Nikon ES-2 Slide Copy Adapter to Ship in March

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by Ed_Ingold, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. Hmm... interesting. Can it be used on cameras other than D850? Is there anything built-in that prevents it from working with other cameras? I do understand that the D850's high resolution is a plus for digitizing, but does it work with other less-resolution camera?
  2. Oh I see, the D850 has a special scanning feature. For those of us who are without a D850, perhaps we can use the old ES-1 if we want to do so.
  3. The ES-2 is a passive device similar to the ES-1, with a telescoping tube for focusing and adapters for 62mm and 52mm filter rings. It can be used with any camera and a lens that focuses to 1:1. I use a Nikon 55/2.8 Micro-Nikkor (1:2) with a PK13 extension ring. The ES-2 has enough extension to use with a 60 mm macro lens, but not with a 90mm or 105mm macro lens. You would need about 4" of extension for these lenses between the lens and the ES-2..

    You don't need ultra-high resolution. A 24 MP camera equals the resolution of a Nikon film scanner, more than adequate for slides and film strips. Focus is critical, but live view makes that relatively easy. A true macro lens has a flat field at close range, which is also important.

    Since the camera, lens and ES-2 are screwed together, camera shake is not an issue. You can use any shutter speed without special precautions. Using a daylight LED bulb in a desk lamp and ES-1, my typical exposure is 1/4 sec at f/8.

    The D850 has a special function to invert color negatives. That's easy enough in Photoshop, and more flexible. Photoshop has a canned inversion function that works poorly, IMO. There is a lot of difference between color film types, and the color is strongly dependent on the light and exposure level at the time of exposure. Slides are easy, and you can often improve the exposure and color.
    Mary Doo likes this.
  4. Thanks Ed. After reading something about it, I went ahead to order an ES-1 - which is available now - as I only deal with slide film, thus no need for much of the accessories that come with the ES-2. I have also looked at some videos on YouTube. I am thinking I can try using a white foam board at the background with white studio light for reflective light and probably throw flash at the board too if not bright enough. Let's see... :)

    This method seems much easier if working well. I have not used the Nikon LS-4000 for years now since someone borrowed it and returned it with parts scattered. Thanks Ed.
  5. Rather than shine the lamp directly into the ES-1, I bounce it off a white exposure card, held at a 45 degree angle. Combined with the diffuser on the ES-1, t\This leave no hot spots in the illumination. I use a continuous light with shutter priority. You don't want the aperture to change, because that affects DOF and probably the focus as well. I fix the white balance based on the holder without a slide, and the ISO at 400. With flash, you must rely on the electronic turn-down rather than the camera for exposure control.

    Light from the LED lamp has a very even spectral response. There's a spike at 480 microns, which doesn't seem to affect the color

    It's important to keep the slides and images correlated. I sort the slides by frame number, and renumber the results with a code based on the date last taken and frame number.
  6. It will be interesting to experiment. As mentioned in my prior post, I will test with studio [continuous] lights bouncing off of white foam core poster board. Hopefully this light source would suffice. If not, I will add another strong LED light. Will see... Thanks again.
  7. Copying slides is something you ultimately do only when you have a spare moment. A quick setup is essential. I have studio lights, but a desk lamp is quick and dirty. Since there are no limits on shutter speed (the components screen together in a rigid assembly), and digital does not suffer from reciprocity law failure, just about any continuous light source is useful. With flash, you would have to be very precise with the setup, with regard to both the geometry and exposure.

    That done, I can copy 5 boxes of slides (@ 36-40 exposures) in an hour, including setup, sorting and cleaning. So far its about 25 down and 400 to go. The ES-2 is by far the easiest way to copy film strips. For slides, the ES-1 is nearly ideal. It doesn't require as much handling as with a slide carrier (which can disturb the setup), and it's easy to center the slide in the holder by sight and touch.
    Mary Doo likes this.
  8. Ed,

    I found your post helpful, thank you. Would you elaborate on what you mean by an exposure card held at a 45 degree angle? and how that combines with the diffuser on the ES-1? I'm trying to visualize what the setup looks like.

    Thank you!'

  9. Ed, thanks for posting this. Ever since the ES-2 was announced, I have been trying to understand the difference between it and the Es-1. Also I have seen pictures of the ES-2 kit with the two tubes or rings and no one seems to have a good explanation as to how each one will be used. Some have said that they are for the different versions of the Nikon 60mm macro lens, but that does not seem to be an accurate answer. The answers supplied by Nikon have not made any sense either and the same might go for what you might find at B & H under Q & A.

    I own the 55mm f 2.8 Nikon macro lens and I have all of the Nikon metal extension tubes so it llooks like I could use the ES-2 with my D 810 or D 800e.

    This link was done to show how to use the ES-1. I believe the principles are the same. I have a friend who loves to use light sources like the one pictured in the link. I have forgotten what these things are called.
    Scanning thousands of slides? Try a digital camera

    Please keep us updated on what comes with it and how best to use it.

  10. Paul, this video might show the 45 degree lighting technique. It is in the first one third of the video.

  11. That helped a lot, joe, thanks. Now for a nit-picking question (I'm good at those). Since the white paper is at a 45 degree angle, wouldn't the bottom portion of the slide be exposed more than the top edge? Or are we talking a gnat's eyebrow difference?

    What about the color temp of the source? I gather an LED would be cooler that a CFL, but I guess each technology's bulbs come in different temperatures. What temp would you prefer?

    Finally, I'm using an older DSLR, a Nikon D-90. It's only 12 mp. But I've done 11x14's (with another setup) and it ended up about 250 ppi. Seems the "standard" we supposedly aiming for is 300 ppi, but I'm very happy with my print.
  12. my normal demur

    There's no real substitute for an honest, real scanner....
  13. I finally got around to modifying an old ES-E28 a few weeks ago - very similar design to the ES-2, using the same film and slide carrier by the look of it. I opened out the tiny 28mm thread to an M42 fit hole.

    Results were quite disappointing. Nikon's supplied film carrier doesn't hold the film flat enough to get across-the-frame sharpness unless you use a diffraction-inducing stop.

    Maybe Nikon's delay was in re-designing the sloppy carrier. Let's hope so. But I still beat Nikon by a couple of months!

    The modified ES-E28 is now abandoned. I've reverted to an old Sunagor attachment of similar design, but better build quality.

    Next project is to re-furb a Bowens Illumitran 3 with Contrast Control unit. I haven't yet decided whether to stick with the poor-quality BPM bellows or replace 'em.

    "There's no real substitute for an honest, real scanner...."

    - If you have an entire day to spare to scan 36 slides, then maybe. Otherwise I find hi-res DSLR (or MILC) dupes to be absolutely fine, and 10 times quicker.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
  14. BTW. I'd advocate flash as the best illuminant for copying.

    All that's needed is an on-camera speedlight pointed forward at a white board or white-painted surface placed in front of the camera and copy attachment. The opal diffuser in the copy attachment takes care of any uneven illumination.

    Once the correct flash power and distance is found by trial-and-error, there's usually no need to change the exposure. Or you could use TTL flash control, although this may need tweaking with some compensation.

    Live View is used for framing and focus. It's sensitive enough that only a fairly weak ambient light is needed for viewing and focusing.

    The speed of the flash even obviates the need for a tripod or copying stand.

    Two table lamps and a cardboard and paper contraption - really!
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
  15. This link shows a Nikon flash being used as the light source when digitizing slides with the Nikon ES-1. .

  16. Reflecting the flash off a white surface avoids the hot-spot shown in that video. Having the flash in the hotshoe also avoids the additional expense of an extender cable.

    Honestly, some people do like to make life difficult for themselves!

    This is the slide/film adapter I currently use. Just like the ES-1/2 it attaches to the front of a macro lens.

    And this is a 'scan' from an old Kodak Gold negative using the above gizmo + 55mm Micro-Nikkor + M tube.
  17. Since the entire assembly is attached together, there is never a need for a tripod or copy stand.

    With a continuous light, there is no need for trial and error when determining exposure, nor precise setting of the light and its position. You can use auto exposure (aperture priority) of manual, based on the displayed reading.

    Seems simpler to me than using a flash.

    The Nikon ES-2 is still not available. The latest promise date was the end of March.
  18. TTL flash exposure has been invented you know Ed.;)

    I really don't see how setting up a continuous source pointed at the camera is any simpler than clipping on a speedlight and aiming it at a white surface. Especially if you have a white painted wall anywhere handy.

    And if the light source isn't daylight balanced, the white balance of the camera has to effectively raise the ISO of the blue channel, with the risk of introducing added noise.
  19. I had heard of TTL flash exposure, however the turn-down ratio might be marginal when copying slides :cool: The setup is more involved than using a desk lamp, and I have had no problems with color balance or exposure with the former. I have a shoe extension cable, which preserves TTL control, so it may be useful to try it sometime. Copying slides has been a fill-in job when I grow tired of sitting at a computer. The less setup and/or the most consistency, the better

    White-painted walls and even white copy paper are not even close to white (or neutral). A comedian once maintained manufacturers added varying quantities of rat droppings to warm up the color. (paper manufacturers use UV fluorescent pigments to brighten the color, with unpredictable results for photography.) It's easy to set the best white balance from a continuous source, but only by trial-and-error with a flash, or better, using a color calibration slide. I use a Gretag-MacBeth white card, which still doesn't compensate for the coloration of the diffusion screen in the slide holder.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018

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