Copy Stands

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
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410
#1
I've been wanting to set up or acquire a copy stand for years, I even had a old enlarger frame that I thought I could convert, but gave it away a few years back. After a relative passed away and left a large quantity of family photos, prints, and negatives, I decided to try again. For 3 months, I've look for used copy stands, but they were too expensive to just do a experiment.

Finally, I found a old and cheap Beseler 23CII enlarger that had good gears, lock, and raised and lowered smoothly, so I spent a few hours last Saturday taking everything off and trying to decide the best way to convert it. I was trying to make use of some parts of the enlarging head, but soon decided that was futile, so I removed everything but the frame. Then, I rigged up a temporary camera mount (I will need something better for a permanent mount). I did not want to drill any new holes, but ended up slightly enlarging two holes so a 1/4 screw would slide thru.

The enlarger uses a torsion spring to offset the very heavy weight of the head, and I had to add 10 pounds of weight to simulate the weight of the head so it would raise and lower smoothly. I mounted a Arca swiss clamp to hold the camera and lens, then stopped for the night.

I've yet to test it, and need some good lighting that does not take up much space. I'll use my large lights to test it, but I don't have a practical way to do that permanently, I might buy a roll around stand so I could roll it into place under my fixed lights, that might be a good option. I have one cart that I use like that now.

Its winter here and very cold in my workshop, so building a permanent adapter that will adjust the camera angle to be parallel to the board will be a makor project requiring me to heat the shop and spend a few hours. I'll have to drill holes in the enlarger, so I did not want to do that until I proved it will work. Right now, I can just re-assemble the enlarger, it works fine.

I'll try to go out and test it today, and also take some photos.

I'd be happy to hear any ideas.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,039
410
#2
A couple of quick shots of the setup with my light stand on a cart. I liked that setup, so I may just buy it its own cart. I did not think to save the photo my R took. The swivel out LCD means I can compose and focus while the camera is mounted. I have wi-fi in the room, but have not conigured it to automatically download to my NAS, if thats even possible.

My 50mm f/2.5 Macro is the right focal length as I expected, since the enlarger used a 50mm lens.

untitled-1.jpg
 

BeenThere

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 4, 2012
809
142
#3
Looks interesting. You may have to play with positioning of lights to avoid glare from glossy media. I have an old Kodak grey card that I shoot after each copy photo to have for color balance in Lightroom.
 

Pookie

Don't forget to gargle private...
Nov 29, 2014
947
140
Santa Cruz, California
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#4
I do this for all my film negative scans. Check out the BW thread. I use a 5DSr (only reason I bought it) for "scans". I did buy a couple stands from KEH for dirt cheap. One is dedicated for large and medium format... the other for 135 and slides. Modified lighting and cassettes to hold negatives flat because most of my film is fresh (and curly) unlike old sleeved negs. It's much better if you can make a light box underneath though.
 

BeenThere

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 4, 2012
809
142
#5
I do this for all my film negative scans. Check out the BW thread. I use a 5DSr (only reason I bought it) for "scans". I did buy a couple stands from KEH for dirt cheap. One is dedicated for large and medium format... the other for 135 and slides. Modified lighting and cassettes to hold negatives flat because most of my film is fresh (and curly) unlike old sleeved negs. It's much better if you can make a light box underneath though.
For film scans i’ve Been using my old Beseler dual mode slide duplicator. It has a built in light box in the base and can use a fixed light source or built in flash for the exposure. The machine has a bellows that attaches to the front of the camera (with an adapter ring) for focus and magnification adjustments. As a lens I use an old Rodagon APO enlarger lens.
 
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Pookie

Don't forget to gargle private...
Nov 29, 2014
947
140
Santa Cruz, California
www.flickr.com
#6
For film scans i’ve Been using my old Beseler dual mode slide duplicator. It has a built in light box in the base and can use a fixed light source or built in flash for the exposure. The machine has a bellows that attaches to the front of the camera (with an adapter ring) for focus and magnification adjustments. As a lens I use an old Rodagon APO enlarger lens.
Yea, this works well for slides but how are you scanning them with the Rodagon for digital capture? For most of my 135 though I like the film edges to show so I had to go the DIY route using old 5DSRs (and 100L or 35L II) to capture. For large and medium format there was really nothing I could do unless I made one for myself.

I made the original setup about 5 years ago and have since been "upgrading" mine until now. Two copy stands for film and a relatively "new" Beseler for all my BW printing needs.
 
Aug 1, 2017
211
120
#7
I use a similarly modified Beseler 23CIII. It works OK but even with a counter-weight the action for raising and lowering the camera is clunky. The mechanism on mine looks a little different so perhaps your's is smoother.

I mostly use it for photographing film on a lightbox so I don't have to raise and lower it that often. If I were doing documents with a prime lens I think I'd run out of patience with it pretty quickly. A macro slider would be nice for more critical positioning but using those vertically can be a bit sketchy with a spendy lens attached.
I mostly shoot tethered as my 5dIV doesn't have a tilt screen. I get results with 35mm film that are as good or better than the several dedicated film scanners I've bought over the years.

Larger film usually requires stitching several images together to get comparable results to my flatbed scanner but the final results are also quite good.
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,039
410
#8
The counter weight seems to be ok for framing the image, My EOS R does a fine job of AF, so I don't need to use the crank on the side to focus or it would never work. I did not intend to use it for slides, I'd need a good light box and don't have many slides to do. I have been using my Epson V700 for film and slides, they are vintage ones and not works of art, just family photos, so it works well for that. using it for prints varies, some are too large, and I hang them on a wall to photograph them.

My two softboxes seem to light the area pretty evenly with no reflections, I can vary the angle, of course if needed. For my use, its more of a experiment, work may come from time to time in batches. I'm liking the idea of having it on a cart so I can wheel it out of the way when its not being used.
 
Aug 1, 2017
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#9
Yes the crank is the troublesome bit. Too creaky for precise adjustments. Otherwise, I'm happy with the set-up. Certainly happy enough that I don't feel the urge to buy a copy stand. The tilted head-mounting plate is a negative but I use an old Manfrotto II5 3D head with an added Arca style clamp. I tried an Arca ball head but It was a pain to level the camera. Once the 115 head is level and square to the base it works fine. Gives me an excuse to keep the enlarger despite knowing I'm probably not going to use it again.
Haven't tried rigging side lights since I mainly just use a small light box that I made a few years ago. I can do a dozen slides in the time it takes a scanner to do one. I also get Raw files I can import into lightroom rather than SIlverfast TIFFs. My 35 mm stuff isn't likely to get enlarged much bigger than 8x10 so the quality is perfectly acceptable.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,039
410
#10
I had not thought of using a ball head to get it square to the base. I have two old Benro heads that turned out to be pretty poor as well as some other heads that I could use. I calculated that the camera mount should be 5 inches fron the plate, which puts the center of the lens 7 inches out, that looks good, but I'll but something in the center of the base and then make a final distance. Using a head will be a quick and easy solution, and the AS clamp is built-in.

I want to see if its practical to reduce the tension on the torsion spring so I don't have to use weights.

My Epson V700 scanner will do 12 mounted slides in one pass. The software will output each slide into a separate file with a choice of formats, so I don't have to crop them out of a photo. If I had high quality slides, I'd so them professionally, but mine are from the 60's and tend to be of lower resolution than my scanner can do. Virtually all were from my Argus C3. When I got my Canon FT QL, I mostly developed my own slides, or used color print film. The scanner does the film strips nicely as well, I'm concerned about getting dust on them, so it will be a one time event if I ever decide to go back and scan from the film. I did inherit my parents photos and lots of 120 negatives from the 1940's and 1950's which I scanned. Those old negatives shot with a folding Kodak camera are pretty sharp and still have great contrast and detail. In the 50's, Dad bought a Brownie Hawkeye. There was a definite decrease in the quality of those images. I used a Minolta TLR in the early 60's. Nice results if I could see to focus it. Then I bought my C3 which I used in school.
 
Aug 1, 2017
211
120
#11
I love a TLR. Still have a Mamiya C220 and a couple lenses that I'm always telling myself I should get out and use. But, I can't say I'm nostalgic for film so I doubt I ever will. The TLR looks cool in the bookcase which is reason enough to keep it. Never had an Argus but by all accounts they were great rangefinders. I went Nikon for 35mm pretty early on.

I had considered removing one or both of the torsion springs but I'm not sure I'd be able to put them back if it didn't work out. They also look like a medical emergency just waiting to happen. The Arca B1 ballhead worked OK once I got it level but it was a bit awkward to use. The Manfrotto 115 works great. I included a 1 inch spacer behind the head. I didn't attempt to move the camera further from the mounting plate. That could add in a lot of vibration and I haven't needed the full base.

Overall, it definitely can be a workable rig IMO. Hope you have some fun with it. I'd say the EOS R or would be perfect for that. If I had a flip screen I wouldn't bother tethering but I can't see the back of the 5DIV the way I have it set up.
 

BeenThere

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 4, 2012
809
142
#12
Yea, this works well for slides but how are you scanning them with the Rodagon for digital capture? For most of my 135 though I like the film edges to show so I had to go the DIY route using old 5DSRs (and 100L or 35L II) to capture. For large and medium format there was really nothing I could do unless I made one for myself.

I made the original setup about 5 years ago and have since been "upgrading" mine until now. Two copy stands for film and a relatively "new" Beseler for all my BW printing needs.
The scan is a digital camera shot using the enlarging lens as symmetric 1:1 macro. The camera is mounted on one side of the bellows and the APO Rodagon lens on the other side.
 
Jul 6, 2017
899
102
Davidson, NC
#13
I have a slide scanner that gets better results, but for fun I tried using my iPad as a lightbox, and shooting slides with my non-L 100mm macro lens. The results were surprisingly good. The iPad app is cleverly named “Lightbox.” It is useful for sorting through slides, as you would expect.

Of course I shot RAW, so I had a fair amount of exposure and color control.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,039
410
#14
The scan is a digital camera shot using the enlarging lens as symmetric 1:1 macro. The camera is mounted on one side of the bellows and the APO Rodagon lens on the other side.
That sounds like a pretty serious project. I did not see a easy way to do that and did not dwell on it, I wanted no modifications made to the enlarger so I could pass it to someone else if I decided to pass on using it.

I have a Minolta bellows unit adapted to EOS, it could be mounted to the enlarger frame and use the enlarging lens, or almost any lens, playing with that is a whole different project.

I did glance at the torsion spring today, but I can't see anything without removing the end caps and gears. I don't really have the time to do a major project right now.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,039
410
#15
Well, I bought a cheap roll around cart from Harbor freight, never thinking it would be so flimsy. It looked pretty solid in the store. I have a Rubbermaid Cart (2 of them) and not only are they solid and stable, but they use standard casters, I upgraded them to larger ones.

I sat the copy stand on the new cart and it wobbled so bad that I'd not be able to use the touch shutter, and I don't want my camera sitting on it. So, after 3 hours assembling it, tweaking the wheels to remove any play, I decided that the thin sheet metal the casters are mounted to is flexing. its like a sheet of foil. I could probably cut a sheet of plywood, get longer bolts, and stabilize it, but I'm going to take it back and look for a good one. I have a cart just like it that I bought 10 years back, it has no issues, the new one uses thinner sheet metal. Junk!