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edw

Digitizing film with a digital camera

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Posted (edited)

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Hey,

I recently got dissatisfied with all of the film scanning options available to me, so I tried shooting my negatives on a digital camera instead of depending on a lab or scanning them myself with a film or flatbed scanner. I was going to write it up here but the length got out of control. For your consideration:

http://bit.ly/2UHWxKQ

Regards,
Edwin

Edited by edw

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nice..but perhaps posting it in the film forum would be nice so more people can read it..many similar posts there

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Ah, I didn’t realize there was a film forum; I thought this film M forum was it.

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It should be common knowledge that fladbed scanners are the absolute worst solution for digitizing any photographic material. I use a similar camera setup for 120 film and the results are good. However, film scanners (no, not the fladbed ones) with high Dmax still have a right to exist.

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Long time user since 2007 of Nikon Coolscan V ED, and bothered by the longggg time to scan a slide with ICE,

I began some years ago to "scan with digital camera" with project to "scan quicker" my thousands Kodachrome.

I have to say that the Coolscan wins because it's ICE can remove the dusty (of some decades old slides), or less dusty slides.

With my "scans" from camera, taking time to "clean" the file is many fold more than the time Coolscan takes to scan one slide.

But with b&w negatives, "Monochrom scan" is nicer as ICE can't be use for them anyway, if not from chromogenic film.

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5 hours ago, vanGeist said:

It should be common knowledge that fladbed scanners are the absolute worst solution for digitizing any photographic material. I use a similar camera setup for 120 film and the results are good. However, film scanners (no, not the fladbed ones) with high Dmax still have a right to exist.

I had myself read recitations of this common knowledge but after doing some wider reading I gave the Epson a try; the V550 “flatbed-film” scanner didn’t produce appreciably worse results that my dedicated slide scanner, though the Epson’s slide carrier was crappier and I was going to solve that by getting some anti-newton-ring glass to flatten the film, at which point the flatbed would probably produce marginally better results than the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai.

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5 hours ago, a.noctilux said:

Long time user since 2007 of Nikon Coolscan V ED, and bothered by the longggg time to scan a slide with ICE,

I began some years ago to "scan with digital camera" with project to "scan quicker" my thousands Kodachrome.

I have to say that the Coolscan wins because it's ICE can remove the dusty (of some decades old slides), or less dusty slides.

With my "scans" from camera, taking time to "clean" the file is many fold more than the time Coolscan takes to scan one slide.

But with b&w negatives, "Monochrom scan" is nicer as ICE can't be use for them anyway, if not from chromogenic film.

Interesting. I found that my digital shots of  negatives were significantly cleaner than my scans. I attribute it to the super shallow DoF of the lens. I shoot at base ISO (100)  on my SL, usually with a 1/4-1/3 second exposure at f4.

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With flatbed it is twelve frames per one time and dust, scratches removed. 

No cameras can't do.

I print on Leter size after flatbed. It is not much diffrent from darkroom prints.

If you print and not large flatbed will do.

If you trying to handle film as digital image on the screen, then camera rig is better option than obsolete Nikon scanners.

IMO.

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24 minutes ago, Ko.Fe. said:

With flatbed it is twelve frames per one time and dust, scratches removed. 

No cameras can't do.

I print on Leter size after flatbed. It is not much diffrent from darkroom prints.

If you print and not large flatbed will do.

If you trying to handle film as digital image on the screen, then camera rig is better option than obsolete Nikon scanners.

IMO.

Given that the digital-photo-repro method is faster than a scanner and yields higher quality images, the only advantage to a scanner-based workflow is that it’s the status quo. That can be a big advantage, but if nothing else I was elated to reclain the space my scanners were taking up.

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15 minutes ago, edw said:

Given that the digital-photo-repro method is faster than a scanner and yields higher quality images, the only advantage to a scanner-based workflow is that it’s the status quo. That can be a big advantage, but if nothing else I was elated to reclain the space my scanners were taking up.

How come twenty frames per one scan which comes out as normal files with dust and scratches removed is status quo? If it is, then camera rig is religion.

I'm not in the spaceship capsule for scanners to take so much space.

My computer takes same space.

I'm also using my flatbed to scan my darkroom prints and regular documents. How fast you could get 1:1 sized pdf with your rig?

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Posted (edited)

I mean status quo quite literally: it’s (apparently) what you’re doing now. It’s the change-nothing-in-your-workflow choice.

The flatbed is epically slow. It often mis-crops frames. It picks up dust like nobody’s business. The images still require hand tone adjustment at the whole-image level.

Compared to the flatbed, I can select, focus, shoot, and import images faster with my SL and macro lens and the images are higher quality and have significantly fewer problems with  scratches and dust. Did you read my piece? I discussed all this.

I live and work in NYC. Objects need to earn the space they consume here.

Edited by edw
Forgot to address the question re status quo

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I love using my film scanners but I also like digitizing and have tested it with 135 film obtaining results which are close to my Coolscan V ED. I'm under no illusion that at some point old scanners will not be the basis for a viable workflow so anything that tests new ways to stick with film is good imho.

Just a few suggestions, if I may - to better show quality differences you might consider using less contrasty images, as well as adding a few colour images. It is a bit difficult as the blog post stands at present for the reader to form an opinion.

And, why are the Epson scans much more dusty than the digitized frames? That also detracts a bit from the comparison.

Br

Philip

 

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vor 19 Stunden schrieb edw:

I had myself read recitations of this common knowledge but after doing some wider reading I gave the Epson a try; the V550 “flatbed-film” scanner didn’t produce appreciably worse results that my dedicated slide scanner, though the Epson’s slide carrier was crappier and I was going to solve that by getting some anti-newton-ring glass to flatten the film, at which point the flatbed would probably produce marginally better results than the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai.

You may step up to the good and better models to see what a good film scanner is capable of. The Nikon CoolScan and Hasselblad Flextight scanner will deliver something completly different to your entry model Plustek. Even the mid-range Reflecta scanners like the  RPS 10M with its' ability to process and scan a whole role of film will be a huge improvement.

The photos in your blog entry are all very underexposed. Maybe you test it one more time with proper exposures, good light and dense negatives.

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2 minutes ago, vanGeist said:

You may step up to the good and better models to see what a good film scanner is capable of. The Nikon CoolScan and Hasselblad Flextight scanner will deliver something completly different to your entry model Plustek. Even the mid-range Reflecta scanners like the  RPS 10M with its' ability to process and scan a whole role of film will be a huge improvement.

The photos in your blog entry are all very underexposed. Maybe you test it one more time with proper exposures, good light and dense negatives.

I'm done.

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sorry i am only convinced that this is not a good workflow.

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On 4/8/2019 at 6:27 PM, edw said:

Hey,

I recently got dissatisfied with all of the film scanning options available to me, so I tried shooting my negatives on a digital camera instead of depending on a lab or scanning them myself with a film or flatbed scanner. I was going to write it up here but the length got out of control. For your consideration:

http://bit.ly/2UHWxKQ

Regards,
Edwin

An interesting comparison, however, I would like to see some comparisons of images with a full tonal range. These exposures don't tell me much.

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55 minutes ago, jaapv said:

An interesting comparison, however, I would like to see some comparisons of images with a full tonal range. These exposures don't tell me much.

In my experience you’ve never been convinced of anything that didn’t emanate front your own mind de novo. I’ll get right on shooting a grey ramp against a brick wall using a laboratory-calibrated light meter and a just-CLA’d camera from DAG.

This is a horrible place. You all deserve each other.

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With all due respect, it is really impossible to draw any meaningful conclusion from images that consist of blocked shadows and blown-out highlights only. If I have to pick an image from the pairs you posted, the scanned images look sharper to my eyes, but that may be down to the postprocessing applied.

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Flatbed scanners in most cases do not deliver the resolution quoted in the data sheet (see scanner test by ScanDig, albeit the tests ignore the fact that a resolution estimate holds only for the device tested and is not at all absolutely representative of the model series.). Here is a comparison of my CanoScan with my DigiDia6000:

A direct comparison of scans with the flatbed scanner and the dedicated film scanner looks like this. Left CanoScan, right DigitDia. A comparison of scans with a digital camera and with a Nikon Coolscan 5000 is given by Andreas Beitinger.

The scans with a digital camera lack, as already mentioned, the IR-based dust and scratch removal. Here is an example, what this can do for you. Above left the original, at right the cleaned image. Below the IR-channel.

I think, the examples speak for themselves.

Hermann-Josef

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8 hours ago, edw said:

 

This is a horrible place. You all deserve each other.

Ouch.

I run a lab where I use the Hasselblad X5 for scanning, along with an Epson V850 and camera based scanning. Camera based scanning has some real advantages and it is clearly the future. At the high end, companies like Phase One and Digital Transitions are building extremely robust camera based scanning and capture stations based around 100+ MP backs and custom software. That said, the software alone is listed at 6000 dollars, so this is not geared towards anyone other than major museums and libraries etc.

The biggest challenge is effective transport and lighting. You need to get the film absolutely flat, plane parallel to the camera and lens. This is harder than it sounds. Getting a decent camera scan is very easy, getting one to surpass an X5 or drum scan is not. I am still defaulting to the X5 because it will deliver a 16bit grain resolving scan with perfect film flatness in around 2 minutes from 35mm to 4x5. The software is annoying and the machine is hugely overpriced, but it is still the best combination of speed and quality I have used.

I have the Epson around for 8x10 only. I hate it, but that could be because I am so used to the X5.

I have tried camera based scanning with the Leica S. At 37mp with an excellent macro lens, it should be ideal. It is certainly capable of great results, but it still cannot match the resolution of the X5 or even an Epson on full res. I think camera based scanning needs 100mp or stitching to match the better scanners, partially because the aspect ratios do not line up right for 120 and 4x5, and because of the challenges in creating a setup that actually gets the full resolution out of the camera's sensor.

In any case, camera based scanning is the future, and as you have seen, it is the present for a lot of people as well. There has not been a professional scanner released in the last 20 years, so the sensors in modern cameras are light years ahead of scanners, but since scanners are purpose built for the task, the good ones still have huge advantages in handling, lighting and software for dealing with color negative.

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