Scan Slides with Kodak Carousel Projector (Hack)
Old 01-15-2019   #1
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Scan Slides with Kodak Carousel Projector (Hack)

Could I hack a Kodak Carousel projector to make a slide-scanning rig? Use the slide-by-slide feed to speed up camera scanning? Point a camera right into the opening, use AF, and make my captures?

Then I saw this. It's a commercial product "SlideSnap" and it's expensive. I think I could hack something like this.

EDIT: Jump to Page 2, post #50 for summary and how-to instructions.

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Old 01-15-2019   #2
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So, first of all, anyone else tried this?

If you google "Carousel Slide Scan" you'll find a few, some with hints and suggestions. I'm gonna start blindingly simple, to get a feel for the challenge.
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Old 01-15-2019   #3
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Here's the most simple first approach:
- Remove the projector lens
- Point the camera into the opening
- Snap

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Old 01-15-2019   #4
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Oops, we need a diffuser for the light. Opening the light box on this 760H projector, I can slip in a sheet of diffusion material between the condensing lens and the slide. There is plenty of room.

[ EDIT: This isn't the best place for the diffuser. See #37 in this thread. ]

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Last edited by ColSebastianMoran : 01-16-2019 at 18:09. Reason: Note better position for diffuser. See #37.
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Old 01-15-2019   #5
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Sony A6000 with the Sony 30mm f/3.5 AF macro lens is the first attempt. Yes, I can capture the slide. And, the color is within reason.

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Old 01-15-2019   #6
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Here's the same shot with a big crop and a bit of adjustment.

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Old 01-15-2019   #7
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Another, both are chromes from 1970.

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Old 01-15-2019   #8
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Col--VERY clever! Hope it works well for you!
Be cautious of the heat coming from the projector lamp--it can be vicious!
Best of luck--and thanks for posting.
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Old 01-15-2019   #9
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Conclusions so far:
- Need better diffuser. (The mottled sky in first photo; those aren't clouds)
- Without hacksawing the projector, and with this "normal" focal length macro, I get about 1.5MPx out of my 24MPx camera. I will have to hacksaw the projector to get closer to the slide and probably also use a longer focal length lens.
- WB on these is 3400K; that matches spec 3350K for the ELH bulb in projector. Good.
- But, I want to get rid of the heat and get a bulb with less brightness. The ELH bulb is 300 watts (Yikes!). I want to figure out how to get an LED bulb into the housing.
- The workflow looks great: Slides in carousel or stack loader. Press to advance slide. Click to auto-focus and expose. I can run 100 slides in perhaps 10 minutes. Repeat. Then load the whole set into Lightroom.
- Slides have a lot of contrast. I might just bracket exposures and HDR the good images in Lightroom.
- My Coolscan will probably do a better job with color and tonality; I'll want to rescan the keepers.
- So far, this might be better overall than sorting slides first, then scanning the selects. Should be able to produce satisfactory files for record shots, snap shots, and I have thousands of these.
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Old 01-15-2019   #10
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Please comment!
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Old 01-15-2019   #11
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My interest in this is to quickly scan a lot of slides at "snapshot" quality, sort these out in Lightroom, then rescan the "keepers" with Coolscan.
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Old 01-15-2019   #12
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Too cool!!! Thanks!!!

You are onto something. Keep working on it and posting!!!
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Old 01-15-2019   #13
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I think this is a tremendous idea for auto-loading slides for duplicating. Your results look good to me so far, with the caveats that you yourself made - more light diffusion, getting closer for higher res.
One thing that occurs to me, with the heat that projector lamps generate (and I know you want to try an LED lamp), do you wait for the slide to pop and then focus, stopping down for depth of field, or do you snap the duplicate as soon as the slide moves into place? Having said that, i don't see any edge unfocus in your examples.
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Old 01-15-2019   #14
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This is a great idea. I may do some fiddling myself...I have thousands of slides and the vast majority don't need hi res...the ones that are worth the effort can be scanned with my Dimage.
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Old 01-15-2019   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pyeh View Post
... do you wait for the slide to pop and then focus, stopping down for depth of field, or do you snap the duplicate as soon as the slide moves into place? Having said that, i don't see any edge unfocus in your examples.
The projector bulb is 300 watts. I'm going to look for a far less hot solution.

As for edge unfocus, too early to tell. Slides are not perfectly flat. Will see.
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Old 01-15-2019   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
This is a great idea. I may do some fiddling myself...I have thousands of slides and the vast majority don't need hi res...the ones that are worth the effort can be scanned with my Dimage.
Have to see how many pixels I can get without applying hacksaw to the projector.
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Old 01-15-2019   #17
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"The projector bulb is 300 watts. I'm going to look for a far less hot solution."

Colonel,
I suppose the new bulb need not be very bright at all since you won't be using it for projection. If you use an LED bulb your shutter speed will have to be slow enough to allow for LED flicker, but I'm sure you've factored that in.
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Old 01-15-2019   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pyeh View Post
"The projector bulb is 300 watts. I'm going to look for a far less hot solution."

Colonel,
I suppose the new bulb need not be very bright at all since you won't be using it for projection. If you use an LED bulb your shutter speed will have to be slow enough to allow for LED flicker, but I'm sure you've factored that in.
LED flicker... Good point.
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Old 01-15-2019   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post
Please comment!
Won't the substitution of a cooler light source result in colour temperature and gamut complications? The colour of those old slides shown above looks gorgeous by the way.

How would the results from photographing the projected image on a flat screen compare with what you've done so far? I realise it wouldn't be high resolution, but as you've got a couple of megapixels worth, so far, is it worth making a comparison?

I don't know a lot about Carousel projectors, but am aware there were various lenses of greater or lesser quality and in at least some cases, the option of installing a better than standard lens. And that the Ektagraphic models tended to have better lenses as standard equipment. Hence I suppose the results from imaging off a screen would have to depend partly on the quality of the projector lenses you have access to.

It seems that once set up it would not take much if any longer to record the image off a screen compared to what you have done above, so perhaps it's worth a quick comparison?

Generally, do members have much interest in Carousel projectors? I've ended up with several projectors of varying quality including a Leitz Pradovit and Rollei P-11 but have always admired the Kodak Carousels. A year or two back I was gifted the very first model Carousel Kodak marketed, in fully working mint condition in box. I believe identical to the example which featured in an episode of Mad Men. I was surprised at how well designed and featured it was for its day. It's far from being the best Carousel model for regular use in 2019 (parts, etc.), although, I have used it a few times. But I can post up some pics of it in a few weeks when I'm back on my feet again if there's enough interest in seeing it.

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Old 01-15-2019   #20
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Next step: APS camera (D300 is handy, 12MPx). 105mm Micro-Nikkor. Same arrangement, hand held, shooting into the hole. Nantucket 1970. (Ignore the mottled sky; that's my crummy diffuser.)

I think this is encouraging. With APS and 100mm macro lens, I can fill the digital frame with the slide contents. I won't have to hacksaw the projector. About 10MPx in this image.

So, next steps: 20 watt 12v bulb, better diffuser, solid camera mount, more careful alignment. That'll be in a week or so.

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Old 01-15-2019   #21
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I see some dust problems above.
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Old 01-15-2019   #22
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Well that works out pretty well already I’d say. I wouldn’t have thought it would go that fast when we talked about it at first!

When looking for a LED light source make sure to get a high quality CRI one or maybe use a flash. There’s been some discussion going on in the digitalization with a camera group on Facebook regarding the wavelength of the reds and how cheap LEDs have a problem with that
I would rather use a stronger light source and keep faster shutter speeds at f/8 or similar
Another idea: try the light source a pakon F235 uses - i know it’s halogen but don’t remember which. But I’m sure you’ll find it!

Using this as a preview to sort the keepers is a very good idea. If your carousel has a timer it’s a great idea to shoot tethered onto the pc already and maybe use some timer on the camera as well. So every 2 seconds new slide, every other two seconds image capture - you could leave the room or prep a second carousel in the meantime which you could just switch out (if that’s possible). But at 4 seconds / image you might have a hard time keeping up with feeding the turning carousel with new slides I could imagine

Although I finished digitizing our family’s slides this is a very interesting setup!
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Old 01-15-2019   #23
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The beach image already seems pretty sharp when looking at the lower left edge!
Might be it’s just the slide being miss-focused.
Did you check it with a magnifying glass?

(I'd say >30% of my family’s slides were not in focus)
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Old 01-15-2019   #24
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Must say, this method shows a lot of potential for mechanising the feeding of slides. Great idea, Colonel and Predicolous. I also fancy the suggestion of using the intervalometers on the projector and camera and staggering their action.

Brett,
The projector lens doesn't come into play. It's removed and you stick the camera lens right into the chamber.
Have you been laid low recently? too much carousing on New Year's Eve?
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Old 01-15-2019   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pyeh View Post
Must say, this method shows a lot of potential for mechanising the feeding of slides. Great idea, Colonel and Predicolous. I also fancy the suggestion of using the intervalometers on the projector and camera and staggering their action.

Brett,
The projector lens doesn't come into play. It's removed and you stick the camera lens right into the chamber.
Have you been laid low recently? too much carousing on New Year's Eve?
Yes what's being done with the Carousel sans lens is interesting, to be honest, I wouldn't have thought of trying that but I was wondering how the results might compare with simply acquiring an image off a screen. It may well be superior. I only tried this once many years ago, the camera was four megapixels worth, and I used the front of my refrigerator as a screen. It worked, but I wouldn't draw any conclusions from my results, given the methodology definitely wasn't ideal! I managed to dislocate a kneecap rather badly recently, and then, because I wasn't smart enough to rest it, did it again. So now I am restricted for a bit until the swelling eases. Thanks for asking, kind of you.
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Old 01-15-2019   #26
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Brett, us antipodeans must look after each other. Sorry to hear of your misfortune. Very painful.

I believe taking a photo of a projected slide was once a serious way of slide duplication. It might even have been done for copying movie film or transferring from film to video. I might have even tried it myself once. In any case the copy would be a 3rd generation image.
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Old 01-16-2019   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by predicolous View Post
...I would rather use a stronger light source and keep faster shutter speeds at f/8 or similar
Another idea: try the light source a pakon F235 uses - i know its halogen but dont remember which.
50 Watt Solux Halogen 12v, 50W EIKO MR16 (GU5.3), with a remarkable 4700K color temp.

That's 1/4 the heat output. Very interesting idea.

Until (unless) I hacksaw the projector, I'd like to avoid doing anything irreversable. Maybe the Solux will fit directly, changing only the wiring to get 12v.
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Old 01-16-2019   #28
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This is a very smart idea. I wish you all the luck. Many people here want a quick and easy method for scanning old slides. I do.
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Old 01-16-2019   #29
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How much contrast in slides? Here's the histogram from the beach scene.

There is more density range in the slide than in color negatives. Camera-scan of slides may benefit from bracketing and HDR. Will do more experiments on this.

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Old 01-16-2019   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Won't the substitution of a cooler light source result in colour temperature and gamut complications? The colour of those old slides shown above looks gorgeous by the way.

How would the results from photographing the projected image on a flat screen compare with what you've done so far?
Yes, I've heard of this, and I think I've done it in a pinch.

Might work, but I'm not going to go that route; I prefer a compact setup rather than one in which I have to darken the room.

Hope you're feeling better!
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Old 01-16-2019   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pyeh View Post
The projector lens doesn't come into play. It's removed and you stick the camera lens right into the chamber.
Exactly. Longer focal length lens allows slide to fill more of the image area.

For anyone who wants to try it at home: 1) rig some kind of diffuser, be careful it could get hot in there, 2) remove the lens, 3) poke your macro lens into the hole.
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Old 01-16-2019   #32
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Next step.
- Same lamp, 300w, overkill but hard to switch-out. It's 3400K type ELH.
- Better diffuser. Cut from plastic lid for storage bin. Seems color neutral.
- Camera on tripod, aimed more carefully and kept in position. APS camera Nikon D300, 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor. With this lens, I can fill the frame with the slide image.
- Bracket exposure. For some slides this helps.

Here's an example, food prep at a beach party 1970, shade but direct sun in background. This is a Kodachrome slide. 10MPx from this 12MPx camera. I think this is pretty good.

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Old 01-16-2019   #33
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Looking good, CSM. Thanks for sharing your experiments with us in this and other photo duplication threads. I read them all avidly.
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Old 01-16-2019   #34
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Love this out of the box thinking. How hard is it to ensure planarity between the sensor and the slide?
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Old 01-16-2019   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post

Here's an example, food prep at a beach party 1970, shade but direct sun in background. This is a Kodachrome slide. 10MPx from this 12MPx camera. I think this is pretty good.
pretty good? that's super awesome ! Take a look back where you started this morning!

it's definitely sharp and has great colors - very good enough to sort out keepers and even good enough to archive nearly keepers i'd say!
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Old 01-16-2019   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Love this out of the box thinking. How hard is it to ensure planarity between the sensor and the slide?
I frame the shot to include a bit of black border around the slide image area. It's pretty easy to see whether things are lined up.

Is this truly planar? I don't know.

Would be hard to do the usual tests (mirror at subject plane).
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Old 01-16-2019   #37
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Key is to place a diffuser in the light path. Best place seems to be on the slide-side of the heat absorbing glass (the flat glass, not the convex lens).

Caution: It's a 300w lamp, make sure you are comfortable you won't start a fire. I want to switch to a lower wattage lamp. In the meantime, I plan to limit the run time.

What material for the diffuser? I cut up the white plastic cover of a plastic storage bin. It's about 1mm thick. Passes plenty of diffused light. With the 300w bulb, exposure is 1/1500, f/8, ISO 200. I'll be happy with two or three stops less light and heat.

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Old 01-16-2019   #38
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I'm watching developments with great interest. I have many slides I wish to convert, and 2 Kodak Carousel projectors - 1 basically for parts (about worn out but complete) and 1 in E.C.
I suspect (hope??) the "parts" one may qualify for modification.
Thanks for your efforts.
David
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Old 01-17-2019   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pyeh View Post
Brett, us antipodeans must look after each other. Sorry to hear of your misfortune. Very painful.

I believe taking a photo of a projected slide was once a serious way of slide duplication. It might even have been done for copying movie film or transferring from film to video. I might have even tried it myself once. In any case the copy would be a 3rd generation image.
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Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post
Yes, I've heard of this, and I think I've done it in a pinch.

Might work, but I'm not going to go that route; I prefer a compact setup rather than one in which I have to darken the room.

Hope you're feeling better!
Thank you guys, you are kind.
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Old 01-17-2019   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iphoenix View Post
I'm watching developments with great interest. I have many slides I wish to convert, and 2 Kodak Carousel projectors - 1 basically for parts (about worn out but complete) and 1 in E.C.
I suspect (hope??) the "parts" one may qualify for modification.
Thanks for your efforts.
David
Whole reason for doing this is the slide transport. Check your worn-out one. The usual failure on these projectors is the slide advance.

eBay or Amazon has solutions for "Kodak Carousel Projector repair"
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