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Thread: The Perfect Scanner ...

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    Senior Member m3photo's Avatar
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    The Perfect Scanner ...

    ... is one that is light and portable, shoots RAW/16bit files and does a good job.

    Yes folks, it's called the Panasonic Lumix G1 and when mated to a 55mm Micro-Nikkor does a very good job indeed. The copying distance is very comfortable as it's now a 110mm lens and with 35mm slides and negatives the focus is between the 24 and 25mm mark on it taking into account the thickness of the added m4/3-Nikon adapter.
    Compared to my now redundant Microtek i900 (yes I know, not much to shout about) the results are way better. Working with the G1 of course, one can shoot bracketed sequences if required for that extra range on those tricky slides we all have.
    The set-up is most rudimentary, tripod facing window and an A4 sheet of good quality printer paper as a diffuser. I use the slide/negative holders from the Microtek to support them on the window ledge and fire away!
    I have a friend who has a Nikon Coolscan and I keep meaning to do a comparison, but wait (exclamation mark, la Russell Brown) perhaps one of you fine folks could do the test for us ...

    Happy scanning.

    This was prompted by reading a recent post by Carl (Scho) who signed off with a sad:
    " I also have many nice pictures that I took of of my children years ago with the Rollei, but I have yet to scan all of the negatives."
    Imagine what this little gem could do with 6x6 negatives

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    Hi

    happy to be involved ... I have an LS-4000. If you have a target I'll happily scan it and submit my scans.

    FWIW I think there are some problems with digital cameras as scanners, expecially with respect to negative films because of the variation in density of each of the layers (red green and blue) having different density ranges.

    For instance, this is the typical responce curve of a C-41 neg:

    ... ok ... that seems to be blocked ... please read article here.
    notice that for a given exposure amount that the density of the film is substantially different. This density range will also not match to the sensor which is tuned to try to get a greater scene brightness.

    A way around this is to employ HDRI and make multiple exposures and then get at the relevant data in a TIFF

    There will of course be no digital ICE or bulk scanning operations ... ultimately I've gone back to my film scanners for scanning film :-)

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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    Quote Originally Posted by m3photo View Post
    ... is one that is light and portable, shoots RAW/16bit files and does a good job.

    This looks good - can you post a picture of your setup?

    Keith

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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    Quote Originally Posted by woodmancy View Post
    This looks good - can you post a picture of your setup?

    Keith
    . . . . and how many images do you cover in one image (just one?)

    Thanks

    Keith

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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    i only scan some old slides. Just those worth it. I use my good old Epson 4490 for that task and i think, its doing still a good job...
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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    Hi

    also, for what its worth, on another thread on another forum:

    With this setup I was able to obtain good results with b&w negatives and reasonable from positive "slide" film.

    In a nutshell, I noticed this:

    - The camera must be colour balanced for the light source, even though it is supposed to be daylight. I used the standard D80 auto colour temp setting and that produced the most pleasing colour balance, matching the original. Didn't record what the actual colour temp setting was.

    - The diffused light source gets rid of most if not all scratches, imperfections and other surface defects of the film. Including most drying marks. No need for the infra-red d-Ice of the scanners and that won't work with b&w negatives anyway.

    - Grain is less noticeable than in a film scanner. This might be a consequence of the next point.

    - 10mpx is waaaaay too low for the definition I'm used to getting from my film scanners. It however produces perfectly acceptable "scans" from slides and b&w, at that definition.

    - Getting the framing just right is fiddly with my setup and takes a long time.

    - Flatness was not a problem, but field curvature from the lens was. Hard to focus precisely, mostly because the focus point changed slightly as I closed down the iris. I ended up using the lens wide open, with slightly less sharp results than I could get if I spent the time to get precise focus at smaller apertures: it took less time that way. Not sure if this focusing problem was a result of the lens itself or something else. The 105/2.5 is not a macro lens, so this might be the problem.

    - For normal slides and negatives, I didn't find dynamic range a problem. The results were evenly illuminated and there were no "hot" or "dark" spots. Have not tried with "difficult" film images.
    full thread here.

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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    Quote Originally Posted by m3photo View Post

    This was prompted by reading a recent post by Carl (Scho) who signed off with a sad:
    " I also have many nice pictures that I took of of my children years ago with the Rollei, but I have yet to scan all of the negatives."
    Imagine what this little gem could do with 6x6 negatives
    OK, now you've shamed me into digging into my boxes of old 6x6 negatives. You have to be in sort of a masochistic mood to spend much time scanning. I have an Epson 700 flatbed which is primarily used for my 4x5 negative scanning, but it does OK with 6x6 negs also. Here is one of the oldies of my daughter taken with the Rolleiflex about 35 years ago that I just scanned today (better late than never).


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    Senior Member m3photo's Avatar
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    Re: LS-4000 Test etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by pellicle View Post
    happy to be involved ... I have an LS-4000. If you have a target I'll happily scan it and submit my scans.

    notice that for a given exposure amount that the density of the film is substantially different. This density range will also not match to the sensor which is tuned to try to get a greater scene brightness.

    A way around this is to employ HDRI and make multiple exposures and then get at the relevant data in a TIFF

    There will of course be no digital ICE or bulk scanning operations ... ultimately I've gone back to my film scanners for scanning film :-)
    Thanks for the offer, but rather than posting you one of my slides, I thought it would be easier for someone who has a Coolscan and a G1 to try it out for themselves and comment on the differences.

    Photoshop takes care of most of these problems and as you say, several exposures will usually do the trick - always working with RAW/16bit files naturally. Masking works well with really difficult areas.

    ICE to me means a sort of defocussing to hide the scratches which defeats the object of a quality machine in the first place. I find that (with images that really deserve the work of course) the Spot Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop is far better as it's not a general "fix-everything-including-what-doesn't-need-fixing" ICE programme.

    Bulk scanning? Hmm, I usually do a pretty harsh pre-selection and then do take a little extra care and time with those selected for re-photographing considering I'm then going to work on the results in PS. Once you get into the flow of it, working on the G1 on a tripod is really quite comfortable and not really slow compared to a scanner IMO.

    One thing I didn't mention for those who haven't worked with a G1 is the fact that the EVF "gains up" to ease viewing those darker images and also has a focus assist for greater precision thus making it a far better digital camera than any other DSLR for "scanning".

    The last item in the set-up I overlooked in my initial introduction is perhaps the most important "technological" addition:
    A black cotton T-shirt.
    Yep, surrounding the lens and held up so that it shrouds the slide, stops stray light coming at it and greatly reduces the de-spotting work thereafter in Photoshop as it stops the camera from capturing surface dust. I've found that at least with a flatbed, even a supposedly purpose-built one like the Microtek i900 the light source picks up this dust also and creates more work,
    not so with the black T-shirt (available at extra cost!).
    OK, so that's the starting point - tripod, taping a holder to the window, T-shirt etc. My next acquisition will be a Nikon ES-1 of course and then I'll be just firing it at the sky not having to bother about camera shake etc. and speeding up the process considerably, now that I know how the G1 fares in this adventure.

    Anyone want a Microtek i900?

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    Senior Member m3photo's Avatar
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    Re: The Set-up

    Quote Originally Posted by woodmancy View Post
    This looks good - can you post a picture of your setup?
    When I've got some time in the next few days I'll set it up and take a shot of it for you.

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    Re: N of images

    Quote Originally Posted by woodmancy View Post
    . . . . and how many images do you cover in one image (just one?)
    It's up to you. Just for safety's sake, seeing as though it just means pressing the shutter button a couple of more times I suggest 3 - what the meter says, then +1.5 and minus 1.5 stops is usually sufficient for difficult very bright/very dark areas. As I say, my way of working does depend on Photoshop work afterwards - there's no free lunch!

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: LS-4000 Test etc.

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by m3photo View Post
    ICE to me means a sort of defocussing to hide the scratches which defeats the object of a quality machine in the first place. I find that (with images that really deserve the work of course) the Spot Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop is far better as it's not a general "fix-everything-including-what-doesn't-need-fixing" ICE programme.
    respectfully if you have not used a Nikon then I understand why you may feel that way. However while the LED light source of Nikon enhances the dust because of its tightly collimated light source this has the effect of making the IR dust control equally precise. I have an LS-20 without ICE, when the LS-30 was released I tried it and found the ICE to be adding a blur which I did not like. I tried the ICE on the LS-IV ED and 4000 and found it to be a generation better and to be honest it takes a critical evaluation at 4000dpi to see such.

    The ICE on my Epson 4990 is no match for the quality attained by the ICE on the Nikon 4000. I have read similar observations on the Minolta 5400 scanners and the Microtek scanners.

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    Senior Member m3photo's Avatar
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    Re: Epson 4490

    Quote Originally Posted by kweide View Post
    i only scan some old slides. Just those worth it. I use my good old Epson 4490 for that task and i think, its doing still a good job...
    That's what I thought with the Microtek ... until I tried the G1 ... over to you ...

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    Senior Member m3photo's Avatar
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    Re: ICE

    Quote Originally Posted by pellicle View Post
    ... respectfully if you have not used a Nikon then I understand why you may feel that way.
    No, no, it's my ignorance here. This is why I suggested that someone who has both, test the Nikon scanner against the G1.
    If the difference proves that I'm barking up the wrong tree I'll have a word with my bank manager about the Coolscan

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    Senior Member m3photo's Avatar
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    Re: Rolleiflex

    Quote Originally Posted by scho View Post
    OK, now you've shamed me into digging into my boxes of old 6x6 negatives. Here is one of the oldies of my daughter taken with the Rolleiflex about 35 years ago that I just scanned today (better late than never).
    Excuse the rude awakening
    This lovely image is well worth it though, don't you think?

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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    Ok

    this weekend is busy ... however try looking at this article of mine, in particular compare the differences between a drum scan and a LS-4000. The G1 can not do better than that and perhaps only approach the LS-IV ED

    As suggested dig through that above mentioned thread. Much of this research has already been done some time ago ... that last thread was in reference to a 5D MkII

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    Senior Member m3photo's Avatar
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    Re: Your Article

    Quote Originally Posted by pellicle View Post
    Ok
    this weekend is busy ... however try looking at this article of mine, in particular compare the differences between a drum scan and a LS-4000. The G1 can not do better than that and perhaps only approach the LS-IV ED
    Thank you.
    I find, however that the article's main aim is to compare an APS-C camera's rendition of a difficult snow scene to the same capture on film. I believe this has been discussed at length before by many others.
    If your findings go on to state the above i.e. that the G1 can perhaps only approach the LS-IV ED, I'll save my money and keep my camera/scanner combo

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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    Forgive my noobness, but please explain to me the concept of camera scanning. To me a scanner is a flat device where you put some documents which then get scanned to produce digital copies of said documents. Are we talking about using a camera as the scanner? As in place the documents on some surface, fix the camera on a tripod so it looks straight down, and take a picture?

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    Re: Camera as a canner ...

    Quote Originally Posted by photoSmart42 View Post
    Are we talking about using a camera as the scanner? As in place the documents on some surface, fix the camera on a tripod so it looks straight down, and take a picture?
    Yes. A camera is really a digital scanner that you normally hold in your hand to scan what's in front of the lens.
    Many times, when I have needed a simple photocopy of a document, I have used my camera, simply because I do not have a photocopying machine - it's the same result.

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    Re: Camera as a canner ...

    Quote Originally Posted by m3photo View Post
    Yes. A camera is really a digital scanner that you normally hold in your hand to scan what's in front of the lens.
    while a scanner is a device optimized for capturing only a specific range of dynamic ranges that come from the transmission of light (shining through) film from a light source of specific colour temperature.

    People also adapt scanners to be cameras too ... even the better light scanning back is ultimately based on a scanner technology. This is an example of scanners as cameras http://golembewski.awardspace.com/ph...ery/index.html

    The scanning is something which sets it apart, as the camera does not scan it captures all rows in one hit, the scanner must capture each row in steps.

    This topic has popped up many times in the years since digital cameras became of sufficient quality (even before some would argue) to make a decent print.

    It has its attractions and some people say they prefer it ... I have not seen any bureaus offering "copy stand" scans of film using a digital camera. Copying artwork is one thing, copying film is another.

    Some interesting reading over and above (and from) the above mentioned thread:

    http://www.filmscanner.info/en/Refle...itDia5000.html

    http://thedambook.com/downloads/Came...ning_Krogh.pdf

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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    Hi all

    Ive been scanning my negatives from 35 mm to 4x5 with my 1Ds2 and a Canon 400 D for a couple of years now, I did a comparison with my drum scanner and I opted for the camera as a scanner, it gives me the same quality and much less work than using the drum scanner. The 1Ds2 can read up to a optical density of 1.7 from a calbrated Kodak step wedge, a correctly developed b&w negative will have a density of 1.2/1.3 in the High lites with detail ( zone VII ) so there is wide margin to record even higher zones, besides bracketing and HDR are weapons for problematic negatives.

    Color negatives gave me some headaches till I resorted to filter the light source to neutralize the orange mask, doing so the RGB histogram is well balanced and when a WB is done the blue chanel is less stressed. This can be done with CC filters, but even a conversion filter such as a 80B works well ( I placed filters not on the lens but between the negative and the light source). Use Prophoto RGB as a output space from the Raw converter, if not you risk reds to clip easily



    Hope this helps

    Jose

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    Jose

    Quote Originally Posted by Jose Luis Gonzalez View Post
    I did a comparison with my drum scanner and I opted for the camera as a scanner, it gives me the same quality and much less work than using the drum scanner.
    especially a drum scanner with all that wet mounting rigmarole I'm sure ;-)

    particularly your method of :

    Color negatives gave me some headaches till I resorted to filter the light source ... done with CC filters

    is a good approach. I had toyed with the thought of this but not gotten around to it. I like it a lot!

    BTW I think that when shooting in tungsten light that application of filters on Digital Cameras is just as 80A filtration works quite well in assisting the digital capture. While colour balancing of the image can be done by the camera if you follow the expose right principle why not attempt to even up all the channels to maximize your capture in all 3?

    For example examine the difference between the Green and Red channel noise in JPG's on this page. Scroll about half way down, it uses javascript to swap out images ... and may take a minute to load as the server is slow.

    did you ever compare the 4x5's scanned at 1200dpi on a flatbed scanner such as the epson? In theory that would yeild nearly the same pixels as your 1Ds camera does (certainly 2200dpi more if needed for big prints).

    :-)

    but I think I'll try filtration on my flatbed and post my results

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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    Pellicle

    >did you ever compare the 4x5's scanned at 1200dpi on a flatbed scanner such as the epson? In theory that would yeild nearly the same pixels as your 1Ds camera does (certainly 2200dpi more if needed for big prints).

    In general using the camera yields better results, at least with my flatbed an old Epson 3200, the scanner has a lot of radiation of lights into shadows that kills micro contrast and sharpness, when I need more resolution than my 1ds2 can give me in one shot, I use a variation of the rig that consist in a Manfrotto calibrated focusing rail to move the camera laterally over the negative, that plus a 90 TSE lens on the camera that can be ****fted up and down, this rig let me do 3 rows by seven or eight columns to cover the 4x5, that method gives me 8500x 12000 pixels aprox, more than enough in my opinion

    The stitching is easy with Photomerge or better yet with Autopano



    >but I think I'll try filtration on my flatbed and post my results


    I tried it once on a Agfa Arcus and it did not work, the fall in intensity of light source due to the filtration played havoc with respect to noise


    I few years back I had a Coolscan LS2000 that had independent analog control of the RGB leds, inserting a frame with the orange mask only, I could adjust the intensity of the leds till a gray was obtained, then I scanned the negative with a flat curve and as positive, then inverted in Photoshop

    I dont know if the Nikons of today still have this analog control

    Best

    Jose

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    Senior Member m3photo's Avatar
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    Re: Hope this helps

    Quote Originally Posted by Jose Luis Gonzalez View Post
    Hope this helps
    Y mucho, gracias.

    The information you have shared in both posts have indeed been a great help and have certainly helped in my certainty that using cameras for scanning was more than just a whim.

    The Lumix G1 is particularly suited to this task IMHO as stated above.

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    Jose

    Quote Originally Posted by Jose Luis Gonzalez View Post
    In general using the camera yields better results, at least with my flatbed an old Epson 3200,

    ok ... I have one of those ... I understand. I also have a 4870 and 4990 so I know what can be done with them too ... naturally access to gear is important in making decisions.


    plus a 90 TSE lens on the camera that can be ****fted up and down, this rig let me do 3 rows by seven or eight columns to cover the 4x5,
    you have the right gear there ... sadly I sold my TS-E90 ... nice lens and suited to your role there too

    the approach you outline will yeild better results with chromes than you will get with the 4990.


    I few years back I had a Coolscan LS2000 that had independent analog
    control of the RGB leds, inserting a frame with the orange mask only, I co
    the mask is a bit of a myth, and can be fixed without resorting to the analog gain. I have that on my LS-4000 as well, but find that it introduces noise which I am unsatisfied with. My technique for colour negative is here.

    anway ... nice chatting with you :-)

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Hope this helps

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by m3photo View Post
    Y mucho, gracias.

    The information you have shared in both posts have indeed been a great help and have certainly helped in my certainty that using cameras for scanning was more than just a whim.
    just wondering ... did you read the pdf's I linked to? I don't think I implied it was a whim ... although after doing it myself I still believe that a scanner does a better job when things such as time and dust removal are considered.

    This reviewer uses an interesting rig to get the best scan of a segment of film using a macro setup.

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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    anway ... nice chatting with you :-)[/QUOTE]


    same here :-)


    Cheers
    Jose

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    Re: Whim

    Quote Originally Posted by pellicle View Post
    just wondering ... did you read the pdf's I linked to? I don't think I implied it was a whim ...
    Not all of them, no. When I see too many graphs I move on, but that's just me. I appreciate you're catering for a wider audience.
    You didn't imply it was a whim, I was making sure it wasn't a whim on my part.

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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    I hate to resurrect this thread, but I'm going to take a stab at using my GH1 for scanning some negatives, and compare them with the professional scans of the same negatives to see a difference. I'll be using my excellent Fujinon-EP 50/3.5 enlarger lens that I've been playing with for my latest macro work, and I know it has a very flat DOF. I plan on using it at 1:1, then stitching the 2x2 frames shot in 3:2 aspect ratio to give me the full 35mm negative scan. I'll end up with an 8256 x 5504 DPI scan, and I'll compare that against the 4800 x 3200 DPI scan JPEG I got from my pro shop as a high-resolution scan of my Velvia 50 film I shot in Tahoe a few months back. For lighting I'll use either a consumer light box or a DIY light box with my Vivitar 285 flash. I'll be holding the negative using either a scanner negative tray for the Epson 4990 I was intending to buy, or a negative carrier off eBay.

    I was hoping to get my hands on a cheap Epson 4990 off eBay, but they all seem to end up around $300, which is more than I'd want to spend on an experiment (and more than I can afford until I get a job). I'd still want to get a good scanner eventually, and will probably end up with a V700 to use for bulk scans and MF/LF. I'll still remove the glass like I was going to do with the 4990. Then I can compare what I get from my GH1 scanner against the Epson as well.

    I'll keep you posted if anyone is interested (although I'll likely end up posting the results both here and in the film forum).
    -Dragos
    Panasonic GH1/G1, Canon FTb(n)/F-1, Mamiya C330F/RB67 Pro SD, Chamonix 45N-2, Nikon F5 + Assorted Lenses

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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    I have not found the stitching approach to negative capture to be as useful as it is when I'm doing landscape or real estate photography. Making the join "perfect" is much more challenging, for me anyway, when I am looking at high magnification subject matter with very fine detail.

    I've been using the L1 plus 35 Macro plus EC 14 to capture Minox 8x11 mm negatives at high resolution. This nets a 1.4:1 magnification and an effective 5.5 Mpixel image file to work with ... I can see the grain on the faster films (100-400 ASA) easily. Not much point to more resolution than that.

    For 35mm, overall I find the Nikon LS4000 ED a superior digital capture solution, but there are times when speed and the condition of the negatives make using camera capture much more effective. Then I use the G1 with the Olympus ZD 50 Macro at very close to 1:2 magnification ... it nets about an 11.5Mpixel image (same as the Nikon scanner).

    For both cameras, I have created both B&W and color negative camera calibration profiles which speed the rendering of captured negative images into positives.

    It's fun stuff. :-)

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    Re: The Perfect Scanner ...

    Thanks, Godfrey! I don't mind playing around with stitching to see if I can make it work. I can always have a little bit of overlap and have Photoshop take a stab at it. It's done pretty well with the other pano stitches I've done. I think the key will be having a stable platform and a reliable, uniform back light. Those are both elements for the macro stand I was planning on building, so might as well take care of two functions at once with the same gear.
    -Dragos
    Panasonic GH1/G1, Canon FTb(n)/F-1, Mamiya C330F/RB67 Pro SD, Chamonix 45N-2, Nikon F5 + Assorted Lenses

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