Slide copy problem with Nikon ES-1

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by tom_halfhill, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. On the advice of several online reviews and discussions -- including some threads on -- I purchased a Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G Micro lens and Nikon ES-1 slide-copying attachment. The reviews and discussions claimed that this combination is perfect for copying 35mm slides with a DX-format DSLR. But I immediately discovered that the entire slide cannot be photographed. A large part of the top is chopped off, even after extending the ES-1 tube to its full length.
    Back to the Internet. Additional sources claimed that inserting a 20mm extension between the macro lens and the ES-1 allows the entire slide to be photographed. This extension requires a Nikon K5 tube, which was formerly supplied as part of a Nikon extension-tube set. The K5 tube is threaded for 52mm male on one end and 52mm female on the other. It fits between the macro lens and the ES-1 (which are both 52mm threaded), not between the camera and the lens. Nikon no longer sells the K5 tube, so I purchased a used one on eBay.
    Another fail! This combination still does not allow the 40mm lens to photograph a whole slide. The top is still cropped off.
    It doesn't seem logical that everyone else is getting different results than I am from the same equipment. So next I checked my DSLR for parallax error. (Years ago I had a film SLR that suffered parallax error after the pentaprism was damaged.) But my DSLR's viewfinder is accurate.
    The problem is that the 40mm/ES-1 combination doesn't allow the slide to be centered in the viewfinder. There is a significant amount of slide mount at the bottom and a significant amount of cropped image at the top. Yet the slide cannot be pushed down any further into the ES-1's holder. The metal clips prevent it. Trying to force the slide further into the holder only breaks the slide.
    Is anyone out there actually using this combination to copy slides? Have you noticed if you're losing image area at the top or bottom? I prefer to hear from people who are ACTUALLY USING this combination, because I'm beginning to suspect that some folks are just assuming it works -- or maybe they don't notice that their slide copies are cropped. It's a mystery.
  2. >>Another fail! This combination still does not allow the 40mm lens to photograph a whole slide. The top is still cropped off.
    Regarding the 40mm, I think you are confusing magnification and alignment. If both slide side edges can show, the magnification is fine. The site about the K4 is probably my site, and it also suggests some cheap Chinese extensions that should work. I don't have the 40mm macro lens, but others with it say it works fine with the ES-1 without extension. On a DX body, my 60mm macro requires about 20mm extension (i.e., like a K4), but 60mm will just nearly work alone on FX.
    My ES-1 is the opposite situation, I need to raise the slide slightly to align the top edge. I put a couple of folds of thick paper in the bottom slot for that. I have not seen the opposite problem. Possibly slide mounts may vary in where they hold the slide?
    >>The metal clips prevent it.
    Sounds like you are putting the slide on the wrong side of the clips. Slide should go behind the clip, next to the black ES-1 body. Slide bottom sits on that black frame body. Slide does NOT go in front, next to the frosted glass panel. That is also the easy way.

    But magnification is about size, and alignment is about position, a very different thing.
  3. I notice on the Nikon site it says (my italics):
    Attached to the AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens with the BR-5 Ring or the Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 lens, this adapter enables duplication of 35mm film. Attaching the ES-1 to the Micro-NIKKOR 55mm f/2.8 lens and extension tubes, you can copy 35mm slides.​
    Taking this literally it does seem to suggest you can't copy 35mm mounted slides with the 60mm.
  4. Thank you, Wayne F., for making me feel really stupid. You are correct -- I was inserting the slide into the ES-1 holder incorrectly. I was inserting it between the metal clips and the frosted glass, because the gaps between the clips and glass led me to believe that's where the slide should go. When I insert the slide between the clips and the tube -- per your advice -- the slide goes all the way down to the bottom of the holder, is centered in the viewfinder, and allows me to photograph the entire image. Perfect!
    This is an instance when a picture would be worth a thousand words. The ES-1 instruction sheet merely says "Insert an original slide into the ES-1's slide holder." Had it included a diagram, the intent would have been crystal clear to a dummy like me.
    So I didn't need to buy the 20mm K5 tube on eBay. The 40mm macro lens and ES-1 are truly all that's needed on a DX camera body. (My K5 tube also came with a lens-reversing bayonet mount that I don't need, either, but the whole thing was only $12.95 with free shipping, so it's not a disaster.)
    BTW, I have a Nikon Coolscan V with which I've scanned more than a thousand slides and negatives, but it's slow. I have so many more slides to copy that I needed a faster method. The Coolscan and its Digital ICE software are still preferable for dirty, scratched slides, but the ES-1 is faster for cleaner slides that don't need as much retouching. The 40mm f/2.8G lens can focus to a 1:1 reproduction ratio and is sharp enough at f/8 or f/11 to resolve the film grain. Earlier this year I sent 500 slides to ScanCafe for scanning but was disappointed with the results. I can do better with the ES-1.
    Thanks again for solving this mystery!
  5. Two points:
    1. Nikon does not claim that the ES-1 is useable with the DX 40mm Micro. They only list the current 60/2.8AF-S, and the old 55/2.8 Ais when used with PK-13 extension tube. I'm pretty sure the previous 60/2.8D micro worked as well. No mention is made of 40/2.8 DX Micro.
    2. The 60mm does not need an extension tube because the lens natively focuses to 1:1.
    I can personally witness that either of the 55 Micros(f/3.5 and f/2.8) work well with the ES-1 using a DX cam.
  6. >> Two points:
    There is quite a lot more to it. The ES-1 is designed for 1:1 slide copy with 55mm on a full frame body. Yes, slides are copied at 1:1 on a full frame camera, and the ES-1 paper says 60mm could also just about work (on full frame, at one end of the ES-1 range).
    The ES-1 was designed before the 40mm macro lens, and also before full frame digital sensors. It does not mention either of those. :)
    But the DX sensor is smaller than the slide, and at 1:1, could only copy a smaller area of it. So the slide must be mounted farther out, less than 1:1, and so to do that, the ES-1 on a DX body needs some extension, in FRONT of the lens (Not behind it). My 55mm macro on ES-1 is much better with about 10mm extension on DX, and my 60mm macro needs about 20 mm on DX... extension between the ES-1 and the lens. This allows some adjustment with the telescoping range of the ES-1. The ES-1 threads are 52mm filter threads, so an extension with 52mm threads is needed.... in front of the lens.
    Or by all reports, the 40mm macro is said to be about right as is for a DX body.
    TOM: BTW... there are two Nikon reversing rings. The BR-2 was for the original Nikon F in the 1960s. It is said to NOT BE SAFE for modern cameras with electrical contacts, there is possibility of doing damage.
    There is a newer BR2-a that is safe now.
  7. I use something similar to the ES-1 for my dupe rig. I use an Opteka brand "digital slide duplicator" that I bought off eBay. I took this thing and removed the internal corrective element and then the outer duplicatore framework, such that I was left with a flanged tube with 52mm threads on one end. Here's a shot of the bare tube:
    The broken off sections don't matter. Only thing that matters there is the flange is intact. Reason why is because I slide the slae stage onto this flange. It's held on by clips. I got the stage off a zoom slide duplicator I bought on eBay for about $8. This is the slide stage by itself:
    Nice thing about this stage is I can maneuver it up and down and move the slide from side to side, so I have total control over positioning the slide in the stage. Now, obviously, with the ES-1, you don't really need the above tube or stage, but the ES-1 doesn't let you move the slide around and it will require more extension than I use, if you wan't to use a dupe rig like mine. Speaking of which, here it is:

    The BR2/BR3 rings can be substituted with an extension tube of the appropriate length -- about 25mm or so, and the K5 ring can be substituted with any other sort of 52mm extension of the same length. It is my experience that 52mm extensions are uncommon and expensive, so the original Nikon part might be the best and cheapest way to go. Plus, if you're using an ES-1, you're probably gonna need about twice the 52mm extension than I show here, which will be critical for it to work with the 55mm Micro-Nikkor.
    This rig produces images that are just a tiny bit larger than full frame with a 1.5x crop sensor camera, such as Nikon or Sony NEX. If you have a 1.6x crop body camera, such as a Canon, I have a setup that works for it as well.
    At the heart of my rig is an old pre-AI 55mm f/3.5 Micro Nikkor. Everything else, including the TC-14, are necessary to get the image to the right size. I'm not saying this is the only way to do it, just the way I do it, a way that works.
    When it comes to actually shooting the dupes, I have an SB-24 strobe that I mount to a tripod and, using a PC-cord with hot-shoe adapter, I trigger the flash at fractional power. I prefer 1/32, which lets me hold my camera about a foot away from the strobe -- at ISO 100, my camera's lowest ISO setting. It's easy enough to adjust exposure just by moving the dupe rig toward or away from the strobe. I dunno about Nikons, but I've found that with my NEX, I also have to dial down the in-camera contrast a few ticks. Otherwise I get too much contrast build-up in the dupes. This is the same as it is when shooting dupes with film, by the way. Blocking up of high-contrast areas has always been a problem when shooting dupes. Reducing contrast really helps a lot. If, afterwards, the image looks like it can benefit from a bit of contrast enhancement, then this can be handled easily in post production.
  8. The above kludges are fine if you are doing a few slides or negatives.
    If you have thousands of images, a film scanner will be faster and better in almost every case.
    (the end of a long series of posts and scanning slides over many years: ).
    If you MUST do a camera copy of an image on film, One of the best tools is the Honeywell Universal Repronar ( ). This is a Repronar without the Asahi camera body.
  9. I can scan 5 boxes of slides an hour with an ES-1 and a camera, whereas it takes 1-2 hours per roll with a Nikon LS-4000 slide scanner. I have an automatic slide feeder for the Nikon which saves feeding time, but tends to jam so often it's hard to use unattended (or to keep track of the order).
    I'm working on a way to handle strips of negatives, which I will report when I have a working solution. Existing strip holders are too thick (0.2") to fit in the ES-1 slot. The Nikon strip feeder is much thinner, but must be reversed every 3 images. I think I will buy another ES-1 and modify it to handle a thicker holder (e.g., a Pacific).
    A 60 mm lens will focus 1:1, but the working distance (lens to slide) is longer than the ES-1 will accommodate without a short extension tube, The K5 would work perfectly.
    I'm using a Sony A7ii or A7Rii, which produces a somewhat neutral (i.e., flat) image. I don't get excessive contrast. In fact the image looks as good or better than the original. The camera corrects for exposure and color variations. Since everything is screwed together, you don't need a tripod or be concerned with long exposures. A daylight LED desk lamp works perfectly as the light source. A typical exposure is 1/4 sec @ f/5.6 and ISO 400.
    You would need to use less than 1:1 magnification with an APS-C camera, which will increase the working distance. Again, a K5 filter-ring extension would probably suffice.
    A7Rii + Novoflex Nikon adapter + PK-13 extension tube + 55/2.8 Micro Nikkor + ES-1
  10. Your rigs are much more complicated than mine. With a DX body, all that's needed is the Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G Micro lens and the Nikon ES-1 slide holder. Really. This rig allows full-size slide copies -- the slide image completely fills the viewfinder. You can rotate the slide using the ES-1's telescoping tube, and you can zoom into the slide for some in-camera cropping if you want. There's enough play in the holder to reposition the slide slightly in any direction.
    This rig is MUCH faster than using my Nikon Coolscan film scanner UNLESS the slide is scratched and dirty. Then the scanner is faster, because Digital ICE fixes most of the defects that are time consuming to fix in Photoshop.
    As another contributor noted, it helps to set the camera's contrast curve to the lowest possible contrast. Slide copies tend to gain contrast, which is why Kodak used to sell a special low-contrast copy film. It's easy to increase contrast in Photoshop but less effective to reduce contrast.
    I set autofocus to auto wide area. For regular photography I prefer center-area focusing, but some slides have no detail there for the AF unit to lock onto. I switch on auto-review with highlight blinking so I can immediately check the copied image for good exposure. If the highlights aren't blinking, I shoot again and keep increasing the exposure until the highlights blink, then keep the previous shot. (In other words, "expose to the right.") At first I tried auto bracketing, but even full-stop brackets weren't enough to yield a good exposure with some slides.
    My light source is natural daylight and I use auto white balance. Almost all of the old slides I'm copying are faded -- especially the Ektachromes. (Kodachrome is more stable.) The camera's AWB helps to correct the slide's skewed color balance. If necessary, I do further corrections in Photoshop.
    As you may have guessed, I'm shooting JPEGs, not RAW. Faded slides have low dynamic range that fits easily within a JPEG, and I can adjust exposure to stretch the histogram and get it perfect. The in-camera JPEG processing saves time later in Photoshop post-processing. If a slide needs special treatment for some reason, I use the Coolscan.
    These slides are family snapshots and vacation pictures, not professional images or great works of art. Without a high-throughput copying method, they will not be preserved. The oldest ones date to the 1950s.
  11. Not much to do about scratches other than Photoshop, but dust is fairly easy to remove. I use an high intensity light skimming the surface of the the slide. You can see dust particles as small as about 20 microns that way. I use an anti-static (carbon fiber) brush on both sides, and a blast of canned air if necessary. Actually, the brush alone has been sufficient up to this point, but I've used canned air in the past before scanning.
    I use manual focus, looking at the grain rather than detail. That stays put unless you bump the setup wrong. Auto focus tries each time, and sometimes gets it wrong.
    Considering the time it takes for preparation and documentation, why not shoot RAW images and go for the best possible latitude and quality. JPEGs are false economy.
    What color is daylight? It depends on blue sky, clouds, grass, etc. Artificial light is consistent, and consistency is the key. Daylight LED bulbs actually have a very smooth spectrum, unlike fluorescent, and don't get hot like incandescent bulbs.
    If auto exposure doesn't do the job, use manual exposure and check the histogram.
  12. A dedicated slide scanner (like a CoolScan5000ED) makes sense over a recent vintage DSLR + various slide illumination and holding options when:
    - You have dirty scratched slides that the automated dust and dirt and scratch removal capability can do wonders on
    - You have many hundreds if not thousands of slides and you don't have time for manual loading & DSLR operation
    I used to own the 5000ED, but when I got my D800 and PS/PB-6 belows the D800 (+ 55/3.5 Macro) produced better images FOR SLIDES THAT WERE NOT DIRTY OR SCRATCHED, which for me was my more recent and well cared for slides. I could image a box of 36 slides in about 15 minutes (or less) when it was all set up. The D800 had better dynamic range, far less flare issues, and had better white balance, etc. If dust, dirt, scratches were minor then Photoshop worked OK.
    That being said, negatives are a completely different story.

    My 2 cents.
  13. Good for you, Edward.
    Your experience does not accord with mine, however -- and I have tried pretty much every alternative.
    My main digital image files amount to (as of now) more than 650 GB on disk for more than 90,000 items. About two-thirds of those are scanned slides, mostly Kodachrome.
    There is, by the way, some reason so many of these "tube" slide copiers are so common on eBay, usually in the original box and "used only once". ;)
  14. Do you mean the inexpensive "tube copiers" that are just an embedded 10x single element closeup filter? Which is used with a kit zoom lens (needs zoom to frame it). Not an acceptable solution.
    A good slide scanner can offer the infrared options, very hard to beat when you need them. But it is extremely slow, and while one roll per night is imaginable, but if faced with the job of scanning "thousands of slides", odds are very strong you will never finish it, or even very much of it.
    Whereas the 24 or 36 megapixel digital camera and an honest macro lens does an incredible job, fast, it greatly simplifies the job. 1000 per day is still a very big day, but finishing 10,000 is at least imaginable. :)
  15. Not only the cheap ones, but the fancier devices made by Nikon and others, I'm bound to say.
    Film scanners, especially ones with automatic advance, are only "slow" compared to the alternatives if you count the human time as zero. Not only does each slide have to be inserted and removed, but the human doing the job has to dedicate nearly their full time to the project.
    When you add in all the other variables such as quality of light and color, serious, high resolution scanning is much easier and better with something like the Nikon Coolscan or even the 4000dpi Canon film scanner.
    Modern flatbed filmscanners, unfortunately, are adequate for web posting, but not for archival images.
  16. >Not only the cheap ones, but the fancier devices made by Nikon and others, I'm bound to say.
    I'm curious what Nikon device you refer to?

    The Nikon ES-1 slide copier is just an empty tube with a slide holder. There is no glass in it. We use a genuine micro lens with it, price level $300 to $600 maybe. We assume the slide scanner lens is adequate, and we assume it has less. As to the digital camera quality, the scanner of course uses a similar semiconductor sensor concept, but using a motor to position the red, green, blue components of a pixel in the same spot (except it's only CCD, still adequate, but not CMOS).
    >with something like the Nikon Coolscan or even the 4000dpi Canon film scanner.
    Unfortunately, these are extinct now.
    For scanning the award winning prize photo, I'd consider the film scanner if one could be found, for the infrared options. That is time to go slow and careful. But the Nikon SF-210 auto slide feeder is 50 slides per night, on those nights that it does not jam. So 10,000 slides is 200 working nights, not counting trouble.
    I'd say there are pros and cons. :)
  17. Once I solved the slide jamming problem of my SF-210 I could easily scan a 4-5 rolls in a 24 hour period - it really does go fast when everything is working well. But, like I said, with my D800 and PB/PS-6 I could do a roll in 15 minutes or so with practice. 4x36 images an hour is not bad spread out over a week or two. What put me over the edge was the flare issues and lower dynamic range of the 5000ED compared to the D800. I compared it to my D700 and the 5000ED won for DR, but flare was still an issue.
  18. The photos I posted before showing my dupe rig illustrate how one can turn a marginally effective "tube" into an effective one by stripping it of most of its stuff. The bare flanged tube allows me to connect my 55/2.8 Micro-Nikkor and a slide stage, with a few other pieces that are necessary to bring things to 1:1 for a 1.5x APS-C setup.
    I don't agree with the argument that somehow a device such as the Nikon Coolscan is faster than using a dupe rig. Once I've dialed in the focus, it doesn't change, although I do check periodically just to make sure nothing got bumped inadvertently. So, once things are dialed in, I'm able to comfortably scan 3 or 4 slides per minute.
    My NEX 7's resolution is high enough where it resolves even Kodachrome at the grain level, so I feel pretty confident that I'm managing to eke out just about everything a slide has to offer. So I don't feel I'm losing anything resolution wise. Now, I dunno about the Coolscans, but my Epson flatbed's resolution becomes noticeably worse whenever I engage its ICE function, which is why I never use it. So is a Coolscan giving up resolving power when ICE is used? If so, then my NEX is doing a better job than the Coolscan. Actually, it is already, since its resolution is actually better than a Coolscan's.
    I wouldn't mind owning a Nikon Coolscan, but there's no way I can afford one. But I could afford a NEX 7, so I use what I have and I make the best of it that I can. Oh, and duping B&W is easy. Duping C-41 is admittedly more fiddly, but really not all that difficult. And yes, I have a special roll film stage for negatives, as well as unmounted slides.
  19. As Wayne says, the Nikon ES-1 slide copier is actually just two metal tubes and a slide holder. No lens. The copy lens is the Nikkor 40mm Micro (for a DX body) or the Nikkor 55mm Micro (for an FX body). Both are high-quality macro lenses -- as good as the glass in a film scanner. My 40mm lens easily resolves the film grain.
    I've scanned more than 1,000 slides and negatives using my Coolscan, so I'm well aware how much time it takes. Mine doesn't have a stack feeder.
    Preparation time is the same, whether I'm scanning or copying. First, I zap both surfaces of the slide with my Zerostat antistatic gun. Then I brush each surface with an antistatic brush. Then I blow each surface with a rubber-bulb Rocket blower. If I'm scanning, I insert the slide into the Coolscan. If I'm copying, I insert the slide into the ES-1 holder.
    The big difference is what happens next. The Coolscan takes several minutes to scan the slide, partly because it must scan it three times -- once for the preview, then again for the full-resolution scan with visible light, and then a third time with infrared light for Digital ICE dust-and-scratch removal. Whereas copying the slide with a DSLR takes only a few seconds if the first exposure is correct, and only a few seconds more if the exposure needs tweaking. The time saved is HUGE.
    Shooting RAW instead of JPEG would not improve the results. RAW is great when a scene's dynamic range exceeds the camera's JPEG capabilities. But these slides -- especially old, faded ones -- have low dynamic range. And adjusting exposure to maximize the histogram is easy. The principles that apply to field photography don't necessarily apply to slide copying.
    Eventually I'll cobble together a solution for copying b&w negatives with the ES-1, which is designed only for mounted slides. Digital ICE doesn't work on silver b&w film, so the Coolscan will have even less advantage over the DSLR copy method.
  20. >> Digital ICE doesn't work on silver b&w film
    The infrared can be a problem with Kodachrome too. Kodachrome is silver based, and the processing is supposed to remove the silver, but it often leaves traces in the dark areas. Which does not bother optical, but infrared sees it.
    AFAIK, all other color film is dye based, no silver, which is the basis of using infrared.
    Michael mentioned both Kodachrome and Epson ICE problems, which I suspect may only be Kodachrome problems, not unexpected. Other slide or negative film ought to do well with infrared.
  21. duplicate post with formatting errors​
  22. There is, by the way, some reason so many of these "tube" slide copiers are so common on eBay, usually in the original box and "used only once". ;)
    Most of these devices use a strong (+10) diopter lens so that slides can be copied with a normal lens. The quality is abysmal. The ES-1 is a very simple device consisting of a threaded (52 mm) tube which slides inside another tube to adjust the working distance, and a simple slide holder with a diffuser. The ES-1 is designed to be used on a dedicated macro lens which can get 1:1 magnification. The Nikon 55/2.8 Macro is an extremely good lens, but only capable of 1:2 magnification unless a PK13 (23 mm) extension tube is used. The combination is grain-sharp, even for Kodachrome, across the entire field.
    While the setup I illustrated is with a Sony A7ii, it can be use with any Nikon DSLR. The advantage of the Sony is, of course, higher resolution (24 or 42 MP), and a viewing system optimized for manual focusing (5x and 12x magnification). The electronic first shutter and mirrorless system completely eliminates vibration.
    All color film is silver based. The silver is removed in the bleaching and fixing stages. The problem with Kodachrome is the lacquer applied to preserve the image and absorb infrared and UV light. Kodachrome uses three separate color developers, and produces denser blacks than Ektachrome and Fujicolor (with the possible exception of Velvia). Home developing kits using BLIX (bleach/fixer combined) are notorious for incomplete removal of silver.
  23. I was going to let it drop, but after repeated efforts to distinguish among these artifacts, the problems of slide to camera copying are not limited to cheap plus lenses in some of them. Nor did I ever say so.
    The Spiratone cheapies {and not all of them are} were certainly awful, but the quantity of ES-1s on the market in "as new" condition is not negligible, either. These were designed, in any case, for slide copying, rather than "digitalization".
    I will simply state that the best way to get really consistent results with camera copying/reproduction is to go to something like the Honeywell Repronar where light, exposure, filtration, and other such variables are well controlled. Spiratone, and a number of others did make similar apparatus, and one can be cobbled together out of a color enlarger head and copy stand and bellows, if you have those lying around the house.
    I have a "Universal Repronar" and have tried it out very throughly. But when my CanoScan 4000 died, I gladly spent time and rather a lot of money getting a CoolScan 9000.
    Let us face it, however -- the need for digitizing film is increasingly becoming a task of interest mostly to historians, archivists, and such like. There are some good film scanners available new, but none of them fit my needs so well as the older one, but even the flatbeds are plenty good enough if web posting is your target task.
    And, as an aside, it does not make any sense to compare times for film scanners using various noise reduction programs and the like, when the camera copy has none of that going on at all, except as a post-processing task for the scanner ("spotting" is actually very relaxing if you're in the right sort of "knitting" mood).
  24. Dust is everywhere, and the amount which accumulates on a slide may depend more on the time it is exposed to the environment after cleaning than the effectiveness of the cleaning itself.
    It is a simple fact that I have had practically no dust to spot or remove from digital copies with the ES-1, whereas scans in a Nikon LS-4000 or LS-8000 are vitually useless without Digital ICE. In one case, there is little handling or delay between cleaning and shooting. In the other there can be many minutes. A long roll feeder in an LS-4000 leaves the unscanned film completely exposed to the environment, hanging nearly to the floor. A two-strip holder for the LS-8000 requires a lot of handling while loading, and even longer as the holder is slowly drawn through the scanner - once for each strip. The scanner itself may be a dust magnet, accumulating and spreading dust internally, where it is virtually impossible to remove.
    Still the big factor is time. I have hundreds of boxes of slides and thousands of film strips which will never be scanned using the glacial technology of my film scanners. The speed and efficacy of using a digital camera to achiever technically superior results makes the job seem possible in my lifetime, and even more desirable as a way to share the results with my children and others.
    If film scanners are slow, they are absolutely speedy when compared with flatbed film scanners. The loading and setup process alone is a daunting task with a flatbed, then there is the seemingly endless wait while the scanner grinds and whines through the process.
    In the end, the quality is barely worthy of a postcard. Of all the methods, flatbed scanning is the least satisfying. Considering the high quality of modern digital cameras, the least satisfying part of using one to "scan" film is the obvious limitations of the film itself.
  25. Dust is everywhere, and the amount which accumulates on a slide may depend more on the time it is exposed to the environment after cleaning than the effectiveness of the cleaning itself.
    It is a simple fact that I have had practically no dust to spot or remove from digital copies with the ES-1, whereas scans in a Nikon LS-4000 or LS-8000 are vitually useless without Digital ICE. In one case, there is little handling or delay between cleaning and shooting. In the other there can be many minutes. A long roll feeder in an LS-4000 leaves the unscanned film completely exposed to the environment, hanging nearly to the floor. A two-strip holder for the LS-8000 requires a lot of handling while loading, and even longer as the holder is slowly drawn through the scanner - once for each strip. The scanner itself may be a dust magnet, accumulating and spreading dust internally, where it is virtually impossible to remove.
    Still the big factor is time. I have hundreds of boxes of slides and thousands of film strips which will never be scanned using the glacial technology of my film scanners. The speed and efficacy of using a digital camera to achiever technically superior results makes the job seem possible in my lifetime, and even more desirable as a way to share the results with my children and others.
    If film scanners are slow, they are absolutely speedy when compared with flatbed film scanners. The loading and setup process alone is a daunting task with a flatbed, then there is the seemingly endless wait while the scanner grinds and whines through the process.
    In the end, the quality is barely worthy of a postcard. Of all the methods, flatbed scanning is the least satisfying. Considering the high quality of modern digital cameras, the least satisfying part of using one to "scan" film is the obvious limitations of the film itself. On the other hand, the memories preserved are priceless.
  26. Hi Tom
    I have been reading this thread with interest, and I too have an ES1 slide copier, I also owned a Nikon Coolscan at one point, then one day some years ago in conversation with a fellow photographer we came to the subject of digitally copying transparencies and negatives, both mono and colour, and having seen some of the examples of his copying I was sold on his method and have used it ever since with remarkable success, I have a Kaiser RA1 Copy Stand, a Kaiser Slimlite light box, and for negatives a Nikon FH-835S 35m strip film holder, I use a Nikon FX format camera with my 60mm Micro lens and photograph the individual negatives 12 at a time in RAW, I then take them into Photoshop where I employ a conversion process that produces, as far as I am concerned pretty accurate results when compared to the originals, with transparencies I photograph them individually, again in RAW, on the light box, normally in batches of about 30 to 50 at a time, then take them into Photoshop to work on the images, this method has worked fine for me and if you wish to see my methodology I would be happy to let you have a copy of my printed workflow, not sure if we can PM on this forum though, I could also send you some examples of thirty year old colour negatives that not only did I process using this method, I even used the mounted enlargements at a number of exhibitions that I presented, I apologise if I have gone off the topic of the ES1 but having tried this method myself, I felt far more at ease with my newly discovered means of copying.
  27. A copy stand like the Kaiser RS-1 (the RA-1 is the camera arm) or Honeywell Repronar is a lot more flexible than a Nikon ES-1 slide holder, but a lot larger and more expensive as well. The Nikon FH-835S film holder alone sells for more on the used market than the lens, extension tube and ES-1 in my setup - nearly twice as much.
    I presume you use a guide of some sort to position the film holder at least in one direction. It would be rather labor intensive to center and straighten each frame. The ES-1, on the other hand, can be loaded and centered largely by sight and touch. It also excludes ambient light which might reflect on the shiny film surface and mount, reducing contrast and causing interference.
    A copy stand would probably be the best choice for handling medium and large format film, as well as prints and flat work of any sort. I've tried using a tripod, and the difficulties with setting up and alignment preclude any extended use. Right angle finders are rather rare on modern DSLRs. The in-line finders on most cameras are almost impossible to use for copying. The articulated rear LCD and live view on most mirrorless cameras would work well. I've used an Hasselblad with a "chimney" finder effectively for copying.
  28. Edward, I've used both Photoshop (CS6) and Paint Shop Pro (X7) for digitizing negatives and the results I've gotten have been reasonably good, with the exception of Ektar. But it has required a fair amount of fiddling and adjustment before I wind up with a final positive image that I feel comfortable is close to the original subject. Ektar is another matter, however. I've tried and tried, and just finally gave up on it. It exhibits way too much cyan and I can never get rid of the excess entirely.
    So anyway, I would very much like to read about your procedure(s) for processing negative images in Photoshop. You can send me a PM if you want (just click on my name), or share with the group. Thanks.
  29. Many people say Digital ICE doesn't work with Kodachrome slides. But the latest version that came with my Coolscan V does indeed work with Kodachrome as well as with other types of color slides and negatives. There's a special Kodachrome setting in the Nikon Scan software. I have scanned hundreds of Kodachrome slides and it works great. Just remember to select "Kodachrome" or you'll get odd results.
    Digital ICE does not, however, work with conventional b&w films. Which is a shame, because old b&w negatives often need the most work.
    I've seen those slide-dupe outfits that resemble darkroom enlargers. I'm sure they work fine, but I don't see any advantage over using the much simpler and smaller ES-1. The main purpose of those outfits is to correctly align the film with the macro lens. The ES-1 does that with no fuss. The slide-dupe outfits also have provisions for filtering to correct color balance, but that's a holdover from the film days. With the ES-1, the DSLR can do some of that filtration with auto white balance, and there's always Photoshop for further adjustments. In any case, finding the perfect gel filtration for each slide would be a time-consuming process when duping numerous slides made with different films at different times and places.
    The slide-dupe outfits do allow more zooming if you want to crop the dupe in camera, but the ES-1 allows some zooming and is sufficient for all but the most poorly composed pictures. Film grain and lack of image sharpness limit the degree of zooming, anyway. The old slides I'm duping were made with cheap 35mm cameras and/or crummy lenses, so they aren't very sharp to begin with. And when Kodachrome was ASA 10, even daylight exposures were made at relatively slow shutter speeds that made it difficult to hold the camera steady. None of the slides I'm duping would be considered sharp by modern pixel-peeping standards.
    I prefer to use bright daylight as my light source when duping slides with the ES-1 because it helps the camera focus accurately. I have no problems with color temperature. The slight differences in color temps over the course of a day are small compared with the much larger differences among old, faded slides. The camera's auto white balance handles it well. Some people prefer electronic flash, which is OK, except you still need a bright light source for focusing. Daylight serves both purposes.
    The shutter speed is irrelevant when duping with the ES-1 because it's attached to the lens. In experiments, I've made sharp dupes using hand-held shutter speeds measured in seconds, not fractions of a second! The whole outfit is a single unit, so camera movement doesn't matter. But I prefer to go outside where I can point the ES-1 at the sky and get a relatively fast shutter speed at f/8 or f/11 at ISO 200, because slow speeds tend to increase digital noise and hot pixels, even at base ISO.
    Some professional slide-duping services are now using DSLRs instead of film scanners. ScanCafe still uses Nikon scanners, but I prefer my ES-1 dupes to their scans, mainly because ScanCafe does virtually no color correction. Earlier this year I spent a few months tediously color-correcting 500 of their scans.
  30. I found my Nikon film strip holder, and finally had a go at copying negative color film with a camera and processing the results. The FH-3 is only slightly thicker than a mounted slide, and fits (kind of) in the ES-1. I also ordered another ES-1, which I intend to modify to accommodate a Pacific film strip holder.
    Processing the negative to a positive format proved to be more difficult than I had imagined. Simple inversion (ctl-I in Photoshop) doesn't work at all. There is an option in "Curves" (ctl-M) in the pull-down window for color negatives, which works much better, but still no cigar (with Ektacolor). I have the Silverfast Archive Suite for my scanner, which includes an HDR program for file processing. This works very well.
    I have a lot of details to work out regarding film handling and processing, which I will post at a later time. One "trick" is to underexpose the copy by 2 stops, in order to produce a TIFF file "dense" enough for proper conversion. Otherwise the orange mask fools the camera into overexposing. Another is to crop any exposed frame, which upsets the conversion. This is a first try, as-is without much tweaking. (Even scanning, it is very difficult to balance both sky and foliage with Ektacolor.)
  31. Hi Michael
    Attached image produced from a 30 year old negative using my copy stand and light box method, regards Mike
  32. Attached image produced from a 30 year old negative using my copy stand and light box method, regards Mike​
    Can you describe your conversion method in more detail. Your results are impressive.
    The Kaiser stand, camera arm and light table cost nearly $3000 at B&H. That's still cheaper than an used LS-8000/9000 with outdated software. The Nikon double strip holders go for about $400 used. The practicability of "scanning" negatives with a digital camera begins with the formidable problem of handling and presentation. Slides are much easier because they are generally individually mounted.
    Conversion to positive images is hard enough to achieve any sort of consistency even with a scanner. Silverfast HDR software is basically the same as used for their scanner software, with the same interface and all, but designed to start with TIFF, JPEG and other standard image files. The simplest method is to drag-and-drop from a file explorer into the program. (The Silverfast file explorer is a kludge, and doesn't recognize default locations.)
  33. Hi Edward
    If you can tell me how I attach a Pdf file to a forum post I can send you the methodology I had passed on to me, and the one that I always use, regards Mike
  34. Mike, if you can't figure out how to attach a pdf, perhaps you could send a copy via email? If you click on a member's name, it takes you to a page where you can send an email to the member, but I dunno offhand if allows attachments with their email link. If not, genuine email addresses can be exchanged via's
    email function and a copy of the pdf could be sent using conventional email routines.
    I'd really like to have a copy of that pdf.
  35. I haven't done a lot of color negative duping yet. Mostly because it's more time consuming than slides but also because almost all my best work with film has been shot on slide film. So, given the added fiddly nature of duping negatives, the law of diminishing returns applies as well.
    This is an example, though, of one conversion I've done. The film is Fuji Superia 400. Taken with a Canon F-1 and 85mm f/1.2 lens. I was shooting at f/1.2, so focus isn't the best, but the colors are pretty accurate.
    The first photo was processed using Paint Shop Pro's negative command, followed by its color fade correction command. I then set the gray scale as accurately as I could and added a bit of contrast.
    This one was done in Photoshop, using its invert command. I did some work with the color functions and gray scale, then added a bit of contrast.
    I think the one processed in Photoshop is a bit more accurate; its colors are more neutral.
  36. Mike Doyle,
    Thank you for sending me (and others) the PDF instructions you use for converting color negatives. It is very helpful. I would like to expand a bit for the PNET audience.
    • Using the digital camera, expose the negative normally (AE). This preserves the greatest dynamic range without clipping.
    • If possible, work in RAW mode, keeping a 14-16 bit channel depth. This minimizes the chance of posterization.
    • Crop the image to remove any borders included in the scan! The presence of borders, white or black, distort the subsequent conversions.
    • Optionally, use auto-white-balance (AWB) in the camera, or apply it to the RAW file in LightRoom. The conversion works with or without AWB, but removing some of the orange at this point helps
    • Export the results to Photoshop WITH EDITS (non-destructive in Lightroom)
    • In Photoshop, invert the colors (ctl-I). The order of this step is important!
    • Using Levels (ctl-L), adjust each color channel to full width. Do this one channel at a time manually, or use the AUTO function to maximize each channel simultaneously. Save the results
    • Continuing in Levels, adjust the center slider to the overall density. Save the results and return to Lightroom
    The following is an example of a color negative taken with Ektacolor 100. As with any conversion, you adjust the results "to taste", with normal variations. These are pretty much "as scanned." The A7Rii image was cropped more severely in order to straighten the borders. The purpose of this particular outing was to compare results between Ektacolor in a Leica M3 of the same scenes taken with a Leica M9. (I didn't always swap lenses. In this case, the M3 had a Summicron 50 and the M9 a Zeiss 35/2.8 ZM lens.)
    Scanned with LS-8000 and Silverfast AI software
    Copied with A7Rii and Converted in LR and Photoshop
    Leica M9
  37. IMO, those who settle for a photo editor "correcting" color negatives are just settling for "almost good enough". The degree of shifting way exceeds what 8 bit binary data can do. It's like gamma, simply not done in 8 bits. The digital camera is fantastically great for slides, but not so much for color negatives.
    Photoshop has a specfiic tool for this color negative task, the Curve Tool at menu Images - Adjustments - Curves. That tool has a one click selectable profile Color Negative (RGB).
    But if you examine that profile, it shows that 1/4 to more than 1/2 of the tonal range of all three channels is simply discarded (output as zero), the range is too great for digital.
    Film scanners do this same job (to remove orange mask in color negatives) in analog light, so that the 255 clipping is not a factor in analog. It has not been digitized yet. The exposure times of the scanners green and blue channels are around 2x and 4x longer than the red channel exposure, to simulate analog filters to remove the orange, without digital limits. This is why color negatives scan slower than slides. It is a better way. Those that love their Photoshop may not be impressed, but these doing careful comparisons do know the way.
  38. I don't envision using a DSLR and the ES-1 slide copier to dupe color negatives. The ES-1 wasn't designed to hold unmounted film, and the orange mask is definitely a problem. I use my Coolscan for color negatives. I have relatively few color negatives worth scanning, anyway, compared with the much larger number of color slides.
    But just for curiosity, have you tried removing the orange mask and color-correcting your negative dupes by using the midpoint eyedropper in Photoshop? It's my quickest way to color-correct faded slides. Just open the histogram, select the midpoint eyedropper, and click it on anything in the photo that should be middle gray. Usually I can find something, though it may take a few tries. One click often restores the colors very close to the original scene.
    However, I would like to use a DSLR and the ES-1 to copy 35mm b&w negatives if I can improvise a film-strip holder. Those negatives don't have the orange-mask problem or color fading, and Digital ICE doesn't work with conventional b&w film, so the camera-dupe method has no disadvantages over using a film scanner. But with so many color slides, prints, and medium-format negatives to copy, I'm probably years away from getting to the 35mm b&w negatives.
  39. But if you examine that profile, it shows that 1/4 to more than 1/2 of the tonal range of all three channels is simply discarded (output as zero), the range is too great for digital.​
    You are misinterpreting the significance of the histogram. Color negative film greatly compresses the dynamic range of capture into a space less than half that available in digital image. The total density range is easily captured by a digital camera or scanner. After trimming away the excess, you expand what's left. That's why it's important to capture the scan in 14-16 bits/channel, so that you don't get posterization when the range is expanded after trimming, as witnessed by a fragmentation of the histogram.

    If you want "accurate" color, you'd best spend some time defining what you mean by accurate. Slides are easy to copy because what you see is what you get, not obscured by an orange mask. You also have the original with which to compare the copy. That doesn't mean slide film captures the original scene accurately. With negatives, you don't have a convenient frame of reference. Putting it in "bumper-sticker" conciseness, every medium distorts, so pick the level of distortion which pleases you. The success of scanning is probably more dependent on consistency than any misguided sense of accuracy.

    The greatest challenge to scanning negatives with a camera remains the mechanical job of handling them and presenting them to the lens. Use of a light table and copy stand by Michael Doyle is the most straightforward method with minimal adaptations other than guides. I'm looking for a more portable method. I've ordered another ES-1, which I intend to modify to fit inexpensive ($10) film strip holders by Pacific (and others). I have accumulated many more negatives than slides over the years, mainly because it was easier to share prints than slides before scanning (and digital in general). My guess is that others are in the same position.
  40. I'm thinking I do understand. It's worse than you might imagine. Film might have a little range, but this computer operation is digital, NOT film any more. Realize that our digital images are of course gamma data, so the actual linear midpoint is near 73% in the histogram, and after using this tool, there won't be anything left above about 25% of linear data. Maybe if we intentionally underexposed them about 4 stops? Don't expose to the right. :)
    If this digital correction method worked well, then why would film scanners bother taking much longer to scan color negatives (to greatly increase blue and green exposure to offset the orange) ? When they could simply just stretch the digital histogram data? Except of course, they would quickly hit the 255 digital clipping point. Analog has advantages in some contexts.
  41. I see no difference in scanning times of slides v negatives. There might be more processing time for negatives, but with newer, faster computers scanning has been limited by the LS-4000/8000 machine time for many years. For a straight-up scan, all the operations are executed in a single, lateral pass, then the film is indexed for the next pass. Up to three rows of in the sensor array are scanned per pass, with the option (slow scan) to do a single line at a time to reduce banding. There is also an option to do multiple passes, but in a Nikon scanner each line scan is repeated before the film is indexed (flatbed scanners repeat the entire scan from top to bottom).
    In negative film, the entire scene is recorded to a density range equivalent to about 8 stops. That is why negative film has such a broad dynamic range of capture, and is so forgiving of exposure and color balance. The Dmax is about 2.5. The Sony A7Rii, Nikon D810, and others have a dynamic range of 12-13 stops, so recording every bit of data on a color negative is well within their capacity. A Nikon scanner can handle a Dmax of 4.0. This does not apply to a digital camera "scan", since the exposure time can be varied over a wide range.
    Other than the electromechanical options described above, all the scanner operations are executed in software as the scan progresses, including ICE. This includes analysis of the data represented by the histogram, removing the mask, and optimizing the color channels. There are no physical adjustments for exposure - it's all software.
    I'm not sure you understand what "expose to the right" means, as it is best applied to reversal (slide) film and digital capture. That said, I may overexpose color negative film by up to 1 stop, depending on the emulsion and the scene, in order to get better shadow detail. In negative film, highlights tend to take care of themselves, so you would "expose to the left" for better shadow detail.
    The limit of 255 refers to 8 bit/channel capture or display. The limit for 16 bit images is over 32,000. This isn't a limit, per se, rather the number of possible steps between pure black and pure white. When you "expand" the histogram of an 8 bit file, each bit is rounded to the nearest value. For a 16 bit file, there are 8 steps for each step in an 8-bit histogram, hence the stretching must be pretty drastic to open up any gaps.
    The orange mask serves a curious function. It is formed from the unreacted leuco dye in the emulsion. Where the image is dense, there is less masking, and vice versa. This serves to reduce contrast to make printing easier, sort of an automatic dodging and burning effect.
  42. Using a digital camera in lieu of a film scanner is necessary because good film scanners are no longer made at a reasonable price. Nikon, Canon, Minolta and others are kaput. If you have $20K for an Imacon or Scytec. go for it. You can also pay $50 to $100 or more for a drum scan. Otherwise you can settle for a flatbed and generally mediocre results.
    A 24 MP digital camera has the same resolution for 35mm film, 6000x4000 pixels, as an unobtanium Nikon LS-4000/8000, and is 10x as fast. What we have established here is a reliable method for converting negatives to positives, with reasonably good results. Not completely solved are the problems handling film strips as opposed to mounted slides. This resolution is more than good enough. The results are grain-sharp, which is more than you can say for the underlying detail, taken with excellent lenses and a sturdy tripod.
  43. Great thread, thanks to all.

    I have an ES-1 and a older 55mm Micro-Nikkor lens. The lens came with an M2 ring to give a 1:1 image, but in order to get the whole slide I added a K4 ring and a filter ring with the glass removed. These two rings give me a 1:1 copy using a Nikon D70 body. I think that camera has a DX sensor.

    I haven't seen any mention of the M2 ring so far so perhaps my setup may be of interest. As for film, I have a Nikon six frame strip that fits nicely under the clips of the ES-1. It's a film holder that came with a copy accessory for a Coolpix 990.

  44. Having trouble posting photos for some reason.
  45. Here's another.
  46. I don't want to make a response, but I can't seem to cancel this prompt to leave one. Sorry.
  47. Please delete.
  48. I don't understand what's going on. I can't get out of this loop.
  49. For an APS-C camera, you need an overall magnification of 1:1.5 not 1:1. The lens itself only goes to 1:2, but the extension ring brings this to 1:1. You would need to back off the lens focus and move the slide/negative further away to get 1:1.5. This is a little more extension than the telescoping adjustments on the ES-1 can accommodate. The Nikon K extension tubes screw into the filter ring, and the ES-1 into the K4, both 52 mm threads.
  50. Thanks, Edward, for helping me better understand my ratios. So, the D70 has an APS-C sensor? I didn't know that. This was just a borrowed camera, I want to get a D90 which has a higher pixel count. Does it have an APS-C sensor also? Does DX mean the camera has an APS-C?
    Thanks also for helping me better understand what my K4 ring and my empty filter ring were doing. I suppose I could've used a K5 ring and I wouldn't need the empty filter ring.
    Then, I dug into my saved links folder and lo and behold found this:
    (as an aside... do you know of some way I can delete those messages where I got rather lost? Very embarassing!)
    Appreciated your help,
  51. You have 10 minutes to edit a response. You can't delete a post, but you can erase the contents (and leave an explanation). It's easy to get double posts by hitting the "confirm" button at the wrong time.
    I bought a complete set of Nikon K rings from I haven't used them, but they weren't expensive and probably handy to have around. For example, using the ES-1 with an APS-C camera, or a macro lens longer than 55 mm.
    For what it's worth, the Nikon 55/2.8 is as sharp as any lens in my kit, including the dedicated Sony lenses. The f/3.5 is supposed to be very good too, just an older model. The diaphragm is prone to sticking due to grease migration. It costs about $100 to fix, but Nikon now uses a silicone grease which doesn't leak. I had mine done about 12 years ago, and it's still as good as new. The macro is deeply set and almost immune to flare, so I used it for landscapes when shooting into the sun.
    If you use Lightroom to do part of the editing, you can copy all the changes from one image to any or all of the others. This includes cropping, development settings and dust spotting (if the spots are on the sensor). These changes are non-destructive. If you want to lock them in, export the results to a new file.
  52. With regards to the 55mm Micro Nikkors, for several years I was using an early pre-AI 55mm f/3.5 for my duping chores. It and my Tamron 90mm macro were the sharpest lenses in my collection. Then recently I picked up an AIs 55mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor and figured I'd give it a try. Honestly, I didn't think anything could be sharper than that old 55/3.5 Nikkor, but I was wrong. The 55/2.8 has the edge, near as I've been able to determine. So, I've decided to retire the 55/3.5. Dunno if I'll sell it. I've owned it for over 25 years and I have a certain amount of sentimental attachment to it. Can't get much for them on eBay or Craigslist anyway.
  53. Here's another tip for duping slides with the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G Micro and ES-1 holder: After more testing, I'm consistently getting the sharpest results by stopping down the lens to f/22. This is contrary to the usual advice that f/5.6 or f/8 are the sharpest apertures. But the 40mm Micro loses almost nothing to diffraction at smaller apertures.
    Part of the reason, I think, is that the extra depth of field at f/22 hides small focusing errors -- and focusing is very critical at these reproduction ratios. Also, the extra depth helps to keep the slide in focus from corner to corner. Slides in cardboard or plastic mounts are not perfectly flat. Some slides are so warped that even my Coolscan can't keep the whole image in focus. Fortunately, the Coolscan lets you choose a focus point or even focus manually, and you can do the same when duping slides with a camera.
    The only drawback to f/22 is that clear sky areas reveal some stubborn sensor dirt in my camera that multiple wet cleanings have failed to remove. But the spots aren't too bad and are fixable in Photoshop. They almost disappear at f/16, which is nearly as sharp as f/22.
  54. It is very difficult to achieve sharp focus by setting the lens at 1:1 magnification (the near focus stop) and sliding the telescoping tube of the ES-1. You not only have to get the distance just right within a fraction of an inch, you must keep it straight relative to the frame line.
    Instead, I pull the ES-1 a little further out than the best focus point, then tune it by focusing the lens. That includes more of the frame line than necessary, but the image is easily cropped in processing.
    I use f/5.6 or f/8, which bracket the best resolution point of the lens. At 42 MP and no AA filter, you experience diffraction limiting smaller than f/8. Focus magnification removes most of the uncertainty. and the point being magnified can be moved with the 4-way. Somewhere between the center and halfway to the short edge usually works. At 12x, you're looking at the grain, not details in the image. If the subject material is out of focus, it probably left the original camera that way.
  55. I never focus by moving the ES-1 tube. The tube is strictly for zooming the image for tight framing. I use wide-area autofocus and touch up the focus manually if necessary. (The 40mm f/2.8G has full-time auto/manual focusing.) But I don't trust my eyes for such critical work. Once I determine the proper exposure, I shoot two or three frames. For each frame, I slightly defocus manually, then redo the autofocus. Usually all the frames are equally in focus, but sometimes one frame is slightly sharper than the others when examined at 100% in Photoshop.
    Film scanning is no better in this regard. Nikon Coolscan's autofocus is sometimes slightly off, too, especially if the slide is warped. Sometimes I must rescan the film after manually placing the focus point on the most important part of the image, such as a person's face. Let everything else fall out of focus.
    It makes sense to design a dedicated macro lens (like the 40mm f/2.8G) for good performance at small apertures, because such lenses are often used to photograph three-dimensional objects that would not be entirely in focus at middle apertures like f/5.6 or f/8. I'm definitely getting better edge sharpness at smaller apertures. Note that the slides I'm scanning are very old and not very flat. Many of the slides I'm scanning are infected with fungus, which gives me something else to focus on!
  56. As a new ES-1 user who wants to scan colour negatives I will chip in my 5slides.
    1. Colour conversion shall not be a problem - it can be done with SilverFast or ColorPerfect PS plugin. The scanner does not scan negatives differently than positives - it has to reverse them via software as well.
    2. What I dislike most about ES-1 is the loosens of the telescope tube. I was thinking to fix that via an O ring which I can tighten once I find the sweet spot filing up the sensor frame. The material seems soft enough for the outer tube to grip on the inner tube. Ideally the outer tube would have a simple screw which would tighten and lock the tubes, but it is not possible to bore one without harming the inner tube.
    3. Second problem is copying film strips. I fixed that simply by sliding a 6x7 slide frame anti newton glass between the the springs. This protects the strip for mental springs and should also keep the film strip as flat as possible without a glass sandwich. I think the glass and allow are smooth enough not to scratch the film while fiddling with it.
    4. Another annoyance is not being really able to distinguish what is the edge of the ES-1 film opening and what the edge of the film. I plan to fix this by simply marking the opening in the ES-1 with 4 white dots in it's corners. This way I can distinguish the the opening from the film edge.
    5. Focusing this thing seems quite a pain. I use a Mikro Nikkor AF 55mm 2.8. In auto it hunts quite a lot. I believe once the telescope is fixed focus can be found via the green spot confirmation (which rather blinks then lights up solid). It is true that F11 might be the best regarding DOF and diffraction especially with mounted slides.
    I would be glad if all of you could share how you improved the copying experience with this, just a little to simple device.
    Best, Rene
  57. Rene,
    >>The scanner does not scan negatives differently than positives - it has to reverse them via software as well.
    This is in fact a huge difference. The scanner inverts negatives (which is easy later), and for color negatives, the scanner also removes the orange mask (which is deep blue after inversion). This is difficult (to do well) in software later, because shifting color of digital images clips at 255. The scanner does this in analog (varying scan time by RGB color), so no issue then.
    >>Focusing this thing seems quite a pain.
    Focusing a DLSR camera requires some detail or edges to focus on. Focusing on blank sky doesn't work for example. But the solution is trivial, just move your focus point to be on some feature of detail. You do this without touching the film.
  58. Wayne,
    I would have to disagree - for the scanner to vary the scan time of each colour (I never hear of that before) it would need to know the type of negative film. Orange masks vary quite substantially from film to film. Additionally, you will see there often is a way to make a linear scan which produces a positive of a negative film (not inverted). Every scanner software have this option which bypasses scanners software postproduction. The inversion is of course problematic due to several things. You can read a lot about that on the page of the developers of ColorPerfect plugin I also have no idea what you refer to with with shifting colours to clip? Getting rid of the mask is done simulating correction filters which can be somewhat emulated with photo filters of other colour overlays. You are not trying to shift the orange mask but to get rid of it meaning getting the orange colour value low not shifting it same amount of another colour ...
    Regarding the focusing I was rather talking about critical grain focusing via life view magnification. Do you seriously think people who scan negatives in 21st century do not know the basics of autofocusing? :D
  59. OK, good luck then. But you really should experiment a bit first before you make elaborate plans, to see what's involved. But yes, of course film scanners (not camera type, but those with actual scanner carriage motion) scan color negatives differently, to remove the orange mask. For color negatives, Red channel is about 1x time, green about 2x, and blue about 4x time. The red can be division of linear, no clipping then. This acts as an analog filter to remove the orange. Better scanners do have film brand options to adjust this. Have you ever used a film scanner? Film scanners provide three options for film, positive, monochrome negative (inverted), and combinations of color negative (inverted and filtered with time). As to post processing, if you have Photoshop, see its Curve Tool (CTRL M), and its Preset, Color Negatives, and then try to imagine "no clipping". :)
  60. I am sorry Wayne, but you should get rid of your arrogance assuming the knowledge of other people completely without any firm base ...
    If you only searched web you would not be so ignorant. There are books written about digitalising transparency materials and reprography - the category which this falls into. I have no lust to give you a lesson for free since I am sure you can google alone. Star at the SilverFast page where you will see that they provide software which will convert linear scans according to chosen film material even if you never had a scanner connected. Also you can scan the edge of the film to have a sample of the orange mask and later cancel it out. This is a process even included into VueScan linear scanning. There are plenty of people building their own dslr based repro devices for large format critical scans converting them via several processes none including a scanner. You should sometimes check analogue photography forums such as APUG or ...
    Meh, no, I never used a scanner - before dslr I scanned with trained squirrels painting photos with pigments produced out of walnuts and mushroom. Later I used to edit my photos with steam machine ...
  61. Good luck then. Since you say you've somehow never heard of color negative RGB scan times, and mentioned Vuescan, then check out the Vuescan manual (Color Negatives, page 33, says 2015 manual). Color tab Film Base color RGB will modify it.
    On most scanners, setting Input | Media (p. 50) to "Color negative" will increase the green exposure time by 2.5x and the blue exposure time by 3.5x. This results in adjusting for the green and blue absorption by the orange mask of the film. If the film doesn't have an orange mask, then using "Color negative" will result in a raw scan file that looks very cyan.
  62. I never said some software doesn't try to handle this problem in this way. Scanning time is a bad description though. Maybe you are talking about exposition time. However there is a myriad of scanning software which does not. I can say it for certain for Minolta, Creo / Scitex and Hasselblad.
    What you probably referring too is the problem of the exposure of the red channel which ends in clipping since it is offset the most. This is a problem which is not unknown in old good colour wet printing yet easily solvable. It depends chiefly on the colour temperature of the light source. You are aware that scanners have different light sources as well. Take a 5600K LED light source and you will greatly reduce this problem. If it is not enough use some simple Rosco gels like Cinegel #3202: Full Blue (CTB), Cinegel #3204: Half Blue (1/2 CTB), Cinegel #4415: 15 Green. This will align the red channel into a very comfortable exposure zone. Use a high CRI on camera LED panel and some gels and you will be exposing like a chief.
    There are high end professional solution using this process by now as the Phase One DT Film Scanning Kit which of course costs a fortune.
    So, thank you for your good luck wishes, but there isn't really much luck required. Truth is , there is more fiddling in PS for such repro scans then with a scanner.
  63. Btw, unless you are unapologetically defending your skeptic position, I am attaching a link to where some basics are covered. And this is way back from the year ... Todays equipment yields better results but the principles stay the same.
    You also have astonishing ultra high CRI LEDS with vario color temperature. Stuff like this
    So basically only the physical problems of the process remain. That is if you want to keep it cheap. Given you have money just buy a Kaiser repro stand for transparencies ...

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