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07-09-2015, 03:06 PM   #1
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Do you need a macro lens to scan?

And if you do does it have to be 50mm?
I see the 50mm macro recommended a lot but it's not something I want in my kit considering I have that range thoroughly covered with other lenses, and that the macro isn't enough of a selling point for me by itself.

I have a lot of negatives I'd love to scan, lots of family and a few of my own from my range finder, and would love to get some decent DNG files out of them.

07-09-2015, 03:24 PM   #2
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Yes, I have the same question. The only macro lens I have is Sigma 24 mm. Could I use it for film scanning with DSLR (Pentax K5II). And let me add here more generic question. Can somebody advise good post or tutorial to the whole process and recommended equipment? (As for now my main interest is in Black&White negatives. Is it different of color?)

Thanks in advance.
07-09-2015, 03:47 PM   #3
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Assuming you mean using a dSLR as a copy camera (scanning is different), the short answer is that you need a flat field lens with even even lighting corner to corner. Once you have the lens, there are several different ways to provide the required magnification. A traditional, true, macro lens fulfills those requirements and also provides the magnification. That being said, the historic setup for slide reproduction (essentially the same thing) is a normal (50mm) lens or well-corrected short tele mounted to a modified bellows. Magnification is determined by the bellow extension with focus being accomplished using a second rail and bellows. Pentax made several such slide-copier setups as did most other camera makers. I saw a particularly slick unit from Olympus that was able to accommodate uncut 35mm film strips with holders for both supply and take-up.

There are, of course, many other ways to set this up. Think coin or postage stamp photography and what works in that realm will work for slide or negative duplication.


Steve
07-09-2015, 03:50 PM   #4
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The problem is 35mm slides or negatives are seldom flat unless you mount them in a glass carrier. And then you can get Newton Rings.

07-09-2015, 05:27 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Assuming you mean using a dSLR as a copy camera (scanning is different), the short answer is that you need a flat field lens with even even lighting corner to corner.
And although it sounds simple, it's not that easy to achieve in practice. It can take a lot of time to get it right, particularly if you scan negatives.

If you have many negatives, unless you need top IQ, it's probably easier and faster to get a photo scanner that have a batch scanning mode. Scanners like the Epson V550 are cheap, work well enough for family photo and will allow you to scan negatives band by band instead of shot by shot. Autoalign everything, takes care of scratches and dust, and reverse/balance the color. Way much faster than taking a macro shot of every photos, importing them in a computer, reverse the colors, correct the scratches...

I've tried both methods and for family photos, which don't have a stellar IQ anyway, the scanner method is good enough without much hassle compared to the macro lens method.
07-09-2015, 06:46 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Assuming you mean using a dSLR as a copy camera (scanning is different), the short answer is that you need a flat field lens with even even lighting corner to corner. Once you have the lens, there are several different ways to provide the required magnification. A traditional, true, macro lens fulfills those requirements and also provides the magnification. That being said, the historic setup for slide reproduction (essentially the same thing) is a normal (50mm) lens or well-corrected short tele mounted to a modified bellows. Magnification is determined by the bellow extension with focus being accomplished using a second rail and bellows. Pentax made several such slide-copier setups as did most other camera makers. I saw a particularly slick unit from Olympus that was able to accommodate uncut 35mm film strips with holders for both supply and take-up.

There are, of course, many other ways to set this up. Think coin or postage stamp photography and what works in that realm will work for slide or negative duplication.


Steve
Ok I see, so it would be possible to get an existing setup or make a setup using bellows. Makes sense.

Thanks for the information.
07-09-2015, 11:21 PM   #7
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At CP+ Pentax showed what they called a "Film Duplicator". You would want to use a 35 or 50mm macro lens with that set up because the 100mm would have too long of a working distance.

Pentax Film Duplicator helps you scan 35mm and medium-format film quicker
07-10-2015, 12:11 PM   #8
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Assuming 35mm negative or slide for projection onto APS-C sensor, you need 1:1.5 macro magnification. So either a true 1:1 macro lens or some form of tube extension (or bellows etc) should achieve the right magnification. Any 50-100mm FL should give a comfortable working distance, and you can stop down to get useful DOF. Obviously a nice sharp macro with edge to edge performance will help.

I've used DFA-50 macro to test, and assisted someone with FA-100 macro to digitize lots of slides (4000). Achieved really good results. A decent color balanced light table and mini tripod helped to complete the rig for slides which are a bit easier than negatives.

Perhaps negatives would be better with a scanner with lid/cover, but other views to easily hold negative may allow for viable camera scan.

07-10-2015, 09:56 PM - 1 Like   #9
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You can use any focal length as long you have the proper working distance. 50mm is just one of the most comfortable to use for this application because of the reasonably short working distance.
07-10-2015, 10:51 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxus Quote
At CP+ Pentax showed what they called a "Film Duplicator". You would want to use a 35 or 50mm macro lens with that set up because the 100mm would have too long of a working distance.

Pentax Film Duplicator helps you scan 35mm and medium-format film quicker
Wow, I feel like I could make my own one of those for far cheaper than 1000 bucks.
11-14-2015, 11:53 AM   #11
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Hello, actually I'm using my pentax M 50 1.7 inverted mounted on a cheap inversion ring, this combination is really affordable and works almost perfect, once focused there's just a little black frame around the image, I have managed to avoid the frame using an empty filter ring as spacer between the lens ring and the inversion ring, this way the image covers exactly the apsc sensor size. The M 50 1.7 at f-8 is extremely sharp from corner to corner, and distortion is imperceptible. You have to try this!
11-14-2015, 05:02 PM   #12
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I did a heap of my dad's slides recently. I used my Oly E-3, short macro tube, OM Mount Zuiko 50mm f/1.8. I mounted the rig facing down on the tripod, had a sheet of glass balanced on 2 tubs and jerry rigged up a holder with duct tape and other things for perfect placement each time and to raise them off the glass once i got the perfect height for focus. I fired a flash wirelessly from underneath and the results were quick and fantastic.
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