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Thread: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

  1. #1
    tokengirl
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    Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Ok, I tried it out this morning. It worked like a champ! I was having trouble scanning the Kodachrome with my Epson V750, getting the colors anywhere near correct was next to impossible, and I tried the Epson software, Silverfast and Vuescan.

    I used a Canon 5DMkII with a 100mm macro lens at f8 set on a tripod, with the slide in an old negative carrier placed directly on top of a cheapo Hakuba 5X7 lightbox. I focused manually using 10X Liveview.

    I am happy to say that with only very minor adjustments in Lightroom, I now have a "scan" that looks pretty much exactly like the actual slide.



    And here are a couple of crops so you can see the detail:





    The slide was originally shot with a Fuji Klasse W point & shoot camera.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Pretty darn good results. I've been tempted to try something like this myself (though I haven't shot any Kodachrome).

  3. #3
    tokengirl
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    I'm going to try it out on some B&W negatives this weekend, we'll see how it goes.

  4. #4
    Super Duper
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    That's impressive. I tried this a few years ago but the results were not nearly this good, probably because I was not using a 5D Mk II, with its superior resolution.

  5. #5
    tetsrfun
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    "I was having trouble scanning the Kodachrome with my Epson V750, getting the colors anywhere near correct was next to impossible, and I tried the Epson software, Silverfast and Vuescan."
    ******
    I may have some old Kodachrome to scan in the future. Do you have or try the Silverfast IT8 Kodachrome calibration target for color correction? If that didn't work, I am happy to see that an alternative is possible.

    Steve

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    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    I was thinking I might try this as an alternative to buying a scanner for my MF negatives (I just don't have room for another device!). I have a good tripod and a 30D and a 150mm Sigma macro lens. Just need the lightbox. Seems like a good alternative, for web-posting quality anyway. If I fell in love with any negatives, I could then get them pro/drum scanned.

  7. #7
    tokengirl
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Quote Originally Posted by mathomas View Post
    I was thinking I might try this as an alternative to buying a scanner for my MF negatives (I just don't have room for another device!). I have a good tripod and a 30D and a 150mm Sigma macro lens. Just need the lightbox. Seems like a good alternative, for web-posting quality anyway. If I fell in love with any negatives, I could then get them pro/drum scanned.
    I don't know if the resolution of the 30D (8 MP?) is going to prove to be enough. Might be ok for web posting. Keep in mind that doing this with a medium format negative will result in less detail than with a 35mm negative, as you'll have a larger area crammed onto the sensor area.

    Also, your 150 macro combined with the 30D's crop sensor and larger surface to capture may give you a working distance that is longer than what might be comfortable. I am finding that to capture a 35mm negative on a full frame sensor with a 100mm macro lens, the distance from the front of the lens to the film surface is about 6 inches. Which means I can place the lightbox at the edge of my desk, have my tripod legs touching up against the desk and raised low enough that I can easily see the back of the camera to check exposure and focus. You would have to have either your tripod raised higher, or use a lower working surface to place the lightbox on. So you'll need to experiment a little I think.

  8. #8
    tokengirl
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Quote Originally Posted by tetsrfun View Post
    I may have some old Kodachrome to scan in the future. Do you have or try the Silverfast IT8 Kodachrome calibration target for color correction? If that didn't work, I am happy to see that an alternative is possible.

    Steve
    I have it, but have not used it. Honestly, I'm not even going to bother fooling around with it - it's only going to cause me aggravation and in the end will not produce as much detail. The V750 is a good little scanner for the money when you consider it's versatility, but it has its limits no matter what software you use.

    Using the camera and lightbox is just waaaaaaaaay easier overall once you figure out your setup. You just take the picture and you're practically done. Seriously, the amount of time needed in Lightroom was like 2 minutes, and most of that was using the clone tool to get rid of dust spots. I bet a can of compressed air will cut the time in half or better.

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    Senior Member bradhusick's Avatar
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    I wonder how good the M9 with the 90mm macro lens would be at this?

  10. #10
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Quote Originally Posted by tokengirl View Post
    I don't know if the resolution of the 30D (8 MP?) is going to prove to be enough. Might be ok for web posting. Keep in mind that doing this with a medium format negative will result in less detail than with a 35mm negative, as you'll have a larger area crammed onto the sensor area.

    Also, your 150 macro combined with the 30D's crop sensor and larger surface to capture may give you a working distance that is longer than what might be comfortable. I am finding that to capture a 35mm negative on a full frame sensor with a 100mm macro lens, the distance from the front of the lens to the film surface is about 6 inches. Which means I can place the lightbox at the edge of my desk, have my tripod legs touching up against the desk and raised low enough that I can easily see the back of the camera to check exposure and focus. You would have to have either your tripod raised higher, or use a lower working surface to place the lightbox on. So you'll need to experiment a little I think.
    Hmm, good points. Stupid old 30D. I guess I'll just have to buy a 5D .

    Actually, I need to re-think my office organization. I currently have a multifunction color printer (useless for film scans, and only goes to 8.5x11"), and a little laserjet. I have to put away my little Plustek 35mm scanner when it's not in use. What I need is room for a wide-format printer and a flatbed film scanner and a laserjet. If only I could expand onto my wife's desk .

  11. #11
    tetsrfun
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Quote Originally Posted by tokengirl View Post
    I have it, but have not used it. Honestly, I'm not even going to bother fooling around with it - it's only going to cause me aggravation and in the end will not produce as much detail. The V750 is a good little scanner for the money when you consider it's versatility, but it has its limits no matter what software you use.

    Using the camera and lightbox is just waaaaaaaaay easier overall once you figure out your setup. You just take the picture and you're practically done. Seriously, the amount of time needed in Lightroom was like 2 minutes, and most of that was using the clone tool to get rid of dust spots. I bet a can of compressed air will cut the time in half or better.
    Thanks for the advice..

    Steve

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    In ancient times, there was a film adapter available for the OM system. It mounted in front of the lens and had a white semi-transparent filter in the front to diffuse the light source. It obviously required tubes or bellows, but looked like a rather neat solution.

    Edit:



    Last edited by Jorgen Udvang; 3rd December 2010 at 16:39.

  13. #13
    Super Duper
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    One of these is what I used:



    It needs a macro lens, and possibly an extension tube, depending on the lens. These run about $60.

  14. #14
    tokengirl
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Here's another "camera scan", an Xpan slide (Fuji Astia).


    I won't bore you all with little tiny crops comparing this, that and the other. But the improvement in quality over the V750 is stunning. The biggest difference is that the V750 actually adds a lot of noise to the scan. No such problem with the 5DMkII.


    Since there is no such thing as overkill here at GetDPI, I'm wondering if someone would like to try this with a Phase One P65. Just for kicks, please use Capture 1 and shoot tethered. Report back here. Jack? Guy?

  15. #15
    tetsrfun
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Another possibility is to adapt a Bowens slide duplicator for digital use. They are rather inexpensive on the used market.

    http://members.bitstream.net/tlmartin/copiers.html

    Steve

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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    I lived in Japan for a few months on an academic trip, and at the time I could not bring a scanner with me. I used the DMR, a small 4x5 inch light table and the 100mm APO Macro. The results were excellent. In my experience, the color, tonal range and overall sharpness were not as good as the better film scanners I have used -- the Minolta Scan Multi Pro, Imacon 646 and Hasselblad X5. But it certainly did a great job for the web and for small prints.
    If you really wanted to use this technique to replace a scanner, I think you would need to concentrate on a few variables. If you could sort these out, you could likely obviate the need for a film scanner entirely. The most important is the light source -- you need something that is full spectrum and completely even. This basically limits you to the higher end light tables, or fashioning something yourself out of either a very high quality fluorescent tube or better yet, Solux MR-16 Halogen bulbs.
    The second important variable would be film positioning and alignment. You need something like a copy stand to really do this well -- something that will hold the camera and lens exactly parallel to the film and make it easy to adjust up and down for different film sizes. Then you need something to hold the film flat -- this could easily just be the top piece of an old negative carrier from an enlarger -- glass or glassless.
    Then you ideally need a macro lens that can go to 1:1 or greater. Finally, you need enough resolution to either outresolve the film, or at least come close. You are going to want to have MORE resolution than the film in order for it to look its best (otherwise you will have the artifacts of both the film and digital at the 100% detail...mushy film grain and square pixels...not good). I would not want to use something less than the M9 or 5DMkII -- 18-24mp minimum for best quality...for 35mm. For larger formats you are going to want a lot more. I do think a good setup with a 39-80mp camera would be really interesting -- it would be cool to see how it compared to the X5 for example.

    As far as I can tell, the biggest advantage of a true film scanner is that it is easier and faster compared to setting up a truly precision job with a digital camera and light table -- the X5 takes only a second or two to load, will scan a whole strip of film as raw files in a few minutes at 8000 dpi for 35mm and has built in things like dust removal software, film-type specific presets and so on. Most of them are not that great, but overall it is a lot quicker and easier than when I had to do it on the lightbox with the DMR.
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  17. #17
    tokengirl
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Good information, Stuart.

    The copy stand is exactly what I am contemplating now that I see how well this works. Right now I am using the bubble level from my XPan to get the camera level - works like a champ. But using my tripod is a pain as it doesn't have a center column to adjust the height so I have to fiddle with the legs to get the height just right, which is a total pain in the ***.

    For the light source, I am using this:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ghtviewer.html
    The illumination is even to almost the very edge, the bulb is 5000K. At $89, I don't consider this to be particularly high end, and it works perfectly. I really like the slim design and it comes with a nice neoprene case.

    A high end scanner like an Imacon or Hasselblad is just not an option for me. But the 5DMkII is light years ahead of my flatbed quality-wise (with the V750 you cannot really scan at the grain level but the 5DMkII files show the true film grain), and I already own it anyways so I am going to make full use of it. The thing I really like about this is that there is no freaking scanner software to fool with. Just take the picture and load the RAW file into Lightroom (or C1 or Aperture if that's what you're using). So far, I am finding that these files need much less work than the files I get from scanning. I've already made a Lightroom preset to invert the curve to use on B&W negatives and it works great, as long as you remember that most of the controls work backwards when the curve is inverted.

    Here is the result from the first B&W negative I tried this with just this morning:

  18. #18
    tokengirl
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Quote Originally Posted by tetsrfun View Post
    Another possibility is to adapt a Bowens slide duplicator for digital use. They are rather inexpensive on the used market.

    http://members.bitstream.net/tlmartin/copiers.html

    Steve
    This could work. But unless you already own one, it seems more like a solution looking for a problem to me, mainly because it's yet another piece of single-purpose equipment to find a place for. A regular copy stand will work just fine and it can be used for other things as well.

  19. #19
    Senior Member PSon's Avatar
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Use multi-shot digital back in 4 and 16 modes.
    Also Betterlight scanning back.

  20. #20
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Quote Originally Posted by tokengirl View Post

    ...

    The thing I really like about this is that there is no freaking scanner software to fool with.

    ...

    Man, I'm with you there. Both VueScan and Silverfast are a bad joke, esp. Silverfast. With Silverfast it's as if they had a contest to determine who could come up with the worst random collection and organization of features and icons, and extra bits of goofy software like the "launcher". When Silverfast is running I have three applications running in my dock, with identical icons. Why? My god what a mess.

    Oh, and I just love the fact that I have to type in a file name every time in Silverfast (at least VueScan got that right, and automagically numbers files).

    But I have to admit that I finally have Silverfast set up such that I just punch the "Scan" button (I don't even bother to preview any more) and get workable results. I never quite got there with VueScan (I found it easier to set up, but wasn't getting the results I wanted). I basically ignore what the scan looks like in Silverfast and just work through all my negs. Then I move on to PS Elements and Aperture.

  21. #21
    tokengirl
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Quote Originally Posted by mathomas View Post
    Man, I'm with you there. Both VueScan and Silverfast are a bad joke, esp. Silverfast. With Silverfast it's as if they had a contest to determine who could come up with the worst random collection and organization of features and icons, and extra bits of goofy software like the "launcher". When Silverfast is running I have three applications running in my dock, with identical icons. Why? My god what a mess.
    So true! LOL!!! I like to refer to Silverfast as The Emperor's New Clothes.

  22. #22
    tokengirl
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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    I figured I would bore you with yet another sample, this time it's Fuji Velvia 50.



    And here is a 100% crop:


    Anyone wanna buy a lightly used Epson V750?
    (I am kidding of course - it's still a great tool for batch scanning/proofing)

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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    I had the same results as you for slides.

    I have to try the B&W negatives (the color ones sucked ).

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    Re: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Here are some of my results using my GH1 with a Fujinon-EP 50 enlarging lens attached to a Leica BEOON copy stand. Color isn't exactly the same, so I'll have to play around with the WB. Also I'm playing around with different apertures on the enlarging lens to make up for the lack of flatness on the slide. Overall I'm pretty pleased.

    Original Kodachrome slide scan from Dwayne's:


    Scanned slide using my GH1:
    -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: Using DSLR to "scan" Kodachrome

    Quote Originally Posted by tokengirl View Post
    I don't know if the resolution of the 30D (8 MP?) is going to prove to be enough. Might be ok for web posting. Keep in mind that doing this with a medium format negative will result in less detail than with a 35mm negative, as you'll have a larger area crammed onto the sensor area.

    Also, your 150 macro combined with the 30D's crop sensor and larger surface to capture may give you a working distance that is longer than what might be comfortable. I am finding that to capture a 35mm negative on a full frame sensor with a 100mm macro lens, the distance from the front of the lens to the film surface is about 6 inches. Which means I can place the lightbox at the edge of my desk, have my tripod legs touching up against the desk and raised low enough that I can easily see the back of the camera to check exposure and focus. You would have to have either your tripod raised higher, or use a lower working surface to place the lightbox on. So you'll need to experiment a little I think.
    Seems as if you could possibly increase your end-resolution by stitching different shots taken of the negative? Instead of trying to cover the entire negative via 35mm, go to 1:1 with your macro, or even close with rings. Might be worth a shot.
    --
    Gabe

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