Going Negative. What's the best way?

For a long time I felt like I was too busy to address the stacks and drawers full of black and white negatives that reside all over the studio. I'd given my last flat bed scanner away to a non-profit years ago and, in the high volume work years if I needed a digital file from a cherished black and white negative I would just send it out to one of the two Austin photo labs (which are still in business) and let them handle it; for a price. 

Now I find myself where everyone else is: with lots of time on my hands, no ready subjects to photograph right now, and re-considering my approach to looking for "gold" in my negative archives that I'd like to print or share. If I were fabulously wealthy I'd just put every slide, negative and piece of sheet film in boxes, drive it all over to the lab and have them go through piece by piece and create high resolution scans for me. But at $12 to $25 per image and with my realization that my interpretation for scanning is generally different than the scan philosophy of the labs I can't really justify spending tens of thousands of dollars to dig into negatives from yesteryear. 

I'd gotten fairly competent at using an Epson scanner, purchased over a decade ago, to make scans of medium and large format prints but it really wasn't an optimum solution for 35mm negatives. Not enough resolution for really nice prints. And, when I was in the rush of business it just seemed more expedient to let someone else do the scanning. 

Lately, three or four people who I follow on YouTube.com (like Sean Tucker) have proposed and demonstrated making good scans using their digital cameras combined with a macro lens. There are plug-ins for PhotoShop that make for easier conversion from the negative state to a positive image and I've seen a few tutorials of that process as well. 

So, for all my home scanning of personal images I'm torn between just getting another inexpensive Epson flatbed scanner; like the Perfection V600, or trying my hand at "camera scanning."

Either way I'll have to spend some cash. I can buy the scanner for around $250 (including sales tax) but to do the lens approach I'll need to source a macro lens for the L-mount system. The lens that makes the most sense is the Sigma 70mm Art lens (macro) which would work on my Panasonic S system cameras but it's currently back-ordered everywhere. I'm sure I can find a Nikon or Canon macro and make do with an adapter. The solution from Leica for L-mount macro is a series of close-up lens attachments which you attach to a lens filter thread to allow for closer work. (Not optimal).

If this was for a series of paying jobs I'd try to source a more involved and capable scanner but even then without a dedicated 35mm scanner I'm not sure I'll get the data density I want in a file.

My inclination right now is to try my hand with the camera scan method (not really a scan since I'm doing a "one shot" image capture). This would involve ordering (and waiting for) a Sigma 70 Macro but I'm anxious to get started and might just buy a set of three different front-of-lens diopter attachments and at least experiment with one of the high resolution S1R bodies. If I can shoot negatives at 1:1 with that set up I can at least assure myself of getting the most information out of the negative.

The point of pain with this approach is getting the camera exactly planar to the film. I have a tripod with a side arm but I suddenly miss (for the first time) the sturdy, old copy stand I let go of years and years ago. We'll see if I'm bright enough to engineer some sort of workable substitute...

I'm not much worried about the post production side of things but I do worry about the capture. Sad though, if I'd have been doing this already a decade ago I would have a wide selection of adapters and slide duplicators to choose from.

The films I want to scan range from 35mm to 6x6cm, 6x7cm, 6x9cm and 4x5 inch sheet film. The larger the film size the easier I think the process will be.

I guess my question to the VSL readership is if you have tried the camera/macro lens/lightbox method yourself and if you have any pointers for a late arrival who suddenly finds himself ready to get some black and white files from yesteryear into the system. I'd love to hear from you.

My friend, Paul, shoots with Nikon D850s and bought one of the Nikon ES-1 Slide Copy Adapters which attaches to the front of a 60mm macro lens and seems to be the perfect solution for 35mm slides and 35mm negative stripes but I'm wary of buying multiple solutions for multiple film sizes if I don't have to. 

Scanner or high res camera? Which way to go?

Final note for a stormy Tuesday morning: I ran the lake loop last week on a hot and humid afternoon and I have to say that running in the heat with a face mask on is just flat out painful. Makes me feel a bit claustrophobic and it also makes my brain imagine that breathing deeply is harder. I'm already thinking of workarounds and the best one I've come up with so far is to just be on the trail earlier in the day. 

The perfect time, weather-wise, is around 6:30 am, for the start. All of a sudden this is starting to remind me of college swimming where the first practice of the day started at 5:45 a.m. ---mandatory --- five days a week. I thought I'd left the early stuff behind. Ah well, flexibility has its advantages. 


Greg Heins said...

At my recent place of employment, we switched over to shooting from scanning. Couldn't have been happier with the results as well as the speed. We used a Nikon 105 macro, Kaiser copy stand and very even light box. But what you really want to do is buy that K-1 back, along with the 100 macro, shoot in multi-shot mode (they call it pixel shift). And leave the whole thing bolted in place, as alignment is critical for best results.

Unknown said...


I have a Sigma 70mm macro in SA mount along with the Sigma SA mount to L mount converter. I used the converter when I rented a Sigma FP camera and it works great.
Be happy to sell it to you,

I sold you a older Pentax 50mm 1.4 when you had your K-1.

Charlie McNulty
Ventura CA

Anonymous said...

Glad I kept my Nikon 9000 medium format scanner for 35mm, 6x7 and 6x9 scans...at 4000 dpi it does an excellent job....only bummer...firewire connection so can only use it with my old Mac Pro Desktop running 10.6.8 software. I use my Epson 1680 for 6x17 pano's and 4x5's. Minolta also made a medium format scanner which got even better reviews than the Nikon. Good luck with your project. I'm engaged in a similar activity....50+ years of shooting. So many negs and so little time.

Anonymous said...

After trying out flatbed scanners, dedicated film scanners, and commercial companies, I found that the fastest, best value, most control method was to use the camera + macro lens. I use a Zeiss 50 Makro Planar with an adaptor on a Leica M or Micro 4/3 camera, and then attach that to a Novoflex duplicator (available from B&H). I put a flash behind the neg holder for lighting.

Planarity is absolutely essential and the duplicator takes some of the pain out of that. While the 'scanning' is very fast, set up still takes some time, so if you can leave one set up in place over time, that helps. Also, a planar lens is essential. Many macro lenses are not actually completely flat – something that is never noticed when taking those flower, insect, product pictures. Even my Zeiss lens is not as good as I would like and it only goes to 1:2 not 1:1. If I put an macro extender tube on it then things get really bad! So check the lens carefully.

Looking forward to hearing of your results.
Peter Wright.

Anonymous said...

You have the Leica R adapter for use with the 90 Elmarit. KEH usually has a good stock of the excellent Leica 60mm Macro Elmarit-R lenses at reasonable prices. You need the extension tube to get to 1:1 for full frame cameras. There are also used extension tubes without the aperture linkage for very low prices.

For this kind of copy work I use an old Rollei Nikkor 6x7 enlarger base, which has a slanted column and a 1/4-20 threaded screw to hold the head in place. Just replace the head with your camera and level it to the base.

I use 2447 plastic sheet under the slide or negative with some spacing to get it out of focus, with a decent light source under the plastic. You can get the plastic from e-street plastics (near Dallas) at a very reasonable cost: https://www.estreetplastics.com/2447-White-Plexiglass-Sheets-s/101.htm

E-street is supplying shielding for point-of-sale and other covid-19 related issues right now, but I got a small piece of 2447 from them a couple of weeks ago with only a couple of days' delay.

Use a good lightbox under the slide or negative if you have one. I use an Omega D series enlarger negative or slide holder and I block off the backlighting.


Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention. You can shoot a flat field frame with your macro setup and apply it in post to cover any possible variance in backlighting across the frame.


Unknown said...

I'v used a dedicated 35mm slide/negative scanner, great results but a painfully slow process if you have hundreds (or thousands) of negatives and slides to scan.
I'v used my Epson V600 photo flatbed scanner with the 35mm adapter supplied. Good results, faster than the dedicated slide negative scanner.
I'v found best of all for production and speed my m4/3 Olympus omd em1, an old slide copier accessory that allows cropping via a carrier that allows moving the slide/negative on the carrier and an ancient Nikkor 50mm f3.5 macro lens mounted on the camera. And, of course a handful of adapters to mount the lens to the camera, slide copier to the lens.Also included are a selection of extension tubes so that the lens covers the entire area of the 35mm frame. I use a daylight led light source and in addition to the slide copier which provides an even distribution of light another sheet of white diffusion to soften, even out the light. Not complicated once you have it together- it is a fast way to copy.
I shoot raw and jpg. If the color balance/ exposure is good I use the jpg and if not I can season to taste the raw in Lightroom.
For my amateur/ hobby use the quality of the results is great.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful comments - thanks to all for the short course in copying.

crsantin said...

I guess it depends on what you want to do with the 35mm negatives. Are you making large prints? Web display only? I use my old Epson V500 scanner and it still seems to give me good results on a 35mm scan. I can get a good 8x10 or slightly larger print from the Epson I think but I don't print many photos these days. I've never tried the DSLR as a scanning tool, too many attachments for me to invest in for limited use so I never bothered. The Epson is fine for my needs.

Kirk if there are not a lot of people about I wouldn't bother with a mask when outdoors. I only wear a mask inside a store. When I ride my bike or walk I don't wear one. They are not meant for athletic activity and I don't see them being necessary outdoors unless it's in a crowded area. Maybe keep one in a pocket or pouch just in case? I won't wear one when tennis returns. That's a sport that you can play while practicing physical distancing.

Chappy Achen said...

I am using an Epson v850 pro for all my scanning needs now. The scanner software works extremely well (in my opinion) and it handles all size negatives and slides. Color restoration, dust reduction if desired has allowed me to get very useful files from 35mm all the way up to 8 x 10 negatives.

mikepeters said...

Use your S1R and a macro lens. I got this thing called a film toaster which is a metal box with a movable stage that the film holder sits on, and below that an LED panel. You connect your lens to the top and your camera to that. It's pretty easy. I use a Lumix G9 in the hi-res mode to get 10,000 pixel wide "scans" of whatever film I have. So far, just color transparencies. I'll get Negative Lab Pro when I get to the negs in my archive. The nice thing about a camera as a scanner is that it's much faster and as sharp as your lens can get. My Olympus 60mm macro, for 35mm, and Lumix 30mm macro, for 120 and 4x5, both are sharp from edge to edge even at only f5.6 or 8. A smaller f stop would induce diffraction. And the hi res mode gives me scans with as much detail as an Imacon scanner. And it takes maybe 3-4 seconds to make the exposure in the hi-res mode as opposed to many minutes with a flatbed or a few minutes with an Imacon. Epson flatbeds would be ok for 8x10 or 4x5 film, but with smaller formats will deliver you with either over processed details from interpolation, or mush. The film toaster will give you very repeatable results and as a solid metal unit, there is no flex or wobble. The other option would be to get an old bellows for Nikon or Canon, with a film stage on the end. But that only works with 35mm. You could also get a copy stand and a light box, but then you have the potential to wobble.

Anonymous said...

I am in the midst of a film-scanning project, using Epson V700 flatbed @3200 dpi + Silverfast AI Studio, and for C41 color negatives, this has been the best solution I've found so far. I very much like the workflow which allows me to tweak images individually, then walk away while it batch-scans. I could probably benefit from a newer model scanner such as the V850 as it seems Epson has improved the film holders, and changed light source from CCFL to LED, eliminating warmup times. I don't use any sort of multi-pass scanning options (Digital ICE et al).

But even with the crappy V700 film holders, so long as the film isn't too badly curled, I can usually capture the entire image area plus a thin border around it.

I've toyed around with camera scanning, and for b&w or color slides (but not color negatives!), no problem. And for cherry-picking images out of the archives, it's fine. Olympus Pen-F in pixel shift mode yields 80 mp raw files, so no shortage of pixels either. But I don't think I'd like to try and digitize a large percentage of my archives in this manner due to the lack of batch scanning capability.

Current plan is to proceed with Epson + Silverfast as before, and for 99% of my photos, this ought to be plenty. For the remaining 1%, I can enjoy the luxury of digitizing with camera + macro lens. For this, I have Lomography's "Digitaliza" film holders, and if I want to get really fancy, a glass carrier by Better Light.

Jeff in Colorado

MikeR said...

Re contagion, hopefully the following link will work for you. (Referred to by a New York Times newsletter yesterday)


It answers a lot of "why's" ... and helps with some "how's"

FoToEdge said...

I think you have a Panasonic M4/3rds camera and I have had great luck with the manual focus 7 Artisan Lens for M4/3rds. You need a 1:1 true macro lens whatever you pick. You could use an adapter for other lens mounts on any macro lens. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1485796-REG/7artisans_photoelectric_a112_m_60mm_f_2_8_micro.html/?ap=y&ap=y&smp=y&smp=y&lsft=BI%3A514&gclid=CjwKCAjwkun1BRAIEiwA2mJRWaPIoWIB8v46eGdI0yKJa3jC7bCTlBIq0Cxfd1ybU4A9tsAjZlPsjxoCF-0QAvD_BwE
As for a Workflow, this is easy and you don't need to buy anything else to get going.

Joe said...

I've been using an Epson V850 to scan 4x5 and 5x7 BW negatives and did an extensive set of tests about what worked best (for me, using ISO 100 Ilford Delta 100 5x7 BW film). The V850 is probably the best solution for large format negatives. The 850 seems like the best overall professional product, as it has a series of incremental upgrades, including price, of course.

Epson's own scanning software worked as well as any of the touchy third party product.
I followed the scan with tweaking in Lightroom. Epson's 4x5 holders shipping with the V850 are very workable and there are both wet-scan and dual 4x5 negative holders available new at a rational price. Scanning at 2400 dpi seemed the overall optimum, although 3200 dpi might provide slightly improved resolution at the cost of slightly lower contrast.

However, for smaller 35mm and medium format negatives, a camera operating in pixel-shift high resolution mode will work better, no question, and would be faster and easier in use.

Even though Epson and other scanner makers advertise very high dpi maximum resolutions, those resolutions are interpolated values, not actual data. That's due to the stepping nature of scanners as they more forward incrementally. The actual native resolution of a V850 film scan is under 7MP per square inch of source transparency or negative. That's about 10MP per full-frame 35mm image.

For that reason, on these smaller negatives, you'll do far better with a high-resolution camera copy using pixel shift mode - higher resolution, faster, fits into your existing work-flow with a plug-in, no major color correction, and less clean-up afterwards.

While the camera copy would work with large format negatives, you will be losing a substantial amount of fine resolution compared to a good V850 scan.

Boris Ott said...

Hello Kirk,

take a look at the Digitaliza Masks on lomography.com.
They work great.

Greetings from Germany

amolitor said...

I did a little of this once, and here's what I used:

1. I re-tasked neg carriers from the enlarger to hold the negatives flat.

2. I used my iMac set well back from the neg as a light source, but I dare say you can do *much* better with some lighting you have on hand.

3. I used a sturdy cardboard box with holes cut in it as a jig to get the camera and neg parallel. Boxes are surprisingly precise. If you get the camera and box both level, the far side of the box is likely to be dead-on vertical and square to the near side of the box, especially if you tape the top of the box back down.

4. Rig the negative holder flat to the far side of the box, and you're pretty damn close to perfect.

FoToEdge said...

Photographer SEAN TUCKER has a quick and easy workflow for fast and easy negative scanning and conversion with Lightroom, Photoshop and Negative Lab Pro Software. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJGpdoH6taQ&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR2UvuaVz7gpGVgbXdzkRawW96lQfvmkd-c6uYX74EOgKqsfAhF_EgGqpjw

Mark the tog said...

Lot of good suggestions here.
My .02 is that I am shooting my negs with Amy Canon 5DsR not because 50MP will do a better job but just because I don't use it in the field much.
I use a copy stand and the Canon 100 macro which goes 1:1. Some claim it is not as sharp as some other lenses and I suppose it isn't but when I can see the grain as clearly as I could with a grain focusing magnifier I do not care.

As for a light box I use. Kaiser LED one that was about $35. It is 5000K with great evenness and high CRI.
For the negative stage I got a Lomography film holder that does hold the film dead flat. Not too fast but works.

I am looking for a Beseler Negatrans film carrier which has a film advance that slides the film through the gate. Solves my speed issue and keeps the film flat and masked.

karmagroovy said...

If you would rather dispense with flatbed scanners, you might want to check out Negative Supply. They create niftly film carriers for camera scanning (120 and 35mm). It allows you to easily roll the film through the carrier while keeping the film flat.

The Wandering Lensman said...

Last summer I used my Nikon Z7 and 60mm f/2.8 G macro lens to copy more than 5000 35mm slides and various format negatives. The key I found is to set up an ergonomic system so you can sit for long periods of time without tiring physically, I’m happy with the results. However, none of the copies are as good as a first generation digital file. We’re really spoiled with digital as compared to shooting film of yesteryear. In my opinion the 45.7mp files are largely wasted and 24mp files will give you everything you need. In the future, I will use a camera with fewer pixels.

ga6 said...

Here you go:

Tom Vadnais said...

Hi, Kirk -

First, love the image! As with your other best images, you can feel the personality of your subject, not just see it.

Second is off topic, but you might find this review of the Sigma fp interesting: https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2020/05/08/10-minute-reviews-the-sigma-fp-is-a-study-in-beauty.

Lastly, several photography friends have tried several systems to copy slides and negatives, and each of them now use digital cameras with the system developed and sold by Peter Krogh (best known as author of The DAM Book). I just got a rail system from him, but haven't put it to use yet. His system and the videos on his website are excellent: http://thedambook.com/rail-systems-rent/.

Thanks for continuing sharing on your blog.


Robert Roaldi said...

I'm building a set-up out of wood to permit sliding the camera and holder independently. The holder will be a piece of wood with a hole cut out, light source will be a diffused flash. I have an Oly m5 mark 2 which can do the 50 mpix hi-rez mode, but I suspect that most of the time the native sensor resolution will be fine for my needs even with the 4/3s to 3/2 cropping. I'm just hoping that someone somewhere has used Affinity to invert the neg image to positive and described it, I've never done that before. It's strictly a DIY set-up, not designed for large throughput because I will only be doing this from time to time. I made it out of stuff lying around the house.

Mike Shwarts said...

If you go with a flatbed scanner, look into a Better Scanning holder. They come with anti-Newton Ring glass and are height adjustable to compensate for scanners that leave the factory not quite to specifications.


Jim said...

I have been copying and converting negatives with my EOS M3 and its macro lens lately. I bought a proper copy stand on Amazon and use an LED tracing panel as the light source. You can convert negative to positive in Photoshop without a plugin. Go to Adjustments>Invert. One nuisance is that you can't set the film name to match your negative filing system until after you make your 'scan'. If you are shooting the copy in RAW as I do, change the file names before you make your inverted copies or you will end up changing them twice.

IMO camera copies are superior to scans with higher resolution and faster. It's like a Repronar except that it isn't limited to 35mm slides.

Bill Bresler said...

I'm pretty much in the same boat, negative-wise. I'm scanning with an Epson V700 which does a decent job, once I shimmed the neg holders so the scans were sharp. But it's painfully slow. I've avoided the camera/macro lens/lightbox scan thing because squaring up the camera and neg drives me crazy. Like you, I ditched the copy stand a while back.

nicolas said...

I second the use of m43 for this role, instead of 1:1 you are only shooting 1:2 (or better for larger format negs) so everything becomes just that little bit easier. And I also second the use of a manual focus lens, even though it will probably mean adapters, etc.

Robert said...

I'm another m43 shooter. I use an old Besseler enlarger attached to an Olympus EM1-MKii for scanning negs. A 12-40mm zoom (at f5.6 and L100ASA and high resolution mode) is used for contact sheets and then a 60mm macro (same settings) for shooting 35, 6x6 and 6x7 negs. A Kaiser Slimplano flight source provides even illumination and either a Kaiser FilmCopy Vario or old enlarger film holders hold the negatives. I attach the EM1 via Olympus Capture to my Mac and then use autoimport in Lightroom to import the images. You can make a Lightroom preset with typical import settings to streamline processing. I used to have an Imacon 646 and gave up on scanning because of how time consuming it was...this is MUCH faster with comparable results. Printing on a Canon 17" printer, but the negs could handle larger. Yes drum scans are better, but anyone that tells you that they aren't doesn't know how to use a drum scanner. Hope that helps.

Dmitri Serdukoff said...

Pentax K-1 that I use in a similar "camera scanning" setup allows me to see negatives as positives, all in live view. This is tremendously helpful, as most people's brains, especially of the ones who never worked with negatives, have hard time interpreting contents of a frame if it is a negative, especially, if it is a color negative. Another tip - be very careful with stray light. If you are allowing a thick transparent frame around your negative to be lit, the stray light will greatly reduce contrast of your captured "scan".

Kristian Wannebo said...

Could this be a possibility?
On the expensive side, but looking versatile:

Info on a lot of different scanners:

The page is German,but many reviews on it are in English.

TMJ said...

There are four methods I have used.

1. Make a B&W print, 10x8, then use a good flat bed scanner.
2. Dedicated film scanner
3. Flat bed scanner with film holders, mine is an Epson V700. (There is an alternative to 'wet scan' using after market products for the Epson series).
4. Capture the image using a digital camera. I use a lightbox designed for radiography, very even illumination. The resolution of the camera is not paramount: accurate alignment is.

Anonymous said...


from my experience 35 mm film doesn't hold much more than 4 Megapixel of information per image. It makes no sense to use a high res camera for film scanning. I suggest to go for a second hand macro lens for Micro Four Thirds and use this on your Panni GX81. My experiences with film scanning using the Olympus 2.8 60 mm Macro on an OM-D E-M5 or the Panasonic G9 are good. But I need to warn you: Film scanning with a camera is a time consuming process causing me back pain standing bend over my light table manipulating the slides and negatives for hours. BTW: Lomography offers a quite good film holder (Digitaliza) for 35 mm and 120 mm film.


TMJ said...

As an addendum to my earlier post, one of the advantages of "1. Make a B&W print, 10x8, then use a good flat bed scanner", is that matching the film, to the paper curve, has already taken place. I suspect one aspect of often poorly reproduced original film to digital prints, is that has not been thought through at the Photoshop/print stage.

Incidentally, I remember that Ralph Gibson used to print A3, then whilst the print was still damp, scan it on an A3 flat bed scanner. That's how he obtained his digital negative.

Of course, Gibson has seen sense and now uses digital Leica Ms, (though not, I think the Monochrome versions).

HR said...

You say they are B&W negatives. What size? Medium format (6x6, 6x7, etc.)? Large format? 35mm? B&W negatives are the easiest to scan and get very good results. Next is color slides. Last is color negatives. Just using a good flatbed to scan medium and large format B&W negatives would be the easiest and give you very good results. For 35mm then a dedicated 35mm film scanner would be easier, but the digital camera + macro lens + proper lighting gear + film holder to keep film flat + tripod or copy stand and so on is another option. That seems like a hell of a lot of gear and trouble to get digital copies of some B&W negatives though when a scanner can do it so much easier and faster.

Michael Matthews said...

If the pixel dimensions are adequate, maybe repurpose your remaining M4/3 camera coupled with the Olympus 60mm macro. The capabilities of that lens are stellar. My standards, though are well below yours. I’m still happy with the results of scanning 35mm slides using the little Epson flatbed. But dammit - I do wish I hadn’t sold that Olympus 60mm. Best lens I’ve ever owned. Time to track down the Ebay buyer and see if he’d like to sell it back.

Paul said...

You could use a slide projector see https://petapixel.com/2014/02/11/neat-diy-projector-rig-lets-digitize-15-slides-per-minute-automatically/ I think a company in Germany sells adaptors to convert slide projectors to a scanning device I’ll see if I can find the details

David said...

I cut a hole 100mmx100mm out of old TV stand. Set up a white LED below the hole. I cover with clear PMMA plastic and a sheet of Lee 750 Duram frost. This allow for excellent diffusion of the light and full spectrum light transmission as I use this for other things.
Then set up Olympus Em5mk2 camera and Olympus 60mm Macro set at f4. In camera use high resolution shot mode. This also kicks to electronic shutter to avoid any camera shake.
The only issue you may have is negative flatness. I sometimes will sandwich an other sheet of PMMA on top of the negative if starting to curl.

For you just get either the SA to L mount adapter or the EF to L-mount adapter and then an old Sigma 50mm f2.8 or Sigma 70mm or even Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro lens. I bet you can find them cheap on ebay in either the SA or EF mount. Then shoot your S1R in High resolution shot mode to get insane images. Will probably be better than a drum scan, if you get it perfectly flat. The Sigma 150mm f2.8 lens is amazing and should help you save your back with better working distance.

Eric Rose said...

You have gotten a lot of good advise. What I do for MF and LF negatives is scan using my Epson 750 Pro. I have found that keeping the DPI around 2400 to 3200 gives the best scans. Anything higher actually looks soft. For 35mm negs and chromes I use my Panasonic GH5 and a Nikkor 60mm macro lens. I have an 8x10 daylight balanced light table/tablet that the negs or slides sit on. It might be a bit slower and I am sure there is a better solution but i use my Omega Neg or slide enlarger carriers to hold the 35mm stuff. Keeps things really flat and reduced light getting around the negs/slides.

Using flatbed scanners for anything smaller than MF is a total waste of time. I recently scanned hundreds of old Kodachrome slides using the Epson 750 Pro and all it really did for me was provide me with with a visual database. Anything I want to reproduce I will retrieve and copy using the GH5 and macro lens.

When using the Epson scanner the included software was just fine. All the real heavy lifting is done in PS.

Good luck Kirk! It looks like you have a treasure trove of really great negatives. Sure would be nice to see some of them!


Richard Alan Fox said...

I started many years ago with a Canon FS4000, still up on a shelf, worked fine for 35mm.
Epson 3200 with Vuescan for medium format and 4x5 works well too.

Since 2002 I have been shooting digital only, my Media Pro catalogs index 386,315 virgin images (straight out of camera).
At this point in my life I am not sure I want to look back to film (1966 my first Nikon F to 2002 three Contax and some Olympus) and rather focus on the future.

EdB said...

Been dong camera scans since Peter Krogh turned me onto it years ago.

My current set up is based on an old but mint MP-4 copy stand supporting a Normlicht llightbox (left over from film days) supporting a 4x5 glass neg carrier (Omega, another left over) and shooting with a variety of Fuji XTrans bodies (depending on whether I feel like standing or sitting using the flippy screen). Lens is an XF 60mm macro with Fuji extension rings as necessary.

Simple, fast and clean. Reasonably small footprint and I get very nice results. If you tether you can do your metadata as you go. Nice rig.