad and the camera above, but the problem I had was grid of pixels was clearly visible in the photos. I ended up "solving" that by placing the film in the enlarger negative carrier (to make it rigid) then placing the carrier on blocks to space the negative ~1inch from the iPad to move the pixels out of the range of focus. It actually worked pretty well, aside from being a bit of a hack.

  5. #5
    darr's Avatar
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    Re: What is your digital camera “scanning” setup?

    Quote Originally Posted by abruzzi View Post
    Wow, that is a nice (and rigid looking) setup. At 18x24, do you feel the digital capture isn't evident in your end result? I don't think my setup would manage that yet (maybe when I get the kinks worked out.) The main benefit I'm hoping to get from a macro lens (aside from the fact that the tend to be sharper) is that (at least on Pentax) the macro lenses' focusing have much more throw, so I'm hoping it will be easier to dial in accurate focus. I have a 100 macro but aside from being too long for the copipod, being an AF lens, if I put it in manual mode, it creeps horrible. (worse on the copipod because the lens is supporting the camera.) Aside from that it is a beautifully sharp lens with a huge long turn to get from infinity to 1:1.
    I have absolutely no problems with large prints made from digital camera scanning.
    Here is an example of the size of a file made from one digital frame capture:



    Here is an example of the size of a file made from four heavily overlapping frames:



    With enough slices stitched, an extremely large print can be made without much difficulty.
    I use Lightroom to stitch the slices and it is an automatic process.

    I use a manual lens and if I run into a negative that is difficult to focus, I will focus on the film data on the rebate.
    Besides a macro lens, I think the quality of the light source and film holders are very important for optimum results.

  6. #6
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: What is your digital camera “scanning” setup?

    Obviously we all have different standards

    I don't use a negative on top of iPad

    The iPad is the camera and the built in flash illuminates print only

    Very high rez DIGI is good for DIGI prints

    If I want DIGI, I shoot DIGI
    Tin Can

  7. #7

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    Re: What is your digital camera “scanning” setup?

    ah, so you're photographing prints, not negatives? I misunderstood. Unfortunately, that won't really work for me, since the point of this (for me) is that my dark room is currently out of commission, and I need a way to evaluate negatives until I get the darkroom operational again--which could take some time.

  8. #8

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    Re: What is your digital camera “scanning” setup?

    Elinchrome D-Lite4 with 60x60cm Softbox pointed upwards
    MDF board on trestles with cutout for enlarger negative carrier
    7' camera stand with horizontal boom and geared head
    Pentax 645z with 120mm macro lens
    USB cable to laptop computer

  9. #9

    Re: What is your digital camera “scanning” setup?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I built a digitizing stand with a Beseler 45V-XL enlarger, Z-axis micrometer stages, and linear rails.
    Chamonix 45N-2, Chamonix 45H-1

  10. #10

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    Re: What is your digital camera “scanning” setup?

    I use a Canon 5D II mounted to a basic riser from Negative Supply, 50mm Sigma macro lens, Essential Film Holder (with various masks), and a high CRI light source (forget the brand.) This is for 35mm - 6x9. I still do LF on my Epson scanner.

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