Experimenting with gearing Flatbed Scanner Optics for better scanning of 16mm film.
Greetings, I hope this will not start a dreaded fight about scanners. I understand they are not ideally suited for films in the smaller format, and that a dedicated optical film scanner is usually far better suited. However if you read the entire thread you will better understand the limitations at hand and why a flatbed scanner is being used.
Aside from collecting and enjoying range finder cameras I'm also an avid and long devoted collector of antiquarian films. Especially vintage home-movies which have become abandoned. Collecting old films has it's many rewards but it also has it's issues. Many of you are well familiar with how the unsuitable storage of them can lead to a molecular breakdown cycle within the films acetate, which onsets the dreaded decay of what is called "vinegar-syndrome".
Some of the films I encounter are in a advanced stage of acid decay and are unusable with a film projector. Aside from keeping these films well isolated and stored away from my healthy films, if any of the decayed films contain appreciable footage, I will often go through the tedious task of carefully removing the strips of film and scanning them by hand using my Epson 4990 flat bed scanner. A flat bed has been almost priceless for using in this way except for (as most of you guessed it) the limitations it has with small films.
While it does allow for appreciable scans compared to not getting any imagery at all, it would be nice to find a way to improve them. I suspect a flat-beds limitations with smaller formats is largely due with the optics being geared and fixed for capturing the entire scan range on the flat beds surface. If I could add or exchange the scanners optics and manipulate them for better scanning ( even if limited to a smaller area) of the 16mm films, my efforts and time would be far better served. I'm almost willing to risk trying anything on improving capture of what I believe is likely of historical significance for future historians.
I understand that tinkering and experimenting with a scanner in this way is likely risking serious damage or ruin to the scanner. However, the 4990 I have was purchased at a bargain because of ugly paint stains on the housing. I also have a vast assortment of lenses and elements I've removed from old micro-scopes and broken P&S cameras that might allow me to achieve this. I've successfully managed of ways in using them in other cameras, so this makes me all the more confident.
What I don't have however, (which is the reason for the post) is any advanced technical experience or understanding about how a flat bed is geared towards focusing. The lens optics which are small, seem molded and fixed into a plastic housing. I'm not sure if the scanner employs any auto focus ability or if it based on a fixed focus. Also, some of you might know in advice that what I'm seeking to attempt is even possible. I would appreciate any input from any of you and I do thank for your time in reading this (now obviously) long thread. Charles
Fun-Quote: "Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies." -- Voltaire His last words on his death bed when asked by a priest to renounce Satan.
Last edited by cwatgo1970 : 05-26-2011 at 12:14.