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05-31-2016, 05:35 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Scanning of 35mm Slides with a DSLR

I have a ton of 35mm slides and have doing a little research into my options for converting to digital. As my first experiment, I put a 35 mm slide on a light table, mounted my k200D on an old Pentax Macro Rail on a tripod with a 100mm Vivitar Series One Macro lens. My k200 is only capable of 10 megapixels. Since this is my first attempt, I have nothing to judge the results against so I thought I would post here to get some opinions. Please be honest. Like I said this is my first attempt. I plan on getting a newer, higher resolution Pentax in the near future, but what do you think so far? How does this compare to a scanned photo?

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05-31-2016, 05:47 PM   #2
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I am very interested in your methods. I too have a ton of old slides, mine and my late Mother's. Various means I have tried include various Slide Copiers that fit on camera, which I just can't get to work properly, a borrowed cheap USB slide scanner which left a messy collection of dust spots and poor colour rendition and very harsh contrast. From what I see of your work the result is far superior to anything I have achieved. I will follow this thread with interest
05-31-2016, 05:59 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bruce Clark Quote
I am very interested in your methods. I too have a ton of old slides, mine and my late Mother's. Various means I have tried include various Slide Copiers that fit on camera, which I just can't get to work properly, a borrowed cheap USB slide scanner which left a messy collection of dust spots and poor colour rendition and very harsh contrast. From what I see of your work the result is far superior to anything I have achieved. I will follow this thread with interest
Add me to the list. I've used a DSLR to digitize my old slides with natural light in a method that I described on my website. I'd love to know how you did it. Your results are far better. And welcome to Pentax Forums!
05-31-2016, 06:02 PM   #4
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Yes, appears to be fine, except possibly the dynamic range. But you have the original slide--is there detail in the left side, and is the picture as high in contrast? Because there is no detail on the left side (cliffs, etc.)in the image you show. Also the far side of the brush on right side, and ground look rather contrasty. Besides color (which looks fine) the redction in DR/increased contrast is the biggest potential problem, but as I say you have the original slide to gauge this.

BTW I don't think resolution will be impacted much by going to greater resolution sensor.

05-31-2016, 06:19 PM   #5
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What is the lightsource behind your light table? Was this a Kodachrome slide? I'm trying to figure out the green foliage in the foreground and the tree bark, they seem a bit unnatural, but you would be the only person to know if I'm wrong or right. I'm also asking because this is much sharper and more vivid than the scans I've attempted or had done by a photography shop, and I would like to know how to replicate what you did.
05-31-2016, 06:22 PM   #6
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Actually, I was very anxious to try my experiment and I just randomly picked that slide. The original slide does not have much detail in the cliff side and has a lot of contrast(Fuji Velvia). I will try tomorrow with some different slides and take my time a little. Thanks for your comments. I just taped the slide to my light table. I had to underexpose by a full stop to prevent the image from being washed out. Tamia, I think I'm going to try an idea I got from your website (thanks for the link) of masking with black paper around the slide.

Last edited by sibyrnes; 05-31-2016 at 06:39 PM.
05-31-2016, 06:57 PM - 1 Like   #7
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As much as I love to be a DIY kinda guy, this is one of those things that outsourcing is just better.
Go with Dig My Pics.
05-31-2016, 07:01 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by sibyrnes Quote
How does this compare to a scanned photo?
Beautiful image and seems wel DSLR scanned or more correctly DSLR copied.

What do you mean by how does it compare to a scanned photo - scan of a printed photo or scan of the original film material? There are a great variety of scanners so how it compares will depend on which one.

05-31-2016, 08:55 PM   #9
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I've been thinking about this as well,but not so much for scanning old film, as for scanning stuff I am shooting now. David Hancock has a video about using a DSLR for scanning, and his conclusion was that the results are better, than when using a scanner. I don't have anything I need for a DSLR scanner (no bellows, macro lens, slide copier, or even a flash), so I am leaning towards getting a scanner. Canoscan 9000f scans up to 9000 dpi and I have seen it sold used for as little as $35 canadian... Still, I am very interested in your experiment.
05-31-2016, 09:24 PM   #10
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I heard the same: DSLR slide scanning with camera set to RAW is much better. You can post-process those to JPEGS. Hunt down old bellows and associated hardware in pawn shops, estate sales and used photo gear stores.
06-01-2016, 01:30 AM   #11
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Depends on quality you need

I had hundreds of slides of which many were already getting very grainy due to age, most were Kodak slide film.
Still had the automatic slide projector so ran the slides through and projected onto a screen. Photographed the screen image using my K5 mounted on a tripod. Quality was not great as both projector and slides were really showing their age. However the result was good enough to get selected images printed 6x4 size for family and friends.
Copied over 400 slides in a couple of hours as nearly all were still in the slide trays ready to run through the projector. A bit rough but cheap and easy.
06-01-2016, 03:47 AM   #12
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I have a Pentax bellows with a slide/negative device, but it did not work properly with my K3 as it really requires a 50mm lens and a FF sensor (experimented with 35, 40, 50 and 70mm lenses, but none could be focused and also provide full-frame coverage of the chrome I was attempting to digitize). I intend to experiment more with my new K1. High contrast is a problem, but might be tamed by using HDR, Color is problem: try strobe, incandescent, LED, flood lights, direct light, reflection from a Kodak neutral white card). Color balance of digital conversions is another headache. I've found the "auto-tone" in PS (NOT the one in LR) frequently but not always will give more satisfactory colors than I can manage with 30 minutes of fiddling with the LR sliders. When I have a flat image, I always give the PS auto-tone a try and have been amazed at what it will do with what I thought was a worthless image file. Dust is a PP time-&-trouble phenomenon, just as eliminating dust when giving a traditional slide show was essentially impossible no matter how much time you spent with brush and blower.

Last edited by WPRESTO; 06-01-2016 at 03:56 AM.
06-01-2016, 05:16 AM   #13
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I wasted a lot of time and money trying to duplicate slides and negatives with various camera setups but never achieved decent results. I then purchased a scanner with film holder for about $120 and quickly copied the whole lot. Dust and scratches are a problem with both methods, but seemed more obvious with the scanner. Perhaps the scanner had greater resolution and defects were more obvious. PP of images later did not reveal anymore detail than on the original, but I was able to increase or decrease contrast, remove magenta color shifts and clone out dust, scratches and undesirable objects. I was able to colorize decades old black and white images. Overall, when I had a print of the original negative or slide to use as a comparison, scanned images came out looking more or less as good or maybe even better, but I never tried printing anything larger than 4x6 inches.
06-01-2016, 07:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
I have a Pentax bellows with a slide/negative device, but it did not work properly with my K3 as it really requires a 50mm lens and a FF sensor (experimented with 35, 40, 50 and 70mm lenses, but none could be focused and also provide full-frame coverage of the chrome I was attempting to digitize). I intend to experiment more with my new K1. High contrast is a problem, but might be tamed by using HDR, Color is problem: try strobe, incandescent, LED, flood lights, direct light, reflection from a Kodak neutral white card). Color balance of digital conversions is another headache. I've found the "auto-tone" in PS (NOT the one in LR) frequently but not always will give more satisfactory colors than I can manage with 30 minutes of fiddling with the LR sliders. When I have a flat image, I always give the PS auto-tone a try and have been amazed at what it will do with what I thought was a worthless image file. Dust is a PP time-&-trouble phenomenon, just as eliminating dust when giving a traditional slide show was essentially impossible no matter how much time you spent with brush and blower.
David Hancock has a video on Youtube on how to do it. You need bellows and extension tubes, but even then you don't get full coverage.

I am not sure if that's crazy, but I kind of worry about the number of shutter actuations with this set up. Using HDR approach, you get 108 actuations with just one roll of film, that's over a thousand with 10 rolls. What's 10 rolls? I remember reading that K-1 (not that I have it) shutter is rated for 300,000 actuations. 100 rolls is over 10,000, that's beginning to cut into that 300,000... If a $250 scanner breaks down, that's fine, but a K-1 is more pricey. I can see the DSLR scanner used for high-quality scans of selected negatives, but I am not sure if that's the best approach for digitizing 30 years of film...
06-01-2016, 07:29 AM   #15
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I am also very interested in this thread. I've been wanting to use my K10D (10 megapixels) to copy some slides. My current plan is to use an old Vivitar 283 flash as the light source. I have most of the accessories for it, including a variable-power module and diffuser attachments. With it set to its 90 degree position, I can lay it on a table and have the flash head pointing straight up. I can then lay a slide on the diffuser attachment and let gravity hold it in place. At first I think I'll try my Pentax-M 50mm f1.7 lens on an extension tube(s) and see if I can get the slide to fill the frame.

That's the plan. What could possibly go wrong? 8)
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