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digitizing negatives and slides effieciently with my camera. what is a good setup.

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by colbycheese, Jun 26, 2015.

  1. colbycheese

    colbycheese Mu-43 Veteran

    May 1, 2012
    Way up there.
    So i have decided for a summer project to start digitizing some old negatives and slides i have sitting around. I tried digitizing a slide the other day by holding it up and taking a picture with my camera and macro rings (E-M10 with 20mm 1.7 and extension tubes). But this became a little hard to get the lighting right. I wanted to create some type of setup to make digitizing more efficient. I have seen stuff all over the internet but most of it involves quite a bit of work to create. I need something to hold the slide/negative, and to keep the camera parallel to the slide or negative. I found since i am using macro tubes, the dof is very shallow, so i have to use the highest f/stop to get the whole thing in proper focus. Also i am trying to determine what the sharpest aperture on this lens is so i can get as much detail as i can out of the slides/negatives. Thank you
  2. colbycheese

    colbycheese Mu-43 Veteran

    May 1, 2012
    Way up there.
  3. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Brilliant DIY idea.
  4. gengh

    gengh Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Feb 9, 2010
    I've done this quite a lot using a tripod and an old lighttable for viewing negatives. It worked really well.

    I used a 5D MKII and a 50mm macro for this, so the focal length is not so far from what you intend to use.
    I also used Canon Remote control software to check focus and trigger the camera. You can do this with the built in wifi in your camera:) 
    I guess you can use your phone or Ipad instead of the lighttable.

    The lego idea is cool, just make sure to get the negative evenly lit
  5. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Hmmm ... It is difficult for me to see "efficiently" as being possible with the setup you propose. Unless you have a very small number of negs and slides, I think it is going to be a lot of work, prone to all kinds of disappointing errors.

    Instead, I would suggest finding a friend or a service who has one of the purpose-built scanners. If you have medium format negs and slides the number of machines is a little more limited, but there are plenty of machines for efficiently digitizing 35mm. Then, just pay your friend or the service the nominal fee per image and let them go at it.

    Alternatively, buy a used scanner on eBay and sell it when you're done. That might cost you 15% of the value of the machine, but you'll have some fun, learn something, and you probably won't have the hassle and grief that a home-made lash-up will probably entail. I think that Nikon Coolscan and Minolta Dimage scanners are good quality and not too expensive. Watch for compatibility, though, as some of those might still want XP and have SCSI instead of USB interfaces.
  6. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    for quick and good enough I use this with my (now adapted) 4:3 35mm macro. No extension needed. Otherwise pay to have someone do it. It is a painfully slow task and results can be lackluster. If you really want to do it yourself buy a scanner with batch capability.

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