Negative & slide scanning

Panolyman

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I emptied some boxes out of the loft yesterday and (re-)discovered a file of my first negatives from the early 70's.
There was also a few boxes of slides, which I think I may have already copied (poorly, by photographing with digital camera off a projection screen).

I haven't got a film scanner and it's probably not worth splashing out for one.
I've just tried using an old laptop screen as a lightbox and copying with my 60mm Macro lens and then convert using Affinity.
However, the laptop screen is quite pixelated and I haven't got any paper thin enough to act as a diffuser.

So, any suggestions on the best, cheapest and easiest method to copy the negatives and slides please?
 

Keeth101

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I emptied some boxes out of the loft yesterday and (re-)discovered a file of my first negatives from the early 70's.
There was also a few boxes of slides, which I think I may have already copied (poorly, by photographing with digital camera off a projection screen).

I haven't got a film scanner and it's probably not worth splashing out for one.
I've just tried using an old laptop screen as a lightbox and copying with my 60mm Macro lens and then convert using Affinity.
However, the laptop screen is quite pixelated and I haven't got any paper thin enough to act as a diffuser.

So, any suggestions on the best, cheapest and easiest method to copy the negatives and slides please?
Thank you for asking this, Brian. I also have albums of negatives (of various sizes but mostly 135mm) which I would like to scan or copy. I also want cheap but I also want quality.

I looked at some on Amazon and was interested by a Kodak one for £140 but when I saw a users pictures comparing scans from a Nikon scanner and the Kodak one, I was instantly turned off the Kodak one because loads of detail/sharpness was lost.

Sorry for butting in on your thread but I thought the info was pertinent.

Keith
 
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I've been scanning quite a bit lately. I'm using a Lumix G9 in high res raw mode with the Olympus 60 macro at f5.6 with aperture priority set on the camera, iso at 200. I have a Film Toaster, which is an extravagant box to hold the film holders that it comes with, in between the camera and and LED light panel. I have hundreds, if not thousands of images to scan, so I want it to be stable and repeatable. It is, but the box itself is pricey, but cheap compared to a good scanner. The linchpin to this is Negative Lab Pro, which will convert either color or b&w negs to a 16 bit positive tiff with a very long tonal scale. The positive tiff files respond to being adjusted for proper contrast and density quite well. From this set up I get a 10,000 pixel wide image, as big and better detailed than the $25,000 Imacon. I know, I had access to an Imacon extensively and have recently re-scanned using my current method and it's better and raw files from the camera are super easy to work with. Plus, in 10 seconds the scan is done. The results are extraordinary.

On a budget, you can achieve similar results with any set up that will allow you to keep the negative and camera on the same plane without tilt or yaw. The key with the light source, if you're using a computer screen, keep the negative at least 6-8 inches from the surface and you won't see the pixels. A better source might be this led light panel with a white cover used for tracing. Be sure to do a custom white balance when you set up your camera before you put your film in place. Again, keep a few inches between your film and the light source so you don't see and irregularities or dust that is on that surface. Use liberal amounts of canned air to dust off the film before you shoot it, otherwise you'll be spotting a galaxy of dust motes for the rest of your natural days.

Here are some links to my scanning:
https://www.mikepeters-photography.com/Film-Scans/35mm-Slide-Scans/
https://www.mikepeters-photography.com/Category/RUSH-HOUR/
https://www.mikepeters-photography.com/Category/San-Gennaro-Festival-NYC-1979/
https://www.mikepeters-photography.com/Category/1981-Sidewalk-Santas/
https://www.mikepeters-photography.com/Category/Jesus-Saves-1982/

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Panolyman

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Yes, thanks Mike.
First of all though, your photos in the links are astonishing; thank you so much for letting us view them.

I'd looked at a couple of light-boxes like the one you referred to and can imagine that would be fine.
Finding something to lift the neg and slide away from the surface will be a bit more problematic, but I'll see what comes up.
 
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If you’re scanning mostly 35mm, an old Nikon F or Canon FD macro bellows with a film stage would work wonderfully with either brands micro/macro lens and a m4/3 adapter for the body. A tripod with a reversible center column and a few pieces of evenly sized wood to hold the negative holders over the light box would work too. Just use black paint or put black paper over the wood under the negatives so as not to cause a color cast.
 

PacNWMike

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I have one of these. I works tolerably well for quick copies. It fits a 4:3 35mm macro perfectly and I have an adapter for µ4:3. There is a newer version for a lot more pesos but for that price I'd get a nice flatbed scanner. For serious scans I have a Canon FS-4000. I get very good scans using Vuescan. I also have an inexpensive flatbed CanoScan 4400F that I use for prints. It does negatives but I haven't tried it yet.
 

Keeth101

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I just found this -

https://clifforth.co.uk/

Makes interesting reading and an interesting product. (I've not read it all so there may be drawbacks).

Comments from those experienced in these matters gratefully received, for the benefit of us all.
 

Panolyman

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This is a very similar product that looks really well thought out.

https://pixl-latr.com/product/pixl-latr-film-holder/

I would prefer it if it had a slide holder too though.

For now, I'm going down the DIY route and have ordered an LED light panel for around £8.
I think it's got a lip on the frame and I hope to use it at an angle, resting the negative or slide on the lip.
I'll then angle it somehow and use a tripod to take a copy.
Hopefully. :whistling:
 
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I emptied some boxes out of the loft yesterday and (re-)discovered a file of my first negatives from the early 70's.
There was also a few boxes of slides, which I think I may have already copied (poorly, by photographing with digital camera off a projection screen).

I haven't got a film scanner and it's probably not worth splashing out for one.
I've just tried using an old laptop screen as a lightbox and copying with my 60mm Macro lens and then convert using Affinity.
However, the laptop screen is quite pixelated and I haven't got any paper thin enough to act as a diffuser.

So, any suggestions on the best, cheapest and easiest method to copy the negatives and slides please?
I think it depends on the quality of the original images, their importance to you, the amount of time you want to spend on each image, and how much you want spend to do it.

If the original images are of high quality, and you're willing to work on each image, then Macro + Negative Lab Pro is the way to go.

If the original images are of middling quality, and you want to capture each one, but don't want to spend a ton of time editing each image then a flat bed scanner with Digital ICE is the way to go.

Roughly $1 per image to have them sent out and scanned professionally. Epson v600 is around $200. If you have more than 200 images to digitize a flatbed scanner is more cost effective. I've been working on a project for 3.5 years, the raw info is over 100GB and 20,000 files. I've gotten my money's worth from my Epson scanner.
 

Panolyman

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Given that the hundred or so negatives were probably all taken with my original used Zorki 4 (which developed problems) and as it was my first foray into photography aged 17, I don't suppose the quality is all that good.
That's why I don't want to spend a shed-load of money, in case I'll be bitterly disappointed with the outcome.
I'll give the DIY route a go first and at least hope to be able to see what it was I actually photographed way back then.
If there's anything decent (which I doubt) I could always get them professionally scanned.
 
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I have one of these. I works tolerably well for quick copies. It fits a 4:3 35mm macro perfectly and I have an adapter for µ4:3. There is a newer version for a lot more pesos but for that price I'd get a nice flatbed scanner. For serious scans I have a Canon FS-4000. I get very good scans using Vuescan. I also have an inexpensive flatbed CanoScan 4400F that I use for prints. It does negatives but I haven't tried it yet.
Usually the resolution they quote for flatbed scanners is interpolated, with real optical resolution being around 1200 ppi, which is fine for the web or a 4x6 inch print, if that's all you need.

I've been scanning since the early 1990's. There are no flatbed scanners that can give you anywhere near the level of detail that your camera can. Rarely do flatbeds actually focus on your film, unless it's a higher end unit, and even then, the real world resolution is ok for 4x5 film, with anything smaller it's usually just mush. Digital ICE will degrade details even more. At least that's been my experience.

If you have a macro lens, the Nikon ES1 or ES2 would probably adapt to it and do a bang up job.

It all depends on your ultimate usage and basically how much it really matters. For me it was important to get it right. Some of my images I'd like to be able to print really big, so what I do works for me. In the end, you find what works for you and you will have made the right choice, no matter which way you go with it.
 

Ranger Rick

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I just found this -

https://clifforth.co.uk/

Makes interesting reading and an interesting product. (I've not read it all so there may be drawbacks).

Comments from those experienced in these matters gratefully received, for the benefit of us all.
I have this and like it very much. I had bought the pixel-latr earlier, not too happy with the way film feeds. With 35mm, there is no "track" to keep the film in place, wanders crooked as you advance the film by pushing or pulling- a PITA requiring correction for every frame. I no longer use it.
 

PhotoCal

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A few years back I bought an Epson V500, which was great. It has the adapters to hold film and slides.
My advice:
- think of what your ultimate goal is and who your audience is. It's very unlikely that your heirs will be interested in much of what you've done.
- images of local history may be of value to the local historical society, but they would likely want negatives. Check with them first.
- if you don't plan to make enlargements or enhance the photos, then ask yourself if you need to scan them at all.


I went through my hundreds of rolls of negatives before buying a scanner. Some of the rolls I didn't even scan.
At most I scanned a handful from each roll, mostly to share with friends and family (since I've been the designated family photographer for decades).

These types of projects can be a time suck.
 
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I have a box of family pics (negs) from the 1970s, on something like 120 film or similar. I bought a piece of 3mm thick frosted white acrylic off ebay for 3 quid which I put on an old Amazon Kindle tablet, and made a frame with cheap thin steel rulers (also cheap). This worked OK for the "scanning" part (E-M10ii + O12-40mm f/2.8). Albeit the scanning rate is a bit slow.

Where I have fallen down is the colour reversing part. I've done it in Affinity and also in DXO PhotoLab, but not been hugely happy with either.
I see there is a LR plugin called Negative Lab Pro, which is $99. I might be tempted, except it won't work on my ancient version of LR (4.4) and I'm not paying for an Adobe subscription.

So this project, from me, is currently stalled, even though it's winter and lockdown...

Interesting to hear other experiences!
 

Panolyman

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A few years back I bought an Epson V500, which was great. It has the adapters to hold film and slides.
My advice:
- think of what your ultimate goal is and who your audience is. It's very unlikely that your heirs will be interested in much of what you've done.
- images of local history may be of value to the local historical society, but they would likely want negatives. Check with them first.
- if you don't plan to make enlargements or enhance the photos, then ask yourself if you need to scan them at all.
Well, the potential audience is me because I want to see what the images are.
And I won't know if I want to make enlargements or enhancements until I see what they are by scanning them. o_O
 

Brownie

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Here's my setup:
https://www.mu-43.com/threads/the-v...developed-which-was-today.110341/post-1444579

The key is to keep the negative flat and on a perfect plane with the lens, and even light.

FWIW, I have a Wolverine Snapp 14 scanner that does negs, slides, and photos up to 5 x 7. The camera does a better job.

One bug huge plus that Mike didn't mention is when you use your camera, you end up with a RAW image to process.
 

Brownie

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I have a box of family pics (negs) from the 1970s, on something like 120 film or similar. I bought a piece of 3mm thick frosted white acrylic off ebay for 3 quid which I put on an old Amazon Kindle tablet, and made a frame with cheap thin steel rulers (also cheap). This worked OK for the "scanning" part (E-M10ii + O12-40mm f/2.8). Albeit the scanning rate is a bit slow.

Where I have fallen down is the colour reversing part. I've done it in Affinity and also in DXO PhotoLab, but not been hugely happy with either.
I see there is a LR plugin called Negative Lab Pro, which is $99. I might be tempted, except it won't work on my ancient version of LR (4.4) and I'm not paying for an Adobe subscription.

So this project, from me, is currently stalled, even though it's winter and lockdown...

Interesting to hear other experiences!
Download Darktable, it's free and they have a new module called Negadoctor.

P1061636 by telecast, on Flickr
 
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Download Darktable, it's free and they have a new module called Negadoctor.

View attachment 869587P1061636 by telecast, on Flickr
Thanks for this info! I will certainly give that a go. I tried Darktable last year, as a general purpose DAM on a second PC that doesn't have LR, but ended up with ACDSee. I will reinstall it, and dig out the raw files I created last time.
 

Brownie

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Thanks for this info! I will certainly give that a go. I tried Darktable last year, as a general purpose DAM on a second PC that doesn't have LR, but ended up with ACDSee. I will reinstall it, and dig out the raw files I created last time.
Download the newest version. Due to COVID last year and everyone being stuck at home, they had two full new releases, one in June and the traditional one in December. There is a learning curve, if you google Negadoctor there are video tutorials.
 
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