Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Scanning by camera

There was a discussion recently on a forum I visit about using your camera to scan film originals, because (good) scanners are not as available as they used to be. It all got very complicated and detailed, using medium format large sensor cameras and so forth. But it got me thinking and wondering how my Nikon D700 would perform.
I photographed two negatives, one a 6x4.5 black and white (which I had actually neglected to scan when I did have an Imacon high-end scanner) and a 35mm color neg. I used as my light source a light box (fluorescent tubes), which really you should not do because of the limited colour spectrum, and set the white balance to auto. The results were surprising, surprisingly good, that is. The B&W fared better, because, I suppose, of the larger sized original and no colour problems. Whereas the colour neg with it's orange mask was a mess once I inverted it to get a positive. It took a heck of a lot of meddling around in photoshop to get anything reasonable. But I'm left with the impression that if you had medium format transparencies in your archive that you wanted to have files of, it is not impossible to get reasonable quality by using your camera. (Just don't use a lightbox).
Here are the images:

1 comment:

  1. I bought a scanner (for documents) but it also claimed to be good for scanning negatives. The quality from the scanner was poor. I then made negative holders from cardboard and set up a rig using my camera with a macro lens. The lighting was simply from two table lamps which I set up to reflect from a piece of white cardboard. The quality from this was far superior to that from the flatbed scanner. Good camera, good lens, and a bit of ingenuity was all that was needed.