Macro set up for digitizing film...

Discussion in 'Macro' started by michael_matsil, Dec 11, 2019.

  1. Hi All,

    I am researching camera/lens set ups in order to digitize film. I'm an experienced photographer, but am not so experienced, in macro or repro work. Perhaps some of you who are, can help me out with the idea I am considering, with the gear I already have on hand.

    What gear I have:
    1] Nikon Z7
    2] Nikon FTZ adapter (for mounting F lenses on Z cameras)
    3] Zeiss 50mm f/2.8 Makro-Planar, F mount (1:2 reproduction)
    4] Nikon F bellows extension unit

    With this set up, would I be able to achieve 1:1 reproduction of 35mm film? 120 film? In other words, will the bellows extension get the 50mm 1:2, to 1:1 with excellent film to raw file results?

  2. I've had a good experience copying old slides using Nikon's proprietary setup for slide copying: the Micro-Nikkor 55mm/2.8 combined with the ES-1 slide copier and a PK-13 extension tube, all on a D810. (Their current outfit for both slides and negatives is the ES-2 mounted on a Micro-Nikkor 60 mm lens + FF body.) I don't have any experience with bellows, so I can't help you there. If you can duplicate the film/sensor/magnification relationship of these assemblies, then you should be able to make it work. However, you will need to add a film holder that can be finely adjusted for film-to-lens distance. Your bellows will need to be placed between the lens and the camera (if you use it like an extension tube to allow closer focus), so you'll still need an adjustable film holder in front of the lens. I also question whether or not your bellows will compress to the desired degree. Others here might know of more options. For me, the ES-1 or -2 kits are not terribly expensive and may provide the most cost- and time-effective solutions. Good luck. Please share your final solution and outcomes. Happy trails...
    luis triguez and Ed_Ingold like this.
  3. Thank you David. I'm liking the ES-2 kit, because of the 35mm film strip holder. I have a digitizing project where I will be using that first. I also like the old 55mm Micro Nikkor. I understand that it resolves very well and has the desired flat field... is that your experience? I suppose with the 55, I will need a step up ring (52-62mm) to attach the ES-2 to the front. What would be the purpose of the PK-13 tube with that set up?

    I found this image of the set up we are talking about. It's amazing how complex some folks set ups can be for digitizing with a camera. I happen to know a very well known photographer who recently had a life retrospective of his work. The bulk of his work are 35mm chromes and they used this very, straight forward set up (with D850's) to produce the very large prints for that show. As long as you are careful, accurate and use an even, color corrected light source, I've seen fantastic results with high resolution cameras. I think we're finally beyond scanning.
  4. The PK-13 is a purpose-built extension tube to get the 55mm/2.8 AI to a 1:1 ratio. With it you can choose your final ratio with inscribed marks on the lens' focus ring. You focus by changing the lens-to-subject distance. It's a weird, but weirdly practical setup. The ES-2 is optimized for the 60mm Micro-Nikkor, which combination I don't think requires an extension tube. I like my setup on the D810 for all the reasons you mention above. The 810's sensor has better (way better) resolution than any of my old chromes, so the question is how much grain do I want to see?
  5. That's the PK-13 you can see behind the 55mm/2.8. That lens will not get you a 1:1 correct image without it. Yes, you'll need an adapter to match the ES-2 to the filter thread diameter. The adapter's thickness is well within the fore-aft slide adjustment range of the ES-2, so no problem.
  6. Right... the 55mm is 1:2, just as my Zeiss 50mm Makro Planar is. Would be great if I could use the Zeiss, but at 50mm instead of 55mm, the PK-13 may not be the right tube to get 1:1. May need a different length tube or stack tubes to get the right length? Any thoughts on that? Thanks.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  7. Not sure, since the PK-13 is a specific match to the 55mm/2.8. You can likely afford to go a little beyond 1:1 (say, 1:0.95), with the Z7. The PK is equivalent to a 27.5mm extension tube, so see what you get with 25mm or 30mm. Since you'll be scanning unmounted film you might consider slightly less than 1:1 so you have a little working border. Net effect of the the extension tube is dependent on the close focus distance of the lens (I think...), so you'll have to experiment. According to a calculator I found (on Red Finch Rental), a 25mm tube should get you close to 1:1 with your 50mm.
  8. 1:1 = 2x focal length of bellows (with a conventional camera). - Things to clarify: How are those F mount lenses working? Moving a rigid optical complex somewhere? Or might they have internal focusing shifting lens elements around; maybe changing the focal length of the entire thing on the way?

    Assuming they were rigid lens heads it shouldn't matter for 35mm film digitizing if you get a little bit too long extension tubes. Your lenses have about 1" of focusing hlicoid in that case and why would you really need a hard stop at 1:1? cranking it out a little bit less should be doable and a usable tube (or bellows) could be anything between 28 & 50 mm.

    Why don't you light a slide and measure the distance between camera and lens you need to see it in focus "freelensing" with a ruler?

    If your bellows can be compressed to 25mm, I'd use it instead. With internal focusing and floating elements keeping rings / bellows as short as possible should be more important.

    Digitizing a true 6x6 neg should be doable with an 1:2 lens. - 55m side length > 2x24mm short sensor side. A usual 6x6 neg (being a 4.5x6, shot in a film wasting camera to avoid carrying &/ constructing a rotating back for it) might need the shortest extension tube you can find somewhere.
  9. Thank you Jochen and David. This is all really interesting. It seems to me that the 55mm + PK-13 is a 'known quantity'. The lens has a storied history, the extension tube gets you to 1:1 and the ES-2 is convenient to use with 35mm films. So, I guess the only question would be reproduction quality of this rig. I may be able to assume (and then verify, with my own experience) that if it was good enough for my 'famous' photographer friend's retrospective exhibition I wrote of above, it should work for me well. Just make the rig stable and light the film properly.

    [A peak at that show, produced by Blazing Editions and ChromaLuxe found here: ]
  10. Thank you all! I think I have what I need to get started with this.
  11. Actually... one more question if anyone knows: what adpater (step up/down ring) would I need to attach the ES-2 to a 55mm micro?
  12. Hi again... Maybe David, you can answer this question. I've decided to eschew the idea of getting a Nikkor 55 micro and use my Zeiss Makro Planar 50. They're both 1:2. The Planar would be easy to get to 1:1 with the appropriate extension tube(s), which we've discussed above. Since I do not have a ES-2 yet, can you let me know how I can get the 67mm filter thread of my Zeiss to mate with the ES-2. I'd be able to figure this out, but I have not been able to determine how the ES-2 connects to its lens; is it threaded (inside or outside) or does it slide over its lens and lock down with the set screw? I know the kit comes with 2 adapters for a variety of contemporary Nikkor lenses (both for FX & DX). So I'm a little hazy on how I will get the ES-2 to be adapted to the 67mm.

  13. Check out this LINK. Another LINK provided good information, including this quote: "The ES-2 Adapter has a 52mm thread diameter, meaning that it will mount directly onto any vintage Nikon macro lens that has a 52mm filter thread such as the Nikon Micro NIKKOR 55mm f/2.8 AI-S..." There are a variety of useful videos and articles on the 'net if you take the time to look. Adapter 67mm on the lens side to 55mm on the ES-2 side. The ES-2 screws into the threads just like a filter.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
  14. Thanks again. I hadn't seen those links.
  15. Correction: 52mm on ES-2 to 67mm (I believe, confirm) on your lens.
  16. ES-2 is an elegant solution to accompany the 55mm macro.......
    BUT......I have the 105mm macro, chosen as a macro with greater working distance, and more advantages as a general purpose lens; has VR, has nano-coating, etc,
    And I think I'm not alone...... ~105mm is probably the most popular general purpose macro focal length.
    It is no doubt possible for an adept person to cobble together a slide duplicator of of a soup can and duct tape....
    BUT.....I am not adept even without approaching the issue of a negative strip holder....
    /end rant.
  17. Yes. 67mm on my 50 Zeiss Makro. I ordered a 67 to 62 step down and then I will use one of the 52 to 62 end adapters that are part of the ES-2 kit. I also have a set of Nikon K extension tubes to handle the 1:2 to 1:1 transition. Because of the need to step down from 67 to 52, there is a possibility of vignetting. I did some approximate measurements, so I think my Zeiss just might sneak by without that happening. We'll see for sure when I get all the gear assembled. The objective here was to not have to buy another lens. But if there is a problem, I'll substitute a 55 Nikkor micro into the set up.
    DavidTriplett likes this.
  18. Wayne, I have both the 55mm and 105mm lenses. The 55mm is an inherited item from my Dad, and it is convenient the the ES-1 I use is purpose-built to fit that lens and its native focusing distance when combined with the PK-13. I believe the ES-2 is likewise optimized for use with the Micro-Nikkor 60mm, without extension tube. The issue is to get the 1:1 focus for the lens+ES to coincide. I haven't experimented with it (no need with the 55mm/2.8), but if you could get the slide holder position to coincide with the minimum (1:1) focus distance of the 105mm/2.8 (about 12 inches from the focal plan), then it should work exactly like the other assemblies do (on an FX sensor, of course). The 105's 62mm filter threads will require an adapter to mount either ES, which are designed to fit a 52mm filter thread. (See above.)

    I checked my kit, and if my ES-1 were mounted on my 105mm/2.8, it would be several inches short of reaching the plane of focus for that lens at 1:1. I expect it would be similar for ES-2. I'm not sure what effect adding an extension tube would have. Certainly it would shorten the available focus distance, but it would also change the image ratio. My brain is too fuddled to do the math right now. Happy trails...
    Wayne Melia likes this.
  19. In order to use an ES-2 with a 55/2.8 Micro-Nikkor, you use the longer of the two 62 mm tubes* with a 52-62 step-up ring. The ring adds just enough length to the ES-2 so you can focus at 1:1.

    I also concur with use of a PK-13 extension tube. It's exactly the right length to get 1:1 from the 55. A bellows attachment won't collapse far enough fo 1:1. You will get greater magnification, and lose complete coverage of the frame as a result.

    For practical reasons, I set the lens to slightly less than 1:1 and do a rough focus using the sliding tube of the ES-2 (or ES-1), then fine-tune the focus with the lens helix. You capture more area of the film than necessary, but it's more precise and quicker to do it this way.

    * One tube is for a 60 mm AF-D and the other for the AF-S version.
  20. Hi all... I now have what I think is the complement of hardware I need to 'digitize' film in-camera. See attached photos.

    Mounted on the front of the Zeiss 50mm Makro Planar: Nikon ES-2 with the kit's 'adapter B' [62 to 52mm step down], mounted to another step down ring from the Zeiss's 67mm thread, to the adapter B's 62mm.

    On the back flange of the Zeiss is Nikon K-1 + K-2 + K-3 extension kit, in its shortest configuration (roughly 18mm), (hopefully) getting the Zeiss Makro from 1:2 to 1:1. After that, the Nikon FTZ adapter allowing F mount on the Z7 camera. So, nice 40+ MP resolution.

    Looking at the photo of my LCD screen, I can see the edge of the ES-2's slide holder in focus and the rectangle nearly filling the LCD... about 80% or so (?). The ES-2 is as close (short) as it can go on the adapter B.

    I'll play around with extension tube length as well as the front adapters and see if I can get 35mm film frame to fill more of the digital frame. Right now, I'm not sure I'm at 1:1. Chime in if you have any thoughts on this, which is a starting point. Thanks!


Share This Page