Digitizing slides with Olympus 60mm macro and Olympus Capture

Started Oct 8, 2020 | Discussions thread
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john isaacs Veteran Member • Posts: 7,114
Digitizing slides with Olympus 60mm macro and Olympus Capture

Tethering my E-M1 mark II to my computer using Olympus Capture and a USB cable made digitizing slides quick and easy.

I used the Nikon ES-1 slide copying adapter to hold the slide and provide one layer of diffusion for my lighting.

With the 60mm f/2.8 macro, you need at least 60mm spacing between the lens and the adapter. You also need to adapt the 52mm threads on the ES-1 to the 46mm filter threads on the 60mm lens. The ES-1 is adjustable in length, so if you have longer spacers you can shorten the length by up to 24mm. If you go longer, then the slide will just be smaller in the frame. If you are shorter, then you will be cropping the slide.

Here is a picture of my setup.

Slide copying with Olympus E-M1.2 and 60mm f/2.8 macro lens.

This is the gear for photographing (followed by the gear for support).

  • Olympus E-M1 mark II, with the 20MP sensor, provides optimal resolution for slides of up to 3350 dpi.
  • Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro, which I shoot at f/5.6-f/6.3
  • 46-49mm step up ring
  • 49-52mm step up ring (I did start with a 46-52mm step up ring, but I needed the extra 4mm the second step up ring provides)
  • 52mm Diameter Extension Tube / 21mm long for Nikon ES-1.  Bought this off eBay  back in 2013, it is actually two tubes of 7 and 14mm length.  
  • 52mm Diameter Nikon extension tube sections K4 and K5.  These add up to 30mm extension.  The K2 and K3 sections are lens mounts; I had them on this setup so I could quickly remove the ES1 (it screws in), but because I got the lengths os the ES1 could be fully extended, I left it off.
  • Nikon ES-1 slide copy adapter.  This has a telescoping body, diffuser, and spring clips for holding the slide in place.  I got the precise extension from the step up rings and extension tubes that i could extend the ES-1 to maximum extension and just fit a slide in the frame.  The ES-1 rotates freely as well as telescopes, so I put a piece of gaffer tape to keep it in position.
  • Litra Pro BiColor light with softbox.  This is a small, color temp adjustable LED light that works great for lighting up the slides.  I originally used a flash for lighting, but having a constant light lets me see what is going on in Olympus Capture.  I keep it plugged into a USB charger and set it to 50% at 5000K.  Take a white balance shot without a slide and I'm good to go.

The gear for support:

  • RRS spacer block to raise the camera up to match up with the lens support.
  • 170mm nodal rail to clamp the camera and lens support
  • Hejnar lens support (4 inch rail, 2 inch lens support, regular bar and large wheels).
  • Sunwayfoto 200mm rail with vertical clamp.  This is to support the lighting, and it clampse to the Hejnar lens support rail.  It lets me add/remove the lighting for setup.
  • Smallrig small magic arm.  This gives me adjustable support for the lighting
  • Rob Pleas Gimbal.  Any gimbal will do here.  It's a large setup, so a typical tripod head is unstable.  I like the Rob Pleas gimbal because it is compact.
  • Gitzo tripod.  Any tripod will do here, but the Gitzo is light and sturdy.  

So that's the setup.  My one comment is this: the lens plus extension tubes plus slide copy adapter is  very long, and when copying slides you are repeatedly inserting and adjusting slides at the end of it.  Without lens support, thats a lot of stress on the lens mount.  With lens support, I had no concerns with the pressure I was putting on the ES-1 to adjust the slide position.

My next step is to get a negative holder and use this setup to digitize film negatives.

 john isaacs's gear list:john isaacs's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Panasonic GH5 Olympus OM-D E-M1X Olympus E-M5 III Olympus E-M1 III +17 more
Olympus E-M1 Pentax K-5
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