My weird homebrew scanning workflow

Discussion in 'Film, developing & other non-digital stuff' started by billowens, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. I have only an old Canon scanner that's slow, no longer supported and not particularly good at identifying film frames, so I've worked out a different way to scan 35mm film. Long ago, various companies made gadgets called slide duplicators, which were designed to make it easy to re-photograph slides onto either slide or negative film. They are simple and easy to use; basically just a macro lens with a special holder for a slide, usually including a piece of white plastic to provide a nice diffuse light. However, they're designed for 35mm film cameras and produce a 1:1 duplication; although some offer higher magnifications to allow cropping of the original slide, none will go smaller. That means an APS-C sensor digital camera can only see the center portion of the slide.

    But all that's really needed is a macro lens with the appropriate focus distance and macro factor, along with a slide holder that can take unmounted 35mm film strips. It turns out this is possible, though not exactly easy.
    slide_scanner.jpg
    From right to left, this is a Pentax K-x APS-C camera with an M42 adapter; two 12mm M42 macro extension rings; a Mir-1 37mm lens; a 49mm filter with the glass broken out (it was already cracked); the front portion of a Spiratone Vario-Dupliscope III; and the 35mm film carrier for the Dupliscope. The lens gets focused to about 1.9 meters on the focus dial, and everything is sharp.

    This lashup has the virtue of being quick and easy to use; the film can be carefully slid from frame to frame without removing the entire carrier, and pictures take just a second and can then be uploaded as usual and inverted (I use GIMP). The downsides have to do with the fact that the viewfinder is not 100% so I have to guess at the edges of the film, and the metering on the camera can't always be trusted to get a good negative image. But it's easy to bracket the images and pick the best one later. It also lets me scan the single-frame images from my Olympus Pen-EE, like so:
    IMGP5750_pos.jpg
    Now, what I really want to do is make prints from these negatives and then scan the prints for online use, but that's something I'm still working on (and the appropriate negative carrier for the Pen single-frame film hasn't arrived yet).
     
    Chris and moroseduck like this.
  2. That's crazy but amazing! How did you ever work all that out?
     
  3. I did a lot of experimentation with different slide copiers, but it was the realization they're just specialized macro lenses that inspired me to start playing with other lenses. I picked 37mm as being close to 'normal' for APS-C and then tried different extension rings until I got the scale right, and finally added the broken filter as a spacer on the front to move the focus nearer the center of the range.


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