Professional 35mm to digital scanning

Discussion in 'Digital Negatives' started by thenikonknight, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. thenikonknight

    thenikonknight Member

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    I was unsure of posting this on APUG or DPUG but feel it could be posted on either site.

    I have bunch of slides shot from the early to mid 1990s that I want to have professionally transfered to digital - and had some questions concerning this venture.

    I ran across a site dpsdave that transfers slides at 6000 DPI. What is the MP equivalent to 6000 DPI?
    I used to shoot Fuji Velvia 50 and Kodachrome 25 - so resolution has always been important.

    With that said, does anyone recommend a good professional lab for slide scanning? Any idea of the cost (per 1000 slides)?

    Lastly, as far mailing the slides, is there any recommended container or packaging I should use for mailing? Currently the slides are still in the plastic and cardboard containers received from the film processing labs.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I haven't used a service, so no advice there. Figure your slide is 1"x1.5" if you remove the mount and depending on the camera. From scanning on a 5000ppi drum scanner I can say it's unlikely you will get a real 6000ppi from any color slide film. But if you did it would be equivalent to 6000x9000 or 54MP. In reality you will probably achieve something in the range of 3000 to 4000ppi, if your technique was good. 3000ppi = 3000x4500 = 13.5MP and 4000ppi = 4000x6000 = 24MP. My experience is my 35mm slides end up close to 24MP if I used a tripod and fine grain film.

    Drum scanners are probably the best you will get as far as equipment. They will also be the slowest, and priced by the 1000 you will be looking at major $. I would use a DSLR and a copy attachment. Then have the best of them drum scanned if you need higher quality. I wrote up my experience with black and white DSLR scanning, but color slide works equally as well. https://www.trippingthroughthedark....5mm-black-and-white-negatives-with-the-d800e/
     
  3. OP
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    thenikonknight

    thenikonknight Member

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    Thank you for your post. I will definitely give your technique a try sometime. Just not sure when as my time is pretty limited these days. With that said I have some questions about slide scanning with a DSLR.
    I have a Nikon D800 and D7100 with the 14-24, 24-70, and 70-200 lenses (all f2.8). Will any of these lenses work well with your scanning technique, or should I be looking a fixed focal length macro lens or reproduction lens?

    What is the recommended equipment for such a setup? I'll have to make a shopping list as I have never delved into reproduction photography.
    - Reproduction lens (a Rodenstock 75mm f/4 Rodagon-D)
    - Nikon pb4 bellows
    - A light source (you mentioned: a light box stood on it’s edge, a flash, and an Omega color enlarger head) - which of these produced the best results? Which is easiest to work with? I have a Nikon SB800 flash.

    Anything else I am missing? Just trying to get an idea of what this venture may cost.
    I am pretty serious about it though because my grandmother was a photographer and shot a lot slide film. There's a lot of family history as well as outdoor photography I'd like to transfer to digital sometime.

    Thanks again for your informative post!
     
  4. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I don't think any of your zooms are going to work too well. But there are a lot of macro lenses out there that will give excellent results, and many enlarger lens will also work. Either camera should work, and which one you choose will determine the best lens for it. If you go with the D7100 you don't need as high of a reproduction ratio since the sensor is smaller. For the D800 I found the Rodagon-D did give the highest quality results, but it wasn't night and day. I could be very happy with my old 55mm Nikkors as well.

    For slides I was very happy with the flash unit. Placed a foot or so behind the slide it gave even exposures and being daylight balanced made white balance settings easy. The color head also worked very well, but took a bit of adjusting to get the color balance tweaked on the head, though you can also do it in software with raw files. Both the flash and color head are full spectrum and should be very close. I'd avoid the lightbox for color work since it's a florescent tube and the spiky spectrum might make color balance difficult. I mainly tried the color head in order to remove the orange mask with color negatives.

    Other options include something like the Nikon ES-1
    Slide Copying Adapter (http://www.ebay.com/itm/NIKON-ES-1-...496239?hash=item43f273fbef:g:VcAAAOSwOVpXfHgG) and a 55mm macro lens. If you only have mounted slides this might be the cheapest option. Should work as designed with your D800 and SB800. The PB5 is another option and this looks like a good deal (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nikon-PB-5-...166354?hash=item33bc2977d2:g:iI8AAOSwdzVXl9zw). I like the PB4 because it has movements that I use for macro use, but are not needed for scanning.
     
  5. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I should add that if you go with a bellows setup you will need to consider the reproduction ratio with each lens. Many will be magnified too much when mounted on a bellows, even at the minimum extension. That's why I ended up experimenting with enlarger lenses.
     
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    thenikonknight

    thenikonknight Member

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    About 90% of the film I shot was high grain and shot on tripod. Actually, I still have some Kodak Tech Pan B&W in the freezer.

    I saw a Geoffrey Byers video comparison on Youtube who used a Nikon D810 (ISO 64) with a simple ES-1 setup and compared his results vs. the same photo scanned in an Epson V700.
    There was obviously much more detail in the D810 scan than the Epson V700.

    I wonder if there would be such a noticeable difference between your technique, vs. a Nikon Coolscan 5000, vs. the Nikon ES-1.
    I wonder if anyone has done such a comparison...
     
  7. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    My guess is the ES-1 with a D800/D810 will out resolve the Coolscan 5000. I think the Coolscan will be superior for color negative film. Just guesses, but based off my testing with the Canoscan FS4000. I don't know how the bellows with the Rodagon D will will fare vs the 55mm Micro and ES-1. Probably about the same assuming it's all aligned correctly.
     
  8. John_M_King

    John_M_King Member

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    In the heyday of film it was well known, I stress 'was', but a camera lens reversed with the front element towards the sensor/film plane gave a better resolution than one simply fixed to bellows or extension tubes. The downside of this is you loose any coupling between the lens and the camera, be it electrical or mechanical. I used to do it with an 85mm Nikkor onto a FE body and the quality spoke for itself.
     
  9. OP
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    thenikonknight

    thenikonknight Member

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    I like your setup Larry. Here are couple others that I have stumbled across online:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_fMcAsAYdc (Using the ES-1 w/ 60mm lens) by Geoffrey Byers.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68f43NSZCh4 (Copy stand and lightbox setup - without the use of ES-1) by Jamie Maldonado.
    - and your setup with the Nikon PB bellows, Rodenstock 75mm f/4 lens, and an enlarger head

    I like the copy stand setup for simplicity and repeat-ability. I did not like the archaic looking film mask. I'd want/need a 35mm slide mask (any ideas there)?

    I like the results produced by using the ES-1 but it seemed that method was a bit amateurish.

    Since I've never ventured into this aspect of photography, I still have some questions.

    Is the Rodenstock 75mm f/4 lens a much better lens for slide copying than a AF-S Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED?
    Can i used the PB bellows with the Nikon 60mm lens? Can I mount the bellows on a copy stand (like the one used in Mr. Byers video)?
    Will an enlarger head be much better at controlling light than a simple Logan lightpad like the one used in Mr. Maldonado's video?

    One important aspect for me will be a setup/process that will provide consistent, repeatable results as I have thousands of slides that need to be transferred.
    Again, I appreciate any and all input.
     
  10. mdarnton

    mdarnton Member

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    I copy B&W negs with a D7200 (24Mp) and 63/2.8 El-Nikkor on a Nikon bellows with the film carrier. Before that I used a copy stand, and the bellows rig is much more handy, so I do recommend that over a stand.

    My 55 and 60 Micro-Nikkors were fine on my D300 (12Mp) but on the D7200 the 63mm, which has a great reputation, is a definite bump up. You can't use it, I don't think, because the bellows won't compress enough to do 1:1 (35mm > D800), but I mention that because the 70mm Rodagon is a similarly-respected lens, and I think it would be worthwhile to us that over one of the normal line of Nikon macro lenses. Forget about zooms.

    24Mp is a definite bump up from 12Mp. I considered buying a D800, but didn't think I'd use the resolution, but that's probably better still if you want the mx.

    Here's a link to my copy stand setup, and an explanation: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mdarnton/7183241686/
    All of the shots in that Flickr were scanned with my D300, and just the last three B&Ws with the new rig, I think--you can look at them all full size if you are interested to see what I get. In the D300 shots the grain is grain aliasing from inadequate camera resolution, not real. You should read up on that because it will be an issue with any film/camera combination if the grain size is close to the sensor resolution. An interesting topic. . . .

    You will find that it's worth doing testing to determine any lens' best aperture in that setting. For my 55s and 60, it's f/7.1, but the 63mm performs best at almost f/11. Any other opening than the best, and you quickly lose the advantage of an expensive lens. Wander too far from optimum, and you might as well use the bottom of a Coke bottle.
     
  11. John_M_King

    John_M_King Member

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    I doubt if any method used without scanning the images will get a satisfactory result as good as the traditional slide. I use a Nikon LS50 scanner which gives a nominal 4000dpi which with C41 film image is good enough for a A3+ print with some quality still in reserve. It also has the facility to restore colour from a faded or discoloured slide. Using a camera to photograph a slide will introduce an intermediate step in the copy which will never give as good a scanned image even giving it after treatment with software such as Photoshop

    So long as the original slide is sharp then there is reason why the scanned copy will not every bit as good or better than the original
     
  12. mdarnton

    mdarnton Member

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    Just wish to point out that scanning introduces an intermediate step as well, so that's a wash. The only question is which tool does a better job, and that will only be answered by results. Scanners are rather notorious for not delivering their spec'd resolution.

    For someone doing many scans, there's no question that the camera is faster. I believe that the Dmax range of a camera is hugely greater than any scanner.

    Aside from that, I find it interesting how discussions always center on getting the ultimate of quality, and wonder how many people for whom that is a requirement ever actually do prints that tap that. I suspect almost none.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2016
  13. John_M_King

    John_M_King Member

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    The main difference between using a scanner, especially a good film scanner such as the Nikon, is colour restoration can be performed with the original subject (slide) and not with what is essentially a 'dead' image after it has been re-photographed. Restoration will then be virtually impossible because it has no 'new' information to work with.

    The D Max of the Nikon Scanner is 4.2 (more than currently sold new scanners) which whilst not possibly a great as a modern digital camera has the benefit of keeping the contrast which for projected images is mostly sadly lacking without an amount of after work. But hey-Ho each to their own re- photographing seems a lot of extra work to me.
     
  14. MartaSr

    MartaSr Member

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    Im an experienced digital photographer, but I just ordered a Tachihara 4x5 camera and a scanner to go with it. My intention is to scan my negatives, slides and polaroids to get them into my digital workflow.

    Does anyone know of a good intro to scanning for such purposes? I already know what bit-depth is. I know the difference between linear and logarithmic data. What I dont know are the ins and outs of squeezing the best performance out of my scanner which hasnt even arrived yet.

    So... any recommendations?
     
  15. trendland

    trendland Member

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    It is a task many have never acomplished - sometimes they began in the 90th.(with 25-29 photographs on a dos discette)Today we only can laught about such workflow.1,44Mb : ~ 30 :cry:
    But we can much learn from such example.
    It you want to archive (I will not do so) 35mm film - it just make sense to reach the physically resolution of the film via scanning.
    That means : Game over to the next few years.
    Exeption : You may scan your best pictures in a proffessional and expensive way (via virtual drum scan) ......The rest can be scanned via DSLR your thoughts goes in this direcion.The result are some very expensive Full resolution scans with
    400Mb each frame.
    The rest is just for fun from DSLR.
    From archval issues it makes no sense to louse quality via archivement.
    The same issue like in1994.
    :angel:


    with regards
     
  16. Dan Pavel

    Dan Pavel Member

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    One plus on using a DSLR vs. a dedicated film scanner for scanning film, especially slide film (higher contrast), is the fact that you can take more exposures of the same slide with different exposure times and make a HDR out of them with much improved shadows/highlights details.
     
  17. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    Dan..have you actually done that? And have you actually used a Nikon scanner?
     
  18. Dan Pavel

    Dan Pavel Member

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    Yes, I've tested it with my Sony A7R2 and it worked nicely and yes, I have a Nikon Super Coolscan 800ED scanner. It's a very nice scanner but with 3 flaws: it is very slow, the planarity of the film (60 mm film) is difficult to obtain (I use to make multi-scans with different AF points for the important scans, but it is very time-consuming) and the higher contrast slides lose details in shadows and highlights. That's why I plan to sell it and use the camera instead.
     
  19. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    60mm film?
     
  20. Dan Pavel

    Dan Pavel Member

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    Yes, 120 and 220 films. They are 60 mm wide.
     
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