Camera-Scan Basic Questions - Ask & Answer!
Old 12-29-2019   #1
ColSebastianMoran
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Camera-Scan Basic Questions - Ask & Answer!

Here on RFF and elsewhere, I see people asking basic questions about Camera-Scanning. This thread is to collect those basic questions and answers.

I pose a couple to start, but everyone feel free to ask and answer.
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What is Camera-Scanning?
Old 12-29-2019   #2
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What is Camera-Scanning?

What do we mean by Camera-Scanning?

For some time, we've had devices for creating digital files from chromes and negatives. We've called these "scanners" because of the way they worked, scanning across the image area on film.

Camera-Scanning is creating such a file using a conventional digital camera.
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What is the easiest/cheapest way to get started?
Old 12-29-2019   #3
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What is the easiest/cheapest way to get started?

I see this question all the time. What is the easiest way to get started?

My answers:
- Use whatever lens has small field of view at close focus, point it at film, then crop
- Add a macro lens, vertical setup w/tripod
- Buy a bellows and slide/film holder
- Buy a front-of-macro-lens accessory

Your thoughts? Please post photos illustrating the basics, how to get started.
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How to Use 55mm MicroNikkor for Camera Scan
Old 01-13-2020   #4
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How to Use 55mm MicroNikkor for Camera Scan

Basics... What do I need to use a 55mm MicroNikkor, either of two manual focus models, for camera-scan. First, you need an adapter for Nikon F-mount lens to your camera body. Simplest adapter is sufficient.

1. For 35mm to an APS body, set the lens near closest focus and add 8mm or more extension so that the film image fills the frame. Nikon PK-11, any version will do. (Using a short tube is important for the 55 f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor because it has Nikon's "Close Range Correction." For the 55 f/3.5, any tube up to 27.5mm will do.)





2. For 35mm to a FF body, set lens at closest focus and add 27.5mm extension. Nikon PK-13 or M tube, any version will do.





3. For 120 or larger to any digital body, just mount the lens on adapter and focus.

#CameraScanBasics
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Old 01-13-2020   #5
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Thanks for the information. Any suggestions on using the Nikon ES-2 with the 55 Micro-Nikkor and a APS-C sensor camera?
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Old 01-13-2020   #6
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The ES-2 is cheesey-like build construction. The retaining springs on the "holder" are insufficiently strong to hold the film holder in place, at times the weight of which w/ 35mm film was enough to cause the entire holder to tip over to the long side when attempting to scan the first frame. I purchased it brand-new from BH. Save your money and look elsewhere and Col. Moran and others here on the site will have alternate suggestions. You could also go over to www.negativelabpro.com, go the forum section and look for the thread on which there have been a number of posts with persons showing pictures of their rigs. I decided to spare no expense so I got the full 35mm rig from www.negative.supply to use with my Fuji X-H1, and a Fuji 80mm Macro, a Kaiser Slim Plano, smaller version. HTH, Frank
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Old 01-13-2020   #7
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As a former Pennsylvanian (grew up in Bucks County) I would love to support the guys from Philadelphia making the Negative Supply carriers but I don't expose nearly enough film or different emulsions to justify the cost. I know Richard has high praise for the Skier lightbox and film holder from Taiwan. We live in a small house and I share a work table with my wife's' beading projects so a portable setup that can be moved easily is important. T-Max 400 is the only film I'm using, so color balance is not as important as lighting consistency. Currently, I have an ES-2 mounted to a 55 2.8 Micro-Nikkor Ai-S. It's attached to a Sony A5100 with a Metabones adapter. Everything is on a copystand that I can move for storage. In its' configuration, there is a PK-13 extension ring between the lens and adapter plus another 20 mm tube between the front of the lens and the ES-2. What I'm asking is, if I reduce the distance between the lens and the adapter can I eliminate the extra extension tube?
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Old 01-14-2020   #8
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Very interested in this topic but I can see the thread is already more advanced than what I can handle!

Here are my question --don't shoot I'm a complete ignoramus when it comes to digital cameras.

- What's the minimum sensor spec required in the digitizing camera? My only digital is a Sony RX100, 1" 20mp, is it too small for a quality capture? micro 4/3? DX? FF?

- How important is the quality of the sensor, i.e. is high DR a factor when selecting a body to use for scanning or there's no big difference in scans from a Nikon D3 and a D5?

- Is a copy stand required?

- I like the idea of using one of my flash guns (SB-28) instead of a light table. Is that not recommended?
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Old 01-14-2020   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froyd View Post
Very interested in this topic but I can see the thread is already more advanced than what I can handle!

Here are my question --don't shoot I'm a complete ignoramus when it comes to digital cameras.

- What's the minimum sensor spec required in the digitizing camera? My only digital is a Sony RX100, 1" 20mp, is it too small for a quality capture? micro 4/3? DX? FF?

- How important is the quality of the sensor, i.e. is high DR a factor when selecting a body to use for scanning or there's no big difference in scans from a Nikon D3 and a D5?

- Is a copy stand required?


- I like the idea of using one of my flash guns (SB-28) instead of a light table. Is that not recommended?
Check out the forums at Negative Lab Pro: https://forums.negativelabpro.com

There is a lot of information on lighting and different camera set ups. A copy stand is not required but helpful. The author of this thread has contributed some valuable information on there as well.
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Old 01-14-2020   #10
Chris101
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Hi froyd, I'm not an expert, but I have a few years camera and scanner scanning of negatives and transparencies. So I'm gonna give a shot at answering your questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by froyd View Post
Very interested in this topic but I can see the thread is already more advanced than what I can handle!

Here are my question --don't shoot I'm a complete ignoramus when it comes to digital cameras.

- What's the minimum sensor spec required in the digitizing camera? My only digital is a Sony RX100, 1" 20mp, is it too small for a quality capture? micro 4/3? DX? FF?
I have read that a fine, tabular grain film, such as Ilford Delta 100, has an acuity that is about the same as a 20-25 megapixel digital image. So resolution-wise, your camera should be able to resolve the detail in the image. The small sensor however limits the 'dynamic range' of the digitized negative. The dynamic range of film is large on the order of 13 to 15 stops. DxO tested the RX100, and concluded it could capture 10 stops of dynamic range.

So scanning an ideal negative with your RX100 will be at the limit of resolution, but miss significant tonal separation. A scan may look flat as a result. However in practice, my developing is often far from ideal. I've been able to get an acceptable scan of many of my negatives with far less 10 stops of dynamic range, and as few as 12 megapixels (using a Nikon D2x or D700.)

Quote:
- How important is the quality of the sensor, i.e. is high DR a factor when selecting a body to use for scanning or there's no big difference in scans from a Nikon D3 and a D5?
If the dynamic range of the negative exceeds the ability of the digital capture, then the inherent contrast, and thus tonal detail of the negative will be lost. This results in a flat scan, which must have it's contrast boosted to look correct. However doing this with Lightroon, etc. results is a loss of resolution.

This is why I choose a Nikon D850 to scan with. It has a tested dynamic range of about 15 stops. This is equal or more than most film. The resolution is about double the acuity of film, so there is additional resolution of grain clumps. This seems to reduce the effect of so called "grain aliasing", where a mottled pattern is overlaid on a scanned image. The grain of a higher resolution, higher dynamic range digital image looks more like a darkroom print's grain than I have seen in lower megapixel and DR images.

Quote:
- Is a copy stand required?
You need to keep the optical path from the original negative, and the imaging camera completely steady. Any vibration, even at the micron level, will obscure the 'grain clumps', and make the image look blurred.

I use a Nikon ES-2. I sorta agree with frank-grumman, it's all plastic, the springs and closures leave a lot to be desired. But the Negative Supply hardware seems to be very sturdy, it's also super expensive. Since I bought the ES-2, I made it work with my D850 and 60mm f/2.8 AF-D lens. It takes a bit of kludging but I've got it damn steady now.

Quote:
- I like the idea of using one of my flash guns (SB-28) instead of a light table. Is that not recommended?
That's exactly what I do. I use a Nikon SB600, on a small tripod inches away from the negative holder of the ES-2. I point a light at the diffuser of the flash to provide modeling light to align and (optionally) crop the negative for the scan. I use live view (mirrorless mode) for most of the negatives, but if I really need to dig in a low contrast negative, then I'll switch to the eyepiece.

The advantages of flash are consistent color temperature, and a very short exposure time (~40 microseconds) through a compact optical path, both of which increase the stability of the system. The downsides are 1) that you need to have a high-end flash that can fire as a small fraction of its normal power, and 2) light from a flash is more columnated than light from a light table, so dust is more obvious.

Here is a picture of my camera scanning setup:
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Old 01-15-2020   #11
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Chris101,

Your post above is very helpful to me. Thanks so much
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Old 01-15-2020   #12
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Thanks, Chris. Very informative.

I like the idea of skipping the copy stand (or having to butcher my enlarger) in favor of tripod and flash. Would a large diffuser help with minimizing the appearance of dust?
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Old 01-15-2020   #13
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So how did you kludge your ES-2?
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Old 01-15-2020   #14
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madNbad: I put shims in where the film holder goes so it didn’t wiggle, and used binder clips (not shown) to hold the film holder closed. At first I put a brace under the end of it, so it didn’t pull the lens down, but turned out I didn’t need to.

Thanks froyd and frank. Frank, how do you like the Negative Supply device? It looks very well made!
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Old 01-18-2020   #15
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My answer arrived in the mail. Originally, I was just going to get the PK-11 ring (8mm) but while I was on the KEH site decided to add a PK-12 (14mm). Using a Sony A5100, I attached the PK-11 to a Metabones adapter along with the 55 Micro-Nikkor. If I was going to continue to use the Lomography Digitalizer as a film holder on the light pad, this is a fine combination. Using the ES-2, it was necessary to have a little more room between the sensor and the film. Along with the PK-12, I'm using a 30mm tube between the front of the lens and the ES-2. The negative fills the frame and gives me a full 24 MP capture. It also allows for focus adjustment using the lens instead of trying to slide the copy attachment into just the right spot. If I decide to spend the extra bucks for a Skier unit or even bigger bucks for the Negative Supply, I'll be glad I have the right extension ring. For the near future, this arrangement should be fine.
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Old 01-18-2020   #16
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Chris, I haven't gotten it yet. I'm in the apparently long line waiting for it to be completed. Report is that it is hand assembled. First ETA I got was for "middle of January," so, I'll wait till end of week and look to get a notice. If not, I'll contact them to see if they have one ready yet for me. NS and I are both in Philly, so shipping times shouldn't be an issue. I'll post up here with my setup when it shows up. Take care, Frank
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Old 01-21-2020   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madNbad View Post
... Currently, I have an ES-2 mounted to a 55 2.8 Micro-Nikkor Ai-S. It's attached to a Sony A5100 with a Metabones adapter. Everything is on a copystand that I can move for storage. In its' configuration, there is a PK-13 extension ring between the lens and adapter plus another 20 mm tube between the front of the lens and the ES-2. What I'm asking is, if I reduce the distance between the lens and the adapter can I eliminate the extra extension tube?
One comment... Using the 55 f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor for camera-scan, you want the lens focusing ring at/near the extreme closeup position. This lens has Nikon "Close Range Correction" which improves results up close, but only if the helical is positioned for up-close.

I suggest trying different extension tubes and see which ones put the helical at the up-close position. For me, to an APS body, that's 8mm extension.
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Old 01-21-2020   #18
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Another Nikon lens I find good for scanning use like this is the enlarging EL-Nikkor 50/2.8 on a focusing adapter of the range 25-55mm made by Pixco. This in turn goes on a m42 to Nikon F adapter then on my Nikon D3500.
John Mc

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Old 01-22-2020   #19
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I just got notification of shipping of my Negative Supply gear. End of next week, enough time lag for me to get my light table. Five rolls waiting to scan. I'm pumped. Now, if I can just figure out how the hell to post up here something other than a thumbnail sized picture, I can let you see what the setup does (or not) as the case may be.
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Old 02-03-2020   #20
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After buying stuff that worked ok but wasn't quite right, decided to get a Skier Copy Box. It is very well made, much brighter than the cheap lightpad I had been using, will work with the ES-2 but found the holder designed for the box just works better. Thank you, Richard!
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Old 02-03-2020   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madNbad View Post
After buying stuff that worked ok but wasn't quite right, decided to get a Skier Copy Box. It is very well made, much brighter than the cheap lightpad I had been using, will work with the ES-2 but found the holder designed for the box just works better. Thank you, Richard!
Delighted to hear. I'm shooting about about 1/100th ISO100 f/5.6 at 1x.
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Old 02-03-2020   #22
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Negative Supply equipment, Kaiser SlimLine Plano, Fujifilm 400H Pro converted via NLP 2.1, Fuji X-H1 w/ 80/28 Macro and taken with Nikon F6 and 24/120mm/f4.

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1633931
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Old 02-03-2020   #23
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I know I've mentioned this video elsewhere before, but it might help some people in this thread:

https://youtu.be/nDUupxM_418
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Old 02-08-2020   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcfingon View Post
Another Nikon lens I find good for scanning use like this is the enlarging EL-Nikkor 50/2.8 on a focusing adapter of the range 25-55mm made by Pixco. This in turn goes on a m42 to Nikon F adapter then on my Nikon D3500.
John Mc

There are two different 50 f/2.8 El-Nikkor lenses: old one is metal body huge numerals. New one, the "N" has plastic body, small numerals, as above. I've tested both for camera scanning of 35mm. New version is OK, but the old one I find to be quite a bit better for 35mm to APS and to FF. This is surprising since most 35mm enlarging lenses are optimized for blow-ups to 8x10 and are not so good in the macro range.

Both are pretty good bargains these days. Here's the lens I like:

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Old 02-08-2020   #25
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Very interested, already have a Sony A7II, Nikon Belows PB5 & PS5 negative carrier, Micro-Nikkor 55mm, but what kind of (LED?) light source to use? Thanks for your input!
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Old 02-08-2020   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waus View Post
Very interested, already have a Sony A7II, Nikon Belows PB5 & PS5 negative carrier, Micro-Nikkor 55mm, but what kind of (LED?) light source to use? Thanks for your input!
You want to shine a pretty bright light at the diffuser on the PS5. You want the light to be relatively narrow; not wide because wide light source will shade the edges of image area on film/slide. You'll want a directional bulb or light.

Easiest I know is this CREE bulb, available easily at Home Depot, hardware stores, etc.



My preferred lights for the PS4-PS5 are MR-16 bulbs, either SORAA "vivid light" daylight bulb (LED) or the excellent incandescent Solux 4700K MR-16 bulb. Trouble is you'll have to jury-rig a fixture to hold these; I have looked for a "reading lamp" or similar to hold these, but no luck.
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Old 02-08-2020   #27
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... and you could just point your whole PB5-PS5 rig towards a bright cloudy sky area.
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Old 02-08-2020   #28
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I've posted this image many times, I quit using this when my digital camera died. It worked great, even with a small pixel camera. I built this device in 2008, and still have it. If I ever had to do a very large 35mm print I would fire it up again. The critical steps are: macro lens, and making sure everything is square. Light source is also important for color. There are many ways to deal with this: custom color balance, one of those white plastic dishes, or post processing software (something like ColorPerfect).

Another reason I stopped using this was; it was in different room from my computer. Now with WiFi or some other type of wireless tethering that would be solved.

Untitled by John Carter, on Flickr
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Old 02-08-2020   #29
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My basic question is why? Why no just buy a great film scanner like the V800? It looks to me like most people have just as much dollars tied up in klutz setup as a simple, easy, comparative scanner like the V800.
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Old 02-08-2020   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
My basic question is why? Why no just buy a great film scanner like the V800? It looks to me like most people have just as much dollars tied up in klutz setup as a simple, easy, comparative scanner like the V800.
The house we live in is quite small and space for a large dedicated scanner like the V800 is not available. I used a Plustek 7600i for a number of years but scanning a roll was an all day affair. I've been camera scanning for about a year and have tried a number of different products. Thanks to the information found both here and on the Negative Lab Pro blog, I now have a system that is portable, quick to set up and produces a good image. I share a small work table with my spouses beading projects so portability was paramount. The current setup is a Sony A5100 with a 55 2.8 Micro-Nikkor. The lens is attached to the camera with a Metabone adapter plus a PK-11a (8mm) extension ring to compensate for the APS-C sensor. A Skier Copy Box II provides both the light source and holds the negative quite flat. The unit is shipped holders for both 35mm film and an adjustable holder for negatives up to 6x9. Everything is on a Alzo Copystand and can be set up or put away in a couple of minutes, plus it takes about twenty minutes to scan a roll. If my negatives are exposed correctly, there is very little post processing.
[IMG]IMG_1827 by Michael DeLuca, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 02-08-2020   #31
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Quote:
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My basic question is why? Why no just buy a great film scanner like the V800? It looks to me like most people have just as much dollars tied up in klutz setup as a simple, easy, comparative scanner like the V800.
You are probably right. My rig cost are $50 in plastic and $45 for the macro lens. I had the slide copier which would have been $25. It took me a lot of time to set it up each time I used it (I had mine set up for 120 & 35mm). So it was, as you say, a 'klutz' outfit.

On the other hand once it was set up, focused, and all setting adjusted you run thru a roll of 35 in 4 minutes. But then you had to take out the card, run down the hall download it to the computer.
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Old 02-09-2020   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
My basic question is why? Why no just buy a great film scanner like the V800? It looks to me like most people have just as much dollars tied up in klutz setup as a simple, easy, comparative scanner like the V800.
That's a very fair question.

For me, it's first of all throughput. I can do the cam-shots for a whole roll or tray of slides quickly. Then, at another sitting, do the post on all of them. Compared to a minute or so per image with the scanner.

Second, I think I'm getting better results, or results at least as good. And, for selected images, resolution is unlimited with stitching.

Drawbacks:
- Today, unless you spend megabucks, you have to rig up most of this yourself.
- Dust/lint/scratches were well-handled by Digital ICE, nothing comparable available for camera-scans.
- The color-science engineers did some other nifty things in scanner software. For example, at comparable resolution, my NikonScan shows less grain in sky than my camera-scans. Digital ROC was helpful for faded films.
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Old 02-09-2020   #33
frank-grumman
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FWIW, I invested mega-bucks in a full-boat Negative Supply system along with a Kaiser SlimLine Plano light, RRS clamp, and USB-C tethering cable, and NLP 2.1.x. Why? I have significant space limitations in the small office space I have in our Condo unit. While I have a V850 and SF 8.8, scanning a roll of 36 is for me at least a tedious process.

The NS setup is anything but “Klutzy.” Beautifully made, simple to set up, rock solid, and because the flooring in our condo unit was “zero’d out” as to level, and the platform on which the NS setup is set is as well zero’d out, the entire system is level. I can digitize a 36-37 frame roll of film in 5’ and the outcome via SD card to LR Classic and NLP. NLP allows me to convert all the frames BAM. I can then choose the ones that I think are worth working for better effect to distribute to folks I want to have them. When I learn how to integrate tethering with C1 Pilot and C1 20, that may well be faster. Also FWIW, my V850 does a superb job of working on all the old photographs I’ve just discovered getting ready to toss out some old shoe boxes left over from our move out of our home of 25 years.

As always, everybody’s mileage may vary. It’s not ever the case that there is only one way to do anything, so I’m only saying here what works for me. Expensive to go the route I’ve gone? No question. Worth it? From my point of view, Yes.
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Old 02-09-2020   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank-grumman View Post
The ES-2 is cheesey-like build construction. The retaining springs on the "holder" are insufficiently strong to hold the film holder in place, at times the weight of which w/ 35mm film was enough to cause the entire holder to tip over to the long side when attempting to scan the first frame. I purchased it brand-new from BH. Save your money and look elsewhere and Col. Moran and others here on the site will have alternate suggestions. You could also go over to www.negativelabpro.com, go the forum section and look for the thread on which there have been a number of posts with persons showing pictures of their rigs. I decided to spare no expense so I got the full 35mm rig from www.negative.supply to use with my Fuji X-H1, and a Fuji 80mm Macro, a Kaiser Slim Plano, smaller version. HTH, Frank
Two blocks 2 9/16 tall will stop the tip if I use my D800 + battery pack. Measure for your setup.
I can make a better setup and would if I scanned more film.
I use a Lume light which works fine. Monochrome is simple. 4 Color neg white bal on area between frames, invert with curve, auto WB with individual channels, upper right to lower left, then make small adjustments as required.
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Old 02-26-2020   #35
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Anybody use a A7, Sony FE 50 mm F2.8 Macro Lens、Nikon eS-2 film holder?
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Old 02-26-2020   #36
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It should be a fine setup, just spend the money for a good light source. The ES-2 is a little wobbly but a good system overall. For a short while, I used a A5100 with a 55 Micro-Nikkor and the ES-2. I had to add a 30mm extension tube at the front to compensate for the APS-C sensor in addition to an 8mm tube between the adapter and the lens. Good light sources will give both increased shutter speeds and much better white balance. If you have Lightroom and are planing on scanning color, Negative Lab Pro will simplify the workflow. Let us know how it’s working out.
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Old 02-27-2020   #37
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Thanks for the response, right now I just have a A7s with kit lens, so I was thinking that FE 50 Marco and ES-2 would be cheapest way to start camera scanning. I always think about getting a used A7r to compliment my A7s, so that would be an option in the future. The other option is an Epson (4490, 4990, V550, v600) which is cheaper and there are many other uses for flat bed scanners. Still on the fence, I am quite happy with my Minolta Dimage III for 35mm, but I'm starting to shot more MF.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #38
ColSebastianMoran
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analoged View Post
Thanks for the response, right now I just have a A7s with kit lens, so I was thinking that FE 50 Marco and ES-2 would be cheapest way to start camera scanning. I always think about getting a used A7r to compliment my A7s, so that would be an option in the future. The other option is an Epson (4490, 4990, V550, v600) which is cheaper and there are many other uses for flat bed scanners. Still on the fence, I am quite happy with my Minolta Dimage III for 35mm, but I'm starting to shot more MF.
FWIW, find that 50MPx resolves grain better, but adds little image detail. Here's a sample at 50MPx vs 24MPx. I think 24MPx may well be a sweet spot for camera scanning.

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