Photographing old negatives / workflow

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
NCV Forum Pro • Posts: 11,703
Re: Photographing old negatives / workflow

PLShutterbug wrote:

Moderator: Let me know where this belongs if not here. I looked but couldn’t find a topic area that seemed a better fit.

I have something like 4,000 old negatives and slides to digitize in formats from 126 Instamatic to 2-1/2”x4-1/4”. I plan to photograph these using my Z7, Nikkor 60mm Micro, and a negative stage I built myself. I’m not interested in using a scanner for this.

Best practices? My current plan:

  • Create custom picture controls for each emulsion type so I can see positives in camera before I even fire the shutter. That way I can just not photograph ones that don’t look interesting.
  • I use Affinity for editing so plan to shoot RAW, save to disk and then use View-NXi to bulk convert to TIFF before tweaking those I’m interested in. That way I don’t have to re-process the RAW files again in Affinity.
  • I’d like to connect my camera to PC to preview and maybe save direct to disk. Looks like Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 for this but wonder if it provides the flexibility I know I will want. In particular:
  • - If I know an image should be vertical, I’d like to indicate that so the original is flagged that way.
  • - Auto dust and scratch healing?

Has anyone here done this, and have advice?


Yes, I have done this, not with my Z7, but with my D810 because the autofocus does not work on the Z7 with my 60mm Macro.

I wanted to start digitizing my old jazz and performing arts archive.

I have also reproduced the stuff I took on my first continentale trips back when I was in my 20's.

With the jazz archive, I started by reproducing  what I had printed back in the day, but I found it was quicker just to photograph whole concerts leaving out the stuff that was obviously not worth reproducing. I could then look with more calm at what was worth processing.  I found an awful  lot of things I had missed the first time around, so it is worth reproducing as much as you can.

It is interesting, that what I wanted and, what I thought were good shots has changed with time and maturity. Things I dismissed back, then were not the failures I thought them to be.

My reproduction rig is a custom made aluminium base holding a neg ot transparency holder form my old enlarger. For negatives the process of copying is very fast as the negatives slide through the film holder.

I processed in DXO doing a batch BW negative profile. I removed dust with a blower as I did in the darkroom and the spotting out was done in post with healing.

I have found that with modern software I can drag a lot of stuff out of those negatives that was almost impossible in the darkroom.

Here is an Ebook I made of my Jazz shots.

Joe Henderson

Pat Metheny

A- ha

Ian Anderson

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