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01-19-2014, 01:50 PM   #1
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Lightroom presets for DSLR film digitizing?

Hope that was a descriptive thread title...

Basically, I'm dissatisfied with my current film scanning options (drugstore scan or home Canon all-in-one scanner with film insert). I get great results for my B&W stuff when I "scan" with my K-5II, but getting color negatives to look right has eluded me.

(Just to clarify, this is the only question I'm interested in right now. I don't want to send away for expensive pro scanning, I don't want to get a new dedicated film scanner, etc.)

Anybody solved this problem?

01-19-2014, 03:13 PM   #2
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I've done a decent job of it I think.

I use my K-5 to "scan" old film negatives too. What I've learned about colour film negatives is that they have an orange tint to them which can be pretty tricky to get rid digitally. Furthermore, each brand of colour film has a slightly different tint. That is to say, Fuji Superia X-tra and Kodak Gold don't have the same level of orange.
To get around this, I shoot in jpeg while 'scanning' and then I set the white balance manually in the camera. (I don't shoot raw when scanning because Jpeg holds onto in camera settings which on the K-5 / K-5ii/s are already quite accurate)

Here are my steps:
1) Set up your 'film scanning' station. Place a large white reflector about 6 feet behind the negative and fire an external flash at the reflector's surface. This creates a large even light source which gives even lighting across the negative.
2) Take a photo of the back-illuminated negative, choose an area that is completely over exposed when you took the shot on your film camera (usually the area at the beginning of the roll) and thus appears completely orange without any other contours visible. Create your custom white balance from this colour. Once applied, the orange colour should appear neutral grey.
3) 'scan' your first image from the negative. Afterward, view the image and go into the K-5ii's in camera digital filters and then select invert image. If the image appears too dark, drop your K-5ii's iso, or decrease your flash output (try to keep your aperture at a constant f/8 for best image sharpness). If it looks too bright, increase flash output or raise your iso (remember, negatives are inverted).
4) Once you've fine-tuned your image brightness, go ahead and snap away, digitizing the rest of the roll.
5) Take your resulting colour balanced jpeg images and invert them in either photoshop or with in camera development. If you really want to do it in lightroom, there are work-arounds, but it is probably easier to just use your camera's 'invert' function.

As far as lightroom presets that do a good job of getting accurate colours of colour negative film, I've never found any.

Hope that helps

Last edited by Gerbermiester; 01-19-2014 at 03:18 PM.
01-19-2014, 03:46 PM   #3
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Thank you for your detailed reply. I'll try using a custom WB and inversion in camera as you say. This sounds like a simpler workflow, though it will be tough for me to not shoot raw. Also, an already inverted jpeg will allow me to make tweaks normally in Lr, i.e., the tone curve won't be backwards. Probably won't have a chance to try it till Tuesday.
01-19-2014, 05:29 PM   #4
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purchase a pakon... you will get frontier / noritsu results at home (135 size only) scans the entire roll in 2-3 minutes..... you said you didn't want a 'new' film scanner and these are going for $250 but they are all used (used to be 12k when photolabs had them)....

01-19-2014, 05:39 PM   #5

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Perhaps shoot color positive instead and not have to deal with the orange mask of color negatives.
01-19-2014, 07:18 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Perhaps shoot color positive instead and not have to deal with the orange mask of color negatives.
If it were more economical, I would consider it. But I would like to keep total per-roll costs well under $10.
03-14-2014, 11:44 PM   #7
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I've scanned color negative film with good results with my dslr. To remove the color cast, I used gels on the strobe light source to shift towards blue/green. This shift helps keep digital noise being introduced by the skewed custom white balance.

Try 80A gel/filter on your strobe to see how it works.

Once you have it working for you, then a simple inversion curve in lightroom with a proper S shape can work well.

03-18-2014, 08:37 AM   #8
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If you're using Photoshop, the ColorPerfect plugin seems to do the inversion and color cast removal splendidly, and even has various film profiles to account for the differing orange mask.
03-18-2014, 12:18 PM   #9
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I discovered that GIMP does an excellent job of removing the tint too. The auto balancing algorithms are good at figuring out the gray point for each of the color channels, which I think can be the cause of tint if not set correctly.

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