Scanning negatives and slides

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by SnapDawg, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. SnapDawg

    SnapDawg FF Regular

    41
    Mar 23, 2015
    Canary Islands
    Ken
    So far I have only scanned prints or had a lab or scan service do the job but I'm looking forward to scan some old as well as future negatives myself. I thought about getting one of those Novoflex or Nikon duplicator rigs and use it with one of my digital cameras and a macro lens but I'm wondering if this is the most efficient way to get the job done these days.

    Any thoughts/experiences anyone?
     
  2. RichardB

    RichardB Super Moderator

    63
    Mar 23, 2015
    Maryland, US
    The consensus seems to be that a good digital camera can resolve everything there is to be resolved on a 35mm frame. I haven't read much about using a camera to digitize larger formats.
     
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  3. edwardconde

    edwardconde FF Regular

    56
    Mar 24, 2015
    Edward Conde
    There are a bunch of videos on youtube about this.. I just use a flatbed..
     
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  4. SnapDawg

    SnapDawg FF Regular

    41
    Mar 23, 2015
    Canary Islands
    Ken
    Thanks, Richard. For web use I'd still prefer to scan prints from my 35mm images to scanning negatives or slides, even though I'm in the market for one of those duplicator rigs mentioned above. What I'm really looking after is an efficient way to scan my medium format negatives (6*6, 6*9) since I've lost some precious ones in the mail some years ago. The 16-24MP of my digital cameras would be enough in most cases, but I wonder how other folks handle this.

    Ken
     
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  5. SnapDawg

    SnapDawg FF Regular

    41
    Mar 23, 2015
    Canary Islands
    Ken
    Thanks Edward. Looking forward to some popcorn and one, two hours on youtube tonight.

    Cheers, Ken
     
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  6. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. FF Regular

    85
    Mar 24, 2015
    Larry
    I use a Nikon Coolscan 9000 now, generously donated to me by a friend who bought it, never used, and sent it along to me. But before that I used an Epson 2450 flatbed, meant to scan negs up to 4x5, and that is still how I scan my bigger than 120 negatives. It does a good job. There are probably flatbeds that are even better that have come out since, but I found my 2450 at a thrift store for $13, and I know you can buy them inexpensively. The Epson 4990 will do up to 8x10. The two Epsons are oldies but goodies that can be found cheap. I never used a digital camera to duplicate negatives or chromes, but as mentioned above, I'd want to make sure they resolved enough at an appropriate tonal scale for bigger film. I still think my 120 film out-resolves my digital rigs (m4/3 and APS-C), but that is a subjective, visual judgement not based on numbers. But photography is visual, so what you see is more important than the numbers behind it.
     
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  7. SnapDawg

    SnapDawg FF Regular

    41
    Mar 23, 2015
    Canary Islands
    Ken
    Thanks for your input Larry. We've discussed the Fuji X10/X20 in the lounge a while ago and I mentioned that to me the files from my X10 are about "on par" with what I usually did with 135 Tri-X - as far as resolution is concerned. That's a bit of a bold statement but I guess you know what I mean. So far I haven't tried to 'copy' 120 film with a digital camera but I'm looking forward to give it a try once I have all of my stuff shipped to my new home. At the moment my best available combo for the job would be the NEX-7 (RAW) with the 55mm Micro-Nikkor. I'd have to figure out some sort of a makeshift rig for the negatives but that shouldn't be too much of a problem. Regarding 120 slides or higher resolving B&W film like PAN-F or FP4 I guess the NEX gets nowhere near there resolution wise but since I don't do murals and the max. print size would be somewhere around A0 I'd probably be OK with the results but with my current plans to shoot at least some future projects on 120 film (instead of moving up to 36MP FF) I'll definitely have a look at flatbed scanners too. At least that's how I see it now, shooting film followed by digital processing and printing.
     
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  8. dwig

    dwig New to FF

    7
    Mar 30, 2015
    Key West FL
    Typical mid range dedicated film scanners create files in the 12-20mp range. The big issue with using a conventional digital camera in a "slide copier" configuration to scan film is not the sensor's resolution, but instead its tonal range and the image quality of the lens in use. With most new high-end digital cameras the sensor's tonal range is good enough, if and only if you should an the base ISO. You need to choose a lens that delivers excellent image quality, both center and edge, at the close focusing distance needed for such copy work.
     
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  9. SnapDawg

    SnapDawg FF Regular

    41
    Mar 23, 2015
    Canary Islands
    Ken
    The only macro lens I own at the moment is the 55mm Micro-Nikkor and it should be easy to see if it's up to the job or if I have to look somewhere else. OTOH I noticed a difference in the tonal responses as well as the colors of my APS-C cameras [RAW] - a NEX-7 and an X-Pro1, not to mention the differences between X-Trans and Bayer (smear meets grit). How that relates to their useability as slide copiers has to be seen once I've got my slides back which might take another while. I still have a good number of prints from my slides, ready to be shipped with my other gear and I'm pretty sure I get better results with whatever it takes than what I usually got back from the labs all those years ago.
     
  10. Steve Ricoh

    Steve Ricoh FF Rookie

    17
    Apr 7, 2015
    It apperars that the need to digitise stems from the convenience of LightRoom (and other PP products) for processing, and for the DAM that they offer, plus the desire to share images on the Internet.

    To get the best out of film, a scanner offering good dynamic range without optical degradation seems to be an imperative, but however good I can imagine dust could be an issue. With this in mind, is commercial scanning the way to go?

    It begs the question, for me at least, if you had an adequately equipped darkroom would you actually bother digitising your negatives?​
     
  11. pdh

    pdh FF Regular

    31
    Mar 25, 2015
    UK
    what's DAM ?
     
  12. SnapDawg

    SnapDawg FF Regular

    41
    Mar 23, 2015
    Canary Islands
    Ken
    It depends on the genre, or if they belong to a specific project or series, and of course the type - color or B&W. I have some series on 135 where I can't wait to get back into the darkroom while others, especially those in larger formats are asking to be processed digitally. There's a lot to consider at the moment; I'm looking forward to shoot some upcoming projects on at least 6x9cm again. Can't wait.
     
  13. Steve Ricoh

    Steve Ricoh FF Rookie

    17
    Apr 7, 2015
    Digital asset management.
     
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  14. jai

    jai FF Regular

    68
    Apr 8, 2015
    Before you go spending money on gear to scan with a digital camera, consider the more practical less clunky alternative.

    I bought an OpticFilm 8100 from B&H photo for hardly any money. You have to manually push the film holder to the next frame, but other than that there are no compromises.

    The quality is insanely good, if you get everything right in camera and development you can produce 20+ megapixel images from 35mm film. No good if you shoot medium format unfortunately :/
     
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  15. Steve Ricoh

    Steve Ricoh FF Rookie

    17
    Apr 7, 2015
    I've been reading the spec on the 8100, it has two scan resolutions of 3600dpi and 7200dpi, with scan speeds of 36s and 113s respectively (approx.).
    How you go about equating dpi and megapixel, I've no idea. For the same image area, 20 meg sounds way higher than 7200 dpi, but I guess it's a bit like comparing apples and oranges. I suppose the bottom line question to ask, does the resolved image equate in quality to a FF canikon?
     
  16. jai

    jai FF Regular

    68
    Apr 8, 2015
    Am I calculating megapixels wrong? I might be!

    I scanned this image at the full 7200 dpi and it is 9868 x 6579 pixels. So that is almost 65 megapixels, right?

    View attachment 514 Brutalism by Jai Sbr, on Flickr

    I normally don't scan at 7200 dpi because of course there isn't really 65 megapixels of detail there. The Tri-x and rokkor lens just can't resolve that well.

    20 megapixels is a bit of a guess to be honest, but my main point was the scanner is no longer the limiting factor.
     
  17. Steve Ricoh

    Steve Ricoh FF Rookie

    17
    Apr 7, 2015
    (24 x 36)mm = (0.994 x 1.44)"
    (0.994x7200) x (1.44x7200) = 73,903,104 dots
    That's approx., as there's a little bit of double accounting going on in terms of dots, but it's near enough.

    As a check, what size is the file output from the Plustech 8100 at 7200dpi setting?

    Edit: I'm assuming 7200 dots per linear inch, but is that valid? Dots have an area, don't they.
     
  18. Steve Ricoh

    Steve Ricoh FF Rookie

    17
    Apr 7, 2015
    Im questioning the negative thing in my own mind, and displaying a complete lack of knowledge at the same time!

    How do we interpret film resolution. It's photo sensitive chemicals spread out over a square area of plastic film. Therefore we relate dpi to molecular size of the chemical sites, what we call grain size. I will have to Google this, but it could take some time to get the answer I'm looking for.
     
  19. jai

    jai FF Regular

    68
    Apr 8, 2015
    The exact size depends on how much you crop, because the 8100 scanner covers slightly larger area than a 35mm frame. But that image I just posted was 65 megapixels so it sounds like you are calculating it correctly.
     
  20. SnapDawg

    SnapDawg FF Regular

    41
    Mar 23, 2015
    Canary Islands
    Ken
    I found this article very interesting: http://vitaleartconservation.com/PDF/film_grain_resolution_and_perception_v24.pdf
     
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