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02-18-2011, 01:04 AM   #1
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Digitizing Medium Format - Canon 8800f [vs] DIY Copy Stand

I have another thread going in the lens forum about different methods of digitizing medium format film. I thought the folks here in MF forum might want to see this head-to-head test too ...

My highly un-scientific first try at "scanning" 120 film with a Pentax K-x and macro lens seems to beat the Canon 8800f flatbed right off the bat.

Below are two unprocessed scans of the same film frame (Velvia 100 shot on my P645N).
The first is with the Canon 8800f, multi-exposure in Vuescan, written to DNG etc etc (pretty laborious).
The second is photographed with the K-x, JPEG straight out of the camera. I just downsized both images.









Even before processing, the K-x image has more sharpness and dynamic range / luminosity. 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 S-M-C Macro-Takumar on a tripod, set ISO100, and stopped down the lens to f11. I tried to position the tripod and camera at right angles to the slide, but I really don't think it worked that well. No slide holder used for the time being since I don't own one. The focusing distance had to be 29cm to fit the film, but the lens can actually focus as close as 23cm. The film was not perfectly flat - 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, with the film maybe 15mm above the bright light. With some kind of diffusion, it promises to be even better.


Last edited by Dubesor; 02-18-2011 at 09:10 AM.
02-18-2011, 07:55 AM   #2
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Thats pretty cool. I would suggest setting your lens at F8 instead of F11, at f11 you may start to get diffraction and I would guess with the combo you are using that f8 maybe the sweet spot. BTW the color looks a little pink to me on the camera shot

very cool idea. I would love to try this with my 645D and some old film I have using my 120mm macro.
02-18-2011, 08:39 AM   #3
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2nd that - it is pretty cool! I like unconventional approaches - this would be great for web output. Curious though if large prints were done with both files and compared what would the output look like? It seems intuitive the scanned files could print higher resolution than the K-x (even with raw)??
02-18-2011, 09:05 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by VoltMan Quote
2nd that - it is pretty cool! I like unconventional approaches - this would be great for web output. Curious though if large prints were done with both files and compared what would the output look like? It seems intuitive the scanned files could print higher resolution than the K-x (even with raw)??
My main plan for it is web output. If I need (large) prints, I have an acquaintance with a drum scanner

Resolution wise, my 8800f scanner maxes out at 1600 dpi, its effective resolution. That works out to a 9 megapixel file from my 645 film, with prints in the 9x12 range.

With this K-x method, assuming I fill most of the DSLR viewfinder with the film frame, I can get 15-16 MP out of that same piece of film = prints up to 10x14.


Last edited by Dubesor; 02-18-2011 at 10:18 AM.
02-18-2011, 09:50 AM   #5
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I'd like to do something like that for a whole pile of old family slide film taken by my parents to get computer viewing versions. It would be way faster than scanning on my slow Nikon 9000ED. Pentax made a slide copier with a special macro lens for it. It seems a setup like that would speed things up.
02-18-2011, 10:33 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
I'd like to do something like that for a whole pile of old family slide film taken by my parents to get computer viewing versions. It would be way faster than scanning on my slow Nikon 9000ED. Pentax made a slide copier with a special macro lens for it. It seems a setup like that would speed things up.
It's so fast compared to scanning, esp. 'proper' scanning w/ previews, exactly sizing each frame, setting levels, yada yada. I got really fed up with scan software and techniques; I won't put myself through it any more, not for a while anyway.

I'll digitize my film with my K-x and send the rest to NCPS and Dwayne's to scan. My time is just better spent elsewhere.
02-19-2011, 02:03 AM   #7
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Wow. It's noticeably sharper with the K-x.
Oh, shoot me a PM on where I can find NCPS or Dwayne's
02-19-2011, 10:41 PM   #8
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That seems to work pretty well. I have the Oly 4/3 system with the 35 and 50 macro lens and I want to try this as my Coolscan 8000ED just died. Or I can save a $1000 toward a 645D by not getting a new scanner.

02-20-2011, 01:56 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by wkkato Quote
That seems to work pretty well. I have the Oly 4/3 system with the 35 and 50 macro lens and I want to try this as my Coolscan 8000ED just died. Or I can save a $1000 toward a 645D by not getting a new scanner.
A good call. I sold my scanner today, what a relief.
02-20-2011, 02:00 AM   #10
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Here's the final, processed 'scan' from the Pentax K-x by the way ...

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