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PENTAX Slide Holder 1x, K

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1 5,828 Mon March 12, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $70.00 8.00
PENTAX Slide Holder 1x, K

Slide Holder 1x, K serves the same purpose as Slide Copier K of Auto Bellows K. When used with an Auto Extension Tube K or Extension Tube K, this unit allows the standard lens or Macro 50mm f/4 lens to make slide duplications wirh 1x magnification on a 24x36mm film SLR. On an APS-C DSLR, a shorter focal length is required in order to capture the entire slide.

The other version, Slide Holder K, allows for magnification to be adjusted.

Not in production.

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Registered: February, 2008
Location: MT
Posts: 1,272
Review Date: March 12, 2018 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Simple once dialed in, portable, adapts to various gear
Cons: Length not adjustable

My scanner software is no longer supported and I'm tired of the time involved to scan things correctly. Went looking for an alternative to using wonky bellows and slide copier attachments and found this. Absolutely perfect! Digitizing slides is done with my DSLR. Once I dialed in the specifics for my situation, this is a very low muss and low fuss method to copy slides. The Slide Holder is an empty tube--no optics inside.

Though it's intended for use with a reversed lens, I figured it would work with a copy-quality macro lens not reversed and it works quite well. Because the rear fitting on the Slide Holder is a K mount for a reversed lens, when you use a macro lens not reversed you'll need to add a Pentax reverse adapter screwed into the front of the lens with the K mount sticking forward to fit the Slide Holder. It's a $5-$10 accessory.

My set-up in order of attachment. Camera is connected to a 20mm auto extension tube. The macro lens is attached to the auto extension tube. A Pentax 49mm Reverse Adapter is screwed into the front of the lens. The Slide Holder is mounted to the reverse adapter. It's actually pretty simple.

Slide Holder includes a rotating mount for orientation of the slide and the slide clips hold each slide in the exact position. I still refocus for each slide, but for quick copying of volumes of slides, you can just fix the focus and shoot them in succession.

I'm copying full frame slides to APS sensor so don't need 1:1. Those copying to full frame sensor will need to dial in that situation.

SMC A 50/2.8 Macro goes to half life size and works very well. Fairly neutral colors and very crisp (see stonefly husk image below for example of detail). The 9 inch plus minimum focus on this lens is too long for this Slide Holder so I added a 20mm auto extension tube to reduce the minimum focus distance. Almost fills the entire frame (Maxwell Smart voice, "missed it by that much"). Waiting to get a Helicoid Extension Tube that should fill the entire frame and allow overall cropping--but with the loss of auto aperture. Other lenses listed briefly at the end of this review.

Considerable latitude for changing white balance of the copies either in camera or with the color temp of the illumination. You'll want to change your flash custom settings to allow various color temps. Choosing the flash custom setting for auto multi-zone seems to work very well with flash for illumination (for most images). The Bighorn Rams were shot from one slide with camera set to Cloudy white balance for warmth and to 5000 Kelvin for cooler temp. This can help handle color balance issues in-camera which is my favored method.

Also considerable latitude to change exposure value in slides that have highlights and shadows. Note that if it's blown out or blocked up in the original slide, you can't fix that. However, I've been surprised at the exposure latitude. Note that originals with flat exposure and limited highlights and shadows are less variable on exposure. Not sure why, but I've had some slides that 3 stops of exposure compensation does not change the result. Makes no sense?

Tried the 43 Limited--no go. Minimum focus of about 18 inches is too long for tubes to bring it down and this lens doesn't focus when reversed. In general, doesn't like to be used for tricky close focus situations. I've tried through the decades with no luck. Other normal lenses seem to like being reversed every now and then for fun or otherwise forced to focus super close...not the 43 Limited!

Tried the 35 Macro Limited for it's short minimum focus distance. Yep, capable of focusing without any extension at all, however, only fills about half the frame. My shortest extension tube is 12mm and that was just barely too long to allow sharp focus. Still wouldn't have been close to filling the frame. Without a trombone slide to allow changing the distance of the Slide Holder itself, there's no way to make the 35 do the job.

Note also that most of the tube-style slide copiers online include a cheap lens inside. You don't want to do that for "real" copies! Presuming you can't find a Pentax Slide Holder 1X K, you may consider one of the units selling online and just remove the glass inside? Then dial it in like I did for this Slide Holder. Or perhaps the Nikon unit can be modified?

I did experiment with Pixel Shift for added sharpness. What I found is that the slight uptick in sharpness was primarily to the grain in the film itself. It almost looks like increased digital noise. Also, you can't use flash for illumination with pixel shift and flash is the easy way to illuminate. I prefer the less distinct grain of the single shot method. If I obtain a constant LED light source perhaps I'll rethink this...

The formal description of this item above the review suggests that it is somehow similar to the pieces involved in bellows slide copiers. It is not similar to any of the bellows pieces and it doesn't function like bellows pieces either. It's just a tube to hold slides at a fixed distance away from your lens. A piece of neutral white plastic covers the front to diffuse your light source and a pair of clips holds your slide in place. Also, the description above suggests that there is a different version of this item that allows for changing magnification. Sorry, but none of the published Pentax K mount accessory brochures that I own lists anything like that. The old Bojidar Dimitrov Pentax K Mount archive site doesn't list it either. And even this Pentax Forum list of accessory reviews doesn't show a picture of the item waiting to be reviewed. Maybe that's a medium format gizmo?

Lighting system is in the first image below. It's a Pentax 540FGZ (wide angle adapter deployed to diffuse a bit) connected via F5p Long synch cord. Flash powered by Quantum Turbo battery to avoid waiting for recharge. Focusing and slide positioning light from vertical light table.

The slide copies below are JPEG's straight from the camera so you can see what this system does rather than how well I can or can't massage them in post. Note the droplet image is to show you that the dust isn't too bad. Easily spots away.

Follow-up regarding the helicoid extension tube:
The helicoid ext. tube is a blast for super magnification with the 50mm (not while copying slides) and it does work with the slide holder. It's a little too long to provide enough range to play variable cropping games with the helicoid--darn! So with a small crop still required for sharp focus, I'm inclined to stick with the auto aperture with the fixed 20mm tube. The 3-4% more frame filling with the manual helicoid doesn't sway me away from the automation for open aperture focusing etc. Perhaps for large-scale copy projects without focusing in between, I could handle using the helicoid with stop down metering. I still haven't tried a modern 50 Macro with 1:1 and closer focusing than the old 50...
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