New Nikon ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by iosif_astrukov, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. I just posted a message about the ES-1 versus the new ES-2 in the Digital Darkroom forum. I won't repeat it here, but I recently modified an ES-1 to copy film, and buying two ES-1 units (one for slides and one for film) is cheaper than buying the ES-2. Also, some folks are unaware that the ES-1 changed over time. Older models have enough clearance for a film-strip holder without modification, so only one unit is needed to copy slides or film. Recent ES-1 units are tighter and can't accommodate a film-strip holder without modification. Believe me, I tried, before giving up and buying a second one.

    Regarding quality, my copies of b&w film using my modified ES-1 with a Nikkor 40mm f/2.8 macro lens are plenty sharp and easily resolve the film grain. My scans using a Nikon CoolScan V are no better and take much longer. Also, I have successfully used my ES-1 to copy old negatives that were in such extremely poor condition (actually crumbling) that I wouldn't dare to feed them into my CoolScan for fear of jamming it.
  2. It is getting harder to find the film data sheets, but here is Portra 400:

    The MTF curves go out to 80 cycles/mm, or about 4000 pixel/inch.

    The curve isn't down to zero, but that is the point that it stops, so it seems that is what Kodak (or KodakAlaris) thinks it should be.

    Usual film scanners use line CCD arrays, either three rows of them, or one row and three light sources.

    For the DSLR, you do have the Bayer array filter, so you don't get the full resolution at each color.

    I believe the data sheets for other color films that I looked at also go out to about 80 cycles/mm.
  3. The only film strip holder which fits my ES-1 is the FH3 which came with an LS-4000 scanner. It is about 50% thicker than a cardboard mount, but only 2" wide. It's a little hard on the leaf springs in the ES-1, but workable. Inexpensive film strip holders for other slide copiers (B&H) are 1/8" thick and 1/4" wider than a mounted slide. They won't fit in the ES-1 even with the springs removed, and place the center of the slide about 1/8" too high. Modifying the ES-1 would be a lot more involved than installing a spacer. In a nutshell, that's why the ES-2 is so welcome.

    80 lp/mm is for a target with 1000:1 contrast. It's more like 40 lp/mm with a normal scene, which has a contrast ratio of about 6:1

    True, but that's for color. You get pixel for pixel resolution for luminance, which affects accutance more than color.

    Nikon scanners do a very good job with film, in terms of resolution and more important, film handling and negative conversion. In my experience using a 24 MP camera comes very close in resolution, and is better at renewing color. If you dial in the fact that using a camera is p to 10x as fast, the game is over. Furthermore you could by a Nikon D850 or a Sony A7Rii for the cost of a used Coolscan, and have change left over.

    The downside is I'm to happy with the quality I get converting negatives to positives. I wasn't all that happy with the Coolscan software either, but it's faster and generally better. It's just a matter of time before someone writes a plugin that nails the issue down tight.
  4. Fiodor - what you talk about is more like a photoshop plug in, from Nikon, which could convert the negative images using the presets of the Coolscans, for example, or other similar method - indeed such thing would be great
  5. Thanks. I didn’t know this plug-in, it looks interesting. Have you tried it with dsrl negatives?

    Yeah, you are right, if there is editing, it is not Raw anymore, unless the changes are Raw variables and it creates also a .Xmp file (but then again, we don’t know what the d850 would be doing when it reverses negatives). Anyway, probably the d850 saves also as Tiff, which is preferable than Jpeg for editing.
  6. My doubt was how scanners treat the orange mask, if they do it by hardware or software. Then I read this article through the Nikon F-Mount - How to digitise your slides and negatives which says “Colour negatives have a strong orange mask. Formerly, I thought the scanner would correct it with a special mix of its RGB light components. But I was wrong - it is just software.” So, apparently, it is merely a software job, and we are dealing with an orange tinted image from the start, which if you think about it, is terrible, specially because this orange is not a Raw color temperature variable.

    (I still don’t know how this orange mask is apparently useful for printing, and how color enlargers and photographic papers work in relation to this mask, but this is another story)

    The author of the aforementioned article recommends Vuescan for doing the inversion. My question would be: if scanners treat the orange mask only with their scanning software, can we get exactly the same results with a photographed negative than with a scan, using Vuescan in both cases? If not, what is so different in these initial images from which the software works?

    Then I read this Removing Orange Mask from Colour Negative Scans - Filmshooting . The idea is to find a method to reconstruct the yellow and magenta masks in order to subtract them from the image. It makes sense, because the masks are not flat signals. Below in the comments the author says that he was partially wrong about the theory, but the practice would be still the same. I read until the first page of the comments, so I don’t know if there is something interesting later. What do you think of this? I am sure we can find on the internet more methods like this, but before investing more time exploring, it would be interesting to know your opinion on this.

    At the end of the first page of the comments, another poster suggests this Home > Resources > Film conversion a more rudimentary method, just using the orange of the film leader to compensate the color cast (so it doesn’t take into account the non-flat characteristics of the masks). The article also suggests Vuescan and Digital ROC, a Kodak plug-in.
  7. Ed, so basically you recommend a slide adapter for 35 mm, and a copy stand only for larger formats?

    Using a slide adapter for 35mm, could we photograph different fragments of the image for stitching them later with software? (I mean, does the adapter allow you to move the position of the frame?)

    Is it possible to insert somehow a medium format holder in an ES-1?

    And what about DX cameras, are they as useful as FX ones to do this digitizing work?
  8. Yes, sure. If Nikon doesn’t have the balls to keep producing scanners, the least they could do is developing a decent software to treat dsrl scans in combination with their cameras and slide adapters.
  9. Ed_Ingold said:
    "Modifying the ES-1 would be a lot more involved than installing a spacer. In a nutshell, that's why the ES-2 is so welcome."

    Actually, modifying the ES-1 was easier than I thought. No spacer was required. I just peeled off the label to expose the two screws holding unit together, removed the screws, bent the two metal clips to make room for my film holder (which came with my Nikon CoolScan V), and then screwed it back together. It took only about 15 minutes, and most of that time was experimentation to fit the film holder. Had I documented the process with photos, I could have made an instruction guide that would enable anyone else to do it in five minutes. The reconfigured clips tightly squeeze the film holder and keep it in place while shooting dupes.

    When using a DX-format camera and 40mm macro lens, the ES-1 is a better solution than the much more expensive and complicated ES-2. And as I noted before, buying two ES-1 units (one for slides, one for film) is cheaper than buying one ES-2.
  10. Tom, you are using a film strip holder designed to fit in the mounted slide attachment for a Nikon scanner. I didn't have to modify the spring clips to use mine.

    The aperture plate in the ES-1 is only large enough to cover a 35 mm image, plus a little more. Novoflex makes a film holder for their Castel-Q focusing rail which will work with film up to 6x7 cm. I already had the focusing rail, but if you bought the whole assembly, it costs more than a decent copy stand. Since the Novoflex rig has a wide range of adjustments, you can use a 105 macro lens with ease. The same is true for a copy stand.

    The slide holder is just an adapter to hold the film, nothing more. Vuescan and Silverfast software will drive a Nikon scanner, and is compatible with most operating systems.

    Since you need less than 1:1 magnification to fit a 35 mm image on an APS-C sized sensor, the film must be held further from the lens. You can do it, but it requires an extension between the lens and the ES-1/2.
    Fiodor likes this.
  11. The Film Strip Holder from a ES-E28 will fit the ES-1.
    The ES-E28 was a set made for Nikon point and shoot and can be found on eBay etc for next to nothing.
    It comes with the adapter to fit a point and shoot, a film strip holder and a slide holder for 2 slides; the adapter part is not needed for use with an ES-1.
    When using the ES-E28 film strip holder with the ES-1 you cannot slide the strip holder from frame to frame as the springs in the ES-1 get in the way so you have to remove the holder and move the to the next frame. Or, as someone else pointed out you could modify the ES-1 by removing the slide holder springs.
  12. Tom Halfhill,

    Is this the lens you have? Nikon 40mm f/2.8 DX Micro-NIKKOR

    It seems like a very good lens for Nikon DX and for film digitizing with the ES-1, without tubes.

    It is definitely the analogous to Nikon FX + Micro-NIKKOR 60mm 2.8G + ES-2

    P.S. Thank you, Ed Ingold.
  13. If I were to buy an ES-1, what negative holder should I buy?
  14. The film dyes have some absorption where it isn't supposed to be.

    By giving the uncoupled couplers the same absorption as the undesired dye absorption, the difference between coupler and dye is much closer to desired.

    Also, C41 (and previous color negative films) have a much lower gamma than is usual for B&W negative films. Color printing paper has the appropriate gamma to correct for the film gamma. This results in the large exposure latitude of C41 films, though it requires more accurate exposure in printing. It also increases the effect of color balance differences. The rule for filter selection is to select the filter with half the absorption, and complementary color, to that filter that when you look through makes the print look right. (The low gamma allows good results with simpler cameras, as were common for much of the life of Kodacolor.)

    The result of this, is that color negatives don't stretch the dynamic range of the scanner (camera).

    When digitizing, it would be easy to apply the appropriate matrix to undo any cross terms (undesired dye absorption).

    As well as I know it, the three color layers have close to the same gamma, with a constant shift due to the mask.
    If they aren't quite the same, that could also be corrected in scanning.

    It might not be so good, though, to take a JPEG image of the negative, and try to generate the positive.
    The JPEG compression might throw away some useful information. (Though as well as I know, JPEG
    separately compresses R, G, and B, so maybe there is no such loss.)
  15. Be sure to set the camera's color temperature to that of the light source. Otherwise the orange mask will fool the camera and make it nearly impossible to invert the color.
  16. actually the ES-2 is a full set -

    In the Box
    Nikon ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter Set
    • 52mm Adapter Ring
    • 62mm Adapter Ring

    so… I don't think ES-1 is better option, of course it's half the price, but still you need at least adapter rings and etc… and works only for framed slides
  17. Ed_Ingold said:
    "Tom, you are using a film strip holder designed to fit in the mounted slide attachment for a Nikon scanner. I didn't have to modify the spring clips to use mine."

    Right, like I said before, the older ES-1 units have more clearance between the spring clips and don't require modification to use a film holder. Recent versions of the ES-1 have less clearance and require modification -- the film holder won't fit otherwise. I have confirmed this by comparing the older and newer units. The modification was easy.

    Iosif_Astrukov, the adapter rings are unnecessary when using the ES-1 with a DX camera body and the Nikon 40mm f/2.8 macro lens. The ES-1 screws directly into the lens' 52mm filter thread and enables 1:1 copies of mounted slides. (Actually, you can get a little more magnification than 1:1 by sliding the tube all the way back.) No other attachments are needed. For an FX body, the ES-2 may be a better choice.

    For those who don't have the FH-4 film-strip holder that came with a Nikon scanner, just about any film-strip holder will work. Most are thinner than the FH-4, so they will fit inside the ES-1's modified metal clips. In fact I may buy one, because the metal slide on the FH-4 is annoying.

    The 40mm f/2.8 macro lens is uncommonly sharp, even at small apertures. Indeed, I think it's my sharpest Nikon lens of any kind, including my other primes. I'd use it for everything if the effective 60mm focal length on my DX body were appropriate.
  18. Iosif, probably you are right…

    I had a look at the Q&A section of the product page, and a Nikon employee wrote this:

    “The ES-1 Slide Copying Adapter is designed for use with mounted 35mm slides and is compatible with the Micro-NIKKOR 55mm f/2.8 lens and the AF Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8D Lens (with BR-5 adapter ring, sold separately).

    The ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter can be used with 35mm strip film as well as mounted 35mm slides. It is compatible with the AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED Lens, the AF Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8D Lens, and the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Lens. Adapter rings are supplied with the ES-2 for use when attaching it to the AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED Lens or the AF-Micro NIKKOR f/2.8D Lens. When used with the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Lens no adapter ring is needed.”

    So… it seems that the ES-2 has a 52mm thread. That’s why the adapters are supplied for the two 60mm lenses. Here is a photo of all the accessories:[​IMG]

    It seems that the adapters not only adapt the thread, but also the distance? But aren’t both 60mm lenses 1:1? I don’t understand. If someone understands this well, please correct me and clarify.
  19. You don't use 1:1 reproduction with a DX camera if you want to capture the entire image area of the film. You need 2:3 magnification, which will require a longer focus setting and an extension between the lens and ES-1. Moving the slide away from the lens gives less magnification, not more. Unless you use extension rings between the lens and body, the Nikon 40 mm Macro (DX) will yield a maximum of 1:1. Perhaps it is a matter of nomenclature. I'm using the conventional form, image:subject, so 1:2 is 1/2 actual size in the camera.

    The FH-4 alone goes for over $300 on the internet. Inexpensive film strip holders you can buy on Amazon or B&H are 50% thicker than the Nikon holder and 1/4" wider.

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