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Remember me. You mentioned doing this for slide film, do you do the same for 35mm negatives? Most of the time yeah. Obviously this is more challenging due to they being negatives, but most of the time you can see the content of the photo and have an idea of the density. Also works great for medium format too. I can scan a roll of 36 exposures, in raw, in about 7 minutes and get much better files. I use an old Micro-Nikkor 55mm 2. Well as you can see I went the scanner route here.
Sounds like you have quite a system down though, if you want people to know about it you should write something and put it out there. I may indeed try and write something about this method of scanning just to throw it out there. Many people see r price of many scanners and it can be daunting especially if you want to scan medium format. Hi Ashley. My setup sounds similar to yours. I mount a 50mm f4 Takumar macro lens to my M43 digital body, put my negatives on a light table, and photograph them.
For black and white and E6, the results I get are wonderful. Any tips on scanning with a DSLR? I tried it for the first time today. Canon 5d with macro lens and a light box. Very flat contrast I found. If you have any tips on getting a good scan please let me know. Only a suggestion, but from my experience with cold cathode light sources for enlargers, and which have a fairly soft and flat, but even illumination, you could be experiencing something similar from the light box.
You should exclude all extraneous light, as simply photographing a slide on the light box as though it were a postage stamp will certainly reduce contrast. But the weight of the complete outfit, and how fiddly it would be to use, always points me back to my Minolta scanner! You will not be getting final images straight out of camera. For black and white scans I typically take the file into Lightroom to crop the image. I then open the file in photoshop, invert the image, then into curves to clip the white and black points.
This gives me a starting point in which to tweak contrast etc. This gets me to a really good starting point. But have you compared your color neg DSLR conversions to a good scan? I have tried extensively. It sure provides beautiful resolution scans using a DSLR, but I think for color negatives you are sacrificing color.
I would love to see your results if you are willing to link us. Great post, and timely post, kind of. Also, liked the idea of buying second set of slide and neg carriers so I could prep them while other in use. However, I missed that the XA has focus controls until I read your post! The XE does not have focus controls, and I am still within my day return window so now thinking of trading in — have you found the focus control truly invaluable, or is it just for the odd transparency with a wild bowed shape?
I was a photojournalist in the film era, first making prints, then scanning so the grain not being sharp would drive me nuts. Thank you in advance. Personally, I see improvements nearly every time I manually focus. But worth it enough to return a product and get another version? And I agree with you about the overal reliability of a system that uses film holders vs a motor that can burn out.
Naturally, with the reduction in film usage, the overall need for such devices will have tailed off as well, but gear that worked well in the film era, still works well today! Quality counts, as they say. Now with flat negatives AF invariably focuses correctly, but when you bear in mind that the AF point is the centre of the negative and if the negative is not held absolutely flat, this can prove troublesome. However, with a slight bowing of the negative this can lead to AF being ever so slightly off and MF can help here.
MF can be more useful when scanning slides owing to the thickness of the slide mount, which can indeed vary from make to make. Differences here will position the slide film at a slightly different plane and if the slides are mounted in glass, even this can sometimes fool the AF. Completely agree with your points in the workflow section — photo editing means make critical selections, not manipulate it until passable.
For those just starting out get a decent loupe so you can judge the sharpness and really look over the frame, or use the lab scans. Anyone have recommendations for a light table that can handle a full page of negs? Does the job. I think it cost me about 80 GBP.
Hi, Thanks for the shared experience. I have the same scanner but missing some experience I am struggling to figure out the best of it so far. Any idea how to us it? Regarding your workflow approach, I can understand the selection of your photo with a light table and a loupe, but when lacking experience in the darkroom like me and the material that goes with it , I think using the bulk scann of a full roll of film with low setting JPEG mid resolution goes quite fast is a good option to use as a contact sheet.
I select the frame I would like to work in more depth like that. I am building an home made system to store the film during the process and avoid the dust. Good article! I have this scanner, along with an Epson v I have found that the Epson scanning software does the best job with black and white film, and, you need the Epson for Two things that need more elaboration: conversion of negatives to positives, and general Photoshop workflow.
I then actually use the PS CameraRaw filter to set the white balance and tone. Then I reduce noise grain with NeatImage, and sharpen with one of a variety of plugins etc. Currently favor the sharpening in Lumenzia. ColorPerfect is a bit clunky, but it is really the only game in town. I certainly have tried them all…. Thanks for the awesome review. Especially love the sample scans, color looks quite good out of the box.
Check out the new PowerFilm automatic batch negative scanner from Pacific Image. How fast can this scanner do an entire roll of uncut film at lowest resolution. All I want is to create fast contact sheets. I do not care about quality really in any size larger than the actual 35mm frame.
I already spend 2 hours of my day developing the rolls. I am not going to sit an spend another 2 hours scanning in individual frames an babysitting the machine. But the rolls in, press scan go do something else. I have sanned frames from probably rolls over last 2 year on a nikon coolscan that does not do full rolls and I can tell you right now, besides digital ice, its the only thing you should look for in a scanner.
Different scanners have different intended purposes. It takes me longer to scan my 2 keepers in a non-batch scanner than to press scan and do 36 at once. You know why? Putting the roll in and pressing scan and walking away takes up 2 minutes of my time, even if the actual scan takes an hours.
In terms of my time required, its 2 minutes as im free to do other things. My comment is a valid one. The biggest barrier to shooting negative film is previewing your negatives to know which is your keepers. I am sorry, but normal people do not have time to sit around for an hour or two to play with their scanner. I like taking photos and printing and spending time away from the computer.
I will gladly press scan and walk away and go spend time with my friends and family in the evening and then come back in the morning quickly review all the frames and then delete 35 of them. In total that look me 2 minutes, even though the scanner was probably going for 1.
That is not crazy, that is practical. Should your really be calling me crazy as the author of the article haha? I am taking the time to ready your article, and then I disagreed with you, and still do. Why do I care about responding? Because I do not want new film shooters to miss this point, as this step in the process is annoying and not everyone has the time or desire to push through.
Is where people stop shooting film. And I want more people shooting film because I like having film around to buy! I cant keep things going on my own even though my monthly film budget may say otherwise…. If at all possible, if you can swing it, buy a scanner that will do a full roll all at once and do it well…if you value your time spent not scanning that is.
Not all scanners will let you do this. This can be done at ppi as it will just create one individual image with small frames. The contact sheet is the key to the film process, and it documents your roll. It is very helpful to review your work this way first. This is how it has always been with film. You can also lay a large light table on top of your scanner and try that to make a contact sheet. From there, then choose the frame to scan at ppi. The other method is run all your uncut rolls through the xas, the nikon , nikon , nikon , nikon , pakon , pakon , pakon , noritsu ls and walk away.
You will have a PDF of small images that is portable that you can print or send to friends. Review them, and then delete ones that are not keepers if you so wish. This is what I do. My purpose here is to share what I know to be the best and most painless process for scanning after 15 years of doing this. Which is slightly different that your recommendations here. Previewing your entire roll, somehow, with the press of 1 button no matter if it takes 2 min or 2 hours walk away and come back later should be your goal as a film shooter when working out what process works best for you.
It frees up your time to, and the lab scanning fees. I am a hobbyist with no time to spend scanning. I spend my time shooting film and printing in the darkroom. For film shooting to actually be sustainable people need to free themselves from ridiculous scanning fees that labs charge. They charge you for prints, but then again for the scan which are used for the prints anyway haha. Its crazy. And what scanner to labs use? Well they use one that will scan a full roll in 5 min.
As someone that has a lab I find it surprising you are recommending people to not use the process you use? For film to survive, people need to cut off a dependence on labs to do their scanning. And for normal people to do this at home it has to take 10 minutes. I have done your process, and it is annoying. The end result is that well, Ill just take it to the lab instead. Looks like you have a lab. Full roll scans, or full sheet flatbed contact sheets are the key to shooting film at home for hobbyists Do not rely on the lab to do this for you and do find a way to automatically to preview an entire roll at once with a press of one button while you are making dinner.
Thanks for writing the article. It was one of the few resources I could find on XAs when deciding if I should get one. Now that I do own this scanner, I was wondering about adjusting curves and other image settings in scanning software and their affect on the output.
Once you adjust image settings e. The question came up once I started getting very dark scans of Ektachrome E, and losing a ton of detail after adjusting exposure of those files in Lightroom. Do you know how adjusting curves and other settings in scanning software is implemented during scanning?
Thanks in advance! Sorry, Andre. I just saw your question. To answer my question from , correct scanning settings exposure, curves, etc can indeed create much better output that will be superior to trying to adjust a bad scan in post e. The AI Studio version also offers ME and sharpening features that can dramatically improve the quality of your scans. In my experience, the difference in most noticeable in colour scans due to the reduced noise and improved dynamic range.
Mark, I came for the scanner, but stayed for your photos. And they remind me of how different digital looks than the classic film that I grew up with. I especially prefer the more subtle colour response of film. Who is still scanning? I have two scanners but I am thinking to switch to take pictures of the scans using a light table. What are the pros and cons? Pro I like scanning because of the IR channel to remove dust and specks.
Con it is a slower process. Fantastic review. Does still work as advertised? Also, how about the PF you referenced at the end of your post? What are the hardware supported resolutions of the XAs scanner? I would prefer to scan at one of these resolutions and rescale in Lightroom if necessary.
I do not want the scanner software to rescale the image. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.
Learn how your comment data is processed. All photographs and text appearing on 35mmc. Interface, ugh. Results, pretty good! Olympus Stylus Epic — Ektar For more articles on 35mmc about the subject matter discussed here, please click one of the following tag links: Digitisation Theory Film Scanning Pacific Image XA. Alternatively, please feel free to chuck a few pennies in the tip jar via Ko-fi: Become a Patron!
You Might Also Like Reply Ori March 16, at am from my thorough testings, it seems that multi-exposure is really subtle and ultimately insignificant, tested with several BW and color negative films. Reply marksperry March 17, at pm With negative film I would generally agree. Reply Steve Gahan March 15, at pm Real pleasure to read your work and enjoy your great images mark. Thanks for taking the time to write this.
I may have to purchase this scanner. Reply Rory March 17, at am Thanks for the review. Reply marksperry March 17, at pm Most of the time yeah. Reply marksperry March 17, at pm Well as you can see I went the scanner route here. Do you have any tips? Reply Terry B March 18, at pm Malcolm, Only a suggestion, but from my experience with cold cathode light sources for enlargers, and which have a fairly soft and flat, but even illumination, you could be experiencing something similar from the light box.
Reply Richard January 23, at am no dust and scratch removal. Not worth it. Reply Rollin Banderob March 19, at pm Great post, and timely post, kind of. Reply Rollin Banderob March 19, at pm Completely agree with your points in the workflow section — photo editing means make critical selections, not manipulate it until passable. Reply Nipon March 21, at am Hi, Thanks for the shared experience.
Reply David Heintz March 28, at pm Good article! Reply Erik October 13, at am Thanks for the awesome review.