Seeking a bit more knowledge - Scanning 35mm vs Digitizing - month+ of research but hesitant buyer

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by Zepher, Oct 6, 2020.

  1. Whatever. Drive-by OP, zombie thread. Just be sure to post sources for that cornucopia of Coolscan parts and techs able to diagnose and cure ailing patients, OK?
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2021
  2. The CoolScan film strip feeder can scan 40 frames without attention. It works best on film flattened or loosely coiled, but may jam on film stored coiled inside a film can. Most people will have film in strips of 4 to 6, which also works but gets tedious. The CoolScan takes about 2 minutes per frame.

    The slide feeder is a bust. It tends to jam frequently, and only works if the slide mount is unbent or eared, and turned so that the folded edge leads.

    On the other hand, I can "scan" film with an A7Rii, closeup lens and film holder with better resolution and color than with my CoolScan 4000, and at 10x the rate, roughly 5 rolls per hour. At this rate I have managed to scan less than half the film in my possession. I wouldn't live long enough to finish the rest with a CoolScan.
  3. I have no idea you don't know that eBay is filled with items sold "for parts only". Just did a search and there are a lot of "for parts only" for Coolscan. That said, maybe I am an optimist, very few of the things I bought needed service.
    Sorry not true any more with SF-210 where one can adjust thickness. Anyhow, there are occasional jams but sure beats taking slide photos with a camera one by one, right? I like your posts on the DJI Air 2S by the way. I just bought the anti-collision light as you recommended. Thanks
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2021
  4. Didn't realize.
  5. Surely the most tedious part is loading and unloading the slide carrier?
    After which, with a camera-copying setup, advancing the carrier and pressing the camera shutter-button is the only additional action needed; taking a few seconds per slide at most.
    Is that really more laborious than waiting 2 minutes for each slide to be scanned?

    And not everyone has £1300\$1800 upwards to spare on buying a (maybe) fully working LS5000.
  6. The problem with "parts only" junkers is determining which parts are viable. Few sellers bother to test and happily assume something in the box must still be OK. That leaves testing boards and other components up to you. Great if you have(or have access to)the skills and equipment to do that; pure crap shoot if you don't.
  7. Yup. DSLR scanning offers two main advantages: speed and the ability to focus. Homebrew slide/neg holders aren't that much of a challenge; same goes for camera support and a light source.
  8. You really should not count on items breaking down when you buy anything, especially a used item. This makes you the perfect target of those very lucrative "warrany sales" after you bought anything, even an 8-dollar item, in a store. :eek:
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2021
  9. Maybe tedious if you do not have your scanner ready and connected, and you only want to scan ONE(1) or two slides. But if quality is what you want, you don't want to just make one quick shot using a camera. If you want a quality shot, the preparation can be more tedious than connecting a scanner to your computer and the result is most likely inferior.
  10. A Coolscan has a distinct advantage for handling and converting negative film strips, but copies I get using an A7Riii or iv has much more resolution and better color. If a Coolscan got better results than a camera, I wouldn't hesitate to use it. The fact is it doesn't, and I haven't for over five years.

    It's still necessary to clean the film. The Coolscan is unforgiving of dust, since it uses direct illumination. Dust removal software is essential, even though it adds odd artifacts to the image (resembling worm tracks). The film holder uses diffuse light, so a quick blast on each side with a blower is sufficient. I keep my film and slides in closed containers, so the only dust is likely to come from my clothing.

    For years the obstacles to "scanning" negatives with a camera were film handling and negative conversion. The Nikon ES-2 slide/film holder solved the handling issue. The software compatible with Adobe Lightroom, "Negative Lab Pro", is nearly foolproof in its conversions, and can be applied to a selected batch of images, analyzing each one separately.

    If you handle the copying rig carefully, it's not absolutely necessary to re-focus each time. To make that job easier, I use an HDMI viewer (Atomos Shigoni) with the camera, and can magnify the image 5x or 12x for grain-sharp viewing, without picking up the camera.
  11. I would not go camera scanning route. Previously I have tried dedicated film scanners and flatbeds, but recently I have come to like inexpensive 10Mpix digitiser that I got new for like 38 euro.
  12. You must not have heard of the "Digital Ice software" that comes with LS-4000 and above. Dust removal is almost magical. I am not sure this software comes with lower models of Coolscan. By the way, I recommended LS-5000. I had used LS-4000 before and the result was great but LS-5000 is better. I believe LS-9000 works well but necessary only if you have medium format or above.

    I use Coolscan LS-5000 (and LS-4000 years ago) for film slides. It should be OK for film negatives as well but I have little personal experience with it.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2021
  13. Another advantage of camera digitising is that you have full control over the exposure. Meaning you can combine exposures to drag more shadow detail out of a dense slide, or just use the 'preserve shadow/highlight' options in a RAW converter of your choice.

    Here's an example of how much an under-exposed slide can be pulled back by increasing the copying exposure. Remembering that you don't get to check film exposure until after processing!
    (Bottom slide taken on Fujichrome 50 with camera ISO accidentally set to 200 - metering set to ISO 50 for top slide after I remembered to reset metering.)

    The above under-exposed slide given extra copying exposure and a tone-curve tweak.

    The Illumitran copier that I use also has a 'contrast control unit' that can add a flashing exposure to lift shadow detail during the copy exposure, with no afterwork needed.

    Beside contrast control, you have full control over the lens aperture too. Such that a badly bowed or warped slide can be copied using a small aperture to get better overall definition. While with flat slides or negatives, the aperture can be opened up to reduce diffraction and get a sharper copy.

    Scanner AF systems (if fitted) aren't perfect, and can nearly always be improved on with magnified Live View.

    Once set, at least with strips of negatives, the copier focus needn't be touched again unless swapping to slides.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2021
  14. _7R41390.jpg
    Of course I've hear of (and used) Digital ICE for dust removal. The Coolscan is virtually unusable without it. It does produce annoying artifacts, even at the lowest setting. I noted that the diffuse light source with a Nikon ES-1 or ES-1 copy attachment renders small, clingy particles invisible.
    digitaldog likes this.
  15. I have digitized 35mm slides using both the Nikon ES-1 and the ES-2 with Nikon 55mm f2.8 macro lens with ext tubes and the newest Nikon 60mm macro lens with the proper extender that comes with the ES-2. For me, the ES-2 with the Nikon 60mm macro was far faster and easier to use than the 55mm f2.8 and ext tubes. If you use a digital camera to digitize slides, I recommend the ES-2.

    If you have black and white 35mm negatives as well as color slides, the ES 2 is what you need.

    I have no experience with scanners and therefore no opinions on them pro or con.
    Mary Doo likes this.
  16. There is another option available beside scan and photo. You can send the negatives or slides to a scanning service. There are two that I have a little bit of experience with; digmypix . com in Arizona (which my brother used (digmypics | Photo Scanning and Video Transfer Services - and scan cafe in Indiana which has a surprisingly good reputation (About Us | Photo Scanning Service | ScanCafe). A few years back I scanned a large quantity of slides with Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 and I learned a lot about scanning and I also learned that I would rather have somebody else do it going forward and spend my time taking pictures. Fortunately I'm pretty much all digital now and don't need scanning any more.
    Mary Doo and digitaldog like this.
  17. Cloning out dust spots after scanning is a one-time effort per picture. Do it once right in the beginning and save as tiffs before any further editing. Then forget about them for the future. Of course, I don't shoot that much so there's that. Of course, if you shoot thousands and scan and save them all, well then, you do have a problem.
  18. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    So is building a big wall across the US/Mexico boarder and yet.....
    Not all film is equally dusty! Or scanners. I'd put up a good gel mounted scan by someone who knows how to make scans on a PMT drum scanner (that be me) over any of the options outlined here thus far. But finding a good ScanMate 11000 and something to run it is about as easy/possible as the recommendation for that old Nikon (or Kodak PIW) scanner.
    Or course: Noted. :p
  19. The photo I scanned is shown as-is, without any dust spotting. Out or several hundred frames, I only found two or three with visible dust spots. The negatives were stored in archival polypropylene folders since 2001, and dusted with a blower on both sides in the ES-2 strip holder.
  20. So you continue to say, but that's not my experience, especially since it requires full attention to the task.
    As my Coolscan 9000 chugs along with its strip of slides, etc., I turn my back to it and am working on something else on a newer computer. Takes rather less than a minute to reload the slide carrier, etc. Even my old Canoscan 4000 did not require full attention to the task.
    Mary Doo likes this.

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