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New CN inversion action/macro for PS and Affinity Photo
Old 03-13-2018   #1
adriang
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New CN inversion action/macro for PS and Affinity Photo

I've recently developed a new method for color negative inversion using operations and blending modes directly in Photoshop or Affinity Photo.

This method works similar to software in scanners like the Fuji Frontier.

The only requirements for perfect inversions are the sampling of the film base and a linear raw scan (preferably 16bit).

The method works much better than any of the software solutions available, or much more expensive tools that fail to deliver on their promises. It does this simply and without doing any unwanted interpretation of the scene

You can find it and read about how to use it at my website.

If you want me to test it on your scans to see it in action, please send me links to your files and I'll gladly invert them.
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Old 03-13-2018   #2
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Thanks for this. Was thinking I might have a go with the hasselblad and some ‘scanning’ once I get my m adapter in.
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Old 03-13-2018   #3
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How does your action compare with ColorPerfect? See, for example, posts 22 + 30 in this thread.
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Old 03-13-2018   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichC View Post
How does your action compare with ColorPerfect? See, for example, posts 22 + 30 in this thread.
I have no direct comparisons of that, there are other users on a different forum who made comparisons. Personally, I prefer my method, although I might be biased

If you can send me a .tiff you usually invert with CP (and have trouble with getting a good result), then I can demonstrate this better than with words.
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Old 03-13-2018   #5
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If you have simple solution for Ektar I'm sold, here is a TIFF file, please use it for demonstation http://bielikowski.com/up/mws_0017.tif
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Old 03-13-2018   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbielikowski View Post
If you have simple solution for Ektar I'm sold, here is a TIFF file, please use it for demonstation http://bielikowski.com/up/mws_0017.tif
Here you go, I made three variants: One with the PS action, one in Affinity Photo and another with extra saturation.

Also, here's a video I made that goes over the process quickly.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg mws_0017-afpsat.jpg (39.4 KB, 100 views)
File Type: jpg mws_0017-afp.jpg (37.4 KB, 84 views)
File Type: jpg mws_0017-ps.jpg (43.3 KB, 82 views)
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Old 03-13-2018   #7
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I like it, and the fine tuning in PS looks really simple, thanks!
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Old 03-13-2018   #8
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@adriang, thanks for posting. Here's my test image from this recent thread.

http://2under.net/images/171004-Test...er-DSC9558.ARW

The file is a Sony A7 raw capture, 5500K illumination (electronic flash), Fuji 200 film. Known colors. Doesn't include film rebate, but the shadow area lower right is damn close. If you can get the Coke red, the Kodak yellow/orange, and Fuji green right, you have a winner.

Looking at conversions with several methods, it was clear that simple "Invert" in photoshop was way off, something non-linear is necessary, ColorPerfect does a pretty good job.

Can you say more about what's in your program?
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Old 03-13-2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post
@adriang, thanks for posting. Here's my test image from this recent thread.

http://2under.net/images/171004-Test...er-DSC9558.ARW

The file is a Sony A7 raw capture, 5500K illumination (electronic flash), Fuji 200 film. Known colors. Doesn't include film rebate, but the shadow area lower right is damn close. If you can get the Coke red, the Kodak yellow/orange, and Fuji green right, you have a winner.

Looking at conversions with several methods, it was clear that simple "Invert" in photoshop was way off, something non-linear is necessary, ColorPerfect does a pretty good job.

Can you say more about what's in your program?
DSLR scans are somewhat hit or miss, here's a result with some playing with the Y and M adjustment layers. I went by the middle grey in the chart.

I couldn't really tell you about what's in it, if you look at it you'll see there's no secret sauce, it's just a method that works and is fast!
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Old 03-13-2018   #10
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Thanks Adrian, the middle grey is a good place to start. That conversion could be good; would take a little more tweeking. You've set a reasonable price for this PS action; I'll go buy it now.

You said you like to start from a linear raw scan; how are you getting this?
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Old 03-13-2018   #11
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I am interested
For some reason I can't hear the audio of the linked video
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Old 03-13-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adriang View Post
Here you go, I made three variants: One with the PS action, one in Affinity Photo and another with extra saturation.

Also, here's a video I made that goes over the process quickly.
I will definitely check this out when I get home.
I have had success with my own profiles but could not crack Ektar.
All my efforts resulted in a cyan image.
I use a DSLR to scan my film.
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Old 03-13-2018   #13
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Is LightRoom supported or just PS and AffinityPhoto?
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Old 03-14-2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adriang View Post
I couldn't really tell you about what's in it, if you look at it you'll see there's no secret sauce, it's just a method that works and is fast!
Your inversions that you posted here and at Photrio look really nice.

I haven't bought your PS action yet but in PS I would basically do:

- duplicate background layer
- increase gamma to 2.2 on that layer
- sample orange mask from that layer and create a new solid color layer with that colour (set blending mode to 'difference')
- merge layers
- do levels adjustment or do some sort of auto tone/contrast/color
- if you want to constrain yourself to a system similar to wet colour printing you could then add magenta and yellow layer and play with blending mode and opacity to "simulate" the effect of the color pack (it's a gimmick, though, as you got rid of orange mask in step 3 and there are better tools for that in PS)
- add a layer to adjust contrast and brightness

The problem with that approach is that the orange mask removal + inversion step works best when you have a scan that has a clear/unexposed part of the negative included and the auto levels stuff works best when you don't have clear and/or totally opaque (from negative holder) part included in the picture.

As I said I haven't bought your PS action (so you might be doing things differently), but I will buy it (more like a donation) if Huss' scans improve (such lovely subjects, but with horrible casts and skin tones as if they came from Mars)

The problem with DSLR scans will be that raw files need to be developed into linear tiffs for this process to work (the inversion you did on ColSebastianMoran's file is very bad, the others from linear scans are very good) and this has to be done outside PS.

I've started work on small and simple standalone app that could do all that (inversion process still a bit more elaborate), but then I got myself Noritsu LS-600 scanner and my motivation just... evaporated

Quote:
Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post
You said you like to start from a linear raw scan; how are you getting this?
That's easy with scanners and also not that difficult with DSLR scans (it's been shown in your thread).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Is LightRoom supported or just PS and AffinityPhoto?
Lightroom doesn't support layers.
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Old 03-14-2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brbo View Post
Y
As I said I haven't bought your PS action (so you might be doing things differently), but I will buy it (more like a donation) if Huss' scans improve (such lovely subjects, but with horrible casts and skin tones as if they came from Mars)
My Martian friends thank you!

D750 scan of Rolleiflex image.


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Old 03-19-2018   #16
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Friends, this CN conversion issue is difficult, please no name-calling.

We know we can invert, apply "auto" corrections and then fix what's wrong with manual adjustments. My quest is to find an fully automated process that gets "close enough" from a camera-scan for routine work. As close as we used to get from taking our films to the mini-lab. As you may have seen in my other thread, we have some contenders, but all could be better.

I now have Adrian's action, and will see how close it gets on my test-box frame.

I'm focused on camera-scan because I do believe that commercial software and film-scanners can meet my criteria, a fully auto process that's about as good as the mini-labs. Using a Pakon probably also passes the test. Can we do it with a camera-scan?
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Old 03-19-2018   #17
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I have Adrian's CN Inversion action. He applied it to the test image, a Sony Camera-raw file, with results posted above #10.

I have run his action on the file, and I get a result I think is really excellent, better I think that what Adrian posted. My only quibble now is that the Coke red is a bit dark in value and low in sat. Overall, this is an excellent automatic conversion. I will now mention this action in my other thread.

This result by opening the .ARW file in Photoshop, using Adobe Camera Raw. The only manual elements are a) in Camera Raw, set black/white to hold the histogram away from the edges, b) sample the film rebate, and c) crop to the true image area.

When I try the action on a linear tiff (specifically, the output of MakeTiff), the automatic result is not good).

Thanks, Adrian, for the action.

Here's my result from the .ARW file:
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Old 03-20-2018   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post
I have Adrian's CN Inversion action. He applied it to the test image, a Sony Camera-raw file, with results posted above #10.

I have run his action on the file, and I get a result I think is really excellent, better I think that what Adrian posted. My only quibble now is that the Coke red is a bit dark in value and low in sat. Overall, this is an excellent automatic conversion. I will now mention this action in my other thread.
I'm really glad it is working well for you!

What do you think of the overall gamma from a straight one click conversion?
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Old 03-28-2018   #19
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Just a quick update.
I'm currently working on having much more accurate gamma straight after a one click inversion. This should be ready in a new version sometime next week!

This will be helpful in assessing images much quicker, and getting a very good starting point.
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Old 03-28-2018   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adriang View Post
I'm really glad it is working well for you!

What do you think of the overall gamma from a straight one click conversion?
Adrian, as I posted, I think this is an excellent fully automatic conversion.

I am curious why my conversion looks better than your's from the same .ARW file. Perhaps it's the choices at the camera-raw stage. I've found it help to make sure there's room at either end of the histogram.

EDIT: Looking again, the biggest difference is that your's is darker, maybe the color quality is the same.

Looking forward to your next release.
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Old 04-16-2018   #21
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The Photoshop action has been updated to have even better gamma and colour out of the box, with much more accurate results now (at least in theory, and in the testing I've done on the collection of scans that I have)


If there's someone who still wants to try this or isn't sure that it works, I'm still looking for more scans to invert!
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Old 04-21-2018   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adriang View Post
The Photoshop action has been updated to have even better gamma and colour out of the box, with much more accurate results now (at least in theory, and in the testing I've done on the collection of scans that I have)


If there's someone who still wants to try this or isn't sure that it works, I'm still looking for more scans to invert!
Thank you Adrian. The plugin works really well. I'm still testing
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How to update plugin?
Old 05-01-2018   #23
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How to update plugin?

Hi,
I bought the plugin a while ago and on your website it says that all future versions will be received. I'd love to try the newest version but have no idea how to update the plugin.

Thanks for any help

Daniel
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Old 05-31-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danitoma View Post
Hi,
I bought the plugin a while ago and on your website it says that all future versions will be received. I'd love to try the newest version but have no idea how to update the plugin.

Thanks for any help

Daniel
You should have received an Email with the latest update.

I've just updated my color negative film inversion action for Photoshop to version 1.6.

New in this version is a completely new film gamma adjustment that is much more neutral and balanced, providing better shadow and highlight detail.

Other parts of the action have been updated as well, with better initial color balance and an extra option for lifting shadow values.
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Old 06-01-2018   #25
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hey thanks. Could you explain what the lab saturation do and how it works?
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Old 06-08-2018   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MemphisMonroe View Post
hey thanks. Could you explain what the lab saturation do and how it works?
In my findings, some scans have a lower saturation than they should (especially between scanners). This is just a method for increasing saturation in a clean way. It can also be used creatively when more punchy colours are wanted!
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Wow!
Old 07-20-2018   #27
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Wow!

I just bought this and all I have to say is wow! I've been getting my film developed and scanned (on a Noritsu) by The FIND Lab at $12, however my local lab does develop only for $7. I started sending my color film to FIND since I couldn't get the colors to look right. I got tired of waiting a week and a half per roll so I got these actions and I won't be sending stuff to FIND anymore.

Here's a comparison. The FIND Lab is up first.

911180010012 by Scott Carr, on Flickr
I couldn't get very much detail out of anything due to how high contrast the scan was.

And now my scan on a Plustek 8100 using the actions.

Portra 400 Christmas by Scott Carr, on Flickr

I made very slight adjustments using the controls given in the action and I have so much more detail! I could easily bring this into Lightroom and pump up the contrast and saturation whereas with the FIND scan there wasn't any room to adjust.

Two more examples:

Portra 400 Christmas (2) by Scott Carr, on Flickr


Portra 400 Christmas (4) by Scott Carr, on Flickr

I am very happy to have finally found a way to successfully scan color at home. Thank you!
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Old 07-21-2018   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottboarding View Post
I am very happy to have finally found a way to successfully scan color at home. Thank you!
You are more than welcome! It really means a lot to me that you find this as useful as I do!
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Old 09-24-2018   #29
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Bougt it too! Very Very Good!
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Old 09-24-2018   #30
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Do you happen to have a demo video to see it in action?
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Old 09-24-2018   #31
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it's too bad there's no trial, but I understand if there was, people would just reverse engineer. Judging from the website pieces it looks like something interesting I've not seen before from other sources. Just hard to tell how well it works.
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Old 09-24-2018   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scapevision View Post
... it looks like something interesting I've not seen before from other sources. Just hard to tell how well it works.
We are talking about converting a camera-scan file from a film color negative into a good color image.

See my example in #17 above. That's a hard negative to convert with good color in an automated process.

I've tried a number of approaches, and documented results in another thread.

I think Adrian's is very good, easy to use, and worth the modest money he seeks.
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Old 06-27-2019   #33
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Version 2.0 has just been released after a long wait in which I've collected a lot of scans and feedback from users.

Here's a few highlights about what's new
- No more cropping needed!
- Reworked gamma
- Improved colour
- Significant speed and ram use improvements
- Preset for underexposed or night shots
- Preset for non-linear raw tiff scans
- Option to revert the conversion

Going forward, I think a good idea is to have even more 'presets' for specific scenarios, however, the way it is done now works very well as long as the source file is good (as always: no clipped channels, proper linear raw scan, etc).

It would be ideal if the sampling of the negative base would be eliminated, and that would mean really just one click inversion (now it's basically two or three if you count selecting the eyedropper tool).
There are ways to script this into Photoshop, but none of the ways I can think of don't compromise quality, as there are some assumptions you have to make, and I would rather not compromise.

Another thing I've made a point out of with 2.0, is to have a very transparent process, just a straight as possible inversion, with correct gamma, neutral colours. No fancy assumptions, no weird colour casts and color shifts.

The philosophy is still to have a one click inversion, but not in all-in-one solution that involves guesswork and/or my personal bias. In the end, you are the artist, you should make final adjustments to tones, colours and sharpening on your own.

If you ever want to try before you buy, or test some scans and see how they would look, I'll gladly answer PMs.

(if you purchased, check your email)
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Old 06-27-2019   #34
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Looking forward to the Affinity update! Several here have switched to using Negative Lab Pro, but as I am not a Lightroom user, I'm still actively using this.
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Old 07-13-2019   #35
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Looking forward to the Affinity update! Several here have switched to using Negative Lab Pro, but as I am not a Lightroom user, I'm still actively using this.
Affinity has now been also updated to version v2.1

Negative Lab Pro is indeed a nicely packaged solution, and works with Lightroom! What sets my method apart is how transparent the process is, by using the minimum amount of operations needed for a clean starting point, and now, how accessible it is to get!

Starting now, CNMY Invert will be available via Patreon, making it more accessible as well as now featuring a standalone inversion pack for B&W scans!
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Old 07-25-2019   #36
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Today, a milestone release of CNMY brings some major changes and improvements.

Starting now, CNMY is a one click inversion.
-Sampling of the negative is no longer needed
-The default inversion now has a flatter profile, with extra care given to highlight information
-Patrons get the exclusive AutoColor - Frontier preset, which uses a LUT to emulate the look of the Fuji Frontier professional scanner.

The inversion is now up to 50% faster and supports batch workflows in Photoshop

Here are a few samples showing CNMY 2.2 together with the new Frontier 3DLUT profile.

The new inversion method is designed to give a flat and consistent result, ready for adjustments and grading, and to be used together with the Frontier LUT, and many more to come!


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Old 07-29-2019   #37
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Thank you Adrian! Version 2.2 is a completely new inversion quality. Really big progress.
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Old 07-29-2019   #38
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The new update is phenomenal! The frontier LUT is unbelievable and the highlight retention is much better than other inversion software. Here's a few camera scanned images of Portra 400:






Awesome results with very little editing required!
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Old 07-29-2019   #39
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The new update is phenomenal! The frontier LUT is unbelievable and the highlight retention is much better than other inversion software. Here's a few camera scanned images of Portra 400:
Oh these look great! When you say camera scans, do you mean these are DSLR scans? If so, care to share your workflow? And also if you'd be willing to PM me the raw file for one of these two shots so I can use some internal methods on it, that would be fantastic!
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Old 07-30-2019   #40
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Oh these look great! When you say camera scans, do you mean these are DSLR scans? If so, care to share your workflow? And also if you'd be willing to PM me the raw file for one of these two shots so I can use some internal methods on it, that would be fantastic!
Yup, DSLR scans. Next time I set it up I can take some photos to show the setup, but for now I'll do my best to describe it. I bought a light table similar to those that you view slides on which lights up the negatives. I invert my tripod so the camera is facing straight down at it. I use a Nikon D750, a 60mm f2.8d macro, and a scanning attachment that nikon makes (ES-2). The negative is held right in front of the lens and I can nearly fill the entire frame with the negative so there isn't a lot of cropping needed. I manually set the exposure typically around the 0 mark, sometimes over or under depending on the negative, and just take a photo. It's super fast to do and the quality is the best I've ever gotten from 35mm. Hopefully that made sense, but maybe not. I'll pm you some Raw files to play with and take a photo of the setup next time I use it.
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Nikon FM2n - Nikon F3HP - Voigtlander 40mm f2 SLii - Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar
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