Copying Old 35mm film negatives, or My, how my style has changed!

Started Nov 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
rrr_hhh Veteran Member • Posts: 6,022
Re: Copying Old 35mm film negatives, or My, how my style has changed!

bgalb wrote:


I would recommend this kind of experience for any of us old guys, just to see how our image-making habits have changed over many years.

Mmmmm... I do still have a lot of slides and negatives to scan. I'm not sure that I'd recommend that to anyone, since it is very long and thus frustrating

I went into semi digital photography in the mid nineties, ordering only the development of the films and scanning negs and slides myself instead of ordering prints. I scanned them with a dedicated film scanner. The last one I had and still have is quite good; it is a Nikon Coolscan LS4000. It takes 35mm film, but no medium format. For 6x6 and 6x9, I have an Epson flatbed scanner.

Scanning with the Nikon Coolscan is very time consuming and I needed 4-6 hours to scan a single 35mm film of 36 shots; if you start using dusting or multiple passes it get longer and hours more if you go on adjusting and correcting your pictures.

I thought that the Epson flatbed would be a good solution allowing me to scan contacts (I can fit a whole 35mm film on a few A4 sheets with the film holder). I thought that I would just use a lower resolution to speed up the process and from there pick the best ones to make good scans with the Nikon Coolscan. Alas I soon discovered that there was almost no difference between low or high resolution scans and that things weren't much faster this way. Since I couldn't refrain from retouching the individual pictures anyway.

Last year, I got a slide duplicator : mine was sold under the Dörr brand, but you can find the same kind made by Opteka or Kaiser or ? On eBay.

They are composed of three elements : a close up lens which you screw on your lens filter (52mm, but they give you step up filters for 55, 62 and 67mm and a step down filter for 37mm). Then there is a tube of 8-10 cm long, and finally a slide holder..

I made several tests comparing it with my two scanners. The close up lens gave me really bad results. So I took the close up lens away (you can unscrew it) and mounted the tube directly on the filter of a Tamron 90mm macro on the Canon 5D. The results were much better, almost as good as with the Nikon film scanner.

But then again, it was very slow, because it was a pain to adjust the slide in the slide holder : the slide holder is retained by a spring like mecanism and each time you feed a frame inside it, the slide holder get squewed..

In the end I wasn't really gaining time, I had to be very careful if I wanted to get the full frame and it was never perfect, i had to rotate and crop each picture afterward anyway.

Your post prompted me to take that slide duplicator out again and I mounted it on the E-M5 plus the 12-50mm in the macro position. I took a few picures of a slide and the 35mm slide isn't filling the picture (may be only 3/4 of the frame); I have just read in the specifications, that the magnifying power of the 12-50mm is only 0.36, so with that combo, you loose resolution, but at least you don't crop your negs or slides..

I will make some more tests to-morrow in order to compare the results of the E-M5 with those of the two scanners.

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