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  1. #1
    Ausphotography Regular thegrump's Avatar
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    digitizer

    Can any one recommend a film negative digitizer. I have two already, but bother are useless
    I have been taking photos for 50 years. I am now trying to get into Photography


  2. #2
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    There is only one way to do it properly .. but it'll cost 'ya $s

    Look for a Nikon PB-4 plus PS-4 adapter. You need a 50mm lens .. cheapie 50/1.8 AF-D is fine .. and your camera.
    You won't get better results than that.

    All up, that shebang should cost about $250-300(and whatever for postage).

    Every other method of digitizing your films is compromised in some way by comparison.

    Note too tho, that the other similar method to the above Nikon pieces combo is to get a decent macro lens of some type, and build the PB-4 eliminating contraption.

    So you understand:

    The PB-4 is nothing much in the way of being special. in a word it's a gigantic variable extension tube.
    All it does is, it separates the lens from the camera, just like any extension tube does .. but it does so from about 15mm to about 200mm very quickly and easily, and allows you to focus and frame with ease.

    The PS-4 adapter just holds the film steady along with the camera/lens combo on the PB-4. So even if the camera shakes due to whatever vibration(eg. mirror slap), it makes no difference really .. the shebang is all tied together on the one platform.
    So as you're shooting macro, being rock steady isn't fraught with the frustration it otherwise could be.
    The important bit of the PS-4 adapter is the lens bellows. What this part does(is vital for a good image) .. is to completely remove all ambient light between lens and film being captured!
    You have no idea how important this can be if you want to achieve good results.
    The bellows is such that one part attaches to the front of the lens used(52mm front filter size of the cheap and ubiquitous 50/1.8 is perfectly perfect). The other side of the bellows is attached to the slot where the films slot into.
    So you work in perfectly good bright lights, so you can see what you're doing.
    All you now need is just a bright light to light the film from behind. I used a 20w desk lamp.

    AND!! ... the main reason all this works better than a high quality scanner. (ps I've only tried a lower quality scanner by comparison tho) .. is that you can dodge and burn in real time to achieve improved dynamic range, of it's needed.
    Because the film is backlit(film sits between lens and light) .. I used a simple ice cream stick as my paddle to dodge any areas that needed it. I reckon I recovered at least 2 maybe 3 stops of dynamic range from an overexposed sky by using this method.
    Add to that whatever other tricks shooting in raw can offer too .. and it's a hard method to better.

    You could easily make up a well sealed up box to do the same thing too tho.
    That saves on the PB-4 + PS-4 adapter. You just need a macro lens of some type, or a lens that could be used with extension tubes.
    The box has to be light tight, so that no ambient light affects image contrast on the final image.
    What gives the old very washed out films any pop is some contrast .. but not added contrast in PP .. actual contrast! They need to be kept in the dark for that.

    The problem with the box method is the trial and error mode, unless you are a scientific genius .. where the distance between lens and film, plus what focal length lens to use, how much extension needed(if not a macro lens) just get the framing right.
    I don't like to do things by halves if I can avoid it, and cropping and wasting pixels was not on my acceptable options list.
    You don't need extraordinary resolution from the lens either, and anything that resolves OK at about f/8 is fine.
    I have many lenses to choose from, but of all of them, my preferred lens was my trusty little Tamron 28-75 F/2.8 zoom.
    The grain in the film doesn't respond to being captured at high resolution, so trying to get sharper images only results in seeing more grain!
    But, from my experience, you don't want to lose pixel count. Again, not for seeing more detail, but for the ability to enlarge any of these films, with less blurred detail captured.

    The lower the pixel count, the less ability to view it larger.

    The D800E's much larger 36Mp count definitely display better than the same images shot with the 12Mp D300. That's because to see both those images at the same size, the D300's had to be enlarged more by comparison.

    Once you've finished with the film digitizing, the PB-4 is a great macro tool to have handy too!
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


  3. #3
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    Thanks ... am looking into this

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Yeah, if you're not in a rush .. then just watch ebay for this PB-4.
    Have to say it's a very well built contraption .. in the sense that they don't build them like that any more .. kind of way.

    I think it took me two years or so to finally snag one .. but what happens is:

    They aren't the most popular device on ebay, but come up regularly for sale.
    I was placing my bid early on many items(say: $200) .. and just wait for the sale to finish.
    I reckon on about 90% of those bids, I missed by a measly $2-5 .. that is, what I think was happening was that the seller(s) was spriuking the bids with their own bids, to start a bidding war.
    I'm not into that kind'a crap, so just waited for the item to come up listed again a short time later(which of course it would).

    I've seen the standalone PB-4 come up and they seem to peak at about the $150ish mark for a like new version.(the pics supplied seem to confirm this).
    So a A+ to A condition version should go for about $100-ish to so.
    Add the important PS-4 attachment for another $100-ish and well it adds up to about $200.

    Note too: depends on the type of film you have that you want to duplicate.
    if it's roll film of any type, then you need to the two ears(if you search PS-4, you'll see what they are!!). But if you have short strips, or mounted films of any type, the ears aren't so important.
    I got a PS-4 that didn't include the ears .. works fine even with strips of film with about 5 frames long.

    Probably the most important part of this method is to be rigorous with the dusting routine. cans of spray air are about the best way and a very fine soft brush of some kind to get the film as clear as you can(ps. you'll never get it 100% perfect!!)

    Processing wasn't too hard with free tools available, just tedious.

    Capture NX2 is the best way to process negatives, LR4(that I also had to help) was ok, but I didn't like it as much(both ease and final quality(with the minimum effort).

    I have a thread from a few years ago about my processing:

    HERE(this thread is all ok) and HERE (but this thread, the images have disappeared .. I'll look into what happened).

    ps. I went and bought a film scanner(not dedicated, flatbed type) which is supposed to give great results .. but it's not as good as a RAW capture of the film.

    Some will try to argue that a dedicated film scanner will give better results than a film/flatbed scanner, but I'd also argue that the cost needs to be justified.
    It's very hard now to get an old film scanner of reasonable price that can work with many modern operating systems.
    I think you could have luck in a Windows environment as it allows older OS emulation, but this is no guarantee that it will work.

    So using a price/ease/speed/quality method of assessing the best way to digitize your old films .. the above method (I think) is the best way. What settled the point for me is that the PB-4 is a great way to get into real macro imagery!
    Last edited by arthurking83; 01-09-2016 at 1:49pm.

  5. #5
    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    @ Uncle Arthur

    Mate, I think you need to re-think your fleabay bidding methods.

    When I'm interested in an auction item I decide what I'm prepared to pay for it, and lodge that bid about ten seconds before the auction ends. That way you don't get involved in protracted bidding duels and if you win the item, you have paid the maximum that you were prepared to go to. With the automatic bidding process you can often get it for much less than your maximum bid.

    And there are apps that you can use to do your bidding for you although my understanding is that their only advantage is that they will get your high bid in right on the end time.

    I'm not suggesting that there is no shill bidding on fleabay, but I'd think that it is pretty uncommon. The most likely reason that you often miss out by $2 or $5 is the automatic bidding process.
    Cheers
    Kev

    D800 & GAS

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    Cage ... that is exactly the way i do it.

    arthur ... I am in the process of building a device, using parts from an old digitizer. Let you know how it goes. All I need is a 55mm ID tube.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Yeah, tried that, doesn't work too.
    Someone always gets in at the last moment with the same effect as my method.

    I just don't have to stuff about.
    I see something, I may like it.
    Put a bid and go off and do 'important' stuff.
    I even forget that I've put bids on some stuff and then only see that I've won it, after I've won!(email... or whatever msg comes through! )

    Nup! I just learned that after all this time, if I want something, I just place my bid at what I think is a reasonable price.
    If my price is just short, there's a higher probability that the seller is a pure and simple greedy scam-artist.
    Using my method, the probability is that the seller just wants to get rid of some stuff

    I'm not in any rush to get what I get off ebay .. ever!
    If time was a priority then I'd always prefer to get whatever item/product directly from a reputable physical location .. in person!

    TG, are you using the 55mm ID tube to create the bellows between the film and the lens? That is, to eliminate ambient-stray light between the lens and the film?
    There is this particular material you can get free, it's a cardboard roll .. like a dunny roll holder only 1000x thicker and stronger and about 40-ish cm long.
    I think the ID is about 50-ish mm.
    What these rolls are, they're used on this plastic pallet wrap stuff. That is, when a company sends stuff on a pallet, they stack their good on the pallet, then wrap the pallet with this plastic wrap(it's basically glad wrap).
    The cardboard inserts that this plastic comes on are immensely strong!! ... even tho they're only compressed cardboard.

    IIRC you live in the Greensborough area?
    If so, you could try locating some factory/warehouse of some type that sends stuff on pallets somewhere in the Thomastown area around Northgate Dr/Settlement Rd/Dalton Rd as an example.
    The area is lined with many warehouses that use this stuff. Just walk into any of the ones that are easily accessible and as the warehouse staff(not the office staff!!) for any empty pallet wrap rolls if they have any(and they will).

    Anyhow, I'll leave you with it, let us know what you created too, when it's all done.

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    arthurking83....It is looking promising, Not an award winning result but good enough to save my slides ( IMA ). with first shot results, from a slide, straight from the camera ( no editing ). A few more tweaks. Now I have to work out how to invert the colour for the colour negatives I used the body of an old scanner, that gave terrible results, a piece of PVC plumbing joinery, and the +10 and +4 screw on macros. Measuring the focal distance was a bit tricky, but I think it has come together fairly well.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    I gree.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Looking good.

    Quote Originally Posted by thegrump View Post
    ..... Now I have to work out how to invert the colour for the colour negatives I used the body of an old scanner, that gave terrible results, a piece of PVC plumbing joinery, and the +10 and +4 screw on macros. ....
    That's the easy part, depending on what software you use.

    Are you shooting in jpg or raw?

    If jpg, I can't really help all that much other than to say, download and use PaintDotNet(PDN).
    Note that this is not Microsoft's Paint(which you have on your PC) .. Type PaintDotNet in whatever search engine you use, and it will take you to their website. it's totally free to use.
    Note that the colour cast in that image is very blue. Question is, is the film type used, or the light source used to reproduce the image?
    You could warm it a touch, but my experience is that while you get OK looking results on jpgs, it's not the same quality as a proper WB adjustment on a raw file.
    If you so try PDN, which opens jpg files straight up, the conversion from negative to colour (inversion) is a simple couple of clicks of the mouse.
    Look for the Adjustments tab in the toolbar, and then scroll down to "invert colours" .. easy peasy. Otherwise use the Cntrl-Shft-I key combo to do it quickly.

    If on the other hand you used NEF shooting mode, the software you are using will determine the way to invert colours.
    If you let me know what software you're using, I can help with inverting NEFs(maybe).

    Not important but handy tips:
    One other handy tip for colour inversion to help with viewing images only(not to invert the image file permanently!!)
    Windows has a handy little colour inversion tool.

    1/. press the Windows Key(the one with the Windows logo, that many folks generally ignore!! ) and the + key, a magnifier window will open up for 'ya.
    This is the start:
    What you then do is press Ctrl-Shft-i button combo, and the magnifier window will invert colour. You then zoom around the desktop to view your negative file in it's glorious colour splendour.
    Remember this is in magnify mode so the image may appear pixelated due to the magnification.
    To view that magnified window at the same scale as the rest of the window, press the Windows Key and the - key, and it will unzoom and you just use the window to view the negative in colour.
    (press Ctrl-Shft-i again to uninvert the colour of the window. Your last setting will return the next time you open the magnifier tool .. I keep it inverted all the time).

    depending on your mouse model and type, you may be able to set this up to work more easily.
    if you have a multi buttoned mouse, you can set one of the buttons to open the colour inversion tool quickly, and close it quickly too.
    I've set mine up so that one of the side buttons(not the left click right click buttons!) activates it.
    When I was doing my lot of films I used this tool all the time, mainly on the thumbnails.

    I'll post a screenshot so you can see it working:
    Actually! I won't. Or more accurately .. can't!
    When I try it, the inverted window is blanked out!
    .. anyhow, try that for yourself and check out how it works .. like I said, it's easy peasy.

    Let me know what software you're using, if you're shooting raw, and I'll do what I can to help with colour inversion.

  11. #11
    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Ta, AK.
    I had a look at the site. It looks interesting. Some of the reviews talked about problems it had, but
    I'd say use it to convert negative, then use another editor.

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