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Reproduction of thousands of 35mm negatives, best set up?

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

  1. Albert

    Albert New to Mu-43

    6
    Jun 26, 2015
    Albert Holton
    My father, a professional photographer since 40-50 years left us endless amounts of negatives on film. A lot of it sure is going in the bin, but there are a lot of gems to be digitalized. I've been looking for a negative scanner, but although they are expensive they still are very slow.
    But then I stumbled up on a video where a guy used an ordinary camera mounted over a "light board" (sorry if this isn't the right term in English, my own language is Swedish... but a milky coloured screen with a light source beneath it).
    He used a standard camera, but since I've got a Lumix GF2, a micro 4/3 system I'd like some help to understand what type of lens I shuld use to get a resonable result. The lenses I have are a pancake lens (useless for this project) and a 45-200 zoom (not much better) Both my lenses needs a distance of about 50 cm/3 feet to get in focus and then they get to much other than the film in the picture, I like to use as much of the sensor as possible for the 35 negative.
    Probably you wonder why I don´t just grab one of my father's cameras, well, they are oldschool dinosaurs. Expensive back in the days, now worthless old Leicas and Hasselblads, probably some Cannons and Nikons too.
     
  2. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    For literally "thousands" of negatives, I'd send them off to a service. You are talking weeks of work to digitize them and then that much time again to crop and invert and correct them on the computer.

    If you decide to do it yourself, you will need to purchase a macro lens so you can focus closely enough and a tripod to ensure the camera stays put and speed up your workflow. The macro lens could be an old manual focus one to save time, and something like an old 50mm f3.5 macro should work. Those are not very expensive on ebay. You may have issues keeping the film flat without fashioning some kind of holder for it.

    A scanner with built in film holders may not be much more expensive and would provide more predictable results. I do agree they are slower to use in many cases.

    So again, I would strongly consider using a scanning service. Add up what a macro setup or scanner will cost and compare it against the service and decide how much your time is worth. I am assuming you aren't in the U.S. so I won't try to recommend a service for you, but I would bet you can find one.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Albert

    Albert New to Mu-43

    6
    Jun 26, 2015
    Albert Holton
    When googling on 50mm f3.5 macro i saw that there are adaptor rings... Would it work if I got a adaptor ring for my Lumix micro 4/3 to fit in one old lens for maybe a old Nikon lens? Of Course all focusing will have to be manual, also the aperture, but when this is done once, could I use the same settings for most of the pics?

    What adaptor ring should I use? Are all Nikon lenses the same or are there different types?

    For a reference about the amount of film we are talking about... He used those 7 slot sheets, with one whole film in one slot 7 films for one sheet, then put theese sheets in binders apx 30 sheets per binder. i've got about 60 of those full binders with 35 mm's. Then we have all the other formats too... I'd say it sums up to a round half a milion pics.
    But, I will koncentrate on those pics with some affectual value. He worked a lot for newspapers so there are fires, car crashes and elections mixed with us kids on christmas, birthdays and summer holidays. He did not separate work and family. So to get this done by a professional, it would require a significant effort in sorting out these gems from the vast material.
     
  4. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    Makes me happy that I shoot straight to digital now and have Lightroom to catalog everything! :D
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Yes, Nikon made one. Olympus, Canon and probably everyone else made similar lenses. Some may have been 55mm instead of 50mm.

    The adapters are quite simple. They just convert the mount and add the space that the lens was designed around. They don't provide any circuitry and aperture and focus must be done on the lens. You do have to match the lens to adapter, though. If you have a specific lens in mind, we could direct you to the right adapter on ebay. You could spend a little more on a native macro lens, like the Panasonic 30mm f2.8 macro, but honestly an old manual one might be better. With the fully manual ring, the focus is less likely to change between shots or if the camera goes to sleep.

    If it were me, I would set up a work area that you can leave up for the whole project. Mark an area (or fashion a holder) on the light box, leave your tripod set up right where it needs to go and then set up the lens focus and manual exposure settings and you just need to position the negative, shoot, and repeat. Unfortunately the GF2 does not allow a handheld remote because I think that would help.

    Quite a body of work! Good luck!
     
  6. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    622
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    Other than the "ancient" Nikon rangefinder lenses, there are a number of different "types" of Nikkor lenses but they all fall into one of two different groups when it comes to adapting them to m4/3. One group contains all of the older lenses and some of the newer ones. These are the lenses with their own f/stop ring. The other group contains those lenses that lack an f/stop ring of their own. These are commonly referred to as the "G" series lenses by the adapter manufacturers though the exact Nikon designation varies somewhat with "G" usually as part of the disignation. An adapter that has an aperture control for use with the "G" lenses will work with both groups and often doesn't cost much more. BTW, all 55mm Micro-Nikkor variants have f/stop rings of their own and the 55mm f/3.5 is a particularly excellent lens.

    Your project is an extremely massive one. You will need to dedicate a substantial amount of time to the project. I've been working on a similar project involving my Dad's family photos, a collection of old family negatives and prints going back some 150 years, and my own work from the '60s through the '90s. There are some 3000 images to deal with and I've worked off and on over the last 8 years and have only made it through about 2/3rds of the stack. Life tends to get in the way, but I keep plugging at it in batches.

    You will find that regardless of your "scanning" equipment you will need to do significant cleaning/retouching of the digital file. It is quite impossible to get a perfect scan out of any scanner or digital camera setup. Get an organized plan of attack. I would suggest:
    1. be somewhat selective of what you scan
    2. be more selective of what scans you clean saving you effort for only those images you want to print or share right now.
    You will, of course, want to got the full Monte with your first few scans to be certain that your digital files are good. This means scan, clean/retouch, export for web, and print. After that you can simple scan and file the images leaving final adjustments for later when needed. I would recommend that you invest in a decent DAM (Digital Asset Manager) from the start so that you can manage the files and add metadata tags with any known information about the images. My choice was Adobe Bridge (an accessory app that comes with Photoshop) originally and for the last several years has been Lightroom, in both cases combined with saving the files in a human understandable folder hierarchy, something Bridge and Lr allow.
     
  7. Albert

    Albert New to Mu-43

    6
    Jun 26, 2015
    Albert Holton
    My plan is to pick out like 100-200 pics, the rest will just stay in the binders. Perhaps we'll donate it to the library or a museum or such. Most of the pics are documents of what life has been like in this region during the last 50-60 years. Quite fun to look at. Found some hard core skaters from like 1972, with ice hockey gear for protection, but still, they were really tough guys =)

    I will look in to my fathers old gear to see if there are any usable lenses for this, perhaps I could trade an Hasselblad for a fitting ring =) Dad would cry though...
     
  8. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    254
    Jul 6, 2014
    Hi

    The setup I used for digitising my 120 negatives might also work for 35mm

    I use a small light box onto which the negative holder from my flatbed scanner sits.

    The camera is mounted on a tripod and is fitted with the Olympus 60mm Macro lens.

    Camera is set to RAW mode and in A exposure mode with the lens set to f11, and the shutter fired with a remote cable.

    This setup is capable of quite a fast work rate. Only taking seconds the frame and shoot each frame.

    The resulting RAW files are then converted to positive in Photoshop using the Colorperfect plug in.

    I also set the camera to do a 3 shot auto bracket and one stop apart. And then select the best after conversion, although I have found after doing thousands of them that the middle shot is nearly always the correct one so the bracket is probably un nessesary.

    The quality is as good and in some cases better than I got using my epson flat bed and very much quicker, only taking a few seconds for each shot rather many minutes the epson takes.

    Paul
     
  9. Albert

    Albert New to Mu-43

    6
    Jun 26, 2015
    Albert Holton
    I got the idea from this clip: http://www.moderskeppet.se/live/fota-dina-aldre-bilder/
    It's in swedish so you would probably not understand what they are talking about, but the set up seems pretty similar to yours. Here they use a full scale light board. There is one like that at my father's place, and the thing he mounts the camera on to, the same thing without motor sits in dad's basement. So what I need, apart from lens and a fitting ring is some cardboard and a piece of glass to flatten the film, perhaps to avoid reflections I'll need to block out light from the sides.
     
  10. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    919
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    Old Leica's and Hasselblads have no value in Sweden?

    I assume these are all black and white negatives. I've not been able to photograph a color negative, remove the orange cast, and get the color right. For color negatives, I'll use my flat bed scanner or sometimes my really slow Plustek slide scanner. I have been able to photograph B&W negatives, invert them, and adjust exposure to my satisfaction.

    If you have the light source and the camera rig shown in the swedish video, you are very close. If you don't need the exact magnification, extension tubes for your kit zoom, or a macro adapter ring might work. I like using a macro lens.

    Did your father own an enlarger? If he did, you can use the negative carrier from it to hold the film strips. This pic is from the BH Photo web site. A carrier is better for holding the film flat. You don't really want to put glass over it.
    Beseler_6737_35mm_Negative_Carrier_For_4652.
     
  11. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    836
    Feb 29, 2012
    Look into one of the Epson flatbed scanners that can scan a whole roll like a contact sheet. Bonus of being able to scan 120 sized negs.
     
  12. Albert

    Albert New to Mu-43

    6
    Jun 26, 2015
    Albert Holton
    I was close to buy a Epson perfection V700, a used one was out for about 200$, but missed it. She had sold it just minutes before. I'm still looking for both a used flatbed and a used plustek.
    Did my father own an enlarger?... he had at least half a dozen. I'll look in to what remains when it comes to carriers, we have donated most of them to a enthusiastic girl, it seems like no one pays for analog equipment here.
     
  13. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    If this is a one time deal and you have no other use for film scanner (meaning you don't shoot film), I'd send it off to a service unless you have lots and lots of free time. Even then, you would have to decide whether your time is worth XXX amount of dollars. That time could be spent with loved ones, doing photography, etc... unless you enjoy scanning negatives although I haven't met one person who does. :biggrin:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. quatchi

    quatchi Mu-43 Veteran

    326
    May 17, 2012
    Munich, Germany
    I would second using a professional service. In case you want to do it by yourself, I recomand using your camera. From my experience this results in better digital images then from a mid-range scanner. I did a comparison here:

    http://www.lomography.com/magazine/276877-smartphone-film-scanner-its-the-camera-that-matters

    I compared using the iPhone 5 camera with a brother scanner as well as the E-M5 with Oly 12-40 lens. I although have the Oly 60mm Macro but for my setup the 12-40 proved to be better.

    ---

    On an additional note (maybe I didn't caught the sarcasm here): Those "now worthless old Leicas and Hasselblads" might be very valuable these days...
     
  15. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    836
    Feb 29, 2012
    I gather your 'mid-range scanner' is a brother scanner which is a regular flatbed scanner with a light-lid or some diy contraption?

    The Epson V700 would be many times better.

    BTW, unless you paid over $100- to scan that roll of film, the lab most definitely did not use a drum scanner. Especially not an uncut 35mm roll. It most likely used a 35mm film scanner.
     
  16. exakta

    exakta Mu-43 Regular

    86
    Jun 2, 2015
    I bought a 35mm scanner with the idea of scanning all my negs and slides....probably about 2-3000 frames to sort through with the goal of scanning maybe 10% of them.

    I immediately found it is a huge timesink to do so (10 minutes a frame on average, what with cleaning, cropping, checking the scan result, etc.). That's not counting the sorting.

    On the other hand I'm discovering a lot of great shots I had never bothered to print.
     
  17. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    622
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    The simple film scanners can be rather slow in practice. The some high end film scanners can to strips or whole uncut rolls as a batch, reducing the time you actually spend sitting with the scanner.

    I've been using an EPSON v700 for most of my project. It allows me to load four strips of 35mm negs or 20 mounted slides, start the scan, and go do something else while it scanning is being done. Still, a large project will take quite a long time.
     
  18. Albert

    Albert New to Mu-43

    6
    Jun 26, 2015
    Albert Holton
    That Epson v700, when scanning a lot of frames at a time, does it result in one file with 25 images or does it separate them into 25 files?
    I'm starting to realize that the converting process from negative to positive is going to be time consuming.
     
  19. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    622
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    While you can "force" it to scan the whole set as a single image (useful for making digital "contact" sheets) its default behavior when using its own EPSONscan software is to produce separate files (JPEG, PDF, or TIFF - your choice) for each image.
     
  20. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    919
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    I have an Epson V500. It's faster than a scanner, but still tedious. Dust accumulates on both sides of the glass. It will handle color negatives well. The V500 has a carrier that will hold two 35mm film strips, to a maximum of 6 images per strip. Most of the time, it's able to identify the individual images and give me up to 12 separate JPG files. Sometimes, it just refuses to recognize a few images in a strip, and correcting for that severely impacts workflow.

    A 10mm AF-extension tube with a 14-42 zoom set around 37mm will allow coverage of a 35mm slide/negative. In the USA, we can buy a 10mm/16mm extension tube pair off amazon or ebay for $40-50 USD. I'd find that negative carrier, buy the extension tubes and you're ready to go. You can always use it to shoot macros later.