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Wanted: adjustable film holder for flatbed scanners


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Does anyone know of an adjustable film holder for flatbed scanners?

Something with variable openings, like a four-bladed enlarging easel?


As part of a large family-history project, I'm scanning many odd and

obsolete film formats that don't fit standard film holders. I

fashioned a servicable holder for 116-size box-camera film out of

wooden corn-dog sticks (seriously), and it has worked fine for

scanning more than a thousand negatives. But the wooden holder was

difficult to make and requires frequent repairs.


Now I am discovering many more negatives in other old formats. Some

are wider than 35mm but narrower than 120, and others are wider than

120 but narrower than 4x5. What I need is some kind of adjustable

holder that keeps the film barely off the glass, holds it flat (many

of these negatives are badly curled), and allows variable masking.

Any suggestions? (I'm using an Epson 4870 scanner.)

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I don't have an answer, but I just had to give props to you for the genius idea of a wooden corn-dog sticks film holder. If you could posta picture sometime, that would absolutely make my day.


Doug Fisher is the man to ask about this issue. If he doesn't have a solution, he can probably steer you in the right direction. http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/interactive/Epson%204870/DF_holder/MF.htm

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Thanks for the tip. Doug's 120 film holder accommodates multiple 120 film formats, but my Epson 4870's 120 film holder already does that. What I need is something that accommodates multiple lengths AND widths. Doug's website hints about an "odd-size" film holder coming soon, so maybe that will solve my problem.


Many years ago I saw a clever negative carrier for a Durst enlarger that was adjustable. It resembled a tiny four-bladed enlarging easel, You could adjust the blades to mask a negative of almost any size or shape. That's what I need for my flatbed scanner.


If I get a moment later this week, I'll try to photograph my 116 film holder made of corn-dog sticks and post it here. Actually it works pretty well. I used veggie corn-dog sticks because I didn't have popsicle sticks, another favorite raw material for home projects.

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Tom; when the Epson 2450 scanner was just came out; I had a thread on custom film holders for 116/616; and some postcard sized larger negatives. All one needs with this series of scanner is the notch at the bottom; which is about 1x10cm; for the scanner to register to. the rest just sipports the negative above the glass. Mine are just thin cardboard; and have the register slot feature; and the negative rectangle. I have made them for 105mm microfilm; 116/616; portions of a 5x7 neg (4x7); and larger postcard size ancient roll films; and long strips of 120. I had the custom 116/616 film holder tread in the Largeformat forum; it got deleted as not being LF. In the MF forum; it got deleted as not being important; not really MF.. 116/616 must be a bastard format; not claimed by either MF or LF ! :). At our print shop we get alot of oddball negatives; and making custom negative holders is done alot. Your really want to get the curl out if at all possible; if too much curl; the heat from the scanner's lamp can cause the negatives to scoot around; and cause a drop in sharpness. Here I prefer just separate holders for each film size; since they can be made in a minute or two; and one can use several scanners.
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Thanks for those tips. I have made some cardboard film holders as you have, but they have some disadvantages. They tend to shed dust and tiny hairs on the film and scanner glass (from the cutouts), and they don't last very long when there are hundreds of negatives to scan. Also I would have to make one for every film format I encounter, and I have been encountering quite a few formats lately.


Below is a composite picture of the 116 film holder I made with wooden corn-dog sticks. One image shows the empty holder, and the other shows how it holds the film. It's more complicated than it seems at first glance, because I glued the sticks together to create a film channel that holds the film fairly flat and slightly off the scanner's glass. It took lots of cutting, sanding, and gluing to make this film holder.


I have used this holder to scan more than 1,000 negatives. It's fragile and needs regluing now and then, but otherwise it works fine. Originally I made it to exactly fit the opening on an Epson 1680SU scanner with 4x5 transparency adapter.<div>00CA0V-23454684.jpg.a2fe4b0a0553747825965ad11f133170.jpg</div>

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The problem with corn dogs is that they're hard to get outside of county fairs!


I've made some mask/spacers out of the plastic that's found in cheap 3-ring binders from office max. They're about 1mm thick, tough but can be cut with an Exacto Knife...watch out for your fingers.

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I bought my veggie corn dogs from the freezers at Safeway.


Many years ago, I remember a photo magazine writer noting that photography must be one of the few pursuits that can make equally good use of microprocessors and wooden spring clothes-pins (for hanging up film to dry). It's nice to know that even while photography is going digital, it can make equally good use of microprocessors and corn dogs.

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