Slide duplicator on Digital SLR

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by paul_noble, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. My brother and sister just made me a gift of a brand new Pentax K10D (have I
    got a great family, or what?). I've had it for two days. So far I love it, but
    I've still got a lot to learn about it.

    Anyway, the thought occurred to me that I could get a slide duplicator for the
    camera and convert all those boxes of slides I've been storing for years to
    digital format.

    I've looked on ebay and there are several, ranging from inexpensive, fixed
    tube, Spiratone or Prinz models that include a lens (how good a lens is another
    matter) to high end bellows units. All were originally designed for 35mm

    The cheaper, fixed tube designs all make 1:1 copies of 35mm slides on a 35mm
    camera. Some have variable ratios, going from 1:1 to 2.5 to 1, meaning you can
    crop a slide.

    I just want to make 1:1 copies and it occured to me that the smaller APS-C
    sensor size might make that impossible. If they use, say a 50mm lens (normal
    for full frame 35mm) mounted 100mm from the film plane, that would give a 1:1
    ratio. However, would that still be true on my K10? I'm having a little trouble
    imagining the geometry and doing the math.

    Actually, I don't want a 1:1 ratio. I want the image to be smaller than the
    original. The originals will be 24x36mm. The image must be 16x24mm.

    Can I get by with the fixed-tube design, or should I get the bellows model,
    which would give me much more control over lens choice and reproduction ratio?
    I'm afraid that the fixed-tube designs would give me the center 2/3 of the
    original slide.

    Paul Noble
  2. Paul,

    That is correct. In a system that produces 1:1 on a 35mm camera it will still product 1:1 on a 1.5x factor DSLR. Unfortunately you will only have 16x24mm of slide copied then as the sensor is smaller. This will result as you suggested in the centre of the slide being the only part copied.

    A bellows design may allow you to back away, but I don't know for sure. You would have to speak to someone who has used one before as I don't own one.

  3. Put the slide on a light table and do not mask around it to control contrast. Copy with a proper macro lens.

    Forget the slide copier
  4. perhaps this is idiotic, but why not just invest a few hundred (or less) in a nice slide/film scanner. it will be faster and give better quality.

    slide scanners oddly haven't dropped in price, and there has been no mass exodus with the "death" (and I'm being sarcastic) of film. However, there are several that don't cost a kings ransom new or used.
  5. You can use a standard slide copy gadget like those made by Spiratone. The trick is to increase the tube length (silde to lens) and reduce the magnification to 1:1.5 from 1:1. For example, with the Spiratone units, you will need to remove and use the slide head only. The built-in lens range from 1:1 to 2:1, so there is no use of it here. Replace that with a 49mm to 52mm step ring, some Nikon K-rings and a 50mm macro set at 1.5:1.
  6. This one is done for a Nikon with M Ring + Nikkor 55/f3.5 + K3 ring + K4 ring + 52-49mm step down + slide attachment.
  7. Have to agree with Justin, invest in a slide scanner. They have seemingly appreciated lately though. It used to be that a 1200-2400dpi unit would run only a few hundred. It would give you something like 1920x1280 to 3840x2560 IIRC -- been a few years.

    I actually had a lower-end model in the late '90s. I had a sub-$200 Microtek SCSI 600-2400dpi unit that had a slide scanner added. The 2400dpi was unrealistic IQ (clearly software), although 1200dpi was pretty good (using film from a very commodity, consumer 35mm camera). I want to say I saw 1920x1280 output from it, but I can't remember. Maybe it was 1500x1000 actual cropped. Can't remember.
  8. I agree with Justin and Bryan as well, an Epson V700 for $500 (or less!) will let you do several (I think 12?) 35mm slides at once, automate it, and produces 6000DPI scans. I've been using one for a year or so w/ 35mm and 645 negs and it's absolutely wonderful. A few bucks more, and you can get the pro version that'll let you do fluid scans.
  9. I have had great fun in copying slides by using my Pentax digital camera (ist* DS). I tried my Ohnar copier but due to sensor size, only got two thirds of the picture. To get the camera closer to the slide, I made a rig consisting of a length of wood upon which I could screw my camera at one end and a frame to take the slide at the other. I used a vintage 1960s Taylor Hobson 2? f3.5 enlarging lens with a short extension tube attached to the camera. A piece of black, square section drain pipe acted as a baffle. I tried flash for the light source but it seemed wasteful, about 99% of the output having to be absorbed by a few sheets of white paper. Despite thinking it would be ideal, as flash is constant and means I can copy on evenings, I finished up using daylight diffused through opalescent plastic. I prefer to set my camera dial at the M setting and close the lens by two stops. This maximises sharpness, takes up any focussing errors and dust on the sensor is not too obvious as would be the case with smaller stops.

    The results certainly are sharp?far better than my efforts using a flatbed scanner.
    With this method, a tray of 50 slides can be copied in no time. A friend did a test in parallel using a dedicated film scanner and at high magnifications, his results had the edge in sharpness but as someone once said, if you have twenty years? worth of slides to copy using a film scanner, it will take you twenty years to do the job.

    My slides are mainly Kodachromes, ranging back over forty years. One cannot expect Kodachrome resolution with a 6 megapixel camera but in realistic terms, the results are very acceptable and one can definitely improve on the originals in one?s favourite editing software. In some cases, I have rephotographed items directly with my digital camera and the difference between original digital photograph and copied Kodachrome is not that great.

    Pundits tell us that the digital camera will not encompass the range of colours with a camera-copied slide as opposed to that obtained with a slide scanner, but I am very happy with the results.

    Robert Sylvester
  10. I have hundreds of historic slides from my father's trips to Antarctic in the early 1960s. I used an Epson Perfection 2400 flat bed scanner with excellent results. It takes a while if you scan at 2400, but the image quality is quite acceptable.
    I also have good results scanning negatives with the same scanner. Lately I've been getting back to my roots - shooting B&W and developing at home. Instead of a darkroom, however, I've been scanning in my developed negs. Mainly for the helluvit, you know, but it has encouraged me to keep using my film cameras and, depending on the body I'm using at the moment, forces me to shoot manually. For some of what I do (news photography), the B&W neg scans are as useful as any file from my K100.

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