View Full Version : Digitalized Negs: Rube Goldberg Style
After someone asked about a DSLR as a slide/negative copier, I decided to have another look at it. I bought a slide copier from Ebay, bought a 1/2 inch rod at ACE hardware, and constructed a plastic platform using TAP plastics. I have never like black and white negative scans (color and slides are OK), so that is what prompted me. This is a photo of the contraption, and the first image, and a blow up of that image. Oh, and I used a slave flash 24 inches away triggered by the camera flash. It still needs some fine tuning, but it sure is fast and easier than a scanner. (I inverted in PSE3, and then removed color, only, no USM on the RAW file that was converted to jpeg.)
No offense but...
Is the original image not sharp anywhere, or was it just the focusing with the slide copier?
What don't you like about scanned B&W negs?Almost all the B&W images in the RFF gallery have been scanned in some way. I'm very happy with mine, and there's lots of nice looking images from many people here.
Just curious! :)
I don't see this as very useful for prints. But for web viewing, and as a digital "contact sheet" - this would be much faster than scanning. And in that speed, is its value to me.
As I have said, I don't like B&W scans of 35 mm negatives. Pesonally, I like scans of prints better than scans of negatives. But that as they say is what makes horse races. You are right about the focus, the negative was not a well focused I just used it because it had some shadow detail. But more importantly it is hard to focus on the negative. I have autofocus on my Pentax DL, but I would rather do it manually. What I don't like about 35mm scans is the aliasing, noise, lack of shadow detail, time, not being able to use ICE, and the constant adjusting.
Is Rube any realation to Mike?:D
I'm not sure about other scanners, but I use a KM 5400 Mk II and you can only scan with ICE if you use chromogenic B&W film. Normal B&W like FP4 can only be scanned 'straight'. Unless I'm doing something wrong(quite probable!), I'm not too happy with the quality of the results so far and am in the process of trying various chromogenic film to compare results.
Any suggestions would be most welcome.
Well that setup looks almost identical to mine.
I altered the standard Pentax bellows unit to accept m39 lenses and use a 75mm enlarging lens, but otherwise similar.
Results are comparable to my Scan Dual III, but less hassle for large numbers of negatives.
I'd like to try HDR techniques to scan slides that way. Does anyone know how to do that with Photoshop CS?
Bryce, do you use a flash as I do or do you use a lamp or room light? I may try an enlarging lens as I have a m42 to m39 adapter. One cool thing about Pentax is that everything fits from day one. My slide copier must be 35 years old and it fits onto my newish 50mm lens.
I usually use either a flash or cold lamp type light table. Which ever is handiest, you know. To use flash, I put a white board behind the negs and illuminate the card with a flashgun.
If I try the HDR technique and slides, I'll limit myself to flash for color control purposes.
Yes, Pentax has been pretty good about maintaining standards over the years. Dedication to mount design and even filter size (49mm unless there's a damn good reason not to use it) is just good engineering. And makes for brand loyalty, too.
If only they hadn't 'neutered' the newer bodies' mechanical aperture ring detector...
Bryce, I agree. But do you see (my pet peeeve) more shadow detail as I do with this method. photogdave, thinks you and I are nuts, but I downloaded 6 of his FLICKR photos and the histograms are all dark loaded (little shadow detail). I know it is his style and he likes it. But for now anyway, I want more shadow detail.
I don't know much about this stuff, but my work-around (I have a nice darkroom) is to make an 8X10 print from a b/w neg and then scan the print with an Epson 4990 flat bed scanner at 1:1.
But you've given me an interesting idea. I, too, have a Pentax DSLR. Going to snoop around for a Pentax slide/neg copier and fiddle with it. Missed one last month on ebay. Couldn't imagine what I'd do with it as I never use slide film.
I don't know if I follow...
You get too little shadow detail from slides using a scanner? If that's what you mean, yes that has been my experience. At least with the inexpensive Minolta one I used to use.
When I took photo classes, I had the luxury of access to a Nikon 4000, and the difference was eye opening. That is a pretty doggone good scanner.
Back to negatives, I've not noticed any problem with the digital camera method; there just isn't enough gamma in a negative to tax the sensor's dynamic range.
Attached is a recently scanned image, a little different though- instead of slide copier/ 75mm lens, I used enlarger neg carrier and 100/4 Macro Pentax lens to scan this 6x4.5 negative. Negative was from Fuji GS645S, lens wide open. Cropped a bit.
The image is from a geology class field trip, instructor speaking on the beach.
Flatbed scanning a print is the best way, hands down. The slide copier method is just quicker and gives similar quality to most slide scanners.
No, I get too little shadow detail on B&W negatives when I have them scanned or scan them myself. Slides are fine, but for some reason B&W negatives do not come out the way I want them to. Even if they would come out flat, I could add contrast. But I find it hard to go the other way. If the detail is not there you can't create it.
Can you give an example?
I assume that rather than just adjusting contrast directly you're using "levels" and cropping the data- free range of brightness, usually both highlights and shadows with B+W negs. If not, that could explain the problem.
Slide scanners have a very tough job to do- digitize the enormous gamma of slides faithfully. Negs just don't have that much range, so much of the scanner's ability goes to waste...
That's not what it do. But I will get back to you tonight. I think I have a negative that was scanned and the same one that was done on my DSLR. I open the file (mine are RAW) and I just open it in PS no RAW adjustments. I crop the extraneous areas off, invert to positive B&W, then use levels. That is it so far, as I said I just started this and I'm trying to get my flash and histogram adjusted.
Um, I don't think you are nuts. I was just curious why you didn't like scanned negs. Now I know. Thanks.
As to visible shadow detail, don't forget your monitor type and calibration can have an effect. I edit my images on a Monaco XR-calibrated CRT and my B&W stuff has more visible shadow detail on that screen than my cheap-ass Samsung LCD right next to it!
photogdave, I know my monitor isn't calibrated, so you are right I don't like my stuff as well on the monitor as I do in Print form. I solved the softness problem as you can see. Anyway, here is my seventh try at using the Rube Goldberg device. This image is actually for Bryce. It is a simple copy of a Tri-X negative taken in 1973. I just cropped and converted to positive, with a very small levels adjustment.
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