Slide copying/digitizing, Nikon ES-1?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by oskar_ojala, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. I want to digitize slides (mainly unmounted, but also mounted) using my Nikon
    D300. I did an initial test with a 55 micro Nikkor and the quality was good,
    which prompted me to seek a better setup than just having the slide on a light
    table.

    Since I already have micro Nikkors, I'd like to have something that screws on
    the lens and keeps the slide steady, flat and aligned. It should be quick to
    insert a slide and make the exposure. Now the questions:

    1. The Nikon ES-1 seems to do this, but how does it work with unmounted slides?

    2. I saw an ES-2 on KEH, but couldn't find any info about it. Does anyone know
    how it differs from the ES-1?

    3. Is there any better or comparable cheap option to do this? A bellows and a
    copy adapter for that should also work, but that costs a lot and I don't see any
    other need for a bellows. The ES-1 is a bit expensive around here and ordering
    from B&H the postage easily becomes expensive.

    Will appreciate any input. And don't suggest to buy a scanner, it's
    significantly more expensive, slower and takes up space.
     
  2. I tried this years ago. A coolscan worked better imho.

    We had one of those awful Leaf Luminas with a slide copier attatchment. It was crap, plain
    and simple. laying them down on a light table worked better actually, but then we got a
    coolscan and that was a little better overall. Then we got an expensive Kodak slide scanner
    and that was even better.

    PhotoCD scans worked better for us, though, so that was what we did for critical stuff.

    Not necessarily the answers to your questions, I was just hoping it would help your
    thinking somewhat. And do report back on how things work for you, because I'm thinking
    of getting some kind of a system to facilitate this myself. I've even heard of people
    projecting the slides on a good screen and shooting them from there. Anybody tried that?
     
  3. Kodak PhotoCD scans were good about 10+ years ago. They've long since been obsolete. You're much better off with a Nikon Coolscan V or 5000ED for 35mm, 8000 or 9000 for medium format. And I would disagree that a scanner is more expensive and slower than using a digital camera. You'll get much better quality from a scanner, you can use a bulk-loader attachment if you have a lot to scan, and your files won't need nearly as much post-processing as they would than slides being shot with a digital camera.

    You can find the Coolscan V for around $550, which is cheap considering the quality it offers.
     
  4. Peter,

    I didn't want to write too long, but like I said, I tried it with a light table. The sldies was E100VS and was sharp to the grain, looked real good on the computer. The could be a tad more drange in the camera, but I estimate that for 95% of slides a single exposure is enough. I also tried a quick'n'dirty HDmerge and that resulted in no problems.

    The only problems I have is keeping the slide flat and aligning it (the left side of the test image was unsharp) and doing it all quickly. Basically this is what I want to solve with the adapter. If I have time, I'll probably do more quality tests today.

    The D300 is 12 mpix, which gives about 3100 dpi -- not bad, a lot better than my Epson 3200. Also, it's a lot faster than a scanner and I already have most of the equipment. The posts I found dealing with this were from the D100-era and things have changed. Also, I could use the setup with a possible upcoming 24 mpix DSLR, which would give a very high resolution.

    This is just my motivation why I want to investigate further. Feel free to have a different opinion, but please answer my questions :)
     
  5. Exactly how does a 20MB RAW file from a D300 (69MB Tiff) take more time to process in Photoshop than an 148MB TIFF scan from the Nikon, which is non-CMS compliant?
     
  6. The D300 produces a 34.9mb file, the Nikon Coolscan a ~55mb file after cropping. The Coolscan is set up to process images including color/contrast adjustment, and dust filtering. Using a copy stand with a camera pointed down at a light table is very slow, producing a smaller file, needing more processing, not to mention the problem of the camera not being perfectly parallel to the image being photographed.

    I guess if you really want speed, and are not concerned about quality, the light table option is the way to go. I always place quality first in my photography.
     
  7. I agree that the Coolscan yields a better product. I have one and that would be my choice over copying the slide with a DSLR. Copying 1000 slides and my choice might be different.

    That said, the image processing in scanning is anything but automatic. You can calibrate (profile) the scanner with other software, such as Silverfast and IT8, but you still must be careful to lock down all automatic functions.

    Once you have a setup for slide copying with a camera, it takes very little time for each additional slide. On the other hand, it takes about 5 minutes, with focusing and exposure setting, to scan a slide in a Nikon Coolscan at 4000 ppi and 16 bits/channel and Digital ICE, resulting in an 148MB TIFF.

    You can buy a new LS-V for about $500, which is probably comparable to the cost of a closeup lens and a slide copying fixture. The expensive part is TIME.
     
  8. I already have micro Nikkors and extension tubes, so I just need some kind of slide adapter such as the ES-1 or PS6+PB6. I'm trying to find which would be most suitable for what I want to do. BTW, I'm not in the US, so a Coolscan V is more than $500 for me. I'm not trying to compete with an Imacon here, just get more out of the stuff I have and solve a problem of mine.
     
  9. I'm another who would recommend a Nikon coolscan V ED. I paid ?400 for this and the images are really excellent - and as a bonus it creates Nikon NEF files as standard so I can use my copy of Capture NX to do any more editing!
     
  10. This works for me on a 1.5X digital body. I found it yield better then my HP flatbed scanner which max out arround 2100x1400 (never mind the software say the DPI is much higher). I don't have a Coolscan V ED so I don't know how this will compare. A true film scanner like the Coolscan V properly does a better job. M2-ring->50/3.5_nikkor>~40mm 52mm ring->52-49mm_stepdown_ring->Spiratone Slide Copier (head only)
    00OwYA-42542184.jpg
     
  11. Tommy,

    Does that work well for unmounted slide strips? Can the Spiratone just be unscrewed from its optics and mount adapter? Are the threads standard 49 mm?

    I the answer to all of these is "yes", then it looks like what I need...
     
  12. Scanning with full resolution and ICE takes about 30seconds on the LS-5000 with my 3-year old laptop, including image transfer. It's not slow. Setting up can take a bit of time.

    What is not CMS compliant about the Coolscans? They have their own software which can be used with CMS and alternative 3rd party software also support profiles, with more features. But slides are not meant to be printed without adjustments - projection / light table viewing allows one to not see color problems which will show up in a printed image. So there is a bit of hassle, but I don't think it's any less with using a digital camera as scanner.
     
  13. The ES-1 was designed to copy mounted slides either on an SLR or Super 8 Movie camera. I think Autorama has(d) a similar product. I would look on eBay or camera swapmeets for the best price. Since you have mostly unmounted, I think you will need to mount them or perhaps there is a 'holder' which allows a film strip to be placed in it. If you have 36 exp. film strips you might be able to get a lab to mount them (If you can find a lab which still processes and mounts). Nikons' slide copier attachments for their bellows did allow long film strips to be fed through.

    A small electronic flash with a piece of white linen draped over it works well for a light source. Good luck.
     
  14. The spiratone slide head (I think other may as well, since Spiratone made nothing) has 49mm tread that can be easily un screw. All I did was un-screw and put on a 52 to 49mm step ring.

    Un-mounted but pre-cut flat 35mm film strips could fit from the side as it is open. The metal spring holder clip also only touches the edge of the film. However I wouldn't use it like that except for a very few special cases where I could pay extra extra attension. Putting un-mount film in and out of larger amount requires too much attension. Mistakes will happen and the film can easily be scratched. It is too risky in my view.

    For un-mount film, you may want to check something that has a film carrier. I have not used it but something like a Nikon ES2-E28 which has a good film carrier "may" work. The question is, I wonder if it has a built-in close up lens that can be removed. If you can find a shop that still carry those, you may want to check one out first. Again, I don't know if it will work or not.
     
  15. The spiratone slide head (I think other may as well, since Spiratone made nothing) has 49mm tread that can be easily un screw. All I did was un-screw and put on a 52 to 49mm step ring.

    Un-mounted but pre-cut flat 35mm film strips could fit from the side as it is open. The metal spring holder clip also only touches the edge of the film. However I wouldn't use it like that except for a very few special cases where I could pay extra extra attension. Putting un-mount film in and out of larger amount requires too much attension. Mistakes will happen and the film can easily be scratched. It is too risky in my view.

    For un-mount film, you may want to check something that has a film carrier. I have not used it but something like a Nikon ES2-E28 which has a good film carrier "may" work. The question is, I wonder if it has a built-in close up lens that can be removed. If you can find a shop that still carry those, you may want to check one out first. Again, I don't know if it will work or not.
     
  16. Thanks Tommy and Richard. It seems that I could probably try to find a used generic slide duplicator for cheap and try to adapt that. I'm making some progress; on my second attempt the slide was much better aligned for digitizing. Also, the dynamic range of NEF files seems to be pretty good for this. Definitely better quality than my Epson flatbed. Here is a quick'n'dirty sample. The flare is due to improper masking. As soon as I get some cardboard I should be able to take care of that easily. The jpeg is unfortunately low-quality, but I believe that with a bit of refining a 12x8" print would be doable.
    00OwwM-42549084.jpg
     
  17. I made 35mm slide copies to a D2Xs using an improvised setup...55 Micro w/ tube, slide on
    a light table, and the results were good enough to make excellent prints at about
    6"x9"...haven't tried larger but I'm forging ahead to build a rig to do more of these. I got the
    full range of tones from the contrasy Kodachrome slides, and the aperture set at f/8 seemed
    to handle the depth of field needed for cardboard mounted slides.
     
  18. Oskar -

    Pretty good results so far. You seem to understand the issues well.

    I had another thought. The ES-1 and probably similar devices use a couple of 'spring clips' to hold the mounted slide against the translucent plate. You might try using a empty cardboard slide mount to hold the film against the plate being careful not to move the film and scratch the emulsion.
     

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