Turn your Nikon Coolpix 950 into a negatives scanner for FREE !!

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any damage caused to negatives, cameras, fingers, prides or anything else as a result of any information in this article. Note, this is NOT what the camera is designed to do, however it does cunningly do it quite well. If there are any manufacturers out there willing to turn my idea into a product I'd be happy to hear from you.

This isn't anything mindbogglingly new, it's been done before, in fact Olympus just came out with an add-on for the D620-L (1400-XL) which allows the camera to take shots of slides and negatives, the difference here is that we're taking advantage of the Coolpix 950's great ability to take macro shots.

Ingredients

  • One Nikon Coolpix 950 (may also work with any digicam capable of close-range macro focusing)
  • One used toilet roll (preferably with a white interior)
  • One cutting implement (get parents permission first), pencil and ruler
  • Some 35mm negatives
  • A photo-editting application (such as Photoshop)

The photograph below shows my cutting-edge design for the negatives holder.

As you can see it's half a toilet roll with a slit cut in it (woo). To be precise take said toilet roll and cut one length of 4cm (about 1.66") from it (be sure to make the cut parallel to the end). Now mark a circle around the roll 1cm (0.33") from one end, cross this line with two smaller lines 3cm (about 1.33") which is where you'll stop cutting the slit (and where the bottom of the negative will rest).

Now I've not yet come up with a way to attach this to the 950 so I'm afraid you're going to have to hold it up to the lens (long end towards the camera). Set the camera up as follows:

  • Manual mode
  • Auto whitebalance
  • "P" mode
  • Macro mode
  • Exposure compensation +1.3EV - +1.7EV (experiment)
  • Center weighted metering

Aim the camera at a well lit WHITE WALL, then place the contraption over the lens. Zoom right out and let the camera focus, then zoom in to the portion of the negative you require and snap the shot. Take several shots :) Then bring them back to the PC, load a shot into Photoshop, invert the image, "AUTO LEVEL" it and make any slight colour balance adjustments.. There you have it..

Now, I'm not claiming that this is perfect, ahem, far from it but it does produce quite clear viewable (good enough for a webpage) images from negatives. Here are some samples of my own (originally taken with a compact-zoom 35mm camera):

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