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02-17-2011, 08:50 PM   #1
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Digitizing Slides with Macro-Takumar

Providence has recently sent me a Macro-Takumar 50/4 lens, for which I am thankful. While I'm not a macro shooter, I have heard of using a DSLR + a macro lens as a "copy stand" for digitizing film.

I figure my K-x set to ISO 100 and this M42 Takumar could be up to the job ...

I have lots of 120 film from my Pentax 645 cameras, both slides and color negatives, that is a struggle to digitize - yet, I will keep shooting film until they just don't make it any more. Currently, I use a Canon 8800f flatbed scanner. It produces decent results, but I hate the workflow. I've considered getting an Epson V700, but I doubt I will be much happier with it. I want to spend more of my time shooting and editing film, not scanning it ... would appreciate some advice.

I guess my question is - have any other forum members done something similar? Did you use a special adapter (heard there are some on ebay) or bellows, etc etc? I'm thinking of perhaps using flourescent tubes or a light table as my background light.


Last edited by Dubesor; 02-17-2011 at 09:03 PM.
02-17-2011, 09:23 PM   #2
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I have a slide holder that I got on ebay. It screws to the front of my Sigma 50mm f/2.8 like a filter. Works well. Better than my scanner. It holds 35mm slides or film, not 120. Your Macro-Takumar should be 'up to the job', although you might want an extension tube for cropping. I have used a large white piece of cardboard and window sunlight. I am going to try flash. I haven't looked for a 120 film slide holder. A light table should work. BTW, M42 teleconverters sell for cheap on eaby, and make great extension tubes when you remove the glass.
02-17-2011, 09:36 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by gp1806 Quote
I have a slide holder that I got on ebay. It screws to the front of my Sigma 50mm f/2.8 like a filter. Works well. Better than my scanner. It holds 35mm slides or film, not 120. Your Macro-Takumar should be 'up to the job', although you might want an extension tube for cropping. I have used a large white piece of cardboard and window sunlight. I am going to try flash. I haven't looked for a 120 film slide holder. A light table should work. BTW, M42 teleconverters sell for cheap on eaby, and make great extension tubes when you remove the glass.
Do you mean an extension tube helps get a wider view of the piece of film being held? I do have an M42 Vivitar Auto Teleconverter 3X-8 that I never use, which I could convert into an extension tube ... P.S. which scanner are you comparing your results to?
02-18-2011, 12:57 AM   #4
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As they say, the proof is in the pudding ...

My highly un-scientific test seems to beat the scanner right off the bat.

Below are two uncorrected scans. The first was scanned with my 8800f at 2400 DPI in Vuescan, using multi-exposure (pretty laborious).
The second is with the K-x, JPEG straight out of the camera.









Even before any processing, the K-x image has more apparent sharpness and dynamic range. While the color balance is not as close to the real thing as the scanned slide, that should be easy to perfect with some tweaks.

How I photographed the slide: Placed my K-x with Macro-Takumar on a tripod, set ISO100, and stopped down the lens to f11. While I tried to position the tripod and camera at right angles to the slide, I really don't think it worked that well. Also, the film was not perfectly straight - I used the scanner's film holder to flatten it, but it still had some curl to it. The holder was placed directly on my flourescent lamp, the film was maybe 15mm above the light source. With some kind of diffusion, it promises to be even better.


Last edited by Dubesor; 02-18-2011 at 01:33 AM.
02-18-2011, 06:52 AM   #5
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The extension tube allows closer focus, lens is closer to subject, this allows for cropping in the camera, rather than in the computer. Your shots look good, as you say, color is easy to change in the computer. It looks like you're on the right track with a diffuser and some film holder. I have a Canon all-in one printer and the scanner is pretty awful. Have you thought about PK Tether for slide copy? The image goes right into the computer after exposure.
https://sites.google.com/a/pentax.org.pl/tomaszkos/en
02-18-2011, 07:14 AM   #6
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I think you can set the camera up to do what you want, and wouold not need extension tubes, or perhaps only a small one, if copying a 35mm slide / negative.

The Macro-Tak should give you 1:2 capability, but you need 1:1.5 for a 35mm frame.

For your MF film, no extension tubes are needed as you can easily achieve the modest reproduction ratio needed.

What you would need is to have a set up to hold the camera, perhaps a copy stand, with a uniform light box under the film, and ideally a slide to align the frame.

Color temperature would be critical here, in terms of controlling it. The absolute color temperature is not critical, because as long as it is known, you can apply an adjustment to it.

I am not sure how the negativews will work out, but that is an easy change in PP with most editors. You may need to consider some test shots for negatives, and getting exposure correct. Highlights will be shadow detail, so you don't want to burn them out.
02-18-2011, 07:37 AM   #7
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Thanks for the advice!

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge:
For your MF film, no extension tubes are needed as you can easily achieve the modest reproduction ratio needed.
Yup, I'm only interested in MF film; so no need to worry about 35mm. The annoying thing is the Macro-Takumar has to be far away from the film to fit the whole 120 frame - quite a bit more than its minimum focusing distance. That introduces side light. Maybe I should try one of my wider Takumars, like the 28mm or 35mm. I guess stopped down they're all really really sharp.

QuoteQuote:
What you would need is to have a set up to hold the camera, perhaps a copy stand, with a uniform light box under the film, and ideally a slide to align the frame.
Yup, I figured I'll use a light box and place the film on top of it, with the camera sort of hanging over this whole setup at a 90 degree angle. Another frustration is finding something to hold the film perfectly flat, with no curvature. On my flatbed, I sandwiched it between the scanner glass and another piece of glass. I wish I had a slide frame for 120 film that would both hold the film really tight and show the whole frame including the edges.

QuoteQuote:
I am not sure how the negativews will work out, but that is an easy change in PP with most editors. You may need to consider some test shots for negatives, and getting exposure correct. Highlights will be shadow detail, so you don't want to burn them out.
My first couple of negatives done this way come out too blue. Not sure how best to fix that in PP?

Last edited by Dubesor; 02-18-2011 at 07:54 AM.
02-18-2011, 07:40 AM   #8
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For possible(???) inspiration - here's my setup with a 50mm SMC-M lens:







Steen G. B.

02-18-2011, 07:50 AM   #9
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@ Stone G That's great! The holder with little wrench thingies is amazing. That's what I need, now I wish I was more handy so I could build it.
02-18-2011, 01:05 PM   #10
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Thank you Dubesor - and let me assure you: Since I could do, you and almost anyone else can too!

Because 1) I am certainly not that dexterous and 2) I don't have a fine mechanical tool-shop. So, my secret is: Use plastic padding, expoxy glue, paper/cardbord and wood. I occasionally also use a bit of aluminium, but for nothing more elaborate than a hand held drilling machine and hobby metal saw can cope with. The rest is up to your imagination, a few trials, a few errors (in the beginning)......

Good luck!

Steen G. B.
02-18-2011, 01:38 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dubesor Quote
Thanks for the advice!


Yup, I'm only interested in MF film; so no need to worry about 35mm. The annoying thing is the Macro-Takumar has to be far away from the film to fit the whole 120 frame - quite a bit more than its minimum focusing distance. That introduces side light. Maybe I should try one of my wider Takumars, like the 28mm or 35mm. I guess stopped down they're all really really sharp.


Yup, I figured I'll use a light box and place the film on top of it, with the camera sort of hanging over this whole setup at a 90 degree angle. Another frustration is finding something to hold the film perfectly flat, with no curvature. On my flatbed, I sandwiched it between the scanner glass and another piece of glass. I wish I had a slide frame for 120 film that would both hold the film really tight and show the whole frame including the edges.


My first couple of negatives done this way come out too blue. Not sure how best to fix that in PP?
If you are concerned about the side light, what Stone G posted will do the trick

the issue of using something shorter than your 50 is unless it is an enlarging lens, or a true macrto it won't be a flat field lens, and the field curvature may hurt your reproduction.

As for color, if there is anything grey in the image for nergatives, you shoudl be able to click on it and set the WB correctly.

Care to post a negative you have done and I will look at a correction?
02-18-2011, 02:23 PM   #12
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You're better off with a scanner.

The resolution and set-ups, plus prices, have improved dramatically over the past few years.

My Epson for $100 a few months ago does a hell of a job. Yeah, it's slow, but that's what it takes to properly scan at high DPI. Plus, it can do 4 at a time.
02-18-2011, 02:38 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
You're better off with a scanner.

The resolution and set-ups, plus prices, have improved dramatically over the past few years.

My Epson for $100 a few months ago does a hell of a job. Yeah, it's slow, but that's what it takes to properly scan at high DPI. Plus, it can do 4 at a time.
I haven't yet used a V700/V750 or Nikon ED scanner yet, but I beg to differ with regard to V500/V600/8800f/9950f and similar class flatbeds.

Pretty sure this 'DSLR scanner' will beat them in speed and workflow, but also dynamic range and image quality.

Last edited by Dubesor; 02-18-2011 at 02:46 PM.
02-18-2011, 02:57 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
If you are concerned about the side light, what Stone G posted will do the trick

-----.

As for color, if there is anything grey in the image for nergatives, you shoudl be able to click on it and set the WB correctly.

Care to post a negative you have done and I will look at a correction?
As indicated by Lowell Goudge, there are usually several ways to get the right color balance. You might find this little sequece interesting:

"Original" JPEG straight out of camera



"Original inverted" with a blue-green cast due to the orange mask:




To balance out the orange mask, you may often get away simply by stretching levels (here: Photo->Light->Auuto->Levels in PhtoImpact, but you can do likewise in Photoshop and other programs as well):



If your negative was taken with daylight film in artificial light, you may have to do some additional work with the white balance and color cast settings. (Can be quite frustrating at times!).

Steen G. B.
02-18-2011, 03:33 PM   #15
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Many moons ago I made this slide copier, I think I've posted the link here before, if so please excuse the repost.

Pentax Bellows K and Slide Copier - a set on Flickr

I had to extend the focusing distance to cater for the crop factor.

Greg
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