Scanning slide using DSLR

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by ashish_ghangrekar, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Hi there,
    I read a blog where the author built a case for using DSLR to scan films. So, I scanned a slide (6x9cm velvia 50) using my DSLR. I would like some feedback on my result. And also would like to know your opinion on whether a good DSLR + lens combo (not mine) can get results comparable to a scanner like V700? The end game for me is to make a print (30x40 inch from the med format slide).
    [​IMG]
    Here is the shot: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashu_g/12095797633/

    Setup: Canon 50D with 24-70mm f2.8. The slide was placed between glass plates and back lit using an app on my Nexus 7.
    Processing: RAW processed in ACR to adjust the contrast. A little sharpening was applied. But I didn't like the color on my shot and couldn't replicate the slide colors in RAW. Hence converted the picture into B&W. Also the glass had some dust which is visible in the picture.
     
  2. Without looking at it I can you that you need a better lens. Ideally a flat field lens,and even more ideally Rodenstock
    75mm f/4 Apo-Grandagon that was designed explicitly for duping film (which is what some folk call scanning with a
    camera.

    You'll need a focusing bellows to use it on your Canon however.

    Using your Nexus 7 is the source of your color problems.

    It is also over sharpened (see the white "halo" that edges the mountain range)

    Peter Krogh's The DAM Book (which you can order directly from http://www.thedambook.com or from Amazon ) is the
    best source of information on the technique. Here's the link to the site's discussions about technique and tools:
    http://thedambook.com/smf/index.php?board=7.0

    I done with a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, Nikon D3x, and D800.

    When done right the results can either rival or surpass what can be done with a dedicated film scanner like the Nikon
    Coolscan 9000ED, and it is much faster as well.
     
  3. Thanks Ellis for your feedback... appreciate it. Fully agree with all your points. Only 1 thing, the nexus 7 app does emit white light, its the lighting in my apt that caused the problem.
    have you tried taking multiple shots using a macro lens and later stitch it in PS to create a file with more resolution?
     
  4. A macro lens would be a better choice. I've done this with a Sony Alpha 900 and 50mm macro, mounted on a copy stand. I don't know about your light source - I made a light box with a flashgun inside it, by setting the white balance to flash or daylight you should be able to get the colours right. Flash should also eliminate camera shake and give you much shorter shutter speeds and smaller apertures.
    Putting the film between glass sheets is likely to trap dust as you have noted and will also cause Newtons Rings. I used the film holder from an old Epson flatbed scanner, raising it above the surface of the light box to defocus any dust etc. on the diffuse surface. By using a smallish aperture it should be possible to get enough depth of field to eliminate any unevenness of the film or slight errors in alignment.
     
  5. Ashish,
    nexus 7 app does emit white light​
    Most probably not - the app tells the screen to emit 100% red, 100% green and 100% blue from all pixels, which should be white. But there is an operating system and electronics sitting in between, and the nexus screen isn't colour calibrated. The light will have a cast, even if minor (note you cannot judge this "by the eye", as our brains correct for it). But for a critical application as this, it will be enough to be a possible cause of headaches.
     
  6. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Whether your dslr route will work or not I can't comment, but I can tell you for certain that your stated alternative of an Epson V700 will not give a scan good enough to support a 40" x 30" print unless you're planning to look at it from a long way away.
    Indeed I would not use a Nikon Coolscan 9000 for a scan to make a print that size either- it would be at the very least an Imacon scan and ideally a drum scan for a print that size if it were me, and you'll see the benefit in sharpness and in better shadow detail which given the nature of your shot might well be helpful. You don't have to buy these scanners- you buy them one -off from a Pro-lab or service bureau who will often clean the scan for you.
    For me, at average viewing distances I'd want to print at that size from a file giving at least 180ppi on an inkjet or 200ppi on a Lightjet or Chromira or Lambda. I suspect that you'll need to stitch dslr images to get the implicit resolution. When you take into account the time and equipment you need to get this "dslr scan" right, are you convinced that its going to be faster and cheaper than buying-in a scan?
     
  7. Ashish,
    David Henderson +1.
    "...have you tried taking multiple shots using macro lens and later stitch it in PS to create a file with more resolution..."
    First, you can not create "...more resolution..." if resolution was not captured from the original during the scanning process.
    Second, you can certainly experiment, find yourself a very good lens and see what comes out. If the final result looks good to you, good, mission accomplished.
    Third, from the size you want to print (40"x30") that you mention, I presume you are interested in displaying for exhibition or some other high end purpose. To achieve that goal, you need to scan using the best on the market. David above has mentioned what the options are.
    I do not have experience with drum scanners but do have experience with the Hasselblad Flextight X5 (aka IMACON) scanner. A 6x6 frame scanned at 16 bit produces a 7,000 x 7,000 pixels file. It is the equivalent of a 50 MP of a DSLR camera. The quality is unsurpassed and I am confident that if your image is sharp to begin with, you would be able to get enlargements up to 48"x48"
     
  8. 100% agree with Ellis - but you need a good copying setup. You can search for chat about it here on a Photonet. There are quite a few threads on this topic. I find my system is superior to the my dedicated 35mm 4000 dpi film scanner.
     
  9. I've been using my D800 a PB4 bellows and my 50mm f1.8 AF for scanning my B&W negatives. I will likely by a new lens sometimes soon as I have problems with edge sharpness. I'ts much better in the center though than my V500. It's hard to get the lighting even too. For web and small prints it works OK for now though.
     
  10. Just got my first DSLR so I tried it out and it works very well.
    I have a Beseler CB7 enlarger with the dichroic head. I remove the head and put it upside down on the baseboard. Put the slide in the carrier and put it on top so it's backlit by the enlarger head. I mount the tripod head on the enlarger carriage so it's like a copying stand. Mount the Nikon PB-6 bellow with the Nikkor EL 50mm f/2.8 enlarging lens on the bellow. Mount the Nikon Df on the other end. Adjust the filter on the color head so that the light is about 5000K. Set the color balance on the camera so that without the slide the image is a perfect gray. Put the slide back on an shoot. Use f/8 and ISO 100. Adjust the shutter speed to get the exposure I want. Use the AR-3 cable release. Shoot in a darken room to prevent stray light between the slide and the lens that could spoils the contrast.
    Must faster than scanning.
     
  11. Can we take it that you have made 40" x 30" prints of photos taken with the 50D?
     
  12. Mukul +1.
    Only after actually printing the 30" x 40" it would be possible to determine if the results are ranging from acceptable to excellent or ...
    Short of that, various comments here, remain purely academic.
     
  13. Thanks for all your comments guys!Lloved the Dam book website! Thanks Ellis for sharing that link.
    Imacon / drum is the way to go... However, I want to find the limit up to which I can use my existing dslr gear to get max size scans with acceptable resolution and sharpness. I will share my results here again (will take some time to get the setup right).
     
  14. I personally have a very sophisticated rig for copying slides with a digital camera (the Honeywell Universal Repronar, shown below).
    Even with such equipment, my own experience is that you will get both faster and better results with a dedicated film scanner with ca. 4000 ppi resolution or better ( e.g., http://www.photo.net/casual-conversations-forum/00arR1 )
    00cKge-545044584.jpg
     
  15. I would say that a V700 isn't really capable of making a scan good enough to print a 40 inch print. That's just my opinion...
     
  16. Another person posted here a while back demonstrating that he got drum scan quality using his DSLR:
    Digital camera scanning technique: comparison against an Epson v700 (and a drum)
    http://www.photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00b7Fk
    The trick is that he used a stitch technique to achieve high resolution. So it involves a DSLR that you already have, a macro lens that you don't have, and some time reading and practicing how to stitch. And maybe buying something to support the slide better.
    Even though you will most likely need to get a macro lens in order to make a quality 30x40 print, you can do a feasibility test with what you already have. i.e., figure out the best way to support and illuminate your slide and learn how to stitch.
    If you get past your feasibility test, Canon makes the MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro lens that might work for photographing small sections of your slide (to stitch together.) On the cheap side, I get good results on my 60D with the Canon EF-S 60mm macro lens. The 60mm macro lens is good to 1:1, which is about half the size of a frame of 35mm film. (I have never tried the stitch technique, but I do use 1:1 to digitize 110 frames.) I use a PhotoSolve-Extend-a-Slide for my 35mm slides and negatives. (The owner of PhotoSolve made me a custom negative carrier for 110 film.)
     
  17. Only after actually printing the 30" x 40" it would be possible to determine if the results are ranging from acceptable to excellent or ...​
    I personally doubt I would find any scanned or otherwise 35mm image acceptable at that enlargement whether it was scanned by DSLR or by the greatest scanner in existence. It is also a statement that clearly shows that some people do not understand the concept of the best being the enemy of the good. A more realistic aim is does it produce a good 11x 15 or 16 x 20 which is the maximum the vast majority of people are likely to have made in the past from film, so to expect more is rather silly.
     
  18. Although you could do it with more recent camera rig (1D or D800....), but for 30x40 I'd choose a drum....to retain the resolution and DR.
    Les
     
  19. JDM - what's the lens on that rig - was that an FF camera?
     
  20. Robin,

    Please read the post:
    "...I read a blog where the author built a case for using DSLR to scan films. So, I scanned a slide (6x9cm velvia 50) using my DSLR. I would like some feedback on my result. And also would like to know your opinion on whether a good DSLR + lens combo (not mine) can get results comparable to a scanner like V700? The end game for me is to make a print (30x40 inch from the med format slide)..."
    So if I am not mistaken, the OP is asking to make a print of 30"x40" from a "6 X 9cm Velvia 50 slide"
    and not from a 35 mm as you think. And that is definitely possible, I know it because I operate an IMACON scanner.
    So before you post, things like:
    " ...It is also a statement that clearly shows that some people do not understand the concept of the best being the enemy of the good. A more realistic aim is does it produce a good 11x 15 or 16 x 20 which is the maximum the vast majority of people are likely to have made in the past from film, so to expect more is rather silly..."
    please carefully read the actual questions that are being asked.
     
  21. "I scanned a slide (6x9cm velvia 50) using my DSLR." Not a 35mm slide.
     
  22. JDM - what's the lens on that rig - was that an FF camera?​
    That particular camera was an APS-C, but 35mm sensor works just as well. The Repronar wouldn't work well for large negatives or slides, of course, but similar Illumetron (?), or even an inverted color head with a copy stand would do for those images

    The lens is a Lumetar 50mm f/2.8, but I have other m39 copy lenses and enlarger lenses that I use. The camera end of the bellows is M42x1 mount with an EOS adapter on it.
    Even with a copy stand, you need something more than zoom lenses. Reversed normal lenses can be used, but it's better to get a decent lens made for flat plane copying, if you insist on trying to do slide copying this way.
    The simple copiers that attach to the camera/bellows (yes, I have those too, having tried every which way I could think of), even the Nikon ones et al. (various PB series), are simply not worth the trouble in my experience. There is a good reason so many are offered in the original boxes, like-new, on the internet. Normal people usually tried them once or twice--and into the closet with them after that.
     
  23. The simple copiers that attach to the camera/bellows (yes, I have those too, having tried every which way I could think of), even the Nikon ones et al. (various PB series), are simply not worth the trouble in my experience. There is a good reason so many are offered in the original boxes, like-new, on the internet. Normal people usually tried them once or twice--and into the closet with them after that.​
    Again, the PhotoSolve Extend-a-Slide works fine. If used with a real macro lens (not a screw-on "closeup" lens). And if the lens is internal focus. And if you use manual focus using liveview at 5-10x.
    The Nikon adapters are more trouble than they are worth IMO, because the length of the tube isn't adjustable, which means a nightmare of searching the Internet finding various adapters to adjust the length of the tube. The length of the tube of the Extend-a-Slide is completely adjustable.
    There are also a host of cheap lens mounted copiers that include built-in closeup lenses. They are targeted to people that use them on either a kit zoom lens (bad) or on a P&S (even worse.) I'm not surprised that people aren't happy with these. (The Extend-a-Slide has no optics, so you get whatever your DSLR + lens is capable of giving.)
    Um, I am a little bit surprised that nobody picked on the "drum quality" part of my previous post. The thread I linked to has been around for a while and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has questioned it. Indeed, several other people responded that they duplicated the results. (Note that I am not equating the Extend-a-Slide with "drum quality." There were two distinct points in my previous post. One point was about a method of achieving drum quality with camera scanning (for those that need drum quality and don't have their own drum scanner) and the second point was about the Extend-a-slide.)
     
  24. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    for those that need drum quality and don't have their own drum scanner​
    There's an easier way- just buy a drum scan from a lab or photographer/provider. A good drum scan of the size the OP needs for his task will cost just under $50 from West Coast Imaging. Nothing to buy, nothing to learn. It only seems worthwhile setting up any sort of capability at home if you have a fairly large and continuing need, and lets face it most amateur photographers have a limited demand for prints that size for their walls. If you're selling lots of big prints, that's a different story.
     
  25. I haven't tried the Extend-a-slide, but from looking at it I find it hard to believe that it would be any better than the Nikon or other slide copiers of the same principle. If you must use a camera, then a copystand/macro lens/light source combo like the Repronar will work much better, I think.
    As for the "drum-scanning" equivalent post method. It might or might not work for a couple of images, but imagine trying to tackle a substantial number of images that way.
    In my experience with dedicated film scanners, there seems to be relatively small improvement when you try to go over 4-6000 ppi. You get more detail of the film grain, but no better an image, IMHO.
     
  26. If you must use a camera, then a copystand/macro lens/light source combo like the Repronar will work much better, I think.​
    The problem is expense. AFAIK, the only copy stand/slide-negative carrier/light source that is currently on the market is from Kaiser. And the slide/negative carrier/light source alone (without copy stand) is over $900. And you still need to buy a copy stand after that.
    Used ones might pop up on eBay from time to time, but the last time I looked, the things similar to your Repronar were selling for about $600. And it wasn't clear to me if any of them would work with a modern 35mm DLSR (or mirrorless) camera without needing to make a trip to a machinist and have some custom parts made.
    The Extend-a-Slide may not be the optimum solution, but it is under $100, is currently in production, and doesn't require any trips to a machinist.
    One thing that makes discussions about digitizing transparencies be difficult is that experienced film photographers got their transparency digitizing equipment a decade or so ago, when the getting was easy. In 2014, for those of us without a basement full of darkroom equipment the pickings are a lot slimmer.
     
  27. The lens is a Lumetar 50mm f/2.8, but I have other m39 copy lenses and enlarger lenses that I use. The camera end of the bellows is M42x1 mount with an EOS adapter on it.​
    Thanks. I use the Chromapro tungsten duplicating system with an 75mm APO-Rodagon D duplicating lens - this is the cream of the crop lens wise as it is optimized and is apochromatic at 1:1 - just what you want for this purpose. It makes a huge difference. Enlarging lenses don't work well at all, and a conventional macro lens is better but not as good as the Rodagon. I think this may well account for the difference in quality that we seem to obtain. I can duplicate 6 x 6 or 6 x 7 on the Chromapro, but for best results you need a D800 or equivalent as the difference in format means that you lose a lot of pixels. Also of course the image is also no longer at 1:1 so a different lens would be needed for optimum performance. I think that nowadays a tungsten system is superior reliability-wise to the flash system of the Illumitran which requires flash tubes that may be difficult to obtain. My bellows have a T mount-EOS adapter for the Canon 5dII or 6D and an extension M39 tube to allow me to fit the Rodagon to the other end.
     
  28. The problem is expense.​
    Well it's a lot cheaper than getting an Imacon or a drum scanner and it won't become obsolete due to software changes. You could use the Sony A7 36 mp body to reproduce the MF slide and then pick a good lens to go with it. I'd bet that it would be a better option than using an Epson flat bed scanner.
    To OP: sorry I missed the medium format bit - I should read more carefully!
     
  29. Please check my arithmetic. A 15-megapixel camera which records images in the 3:2 aspect ratio will give a output around 4,850 pixels on the long side. If this is printed at 40 inches, the pixels per inch will be 121. This would be considered a low resolution as many people print at 300 pixels per inch.
     
  30. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Mukul Dube.
    Nothing much wrong with your calculations, but a couple of assumptions I might make differently
    • whilst lots of people and indeed lots of labs do print at 300 ppi ( or even 360 on an inkjet), I don't think many people used to making prints at this sort of size would consider that metric to be sacrosanct or even important. Buried deep on WCI's site is a statement to the effect that they prefer prints over 20" x 16" to be printed at 200ppi on their Chromira and the LightJet that preceded it. Frankly at even a few feet you'd have difficulty telling 300 and 200 ppi apart.
    • Second we know he wants to use a 9cm x 6cm original to make a 40" x 30" print. If so he has to throw away a proportion of his long dimension and his available ppi will be governed by the short side where he wants 30" of print from c 3200 pixels or about 106 ppi. I think. Pretty irrelevant really unless, as I said in my first post, he's planning to look at the print from more than a few feet away.
    • I do think that most people would agree that a 15MP camera won't cut it here unless you stitch multiple images together.
    Robin
    Buying an Imacon or a Drum Scanner would not be most people's best alternative to setting up a dslr copying arrangement. One contributor to this thread would provide an Imacon scan of sufficient size to do this job for $10. For $45 he'll make it,clean it, colour correct it and burn it to DVD. The better alternative for most people is to buy a scan. And that's not the only game in town. As I said above, WCI will make you a drum scan to a more than adequate 200MB for $50. If you are just going to need a few scans like this, or you're uncertain of the extent of your future demand, then this strikes me as a good way to go for a large number of people.
     
  31. I made statements, David Henderson, not assumptions: and this stuff about "sacrosanct" is imagination.
     
  32. Mukul: "This would be considered a low resolution as many people print at 300 pixels per inch."
    David's comments are right on the mark. Knowledgeable people don't print at 300 ppi when they are printing at that size unless it's something like a collage or group shot where viewers tend to get extra close to the print to see themselves. At the extreme, you would be astonished to know the very low ppi used when printing roadside billboards. As David courteously suggested, your mention of 300 ppi is essentially irrelevant to this discussion of large prints.
    Tom
     
  33. The better alternative for most people is to buy a scan. And that's not the only game in town. As I said above, WCI will make you a drum scan to a more than adequate 200MB for $50. If you are just going to need a few scans like this, or you're uncertain of the extent of your future demand, then this strikes me as a good way to go for a large number of people.​
    Good point, it does depend entirely on how many images there are and whether this is something that the OP will continue to do in the future. If he is really after just one slide being copied then most of this discussion has been superfluous (!) and I agree entirely: just send it out. I guess I was thinking that this was going to be the first in a large set of images that needed to be digitized - not sure why I assumed that.
     
  34. It may have been mentioned but sharpness at the corners does not look good. I scan slides at my home office based business and I've often wanted to see a full size DSLR image shot of a slide. With a full size shot, I could make a better assessment.
     
  35. Tom, may I conclude that "a 15MP camera won't cut it here" has no relation to pixels per inch?
     
  36. Mukul -

    Your last statement, "Tom, may I conclude that "a 15MP camera won't cut it here has no relation to pixels per inch?", either intentionally or unintentionally disregards what both David and I have stated about the fact that as viewers move further from a print, the required ppi decreases.
    If you do not believe us, just Google {"viewing distance" ppi site:photo.net} and read a few of the many previous threads on this subject that explain and validate what we said.
    Even worse, your last statement attempts to ridicule our comments and engage us in an irrelevant discussion with a simple, commonly used intentional logical fallacy. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies.
    Specifically, your response could be classified as either:
    1. A "Red herring" (a speaker attempts to distract an audience by deviating from the topic at hand by introducing a separate argument which the speaker believes will be easier to speak to.[39]); or,
    2. "Ignoratio elenchi" (irrelevant conclusion, missing the point, an argument that may in itself be valid, but does not address the issue in question.[33])
    I suggest you read up on ppi vs viewing distance before you respond and make yourself look even less knowledgeable and waste people's time and space in this thread.
    T
     
  37. David Henderson said what he did because it is true that "most people would agree that a 15MP camera won't cut it here unless you stitch multiple images together." This can be related only to resolution. It is a statement similar to my "many people print at 300 pixels per inch." Both are statements of fact, neither involves an assumption.
    The human eye's ability to resolve detail varies with the angle subtended by that detail at that eye. The angle in question varies with viewing distance. While you are teaching this to ignoramuses like me, you might as well also teach us that -- in general -- viewing distance should vary with the angle of view of the taking lens.
     
  38. At the risk of responding in the midst of this already acerbic thread, I'm sorry, but I don't believe in the viewing distance argument at all. I have 40 inch prints on my walls and every person that looks at them walks right up to them, as close as they can focus, so they can see all the detail. If you are talking about billboards that's one thing. However, we are talking about prints that people will see on a wall vs a highway, and if you don't cordon off the space, they will go right up to it. FWIW, the large format guys on the large format forum almost all agree, this has been discussed a number of times.
    The reason that WCI quoted the Chromira at 200 dpi wasn't about viewing distance, it was that the thing couldn't resolve any more. Inkjet printers are far superior when it comes to resolution. People with trained eyes can see past 360. Jon Cone told me he could see the difference at 720 vs 360, and I don't think anyone in this discussion is qualified to disagree with his expertise. I can also see this difference, and so can any number of professional printers at the top of their game.
    I also wouldn't do large prints with a "scan" from a digital camera. I don't believe the research that's been presented at all. I am not going to spend my time with it. Let me just point out that a digital camera still uses a CCD device, which is far less sensitive than a PMT. Done.
    I also would not send out a piece of film to be scanned by a lab, certainly not for $50. I am one of those more expensive scanner operators that actually looks at the film when I put it on the drum. This makes a huge difference vs just delivering whatever comes out of the scanner. One of my customers printed out an image of the Vietnam War Memorial, that one with all the names carved into it. The print was done from a 6x17 chrome, printed out to 10 feet. You could see every name, tack sharp, all the way out to the edges.
    There is no free lunch when you want quality. If one is going to go to the trouble (and expense) of making a 40 inch print, I think one should get a good scan. Then they can make a print they can be proud of, and hopefully charge a decent amount for, because they know they have done their best.
     
  39. I also wouldn't do large prints with a "scan" from a digital camera. I don't believe the research that's been presented at all.​
    You don't believe the examples on this page? (Linked from this photo.net post.) This photo.net post was posted on Dec 10, 2012 and I'm pretty sure that nobody else has challenged it. Other than you just now.
    Your claim is true in a tautological sense. You own a drum scanner and know how to use it. I'm sure that it is easier for you to scan an image with your drum scanner that it would be for you to figure out camera scanning stitching techniques. But for people that don't own a drum scanner and that have a need to digitize more than a few images at high quality, camera scanning stitching techniques should be worth considering.
    I will yield that paying for drum scanning for a single image probably makes more sense than stitching camera scans, if better-than-V700 quality is required.
    Let me just point out that a digital camera still uses a CCD device, which is far less sensitive than a PMT.​
    These are the same digital cameras that photographers have overwhelmingly switched to. Are you claiming that the results that can be achieved with garden variety DSLRs are inferior to the results that can be achieved by shooting film and then drum scanning? Meaning that switching back to film (and drum scans) would yield better quality images than can be achieved with digital cameras? (I am not claiming that a single image from a 35mm (full frame) sensor is equal to what can be achieved with medium and large format film and drum scanning. But is equal to, or better than, what can be achieved with a frame of 35mm film and drum scanning. For the fat part of the bell curve that contains pro and advanced amateur photography. I'm excluding the edge cases of targets that are chosen solely to measure well on certain very low ISO film stocks. I'm referring to subject matter that would be considered standard photography. People, trees, buildings, mountains, oceans, skies, etc.)
    FWIW, digital cameras also use CMOS sensors.
     
  40. I'm a large format photographer. I don't really consider 35mm a tool for quality printing. Anyone interested in quality printing should move to at least medium format. It's too easy. At least in the film world. Mamiya 7 II is amazing, and smaller than many digital 35mm cameras. I have seen plenty of images that are quite beautiful made with 35mm, however, the print size is fairly limited, possibly 8x10 inches or so... maybe just a bit more.
    No, I am not impressed with the image from the place you pointed out. It looks overly contrasty and over sharpened. It isn't smooth. Prints made with larger film are smooth and delicious, like a good bar of chocolate.
    If you are a commercial photographer, by all means use a digital camera. You don't need much quality, or resolution, or smoothness of tones, etc., to cover an 8.5x11 magazine cover. If you are an artist, and you want to make prints up to 16x20, or larger, film will outdo anything that digital can do. Period. At least so far. If you are an artist and you have $50,000 to blow on a camera that will be obsolete in a year or two, go right ahead. It still won't be better than med format film scanned by someone who knows how to use a scanner.
    I will be unequivocal. Yes, using film and scanning is way better than digital. There is no contest. I actually worked with a digital camera and got rid of it.
    If you really have to talk about 35mm, I get a 500mb file off of a 35 mm (about 90 megapixels) and can make a nice print. However, even most drum scanners would have a hard time. Mine has 8000 ppi optical resolution, which is not the same as stated resolution, or how many pixels something can produce. When you say better than what a V700 can do, this is not even in the same category. That's like comparing a Brownie, or a Holga plastic camera, to a Leica. A lot can be done with sharpening, especially with larger film, but you are starting out with two strikes...
     
  41. I'm a large format photographer. I don't really consider 35mm a tool for quality printing. Anyone interested in quality printing should move to at least medium format...​
    OK Lenny, I'll back out of most of my challenge. We are coming from two very different places so it would be futile to debate this any further.
    I'm not a fine art photographer and have no intention of becoming one. Where I'm coming from is needing to scan existing film. Meaning that in the predigital age, family snapshots that were commonly done on 35mm negatives (or 35mm slides) most likely still exist in various shoeboxes. But the problem is that quality 35mm scanners are not being made anymore. Nikon transparency scanners still exist in limited quantities but are kind of pricy. And service is dicey (i.e., not from Nikon anymore, AFAIK.) It is a similar situation for other high quality 35mm transparency scanners.
    But many people already have a decent DSLR (or mirrorless body) and macro lens and I will maintain that a reasonably modern DSLR/mirrorless body + macro lens is more than capable of capturing all the information that is on a frame of 35mm film. Without getting into stitching. But if you need more than 35mm quality, stitching is an established technique and should be considered (if you already have the camera/ macro lens.)
    I believe that you are understating the image quality that digital is capable of achieving, but I am not the person that can prove this in the realm of fine art or commercial photography. I'll leave it to others to debate the image quality of film vs. digital (chocolatey smooth tones, etc.) for high end photography.
    But based on my own experience of spending several years of digitizing 35mm film from family snapshots, digital beats consumer grade film by a mile and I'd have no problem proving this. (I recently did several rounds of shooting film and digital of the same scenes. With consumer grade film that is comparable to what exists in millions of shoe boxes. Kodak Gold, etc. My goal was not to embarrass film, but wanting to refine my techniques for digitizing film so I can do a better job of digitizing archival film. Having digital and film images of the same scenes, taken at the same time, gives me something concrete to match.)
    I am not going to claim that DSLR/stitching can beat what you are doing. This would be too much of a stretch for me based on my own personal experience. But camera scanning should be considered as a viable alternative for scanning transparencies. Depending.
     
  42. "...But the problem is that quality 35mm scanners are not being made anymore..."

    This one is still being made.

    http://www.hasselbladusa.com/products/scanners.aspx
     

  43. This one is still being made.

    http://www.hasselbladusa.com/products/scanners.aspx
    which is technically true but starting at almost $14,000, it might be overkill for the described task of scanning family snapshots. There is a lot more detail in 35mm negatives than most people have ever seen in the original prints, which is why I am encouraging people to dig through shoeboxes and scan the 35mm negatives (and slides.) But consumer grade cameras probably didn't capture enough detail to warrant a scanner like this.
    But I introduced the topic of scanning family snapshot negatives and slides. This scanner might be applicable for the original poster that wanted to make a 30x40 print from a medium format transparency. If the original poster doesn't want to use one of the other alternatives that have been discussed in this thread. Adding $450 macro lens to his 50D would be more economical and may achieve results comparable to the Hasselblad scanner. If the original poster doesn't mind spending some time learning a new photographic technique. But posters on this forum seem averse to learning new photographic techniques, so maybe buying an expensive scanner would be the best alternative.
     
  44. Wayne, I don't disagree. There are a lot of companies that will scan your family snapshots and slides for $1, or even less. It's likely, with a careful setup, you can do just as well. Most of these images are not slated for 40 inch prints, after all. You really don't need much to make an ok 8x10 print.
    When you do want to go larger, I'd say use larger film, for one, and 2) either get a good drum scanner or pay someone who has one. Edit the work until this is reasonable. How many of the family snaps really need high end treatment? Probably a handful at most.
    I'm not a fan of the Imacon. The upset me when they made all those stupid claims about their capabilities which were total lies. Truth is, they are not bad, much, much better than the consumer level, with their plastic lenses, that Epson makes. However, at $14,000, I think its kind of ridiculous. One can get a used drum scanner for $1500-$5000 that will put the Imacon to shame.
    I don't think the 50D would compare, however. It's only 6 megapixels! 9 years old! This is the thing that gets me. I would say that there are many tools, each for its own set of purposes. I am not anti-digital, it just won't do what I personally need. What I am against is when people say that a donkey is just as good as a Lamborghini on a race track. If you needed something to go around the village without gasoline, the donkey is better. But you can't compare it. By the same token you can't compare a 9 year old digital camera to a high end scanner. To do so is a disservice to people reading.
     
  45. With my 18 megapixel Canon 60D I can achieve results from my 35mm film comparable to the Dwayne's eight megapixel scans. Maybe a bit better. And comparable in resolution to what I can get from my Plustek 7600i scanner. I think I get smoother tone than the Plustek gives. Partially because I use a massively diffused light source. None of the real scanners (that I have used) do any light diffusing. Diffusion makes a big difference in reducing the effect of scratches and dings. Scans from my scanners (V600 for prints) exaggerate scratches and glitches compared to what the originals look like in real life. Eight honest megapixels is probably the best that can be extracted from consumer quality negatives. But maybe not enough for reversal (slide) film.
    I don't think the 50D would compare, however. It's only 6 megapixels! 9 years old!​
    Minor correction. The 50D is 15 megapixels and was released in 2008. I think that you are thinking of the 10D that was released in 2004 and has a similar body to the 50D, but was only six megapixels.
    The 50D isn't bad, but the 50D sensor isn't quite as good as the 18 megapixel crop sensors that Canon has used for a number of years. And isn't as good as FF Canon sensors. And the newer Nikon (and Sony) DSLRs have several stops more dynamic range than any of the Canon sensors do. The 36 megapixel Nikon D800 has 14 stops of dynamic range.
    I went back and looked at some the 35mm test film I took. I looked at the Dwayne's eight megapixel scans. The scans from the negatives (Kodak Gold 200, Fuju 200) were decidedly inferior to my EOS-M images. But the scans from Extrachrome 100 were a lot closer and probably one of your drum scans would be closer still.
    As a film neophyte, it looks to me that film can approach digital quality if you choose the film stock to match your subject. Reversal (slide) film has finer grain and smoother tone. But has a limited dynamic range compared to the best digital sensors. Negative film has coarser grain but has a lot wider dynamic range. (I haven't looked at B/W film.) The grain issues would be reduced if you used a larger piece of film. So, if you used large format film (chosen for the subject matter), good equipment and technique, and high quality scanning, then, yes, I can see film beating affordable digital. When used in the field on real world subjects that quite often won't stand still long enough to allow stitching.
    But transparencies don't move and there is no intrinsic reason why stitching techniques could not be used to digitize transparencies. And HDR techniques can be used to achieve any required dynamic range. Both stitching and HDR are established techniques. There is no intrinsic limit to either resolution or dynamic range when using camera scanning techniques.
    I don't see how it is a disservice to people to point out what is possible with equipment that they may already own. Even if it involves learning new techniques. For 35mm film (that probably doesn't require stitching) everything is readily available, off the shelf. (DSLR/mirrorless body, macro lens, PhotoSolve Extend-a-Slide. And Photoshop or VueScan to convert negatives.) For medium and large format film, you'd have to assemble some combination of copy stand (or tripod) and macro rails to allow precise stitching. I don't have any medium or large format film so I haven't attempted this. But other people do stitching (and HDR), so it is within the realm of feasible techniques.
     
  46. Wayne, it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. We are in different universes, you and I. Yes, one can make a print with whatever file, but what about a museum quality print? Most people, even most photographers, haven't trained their eyes enough to accomplish this. Among many others, I studied the works of Frederick Evans, Sutcliffe, Paul Caponigro, Carleton Watkins, held their images in my hands and wondered at the atmosphere they created. I have a beautiful gravure of Clarence White's Morning (probably printed by Paul Strand) hanging on my wall. Have you seen a masterful gravure print? They are unbelievable. I've been a custom printer since the late 70's, I worked with platinum back in the late 70's, I did research on the various solutions and tested 200 papers. When I lived in NYC I printed for Avedon, yes in platinum and a little silver as well. I am not a neophyte with film, and I've worked with lots of different photographic processes. I am only interested in excellence. I am only interested in the type of printing that moves the viewer as much as the image does.
    This means, without any disrespect to anyone here, or people starting out in Photography, that I could give a hoot about 35mm film. Yes I do my best for my scanning clients, but very few of them send me small film. I don't care about whether you can do better with a 20 megapixel camera than you can with 35mm film. I wouldn't consider working with either. The sensor is too small, and until they get larger they won't do the job. The form factor offends my sensibilities. I like tripods, and depth of field is important to my work.
    This is my opinion and what's right for me is not right for everyone. However, i'm not new at this. I do know what I'm talking about. I think stitching has some very interesting possibilities and I think we'll see a lot of it in the next few years. But digital couldn't make any one of the prints on my wall, not with today's technology. Nor could a cheap scanner, or cheap scanning method. This isn't about saving a few bucks for me. When an artist does their best, and they know they've spared no expense, in all the aspects of the process, both external and internal, something magical happens and you can feel the integrity flow like a river. It's a great feeling, its infectious, and our world could use a whole lot more of it.
     
  47. Lenny, I read what you wrote on your services page and indeed camera scanning can't duplicate what you are doing. With a reasonable amount of effort. I am well aware of the grain aliasing issue. Theoretically, a camera scanner could match the grain size by adjusting magnification. But if you add that to stitching and HDR, this would probably take an unreasonable amount of time.
    I am curious about your film characterization CMS files. I'm assuming that the CMS file contains data that describes each R, G, and B curve. How does your scanner operate such that it uses the CMS data while scanning? Instead of applying the curve "after the fact." This is another area where camera scanning (and consumer grade scanners?) falls down. I do do a lot of radical curve adjusting in Photoshop to color correct negatives and I do shudder at the data loss. (I do work in 16 bit, but still...) But in my realm of scanning 35mm snapshots, this isn't really critical. I won't be making any poster size prints that need to withstand nose-against-the-glass scrutiny.

    How does your scanner use the CMS data to digitize without losing bits? How does the scanner adjust the R, G and B curves before it generates the digital data? (If I understand what is going on with CMS files.)

    Your position seems to be that if an image isn't museum quality, then it is worthless. But some people need better quality than can be achieved with an Epson V700 but don't need full museum quality. This is where camera scanning may be worthwhile. Depending on how much of the equipment the user already owns. Do you accept the camera scan vs. V700 shots displayed on the above linked page? They show a more radical difference than the camera scan vs. drum scan shots did. A review on Luminous Landscape showed Epson V750 ~= Plustek 7600i ~= Nikon 5000ED.

    For me, I need better quality from my transparencies than my Epson V600 gives, but found that the workflow for my Plustek 7600i is too oppressive (five or so minutes of tedious fiddling for each frame.) And I can't afford a Nikon scanner. Single shot camera scanning with my 60D is easier and gives results comparable to what my 7600i gives. Which is more than adequate for 35mm snapshots.

    But I do agree that if somebody needs a museum quality print from a frame of medium or large format film, then your services are a bargain.
     
  48. Wayne, I try to be careful to include statements that indicate this is my opinion, and not some kind of fact. When I say "For me, if an image isn't museum quality then it isn't worthwhile.", don't forget to read the "For me" in there. And I also print family snapshots and I don't get overly concerned about their print quality.
    That said, in a drum scanner you have something called an Analog/Digital converter. One curves the images in the pre scan and creates a file. This file is loaded into the scanner's firmware when the scan starts and it changes the information coming out of the A/D converter. When you open the file, you have a corrected image with a clean, uncombed histogram.
    I would never trust anything coming off of Luminous Landscape. I am going to be polite and stop right there. There are others that are worse. I was actually standing next to Phil Lippincott, the owner of Aztek, when a reviewer (not from LL, another site) told him that he needed to pay a bribe if he wanted a good review. I was flabbergasted. It happens.
    I think you are fine doing what you are doing. I think everyone needs to decide what level of printing is right for them. It just happens to be a passion of mine.
     
  49. I use this method and get good results. I use a Canon 7D and a 100mm macro lens. A D7200 or D5300 and a 1:1 Nikon macro lens would be ideal for their combination of dynamic range, pixel density, and lack of AA filter, although the AA filter may inhibit grain aliasing.
    10000 x 10000 stitch here:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/132043418@N06/16729552897/sizes/o/
     

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