Best 35mm film to digital conversion?
Best 35mm film to digital conversion?
Mar 21, 2009
I have about 10 years worth of 35mm photos and negatives that I would like to convert to digital format. Any suggestions on the best way to do this? Scanning photos versus scanning the negatives. Should I do it myself or send it out somewhere (probably couldn't afford that )? Any particular devices? Am I in the right forum for this question? Thanks.
I think the Nikon Coolscan 5000 is one of the best for this job today:
Just got this scanner last week, and it works great (on 32bit Windows only) or Mac. Full resolution is about 23Mp, appr. 134Mb for each file in 16bit TIFF and 4-6Mb for the jpg files. You can also load a 2 to 6 image film strip into the scanner and batch scan.
Over the years I've tried several methods. I've used flatbed scanners with negative or transparency features, most recently an Epson 2850 photo. This gives reasonable results but is painfully slow for anything other than small quantities. Most will only handle a single item at a time. I've also used a dedicated film scanner (Canoscan 2710), which could handle a strip of six negs or single transparencies. This was also very slow (about 30secs per scan, excluding the time to load each neg), but gave good results. However, although I used this to transfer many hundreds of images, I had 40 years of negs and transparencies I wanted to digitise, even if most of them were only for indexing purposes. More modern scanners are likely to have improved in speed and quality, but are expensive. In the end I found the quickest (and cheapest) method was to use my cameras. I use either my old Canon D30 (for low resolution) or my Canon 5D, with the Canon 100mm close-up lens and the remote release. I used to set this up on a tripod, pointing down towards a flat panel slide illuminator, on which I placed the negs or transparencies in a home made "holder". More recently I bought a secondhand copy stand (Jessops model CS-920S) to use instead of the tripod, which is an improvement in terms of ease in setting up. With this setup you can digitise images more or less as quickly as you can change the slide, paper photo or negative - with transparecies I can cycle these in about 5 seconds. I set white balance before hand to match the slide illuminator, and usually pre-focus rather than using auto-focus (it speeds up cycle time). I use RAW because it allows a much better range of post-processing corrections to the older images, where there can be degradation of colour and contrast changes (particularly in old colour film and photos). I set a small aperature (f8) and let the camera decide on the right exposure time - if the negs are dense it can be as much as a second, hence the need for a stable base. Post processing with photoshop deals with most situations in terms of exposure and colour balance, dust spots and flaws.
Hope that helps.
Michael Novara wrote:
I have about 10 years worth of 35mm photos and negatives that I would
like to convert to digital format. Any suggestions on the best way
to do this? Scanning photos versus scanning the negatives. Should I
do it myself or send it out somewhere (probably couldn't afford that
)? Any particular devices? Am I in the right forum for this
there no way to get the best out of film specially negative, most drum scanner have problem scanning negative, the best is make a wet print as big as you can offer and drum scan the photo, this will record all the color and the dynamic range of the negative.
I still suggest you keep the film for the future, and have the lab scan the film for you, so that you can email to friends or post to web
There is an ancient, but very prooven solution for your problem. Decades ago, it was called "slide duplication".
Simple: you make a picture of your slide/negative: use film camera when you want another slide/negative, use digital camera when.... you know....
Brands such as Bowens (UK) and Multiblitz (Germany) even made excellent flash-systems for this method.
Resolution is limited by the Mpix of your camera, quality is limited by the lens you use. Even works a lot faster than scanning!
I use a Bowens Illumitran with Canon 5D, bellows unit and Rodenstock lens. This enables me to digitise any transparency (pos/neg) format up to 4x5 inch! (But any reasonable macro lens will do nicely as well.) Works like a dream! Very boring work though...
Negative scanning is the solution. You can use either the Nikon 5000 or Minolta 5400. both are great but works with Windows XP only