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KeithH2 Profile
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Re: Is DIY Scanning worth it?


Having been following John’s post I just thought I’d share my experience of getting a B&W negative into digital format without a dedicated scanner.

This image was taken on Sunday with my 50 Year old Mamiya Press camera and 6x7cm back and processed last night. Today I set the negative up in my 40 year old Jobo colour enlarger minus the bellows assembly. I then rotated the head through 90 degrees so that I could set up and align my Canon 5D MkII together with my Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro lens to photograph the negative. I allowed the lens to autofocus but I had to do several exposures to get a good histogram - 1/60sec @ f8 to be exact.

Using Bridge, the RAW image was converted, cropped and straightened, the white balance was set to Tungsten and then converted to grey scale. It was then brought into Photoshop where it has just had some quick general B&C and sharpening stuff done before resizing for the forum.

I would be interested in what the experts think.

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Re: Is DIY Scanning worth it?


DIY scanning is worth the effort as you have complete control and its fun to do, part of the hobby, however it all boils down to money, If you going to buy a cheap film scanner then the method below would be a better way to go, if you want the best possible DIY scans then a dedicated film scanner is the best option as you get a true resolution and good sized files for large prints, for the penultimate scans then pay your money and get Drum scans done.

I scan my 4x5 negs on the Epson v700 in the standard Epson holder and get very good results, seems the v700 likes big negatives,

I tried scanning 35mm and medium format black and white negs on it, it does a decent job of the medium format but struggles with 35mm, the main problem with the smaller negs is sharpness, I bought Better scanning holders and that improved the medium format negs in terms of sharpness but not massively as they advertise.

I scan 35 and MF negatives on a Nikon dedicated scanner and get much better results than the V700, the problem with the v700 scans is that they do need post sharpening, BW scans are soft and often not focused on the film grain looking a little mushy, adding sharpening after the scan does little other than increasing noise and edge artefacts', if it's not focused correctly you will never get it properly sharp, with the Nikon they are sharp, you can count the grain particles without any need for post sharpening.

One thing to keep in mind is resolution, the Epson states figures that from tests are not entirely accurate, so you don't get the res you think your getting and this would show on large prints, with smaller prints I don't think this to be an issue.


I did an experiment using my m4/3 camera by placing the neg on a light table and took a picture of the negative, black and white neg, I was really surprised at the quality that the camera resolved and compared a high res scan from the scanner with it and there was not a massive difference, however the file size is small compared to a scan with my 16mp camera, with a high res say 50mp DSLR I think the quality would maybe surpass most consumer scanners, so this is a way of scanning without a film scanner maybe worth experimenting if you have a decent res DSLR and a good close up lens, its a road I might take in the future.

Keith has posted a shot using the same method and it looks successful to my eyes.

At the end of the day I would recommend that any scanner you use must be capable of producing 16bit tiff files, if you don't print bigger than 10x8 the Epson would be good enough, if you can get hold of an auto focus scanner you will not regret it.

And finely, a bad negative will not scan correctly, so try to get the best exposed negatives for scanning, if you scan TRIX 400 it will be grainy so get ready for a shock after viewing your silky smooth digi files, the best Black and with film I have found for scanning is Kodak Tmax 100 or 400 iso.


One thing I am pleased to see is that more people seem to be trying film and getting away from the Digital capture, it's a change and fun to do, makes you think about exposure, composition and film cameras are so cheap these days it's worth having a dabble, I still think that Film has so much to offer and is every bit as good if not better then Digital capture and much more satisfying to do.



Last edited by martinimages, 7/Oct/15, 6:53 pm


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"After that shutter closes it’s all over. The physical light captured on film is all that is left, a history of light preserved in chemical form, and I have to move on to the next one."

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KeithH2 Profile
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Re: Is DIY Scanning worth it?


Some interesting info here Martin, I thought the V700 was the bee's-knees for consumer film scanning! emoticon

The image I posted above was nowhere near the full frame of the 5D as it was just a quick and dirty lash-up to see what it would be like so I will build a better rig for the interim as I am going to try to set up a rig using a set of focusing rails/tripod to get in really close to the negative and shoot the full 6x7cm negative as a panel of say 9 shots and then stitch them together with a bit of Microsoft software on a Windows PC. Getting an accurate and consistent focus on the grain with my eyesight will be a challenge and the very shallow dof may be a problem but it will be fun trying. emoticon

In the meantime I have some 400TX to shoot when I get the opportunity and I will use the single shot setup for the time being and if I get anything worthwhile I will post it.

Last edited by KeithH2, 7/Oct/15, 7:45 pm


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Re: Is DIY Scanning worth it?


Would have to agree, an interesting reading Martin.

Keith my experience with the V700 is very similar to Martin's. It loves big negs and these are very easy to do using the Epson 5x4 film holders and while I have used it for MF and 35mm, I found that the film holders weren't solid enough to keep the film flat, especially with 35mm. Now this isn't a problem for me as I shoot a lot of 5x4 and virtually no 35 and MF, but if I did shoot a lot of the smaller formats than I would be looking at investing in a dedicated film scanner.

Although I do find the use of the 5DSR as a "film scanner" an interesting idea, which I might have to have a play with emoticon

Last edited by Glenn Haworth, 7/Oct/15, 8:50 pm


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Re: Is DIY Scanning worth it?


I don't think its just not film holders as much as focus, for a film to be sharp it has to be focused on the film grain which his hit and miss on flatbeds or any none focus scanners, I have tried in vain adjusting the height of the better scanning neg holders with glass to keep the negatives flat but could not achieve critical focus, I could get it a touch better but it tended to change with different scans.

As stated it does get 4x5 negatives sharp for large prints and that has to be the sheer size and quality of the large format negs plus the v700 res match's well to the big negative.

To get the max quality from the 4x5 wet scanning really improves edge to edge sharpness, tonal range, reduces scanning grain and helps remove scratches and dust, its a slow process but worth the effort for the "good" images.

Something else to remember with the dedicated versus flatbed scans, the dedicated scanner is usually much faster to scan a strip of negs so if you have lots to do not just new ones maybe you want to digitize negs from years ago the dedicated will get you through the process much faster.

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"After that shutter closes it’s all over. The physical light captured on film is all that is left, a history of light preserved in chemical form, and I have to move on to the next one."

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Re: Is DIY Scanning worth it?


Some interesting suggestions here! I tried a very quick test (taped a 645 negative to the window and took three "bites" with a Canon 100 mm Macro lens) and I was surprised at the detail I could see. The exposure and contrast were well off, but I guess that would improve with practice.
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Re: Is DIY Scanning worth it?


For consistency a none pixel based even light source is needed, plus live view where you cam adjust exposure, contrasts is not important at this stage, its important to have no clipped histogram, bring contrast back in photoshop

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"After that shutter closes it’s all over. The physical light captured on film is all that is left, a history of light preserved in chemical form, and I have to move on to the next one."

http://martinhensonphotography.co.uk
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John Roberts Profile
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Re: Is DIY Scanning worth it?


Just to let you know that in the end I tried "scanning" with my DSLR, and after some trial and error I am quite pleased with the results. The attached shot is one of my favourites of my late father, pressed into modelling several years ago!

The set up is a wooden box lines with white card with a flash gun poked through a hole. A Gnome negative carrier rests over another hole and I photographed the 645 in 6 "bites", and auto-stitched them in Photoshop.

Thanks again to everyone who gave me advice.

John
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Re: Is DIY Scanning worth it?


Not sure what happened to the photo the first time!

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Re: Is DIY Scanning worth it?


Hmmm! Let's try SmugMug

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