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Constructing the definitive DSLR scanning setup. Communal effort!
Old 02-12-2016   #1
mani
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Constructing the definitive DSLR scanning setup. Communal effort!

Here's an attempt to see whether the collective expertise on the forum can clarify the questions around how best to setup a DSLR 'scanning' apparatus using internationally available off-the-shelf components:

- what the potential problems can be
- what combination of equipment would give the best results
- doesn't require engineering expertise or special tools to put together

Here's my initial thoughts for a relatively cheap camera component:

- the Olympus shift-sensor in the new Pen F effectively gives 80 megapixel RAW images
- the Olympus m.ZD 60mm f/2.8 macro lens seems to have been a favorite macro amongst a number of reviewers two or three years ago. Maybe it's been superceded by now?

So that's the easy (GAS) part. (opinions?)

Now - which copystand (that's generally available) gives the best stability and durability?
What are the issues considering height and adjustability for different formats? (6x6 or 6x9 in 120 as well as 135)
Are bellows or some other stray light-shading needed?
What's the best way to illuminate the negative from underneath? (esp considering a cool lightsource to avoid film-popping)
Film-holders for different formats?

All of these things are open to discussion - but I'm hoping we can all aim to keep it constructive, and make an attempt to come up with a sort of 'model' or 'ideal' setup for a reasonable price that present and future forum members can use as a reference for creating their own home 'scanners'.

I'm hoping we can steer clear of descriptions that include lathes, metalwork, 3D printing or degrees in Engineering. And also people who sneer at anyone lacking any of the above.

Thanks!
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Old 02-12-2016   #2
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Sounds like a noble effort. I'm sure something can be built - many have built their own homebrew tools for taking digital images of negatives, slides, and prints, so clearly it can be done.

I will follow this thread with interest. I'm afraid I don't have the necessary knowledge to contribute much, but I wish you and contributors the best of luck.
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Old 02-12-2016   #3
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Here's something someone made that makes sense to me:

http://www.diyphotography.net/scanni...s-with-a-dslr/

I suspect a 'flat-field' lens might be ideal for such an effort as well, since the negative, slide, or print one is 'scanning' is indeed flat, like an optical enlarger but in reverse.
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Old 02-12-2016   #4
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A Durst M301 enlarger has an excellent copy stand for this--just remove the head and attach a ball head-- if you intend to not go above 120 film. Otherwise it doesn't go high enough for larger film. I bought mine for $25. Modern copy stands are cheaply made and too expensive.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mdarnt...in/dateposted/
Most of the film in my 35mm Flicrk pages was scanned with this setup.

I believe the larger small Dursts such as the M601 have similar stands, nicer, higher, and more expensive, too. Other brands mostly won't have the detachable head and the smooth elevation crank both in the same enlarger.

Since I'm mostly scanning 35mm, I recently switched to a Nikon D7200 (no AA filter!!) with Nikon bellows and slide copy attachment (also takes film), and a 63mm/2.8N El-Nikkor. That's giving me higher quality than I got with the previous rig. That lens is amazing--I'd tried enlarging lenses before with not so good results compared with the 55/3.5 Micro-Nikkor. The other huge upgrade was a camera without the AA filter. I can shoot my D7200 at the same 12Mp as the D300, and the results are still easily twice as good. I will never buy another digital camera with an AA filter!

For light source I use a cheap LED movie light with a piece of 1/4" white plexiglas over it.

Alignment: this is really easy and works great: check your setup by putting a mirror on the light or neg carrier. When everything is straight, the image of the lens seen through the camera in the mirror will be exactly centered. No other way works as well. Forget levels.

The most important parts of the process are choice of lens, parallelism, and lens opening. Best aperture is easy to check with digital--just shoot a series of shots at each opening, magnify to 100% and choose the best. You'll easily be able to see the difference. If you want, hone in between stops once you get close. Be sure to check the corners! For my micro Nikkor, f7.1 was better than 5.6 or 8. For the new 63/2.8, f11 is great. Just don't bother using a normal lens if you care about quality. Supposedly there's an Apo-Rodagon-D 70mm f4 lens that's the cat's meow for this kind of work, specifically formulated for duping, but I've never seen one.

I did first set up a horizontal setup as in the article mentioned earlier, but once I'd proved the concept I found my vertical rig to be a lot easier to set up and use. The current camera/bellows/slide copier on tripod is even easier. For 4x5 and larger film I use an HP G4050 scanner. New for $175, does a better job than camera scanning for up to 8x10 film, but not so good for 35mm. It is, however, a highly underrated scanner when used with Vuescan (the HP software it come with is garbage--unworkable, in fact.)
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Mostly 35mm: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdarnton
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Old 02-12-2016   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
A Durst M301 enlarger has an excellent copy stand for this--just remove the head and attach a ball head--
The Durst pro enlargers (M900 and up) even had optional copy attachments that provide a guaranteed parallel position.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
For light source I use a cheap LED movie light with a piece of 1/4" white plexiglas over it.
Even better: Use the enlarger colour head, placed upside down on the base board (with suitable spacers to prevent blocking the fan on enlarger heads with a top exhaust), with the lens carrier and bellows removed.
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Old 02-12-2016   #6
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A few weeks back there was a similar thread on this subject. One guy used a lightpad as his light source. Here's a link:

https://www.artograph.com/light-boxes/lightpad-series/

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Old 02-12-2016   #7
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I have a Lightpad and two enlarger heads, but the LED light is smaller, simpler, no fuss and no cords, and cheaper if you don't already have the others. I prefer it for those reasons.
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Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
Mostly 35mm: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdarnton
Large format: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeldarnton
What? You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear
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Old 02-12-2016   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
...and cheaper if you don't already have the others.
Well, if you use a enlarger column and base board, chances are that they came with a free enlarger head - a very high quality light source for exactly the right purpose.
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Old 02-12-2016   #9
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Piece of glass across two stacks of books. Mask off area not needed with duct tape.

electronic flash under for light. My old color printing filter for color control.

or put a color enlarging head under facing upward. Use the neg holders to hold the film.


Or find a bellows and slide copier attachment. Light sources the same.

If you are not old enough to have all the parts around, buy a flatbed scanner or there is a half decent scanner for around $500. I for get the brand. Model 8200.

If you have lots of t
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Old 02-12-2016   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald M View Post
If you are not old enough to have all the parts around, buy a flatbed scanner or there is a half decent scanner for around $500. I for get the brand. Model 8200
Hi Ronald

I have a Coolscan 9000 myself - this isn't about saying "don't bother, get a dedicated scanner instead". This thread is meant exclusively for people like me who are interested in instructions for this specific alternative to conventional scanners, and who want to keep the thread positive and constructive.

Thanks!
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Old 02-12-2016   #11
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These are really excellent contributions so far, and I really appreciate it!

At the risk of needing to be spoonfed information - I really want to just clarify how an ordinary person would convert (say) a Durst enlarger stand to securely hold a DSLR? I hope this isn't an idiotic question - I really just want to make this thread a totally clear guide for any dummy like me to be able to set this up without unnecessary problems.

In other words: when I take delivery of the lovely ebay-purchased Durst enlarger and remove the head, what's needed to attach a camera of unknown size and weight, so that it can be moved up and down the stand to allow for different formats?

PS: I just saw the posts about using the head as a light-source. Would this be cool light? Or would it possibly even melt a negative placed above it? Sorry about the idiot-level questions - the only time I ever saw an enlarger head in real life was when I was a student and tried developing and printing my own images one time - yep only once :'(
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Old 02-12-2016   #12
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The Durst head screws on with a big knob and a screw through the enlarger carriage into the back of the head (you can see this in my photo). The screw is a standard 3/8" tripod screw, and any normal tripod head will screw onto that. It's a bit long, and I think I added a washer to the back under the knob to shorten it. I have used the Manfrotto flip-flop head shown in my Flickr post, and now use a cheap ~$25 Chinese ball head from ebay, with a standard flat QR plate. I keep the ball head locked, and put the plate on my camera straight by putting the back of the camera down on the table so the QR plate, which sticks out the back a bit more than the screen, self-aligns with the camera screen. That way I don't have to check parallelism every time.

I am not absolutely certain about other stands than the M301, which I have. I see an M800 right now on ebay that doesn't appear to have the same simple attachment, but maybe it's hidden. Ebay's flush with cheap M301s right now, though.

An enlarger head would do the job if, as Sevo said, you didn't block the air vents. I didn't use the Durst head that came with because it's a condenser head, and that is fussier to set up and will show dust and scratches more (something I don't have a problem with with the softer diffused movie light). I have an Omega color head (diffused) that would work, but it's big, has a separate power cords, power supply, etc---all a big fuss, whereas the movie light is tiny and self-contained. My objective wasn't to get off cheap, though I did--it was to set up the easiest most functional rig I could, in the least amount of space. Perhaps the Durst color head is smaller--I don't have one.
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Old 02-12-2016   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mani View Post
In other words: when I take delivery of the lovely ebay-purchased Durst enlarger and remove the head, what's needed to attach a camera of unknown size and weight, so that it can be moved up and down the stand to allow for different formats?
For a L605? The proper camera adapter is called Durst SIRIOCAM - http://www.ebay.de/itm/Durst-Sirioca...8AAOSw5IJWcI9I

The L305 equivalent might be called NERIOCAM - and there are similar adapters for the pro series as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mani View Post
PS: I just saw the posts about using the head as a light-source. Would this be cool light? Or would it possibly even melt a negative placed above it? Sorry about the idiot-level questions - the only time I ever saw an enlarger head in real life was when I was a student and tried developing and printing my own images one time - yep only once :'(
Fan cooled (colour) heads are generally safe in any position unless you block the fan ducts. I would not use passively cooled heads the wrong way up - at any rate not without installing a cooling fan (which won't be that hard to do, as a repro light source must not be as light tight as a enlarger) and testing the temperature at the film gate.
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Old 02-12-2016   #14
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probably only useful to OP as prices vary depending on location

Kaiser copy stand R1 type 5520 recently bought new from dealer in Germany
377 EUR + 15 EUR shipping to Sweden

Kaiser copy stand RS 2 XA type 5411 redently bought new from dealer in Sweden
2000 SEK + 150 SEK shipping

both work perfectly well for the intended use, the main difference is the max camera weight (1.5 kg for the RS 2 XA, don't remember the exact figure for the the R1 but its around 6 kg)
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Old 02-12-2016   #15
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Searching for a light and small LED light-pad I found this

NeewerŪ 0,6 "/1.5cm ultra-thin NWPad-22 112-LED 12W 5600K / 3200K
(batteries not included)

Reasonably inexpensive (36 EUR + 8 EUR shipping) and has everything I wanted (controlled color temperature and even illumination) for the negs I use (up to 6x9). Haven't tested it yet in practice though, Only drawback might be that it's geared for use with batteries.

Edit: I don't think this LED pad is top quality but it's hopefully good enough for my use (eventually I am hoping to add a small motorized, computer controlled x-y stage which moves the light pad and the neg-holder, thus the need for low weight)

Last edited by toyfel : 02-12-2016 at 10:23. Reason: n
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Old 02-12-2016   #16
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Originally Posted by toyfel View Post
Reasonably inexpensive (36 EUR + 8 EUR shipping) and has everything I wanted (controlled color temperature and even illumination)
So far I have not seen a single on-camera video light panel which would qualify for even illumination unless used indirectly - using them as a backlight, the dots from the individual LCDs are glaringly obvious. And I've looked at ones that were ten times that price...
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Old 02-12-2016   #17
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Hmm, this sounds pretty similar to what I constructed to scan negatives based on another member's setup.



http://lamfoto.net/2016/01/16/digiti...orless-camera/

Do give a read, I utilize a ArtoGraph Lightpad, a Minolta copy stand, Beseler Negatrans (35 and 120 versions), Sony A7RII (though now have a D800e) and a macro lens, 90/2.8 or will be 105/2.8 soon enough.
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Old 02-12-2016   #18
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sevo

Thanks for the input!

I don't plan to place the negs directly on the LED panel. For me it doesn't matter if it has a clumsy design. Illumination. however, might be an issue even though I am planning to have a acrylic diffuser plate between the LED and the neg-holder. Time will tell if it works or not. If not I'll look for a better device and use this one for something else
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Old 02-12-2016   #19
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I use an ArtOGraph with negative carrier resting on it. Indeed there are no 'dots' to be seen.

And as pointed out, (as I own) a Minolta copy stand that is plenty rigid for A7RII or dSLR.

I'm not terribly sure why you would put an acrylic diffuser plate probably just introducing another surface for dust/require cleaning in the process.
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nice
Old 02-12-2016   #20
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nice

nice setup and write up, lam!
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Old 02-12-2016   #21
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Quote:
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nice setup and write up, lam!
Thanks Dean.

About the BEOON, this image always fascinated me the compactness of it all.

With a Monochrom that should be an amazing B&W copy rig.

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Old 02-12-2016   #22
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Thanks for starting this, Mani, and to the rest of you for contributing. What I find attractive about this thread is the opportunity for value engineering the set up. I've researched this in the past and seen several nice set-ups -- often with rather expensive components.

I'd be particularly interested in relatively inexpensive set-ups that could be set up and left -- rather than ones that shared a camera also used fot taking/making pictures.

Giorgio
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Old 02-12-2016   #23
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Quote:
Copy stands like the Kaiser, really work well as copy stands. Buy a used one. You have to decide if you want to copy film, or develop a new skill of converting enlargers to copy stands. The original thread was really clear on how to set up a copy system, and included videos.
I'm guessing you have never seen a small Durst enlarger then. It's a very straight-ahead copy stand with an enlarger head hung on it. Some people feel the necessity to pay that extra $150 for a box that actually says "copy stand" on it or they won't feel right, I guess. Me, I'm happy to save the money and have something just as good.

I've worked making slide shows, dupes, and film strips commercially with fancy animation stands, Bowens Ilumitrans, and Honeywell Repronars, but this system gives up not much to any of those.
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Mostly 35mm: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdarnton
Large format: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeldarnton
What? You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear
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Old 02-12-2016   #24
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Quote:
That will work well, but you could just use a light bulb, just give it some distance, the trick is a good diffuser.
Thanks, I think I have an old neg-holder with integrated diffuser plate somewhere
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Old 02-12-2016   #25
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Absolutely fantastic thread so far! Thanks for all the great information.

Just want to underline again that I don't mean this to be a solution tailor-made for me - so I'm absolutely not looking for equipment that's available specifically in Sweden or even Europe: I'd rather we pool the available expertise to come up with a range of accurate, solid, durable, and universally accessible solutions that anyone, anywhere can put together without too many special skills or expense.

After all, when the last of the Coolscans have expired, and maybe even some time in the future Hasselblad have stopped producing the X1 and X5 scanners, this DSLR technique will be the one most film photographers are going to be using. And it may even help new film enthusiasts to get onboard by lowering the amount of new equipment they need to get to start shooting and scanning their images.

Great thread! Thanks again for all the awesome contributions!
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Old 02-12-2016   #26
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I use a durst enlarger, but not as a copy stand.

The enlarger is the light source, with a convenient negative carrier.

I clamped the column to a table, and contrapted a gizmo composed of a flash bracket and a few sticks to centre the camera on the negative, and another clamp to slide it to the right distance.

It is a little more work than a copy-stand, but it is an obvious solution for the problem of even lighting.

Even lighting is the biggest challenge : computer and tablet screen pixels will show up. And good light tables don't go cheap.

Dust is the next one. Using a glassless negative carrier (in the enlarger head) works best : you can clean the negatives with an air blower. Of course if you do medium format film, you may want to keep the film flat with at least one pane of anti-newton treated glass, which should come with the negative carrier.

I found that using a dedicated macro lens gives the best results : these lenses are better corrected for close focusing distances. And you do want the cleanest possible transfer of information.

However you build your set-up, if you get even lighting and a decent lens, you'll get excellent results with lots of cameras, even a cheap aps-c DSLR will do fine.

Good Luck!
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Old 02-13-2016   #27
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I use as light source the head of an Omega enlarger placed upside down and with the negative carrier over the light window. As camera support I use a tripod fixed to the ceiling

This setup leaves free space below the camera to center the light source and the camera support is very rigid, allowing to level and fix the camera height with the 3-axis adjustment of the tripod

The only hardware needed is a piece if light chain and a threaded tensioner, to secure the tripod to a small hook in the ceiling
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Old 02-13-2016   #28
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For just an instant there I thought you'd posted an upside-down photo! :-)
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Large format: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeldarnton
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Old 02-13-2016   #29
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Couldn't you just leave the enlarger head on its stand and use the camera pointing upward? Or am I missing something?
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Old 02-13-2016   #30
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Couldn't you just leave the enlarger head on its stand and use the camera pointing upward? Or am I missing something?
It is feasible with a tilt display or remote live view. And with enough time for setting up, it can be done for any camera, provided you have a rigid support (tripod head bolted to the base board or the like) that allows for memory card access between shots without disturbing the camera position.

Top down still is much more comfortable if you use a DSLR (likely, as most of us are likely to have a outdated DSLR to dedicate for that purpose - mirrorless is just at the point of creeping over that horizon) and want to crop.
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Old 02-13-2016   #31
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The top half of the Omega enlarger-light source- is easily detachable from the bottom half-enlarging lens and focuser- with two adjustmet screws; it takes one minute
The lower half is the one that moves along the inclined post and also support the light source
In the background of the general setup hoto you can see the enlarger without the light source half
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Constructing the definitive DSLR scanning setup. Communal effort!
Old 02-13-2016   #32
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Constructing the definitive DSLR scanning setup. Communal effort!

My new setup features a horizontal orientation of the camera, as I found that the cheaper macro sliders don't handle the weight of a dslr too well and thus the vertical system tended to get out of focus.
I'm also considering to use a speedlite with some diffusion material as a light source. This should eliminate the possibility of vibration induced blur, should'nt it? With an iPad as my backlight, i get exposure times of 0,5s at f/8 and Iso 100. Living in an old building with wooden floors, this is a problem for me.
Which exposure times do you get with a dedicated lightpad?

Klaus
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Old 02-13-2016   #33
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In the Omega dichroic enlarger head the top half is the light source and is joined to the bottom half (enlarging lens and focuser) with two adjusting knobs that are easily removed, so the light source comes off in less than a minute

The bottom part is the one that runs up and down the post and cannot be taken off easily and if done the top half would not stay with the post

In the background of you can see the Omega enlarger without the light source
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Old 02-13-2016   #34
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When using a sensor shift camera like the EM5mkii or Pen-f, beware of using flourescents for a light source. Even the most minute vibration from the ballast or flicker from 1/60th second & above shutter speeds will cause the composite image to look like a checkerboard at high magnification. For a one-shot camera this may be less of an issue. However, the quality of the light still matters.

I'm a bit too cash strapped to blow money on an led light pad that may or may not give a full enough spectrum to do justice on color neg and slide, so if anyone has determined the definitive full-spectrum light source I will be very interested. The inverted color head option is intriguing to me..

Edit - In terms of a workflow...at least for color slide film, one almost inevitably needs some kind of in-camera HDR or post process HDR to do justice to what is on the film. I have tried bracketing the pixel-shift images and it is extremely difficult to pull off.
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Old 02-13-2016   #35
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I have not paid much attention to pixel shift, other than on the iPhone. Can it be turned off, I am assuming it can?
Yes, but I find using the 40mp pixel shift to be my best option for capturing an entire frame while getting most (but often not all) of the detail present. The EM5mkii, and probably most other cameras out there today are gonna struggle with the DR present on a slide - Hence the need for HDR. But the native HDR at 16mp isn't detailed enough for my liking..

The best no-compromise setup would probably be something like the A7rII using HDR. But really I'm too much of a perfectionist. I'll never print big enough for this stuff to matter. Just need to keep telling myself this...

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Re your other question -- the Artograph Lightpad for instance, has a CRI value of about 80+. Spend more it can go as high as 97, but then you are talking $2000 plus for studio grade video test panels.
Interesting... how would I find out if an Artograph is better than my Gagne porta-trace's 5000k flourescents?
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Old 02-14-2016   #36
Spanik
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I just got 2 enlargers dropped in my lap and as I was thinking of scanning with a camera this thread is just in time. Just some other random questions:
- is it wise to use an older camera for this? I mean most people want to scan just once at the highest quality because scanning is such a chore. I can see the reason to make a fixed setup.
- is it worth it to get a camera without AA?
- enlargers come with condensor heads or diffusor heads. Which one would be most suitable for scanning slides?
- regarding lightsources: all good and well to look for the ideal source but if this is a fixed setup, could a one-time calibration take care of this? If so, how?
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Old 02-15-2016   #37
Noll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanik View Post
I just got 2 enlargers dropped in my lap and
- is it wise to use an older camera for this? I mean most people want to scan just once at the highest quality because scanning is such a chore. I can see the reason to make a fixed setup.
- is it worth it to get a camera without AA?
If you would be happy with output lower-res scanner like a v500 or Pakon, then you'll be fine. My view is that at least 16 mp is needed even for grainy film like TriX. AA Filter depends if you like grain... My preference is to see the true texture of the film and not exaggerated grain aliases.

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Originally Posted by Spanik View Post
- regarding lightsources: all good and well to look for the ideal source but if this is a fixed setup, could a one-time calibration take care of this? If so, how?
In my limited experience - and I don't know why - I have to change the white balance fairly often when shooting slides shot under a variety of lighting conditions (but I shoot JPEG). Someday I may standardize on a RAW workflow, but that hasn't happened yet. I'm hoping someone else can figure that part out...
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Old 02-15-2016   #38
mcfingon
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Here's how I make my scans with bits of Opemus and LPL enlargers. I've already posted this link several times on other forums here, so apologies if you've seen it before. I have updated to a Nikon D3300 body as it has no AA filter and use a Nikkor 40 micro f2.8 as the lens. I have also replaced the standard enlarging globe with an LED globe which runs cooler, is brighter and seems sharper as it may be a more collimated light source.
http://members.iinet.net.au/~fingon/...er_mark_three/
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Old 02-15-2016   #39
mcfingon
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Sample scan with this rig from yesterday. Shot with Olympus OM-F (OM-30) and 50/1.8 at f4 and 60th, Delta 100 film in ID-11
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Old 02-16-2016   #40
mani
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcfingon View Post
Here's how I make my scans with bits of Opemus and LPL enlargers. I've already posted this link several times on other forums here, so apologies if you've seen it before. I have updated to a Nikon D3300 body as it has no AA filter and use a Nikkor 40 micro f2.8 as the lens. I have also replaced the standard enlarging globe with an LED globe which runs cooler, is brighter and seems sharper as it may be a more collimated light source.
http://members.iinet.net.au/~fingon/...er_mark_three/
I love this setup and I'm very jealous - but it required quite a bit of construction work, and some specialized bits-and-pieces, so it's effectively disqualified from the thread.

But if you want you could do a kickstarter with a ready-made model which we could all buy
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