Scanning Negatives and Slides, scanner ore macro?

hovland

EOS M6 Mark II
Aug 22, 2013
60
0
Norway
I’m I serious doubt whether to by a film scanner ore to by a macro lens and use my 5d IV for digitization of my negatives and slides.
I don’t have that many slides ore negatives, but still some.
Initially I was looking for a Braun fs120 ore a similar, but after reading some review’s I’m in serious doubt.
The main reason I wanted a scanner was to have some automation and automatic dust/scratch removal. (I hate doping it manually in Lightroom)
So I now looking into maybe doing a combination, a “cheaper” scanner and macro for the best shots. (100 2,8L)
Anny thoughts around this? can anyone recommend a decent medium priced scanner that is good enough for most scans. Max price around 100$/€, and I need only to scan 35mm. From other posts here, I see that some are quite positive to the Epson 850 pro. But is there a smaller alternative?
 
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Pookie

Guest
If you're only scanning 35mm then buy a 35mm dedicated scanner. The Epson isn't all that good for 35mm... 120 or 4x5 it works perfectly. I've never been a fan of macro batch negative scans, if you're only doing one or two every so often then maybe but when you are scanning a lot of slides consistency will be a major hassle. The software will be critical to success. "Only" scanning 35 isn't as easy as you would think, there is a ton of information in a very small area... you actually need a good step motor to get any scan worth your time and cheapy scanners will not cut it. 120 scans are actually easier as they are much larger.

For 35mm I use a https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1007389-REG/pacific_image_primefilm_xe_prime_film_xe_scanner.html

and at 4100dpi it produces a very good down sampled 20mb file... the next step up is automated version and will accept rolls. PIE also adds a copy of Silverfast which is prob one of the best software packages for good scans.

Here is a great review site for most of the newest models and some very outdated but also very good scanners... The PIE models are Reflecta in Europe.

http://www.filmscanner.info/en/FilmscannerTestberichte.html
 

Frodo

EOS RP
Nov 3, 2012
410
87
I copied about 10,000 old slides using my EF 50/2.5 macro lens on my 6D. I made up a plastic adaptor that held the slide at just the right point for a little less than 1:1 and included a white diffuser for my 430EX or 270 EX flashes attached using a cord. I used an EF 25mm extension tube to get to near 1:1, rather than the Lifesize Adaptor as the latter extended the shotting distance a bit much.

Both the camera and flash were on tripods.

I shot the slides on a medium RAW setting (no point in getting empty resolution). In most cases I was able to extract shadow detail that was not clear on the original slide.

Most of the time was taken getting the best out of the slides using Lightroom, including cropping and dust removal, but this was the rewarding part of the process. Taking the images went comparatively quickly as there was no need to focus and crop.

If I had another 10,000 slides, I'd do this again.
 

Mikehit

EOS R6
Jul 28, 2015
3,332
533
Before spending the money think about quality and how will you will view them. I bought the Epson V700 for the following reasons, some may be applicable to your situation:
My slide photos were taken in the 1990s with consumer lenses so the ultimate scanning so sharpness will probably not benefit from hyper-accurate scanning technology
I will be viewing them mainly on screen
I have several hundred slides and scanning individually can be soul destroying - 2-3 minutes for each slide is damn all time to do anything else especially when you consider cleaning the slides with blower brush etc. The Epson takes 12 at a time and I can leave it for half an hour (at this point the time it takes to double-scan with spot removal becomes less important)
dedicated slide scanners are expensive especially with auto-feed
I will be viewing mainly on screen and if I want to print anything I can send the odd one to a professional scanning service
Our local Calumet store has a full-spec professional scanner that I could rent (use it in-store) so if you do not have many maybe this is an option locally?

Be warned - if you want images 'ready to go' straight out of the scanner it is a whole new learning curve - I take the view of get dust removal done and process in photoshop.


I also considered photographing them with a macro lens and at the I bought the scanner the scanners had the edge in resolution - since then camera MP have gone from 8MP to 24+ while scanner technology matured ages ago so I think that the gap between them will have closed. But, as you comment, slide scanners have dust/spot removal which saves a heck of a lot of time.

For dedicated slide scanner, Optech have a very good reputation.
 
For best results, use a photo lab. However if you have a lot of slides/negs, this can be very expensive. What I did is use my local lab for high res scans of my most important images. (However I worked there for twenty years so I still get an employee discount). The rest I just used a macro lens and set the slides on a light table. I used the horizontal feature of my tripod center column and shot down on the slide (with a 5D3).

The camera and lens setup will create acceptable images for screen use and small (4x6 inch) prints. If you want to print something as an enlargement, you will need to have it scanned at a lab (or buy a high end scanner).
 

Jaysheldon

EOS M6 Mark II
Dec 23, 2015
91
28
I'm surprised to read the opinion that shooting a slide with a camera and lens would only get an image good enough for a 4x6. Can you talk more about this?
 
Jaysheldon said:
I'm surprised to read the opinion that shooting a slide with a camera and lens would only get an image good enough for a 4x6. Can you talk more about this?

Ok well you could probably go larger than 4x6, but not a real big enlargement. The reason is NOT because you won't have enough resolution. Obviously modern digital SLR's have a pixel count capable of big prints. The reason in my opinion is that cameras are meant to photograph three dimensional objects. When you photograph a flat two dimensional picture of the real three dimensional world, it is never as good. Sadly I cannot give you the technical reasons why. However film scanners (at least pro grade ones) are designed precisely for this purpose and will yield superior results.

In reviewing my answer I realize it's not much of answer because I can't explain why a scanner is better than a camera. It is just something I intuitively think, based partly on my attempt at photographing slides and my experience getting good scans at the lab I worked at.
 

privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
10,017
4,812
MrFotoFool said:
Jaysheldon said:
I'm surprised to read the opinion that shooting a slide with a camera and lens would only get an image good enough for a 4x6. Can you talk more about this?

Ok well you could probably go larger than 4x6, but not a real big enlargement. The reason is NOT because you won't have enough resolution. Obviously modern digital SLR's have a pixel count capable of big prints. The reason in my opinion is that cameras are meant to photograph three dimensional objects. When you photograph a flat two dimensional picture of the real three dimensional world, it is never as good. Sadly I cannot give you the technical reasons why. However film scanners (at least pro grade ones) are designed precisely for this purpose and will yield superior results.

In reviewing my answer I realize it's not much of answer because I can't explain why a scanner is better than a camera. It is just something I intuitively think, based partly on my attempt at photographing slides and my experience getting good scans at the lab I worked at.

Funny how our intuition can be 100% wrong.

I shot film for years, when we needed a duplicate an image we copied it with a camera and dedicated macro lens, bellows and slide holder setup. These high quality setups can be bought for under $100 on eBay and give results easily able to be printed at 20" x 30" every bit as good as the native film (which is as large as I was ever comfortable with using 135 format film and wet process paper).

The one reason I'd buy a cheap 5DSr would be to attach to my slide copier and copy a load of film images that weren't worth professionally scanning but are worth the minimal amount of time it takes to take a picture of them, which is substantially faster than even a single pass slide scanner and gives superior results in many situations.

I used to have a Pacific Image dedicated 35mm scanner but the time and effort needed to get good scans was uneconomical, the results I have seen from even 21mp ff cameras and copier setups easily out perform them.

P.S. Reversed 50mm macro lenses are designed, by their very nature, to maximally resolve flat objects.
 

Hillsilly

EOS R
Oct 16, 2010
1,100
2
The only benefit of a cheap scanner (ie one that would be less than $100) is being able to automate the process and being able to use automated software to colour correct negatives. If you want the job done fast, and aren't too worried about ultimate quality, this is the way to go.

If you wanted the job done better, had some time to dedicate to post production, but aren't in the market for an expensive scanner, then using a digital camera gives impressive results that are comparable to better scanners.

I've following this bloke's approach in recent years, and I think he's perfected the process: -
http://www.mfphotography.ca/michael-fraser-photography/category/the-definitive-guide-to-scanning-film-with-a-digital-camera

The comment above about being limited to a 4x6 print isn't right. If you were trying to do this correctly, you'd be using a macro lens that is designed for capturing a flat field. The only thing you notice with 35mm film is how pronounced the grain is compared to modern digital images. But I like grain, and with my 16mp camera and a 1:1 macro, I have no problems producing nice 11x14 prints.
 

pwp

EOS R6
Oct 25, 2010
2,530
23
This topic pops up fairly frequently. I have bookmarked a number of articles on the subject:
Camera Scans
http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2012/11/11/using-a-dslr-to-scan-negative-film-by-stefan-schmidt/
http://petapixel.com/2014/02/11/neat-diy-projector-rig-lets-digitize-15-slides-per-minute-automatically/
http://www.dpbestflow.org/camera/camera-scanning
http://thedambook.com/downloads/Camera_Scanning_Krogh.pdf
http://petapixel.com/2014/03/30/reflectas-latest-35mm-scanner-digitizes-your-negatives-at-an-insane-10000-dpi/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PetaPixel+%28PetaPixel%29
http://lensvid.com/gear/scanning-slides-using-a-dslr-the-fast-way/
http://petapixel.com/2012/12/24/how-to-scan-your-film-using-a-digital-camera-and-macro-lens/
http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=21877.0
http://petapixel.com/2012/12/24/how-to-scan-your-film-using-a-digital-camera-and-macro-lens/
http://www.scantips.com/es-1.html
https://luminous-landscape.com/articleImages/CameraScanning.pdf
https://luminous-landscape.com/scannerless-digital-capture-and-processing-of-negative-film-photographs/
http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107834.0
https://petapixel.com/2016/02/06/the-1699-filmtoaster-helps-you-digitize-most-film-formats-with-your-digital-camera/

HTH...

-pw
 

pwp

EOS R6
Oct 25, 2010
2,530
23
Hillsilly said:
I've following this bloke's approach in recent years, and I think he's perfected the process: -
http://www.mfphotography.ca/michael-fraser-photography/category/the-definitive-guide-to-scanning-film-with-a-digital-camera

Great tutorial. Better than anything else I had bookmarked. Thanks!
OP, look no further...

-pw
 

LDS

EOS 5D Mark IV
Sep 14, 2012
1,715
248
hovland said:
Max price around 100$/€, and I need only to scan 35mm. From other posts here, I see that some are quite positive to the Epson 850 pro. But is there a smaller alternative?

Scanners designed for 35mm film only are more compact, some cheaper models very compact.

But did you mean $100 or $1000? Because the Epson V850 Pro AFAIK is around $900 but there are some sub $150 or even sub $100 scanners. The V850 allows for "wet mounting", which may improve scans quality, but it's not a quick and simple method.

Just, a good film scanning software like SilverFast alone may cost more than $100, depending on what you need to scan, and the software is important because films have some specific needs to be addressed. If you have Kodachrome slides, they have specific quirks the software has to address too.

Depending on your needs and the quality of the original images, a cheaper scanner/software may be disappointing, and may not offer good dust/scratch removal.
 
For dedicated 35mm film scanners (meaning that is all they do), one of the best if not the best was made by Nikon. Sadly, they no longer make it. My lab has one that they only use for pricey high res scans because it is time consuming and they are trying to make it last.

Apparently if you are willing to put more effort than I put in when I copied my slides, you can get good files from a copy setup. I still doubt they are as good as a premium scanner like the Nikon (or an outrageously expensive Imacon), but compared to consumer grade scanners it appears (based on other's posts) that a camera works as well or better. Thanks to those who corrected my incorrect assumptions.
 

LDS

EOS 5D Mark IV
Sep 14, 2012
1,715
248
MrFotoFool said:
The reason in my opinion is that cameras are meant to photograph three dimensional objects. When you photograph a flat two dimensional picture of the real three dimensional world, it is never as good. Sadly I cannot give you the technical reasons why.

A camera with a single "eye" really can't see "3D" :D Also a lot of photo work, especially in the past, was made to reproduce flat subjects, thereby it was thoroughly tested :)

Yet, not every lens is good to reproduce flat subjects at close distances (not "flat field" designs), and a good setup and care are required to get the best results - and that's true for scanners as well.

I tried for a while to get decent result with a mid-range Epson flatbed scanner, just to give up because result weren't satisfying.

High-end scanners may use "wet mounting" to obtain better results, and let's not start to talk about the quality of drum scanners vs. CCD scanners...
 
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