Using a Mirrorless + Macro lens to scan negatives

Discussion in 'Scanning, Enlarging, and Printing' started by ztryfe, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. ztryfe

    ztryfe FF Regular

    Nov 6, 2015
    Hi All

    So, I've dipped my toes into B&W development, relegating C-41 to the local lab ( cost to get one roll developed *and* printed is about 4 USD, I can live with that cost). My "test" roll for the B&W process was actually a c-41 film ( kodak ultramax 400 ), the main reason was to get a feel for the development & scanning process, before committing a true B&W film. I am happy with the results and got experience using my tank & chemicals.

    On to Scanning, I set up my Sony NEX 5R on a desk tripod, mounted a Minolta 50mm f3.5 Macro with the matching 1:1 ext. tube and put together a film holder out of foam, glue, a 55mm cardboard tube and a filter ring stripped from its original glass. I left a window behind the film so I could point the whole deal to my tablet with one of these "flashlight" applications that turns your screen completely white, providing the even back illumination.

    The shots where made at f8, ISO 100 and 2 or 2.5 seconds shutter speed, triggered with an IR remote.

    22834616983_c2912ff863_b. DSC_0883 by Ztryfe, on Flickr

    Detail on the holder, does not touch the emulsionside of the film, my reasoning is that this way I am capturing the grain itself.

    23379454001_88c052a919_b. DSC_0884 by Ztryfe, on Flickr

    Yes, I do like MacGyver ;)

    This is actually v3.0 of the holder, first iteration I got 8mpx, and lots of dust, then some polishing and trimming got me to 10 mpx'sh but noticed the negative was not quite aligned or flattened, this iteration is much sturdier, cleaner and shows a flattened and aligned negative.

    I managed to get images of about 4100 x 2700 in resolution, about 11 of the total 16 Mpx available from my camera, about 3000 dpi'ish scan. Much more than what my all purpose flatbed can do, here are some outcomes, raw and post processed:

    23006619870_64bf77942e_b. DSC07485 by Ztryfe, on Flickr

    note to self: fabricate this out of something that does *not* tear, or clean it up really good, lots of debris from the foam holder are visible here.

    Post processed ( curves to get rid of the orange mask from the C-41 film, invert colors and desaturate, some quick and nasty dust removal here and there )

    23302763165_775b6f20e0_b. 2015-11-25_09-40-16 by Ztryfe, on Flickr

    Another one ( was this developed right? there is a glow from the lower part of the frame), this one after cleaning up the the holder from debris of the cuts, much cleaner.

    22674046414_aa41c21ae6_b. DSC07484 by Ztryfe, on Flickr

    Curves, invert and desaturate, no dust or scratch removal:

    22934509739_e72da8de70_b. _20151125_004126 by Ztryfe, on Flickr

    Other examples:

    23006612310_cb0cbaaca3_b. _20151121_210211 by Ztryfe, on Flickr

    22676055693_8463991441_b. 2015-11-25_10-02-25 by Ztryfe, on Flickr

    I am actually quite happy with the results, the grain is visible ( its somewhat different from what I see on other scans, but I am blaming that on the cross processing I did, for now), the resolution is usable for my purposes. On V2 of the holder, I might cut back the tube to try to get more resolution.

    Any feedback, tips, ideas or constructive criticism is welcome!
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
    • Like Like x 3
  2. MoonMind

    MoonMind FF Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 24, 2015
    I have done the same thing using my FF DSLR and a macro lens over a light table - which means that your way is certainly simpler. I should look into that, too - though in the end I head an actual 24MP RAW file of my negative, the process of getting it all into the frame (albeit at 1:1) was fiddly and tedious. The adapter idea makes it a lot more feasible!

    • Like Like x 1
  3. ztryfe

    ztryfe FF Regular

    Nov 6, 2015
    With the adapter is a one shot approach with a quick reset, very easy to scan several frames quickly, I just double check the focus and hit the IR remote.

    I'll definitively look into getting more of the sensor, first iteration was 8mpx, second I struck 11 mpx, but something alike 14-15 would be my ceiling. Its just a matter of trimming the tube to the correct distance.
  4. MAubrey

    MAubrey FF Regular

    May 19, 2015
    Mike Aubrey
    I often do this with my A7rII. I don't have the right distance for 1:1, but with 42MP, I've out resolving 35mm film anyway. I'm getting about 27MP files. With an EI of 800, the grain is quite apparent even at half that magnification. There's still plenty of real detail for printing a solid 13x19 print though.
  5. ztryfe

    ztryfe FF Regular

    Nov 6, 2015
    I've updated the original post with the latest iteration of the adapter, I am getting 12mpx images of the negatives, which serve my purposes good enough.

    I was wondering that, with the newest sensors and image stabilization, its just a matter of flattening the negative over a light table / flashlight app. However when I tried that, found it very prone to reflections and made getting a clean image tricky for me.

    Latest scan:

    22835082643_45726c8072_b. Panned Wood Pallets by Ztryfe, on Flickr

    Somewhat dirty but nice enough.
  6. MAubrey

    MAubrey FF Regular

    May 19, 2015
    Mike Aubrey
    My camera is propped upright vertically over the film using a screw in lens hood that's roughly the length needed for sufficient resolution. That way there is no extra light coming through to create reflections.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. ztryfe

    ztryfe FF Regular

    Nov 6, 2015
    • Like Like x 2
  8. RichardB

    RichardB Super Moderator

    Mar 23, 2015
    Maryland, US
    That's impressively sharp, Victor!

    I noticed in the shot with clouds in your original post that some highlights seem to be clipped in the scan. There is detail in the upper-left corner of the negative that is missing in the processed scan. I wonder if you could capture more highlight detail if you underexpose your scan a bit, then process with a curve to brighten the middle tones.
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  9. ztryfe

    ztryfe FF Regular

    Nov 6, 2015
    Thanks Richard! Its the Yashica Electro lens at f8 I believe, quite sharp lens!

    The shot you mention is indeed overexposed, I guess I wasnt really paying much attention to the exposure as much as to building the holder, I do exactly as you say nowadays.
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