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Slide photo copying

Brian Donaldson , Aug 08, 2005; 01:04 a.m.

There was a time, in a land far, far away, that a device could be attached to film cameras so one could copy slides. For those of you who remember this device, is there one available for the digital age?

I have slides and negatives that I'd like to digitize with the same type of method if possible. I mean, I have a really fine digital camera (20D) and tons of old slides and negatives. Might as well experiment. Got nothing to lose 'cept battery power.

Responses

Puppy Face , Aug 08, 2005; 01:36 a.m.

They still sell them at big shop stores like B&H. The 1.6x crop factor may be a problem with devices designed for 1:1 repro with full frame 35mm. Wouldn't a decent film scanner be easier and better quality? E.g., Minolta 5400.

Jim Youhouse , Aug 08, 2005; 04:23 a.m.

Epson 3170 Photo scanner comes with a slide attachment. This is a un-touched 35mm slide recently scanned.


35mm slide scanned with Epson 3170 photo scanner

Mark U , Aug 08, 2005; 04:39 a.m.

You'll get the best results with a dedicated film scanner. However, Ohnar makes a copier designed for DSLRs (as well as their original version designed for film and another for digicams).

Jon Glass , Aug 08, 2005; 08:50 a.m.

I did a personal experiment a little over a year ago with what I called "digicam scanning" and posted the results on a web page. Granted, the copies were made with a Nikon Coolpix 990, but I was curious if this method would be a good replacement for my film scanner which had just died. Maybe this will help--keeping in mind that this was a 3mp digicam, not a 6mp dSLR...

<http://homepage.mac.com/jonglass/digicam_scanning/digicam_scanning.html>

I would think that, depending on your needs, this could be a viable alternative to a scanner. It certainly would be faster!

-Jon

Jeff Applegate , Aug 08, 2005; 10:48 a.m.

In principal it seems like this could work, and might have the potential for being faster than a film scanner. One downside might be how such a system handles dust and scratches. I would think that such defects would tend to show up as well, or "better", than with a film scanner. In this case you would probably need a stand-alone replacement for the ICE/FARE-type dust removal algorithms typically provided by dedicated scanners.

As for resolution, you might have to work very hard to get what you can get from the better scanners. It depends on just how much is enough. This got me thinking of an interesting idea - you could maximize the resoulution by imaging subframes and then using a stitching technique! Yeah I know, starting to get more complicated. But then again, I've always had a talent for making things harder than they need to be!

By the way, Jon, your link doesn't seem to be working.

Jeff

Jon Glass , Aug 08, 2005; 10:56 a.m.

You are right. That's because that, while I pasted the link as plain text within the carets <>, somehow the site software converted it to a live url link, but converted the closing caret along with it! If you copy the above link without the closing caret, it should work, or you can try this:

http://homepage.mac.com/jonglass/digicam_scanning/digicam_scanning.html

Hopefully this one will work...

Andrew Hinkle , Aug 08, 2005; 11:31 a.m.

If you don't want to spend too much money on the scanner and don't mind doing some retouching yourself then you should consider the DiMage DSIV. Less than 300 USD and great quality. The only problem is that the price reflects the fact that it does not have the ICE software suite for automatic retouching. The included auto correct software is pretty crappy. Some patience and time in Jasc 8 are all that are really required, but you might want to spend the money to save the time. Just saying that the option is there.

Michael Spencer , Aug 08, 2005; 03:17 p.m.

Brian,

This question comes up a lot and I frequently contribute to the threads. Check Batch scanning 35mm Kodachrome & Ektachrome for an example of the same slide digitized by copying with a Nikon D100 and scanning with a Nikon LS4000.

The only attachment you really need is something to get your lens to focus at 1:1 reproduction. Cheap way is with extension tubes; better way is with a diopter; best way is with a macro lens. Beyond that all you need is a way to hold the camera and slide/negative steady and a decent light source. A tripod and a window would do; a copy stand and light box would be a little better.

Camera copying is not the necessarily the best way to scan images, but it works fairly well and it is certainly fast. People tend to forget that back in the days of duping slides there were special low-contrast (and really low ASA) films specially made to cope with copying problems. The film scanners are similarly tweaked to give superior results.

Brian Donaldson , Aug 09, 2005; 12:01 a.m.

Excellent thoughts and ideas. I will check out the links provided. Thanks for your comments.

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