Has anyone tried "scanning" 35mm negs with an SLR?

DRR

EOS RP
Jul 2, 2013
253
0
I have a bunch of old 35mm negs that I need scanned. About 20 rolls of 36 exp, cut negs.

I priced it out and it'd be about 500-700 to get it scanned locally.

Since I have the time and good equipment I thought I might try this myself?

If I did it the cheap way, I'd use my 5dII, 35mm f/2, 25mm extension tube - that would give me almost 1:1 magnification. Negs on a lightbox, make sure my planes are all parallel, kill all ambient light, shoot at about f/8 with mirror lockup, either live view or shoot tethered to fine tune focus.

Or, a speedlite instead of the lightbox? Would that yield significantly better results? Or if I wanted to sink more money into the project, I could buy a 100mm macro instead of the same money going to a scanning place. ;D
 

mrzero

EOS RP
Jun 12, 2012
314
1
Chicago
There are flatbed scanners capable of scanning film negatives that are affordable and supposedly quite good. I plan on getting the Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII scanner, and it is listed on Amazon around $180 US. I just need to clear up the funds and the desk space first. For 20 rolls of 36, I think it would be much easier and the quality much better.

If you already have a good flatbed scanner but it doesn't do film negatives, I read a DIY article that showed how to make a box to reflect the light from the scanner around behind the negative. You could also try that on the cheap. I'm pretty sure it was this article: http://makezine.com/2011/07/13/how-to-cut-and-fold-slide-negative-scanner/.
 

tolusina

EOS 7D MK II
Mar 1, 2012
791
6
DRR said:
....make sure my planes are all parallel, kill all ambient light, shoot at about f/8 with mirror lockup, either live view or shoot tethered to fine tune focus......
To square your tripod mounted camera to the viewing surface, lay a mirror flat on that viewing surface. When the center focus point in the viewfinder is centered in the reflection of the lens, you're squared up.
With some lenses, you'll be able to see a refection of your own eye out through the finder, prism and camera's mirror to the viewing surface mirror and back again when all is squared.
---
The petapixel page that Don Haines linked mentions setting a custom white balance, yes indeed, do that.
---
I've not tried the rest of those petapixel techniques but they all sound great. I especially like the one about focusing on the film's grain though I'm unclear why each subsequent shot would need to be re-focused.
When I last DSLR'd film, I had no live view, no tethering, no extension tubes, a marginal PC. Your posting here inspires me to give it another go.
---
If you stitch multiple frames together, another free stitching program is Microsoft's ICE, very easy to use, can take .cr2s, output tiffs and several other easily configured options.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,925
1,040
You'd do much better with even a low end Epson photo scanner. Why not get a used slide/film scanner from ebay, scan your film, and resell it. It might just cost you a little for shipping it.

I have three or 4 old photo scanners around.

BTW, check Craigslist. Sometimes Reasonably Good Epson Photo Scanners can be had for $10. Epson might no longer supply drivers for Windows 7 64 bit, so people dump them not knowing that there are third party scanner drivers that work well.
 

Rudeofus

EOS 80D
Jun 1, 2013
149
7
I have an Epson V700 for scanning my negs&slides, and with 35mm material sharpness is dreadful, so is dynamic range (which means sensor noise). And the V700 is supposedly top of the line when it comes to flat bed film scanners.

If DSLRs have soooo many megapixels, sharp lenses and tons of dynamic range, then I really wonder why everybody recommends flat bed scanners.

I recommended a film/slide scanner, but yes, my V700 does a great job on slides as compared to my 5D MK III. It is not a dedicated film scanner or a drum scanner, so I do not expect that kind of results.
 

DRR

EOS RP
Jul 2, 2013
253
0
Great tips here. I have tried a flatbed (Epson Photo scanner) and the results were acceptable, but really not impressive. The other downside with flatbed scanning is that I found it very slow, for anything aside from low-res scans.
 
Mar 10, 2014
2
0
Rudeofus said:
I have an Epson V700 for scanning my negs&slides, and with 35mm material sharpness is dreadful, so is dynamic range (which means sensor noise). And the V700 is supposedly top of the line when it comes to flat bed film scanners.

If DSLRs have soooo many megapixels, sharp lenses and tons of dynamic range, then I really wonder why everybody recommends flat bed scanners.
I have an Epson V600 and have found it to be quite adequate for archival capture of both slides and negatives. I wonder if you might be using lower resolution settings on the V700 and that's why you are unhappy with the results?

I have a 13" x 18" print on the wall from a scanned negative that looks absolutely beautiful. No issue with sharpness at all.

The biggest issue I run into is dust on the images. I think that will be a problem regardless of the technique used.

It's also pretty slow when you set the scanner for high resolution. It can take several minutes per slide for the scan and if you save as TIFF images, you can easily end up with 80 MB files.
 

suburbia

EOS M50
Aug 9, 2013
48
3
+1 for the slide copy adapter

I had a dedicated Minolta film scanner but I was never that thrilled with the results (seemed to merely pick out film grain than actual image clarity when increasing resolution to its max ~5000dpi) and it was so slow to scan at full resolution with all the image processing functions turned on, many hours for the 4 slide holder ending up with 100MB files.

Modern SLR now have equal resolutions and I used a dedicated film era slide duplicator on my 5d Mk II to take photos of my slide collection. I guess this is the same as using a 1:1 Macro but with a convenient slide holder built in. This was by far a more workflow friendly setup and I could digitize a whole reel of slides in under an hour once everything was setup. I found a diffused Flash unit rather than a light box more suitable for the work flow as the exposure was more reliable with a fast shutter at low ISO setting easily achievable.

The results were very good with good image clarity certainly enough for full HD viewing.

The only downside is that I missed the dust detector of the film scanner and had to be meticulously cleaning the slides from dust beforehand.
 

LJ3Jim

EOS M50
Jun 29, 2014
27
0
Here's my "do-it-myself" solution for slides. It worked very well, and I could do a slide in about 10 seconds. I have a Plustek scanner, but it took about 2 minutes per slide. In my opinion, my photographed results were better than the scanned images.

A friend of mine also has a good slide scanner, but he chose to use his macro lens. He felt he got better results that way, too. However, lots of folks prefer scanners. You can probably rig something simple to photograph a few of your negatives and see if that method is good enough for you. If not, go the scanner route.

 

noisejammer

EOS 80D
Aug 17, 2010
180
0
I've tried with an Epson V750... it's a real p.i.t.a. Here are two alternatives that will work

An easy way would be to purchase an old Olympus OM slide copying jig. This would cost you around $500-ish, take the photos and then resell it. You can also decide whether to copy at 1:1 or crop the image (I think it supported 4:1 but my memory is vague.) It works best if you slide mount your images.

Another alternative would be to do the same with a Nikon Coolscan 4000 or 5000. These cost more (~$800 and ~$1200 respectively) but are easier to resell. If you do this make sure you have the SA-21 attachment and a film holder.
 

suburbia

EOS M50
Aug 9, 2013
48
3
noisejammer said:
I've tried with an Epson V750... it's a real p.i.t.a. Here are two alternatives that will work

An easy way would be to purchase an old Olympus OM slide copying jig. This would cost you around $500-ish, take the photos and then resell it.
My slide copier was about $50 new with Canon mount from a normal camera retail shop and did the job fine. I've seen more fancy ones ie with a multiple slide holder for around $100 new
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,667
204
DRR said:
Since I have the time and good equipment I thought I might try this myself?
Actually, before scanner were available, the only way to reproduce slides and negs was photographing them. There were special films as well for reproduction. Canon had a repro adapter to be mounted on its bellows, coupled with a macro lens, it also allowed for "cropping" a slide. I still have the bellows, I guess I should look for an EF-FD macro adapter and the repro accessory :) IMHO with a good setup you can obtain results far superior than most scanners, although it's a slower technique.

Beware of some low/medium range scanner offering "slide/negs adapters", they may return so-so results.

For lightning any good, homogeneous, stable source will be enough - once there were even enlarger "color heads" used to correct casts on images, but now you can easily correct whatever in post-production.

Also ensure the neg/slide is flat when you take images of it - often they are not.
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
8,584
2,143
120
LDS said:
DRR said:
Since I have the time and good equipment I thought I might try this myself?
Actually, before scanner were available, the only way to reproduce slides and negs was photographing them. There were special films as well for reproduction. Canon had a repro adapter to be mounted on its bellows, coupled with a macro lens, it also allowed for "cropping" a slide. I still have the bellows, I guess I should look for an EF-FD macro adapter and the repro accessory :) IMHO with a good setup you can obtain results far superior than most scanners, although it's a slower technique.

Beware of some low/medium range scanner offering "slide/negs adapters", they may return so-so results.

For lightning any good, homogeneous, stable source will be enough - once there were even enlarger "color heads" used to correct casts on images, but now you can easily correct whatever in post-production.

Also ensure the neg/slide is flat when you take images of it - often they are not.
Yes it did, here is mine.

FD 50mm Macro reverse mounted in FD auto bellows with the slide copier attachment on it, for years that was the only way of "backing up" your work. Now I just need to get an FD-EOS adapter and a body that clears the rail at 1:1, my 1 series digitals don't!
 

Attachments

eos650

EOS T7i
Sep 16, 2012
71
0
I bought a slide duplicator that mounts on my camera, using a t-mount. The item I bought was similar to this, but not exactly the same:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Zoom-Slide-Duplicator-T-Mount-MINT-/121050627342?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item1c2f2dfd0e

Here are some pros and cons...
  • Pros
    • Fast - Make a copy as fast as you can insert the slide/negative and take a picture. My scanner takes a minute plus to scan a hi-res image.
    • Hi-Res - My DSLR makes a much higher resolution copy than my scanner
    • Better Color - My DSLR gives better color than my scanner (for slides). I haven't been able to perfect the color profile for negatives, but I am working on it.
  • Cons
    • Have to load one at a time. I can load twelve slides/negatives at a time in my scanner
    • I don't have a good color profile for negatives. I get good results, but not great, due to the fact that I have been unable to dial in a good profile for correcting the negatives. The scanner has a built in profile for handling the orange background on negatives.
    • Works well with mounted slides, but my negatives are in strips. I had to modify a film strip holder so that I could properly hold my negatives in place.

DRR said:
I have a bunch of old 35mm negs that I need scanned. About 20 rolls of 36 exp, cut negs.

I priced it out and it'd be about 500-700 to get it scanned locally.

Since I have the time and good equipment I thought I might try this myself?

If I did it the cheap way, I'd use my 5dII, 35mm f/2, 25mm extension tube - that would give me almost 1:1 magnification. Negs on a lightbox, make sure my planes are all parallel, kill all ambient light, shoot at about f/8 with mirror lockup, either live view or shoot tethered to fine tune focus.

Or, a speedlite instead of the lightbox? Would that yield significantly better results? Or if I wanted to sink more money into the project, I could buy a 100mm macro instead of the same money going to a scanning place. ;D
 

Frodo

EOS RP
Nov 3, 2012
347
36
I tried a slide adaptor in my reasonably good Canon scanner - results were pathetic.
I then made an adaptor that screws on the front of my EF 50mm macro with extension tube. This tube holds the slide at just the right distance for 1:1 (actually a little less so I crop slightly when processing) and a bit further back is a diffuser made out of a plastic ice-cream container lid that was neutral in colour. I can take a photo of the adaptor if people are interested.
I then use a flash on a TTL cord to illuminate the slide. Use auto exposure but found I need to give about +1/2 - 1 stop to get the best image.
I clean dust off the slides reasonably well, but find that the last spots are much easier to remove in Lightroom.
I found that using the medium RAW file on my 5DII was about right - the full resolution file is more than the original slide and is wasted resolution.
I have a preset for processing the slides. I find that I can "improve" the slides significantly by filling in the shadows yet retain highlights, as well as correct colour balance, and remove dust and fungus (lots of fungus on my Kodachromes, but at least they retained colour well).
I produce two jpgs: a full resolution (of the medium RAW file) and one that will fit within a 1920x1080 full HD TV screen. Then I delete the RAW file. Once the images are backed up I through away the slides.
This works well and the sharpness is great. The most time is spent in processing the image in Lightroom, but I think that this is a part of the process that makes a huge difference.
I ended up doing over 10,000 slides this way.
 

Lee Jay

EOS 7D Mark II
Sep 22, 2011
2,206
143
Yep...for the cost of one used Popsicle stick and three glue dots, in addition to the stuff I already had.

 

dcm

Good or bad - it's not the gear.
Apr 18, 2013
812
156
Used an epson v750 for hundreds of slides, thousands of negatives in different sizes from 70+ years of photography. The details you can get from old b&w negatives is amazing. It took a while and some experimentation to dial it in. Key benefit of this scanner is two pass scanning, one in IR to eliminate dust, scratches, etc. Highly recommend VueScan for the process, it also has profiles for many different types of negatives. Not sure if you can apply that to images you take with your camera but you might check that out.