I wrote about the set up I had created for scanning negatives using a digital camera a while back. Since writing that, I have been working on a lot more scans and have gained some additional experience. This has resulted in a few changes to the configuration so I thought I would share those too. Overall I am very happy with the results I am getting as a result of the updates. Things could be better but that would involve considerably more expense and the need just isn’t there.
The first change I made was to use a different lens. I had been using the 24-105. It was pretty close to the film plane and was sensitive to getting the alignment spot on. I had a few times when focus was not consistent across the shot. I thought it might be better to try a longer lens further away and this proved to be a big help. I have my old 100-400 still so I hooked that up. It makes for a slightly higher position but I can use the zoom quite well although it needs more of the extension tubes to focus properly. It does result in good focus although I tend to focus manually as the autofocus does not seem happy in this setup.
I was using Liveview quite a bit and I discovered that the old batteries I have were not lasting long at all. Rather than buy new batteries, I went to Amazon and picked up an AC adaptor that replaces the battery for about $15. Now I can scan as long as I like without having to have batteries charging in the background.
I also have modified slightly the light pad. I found I was moving it around a lot more than I realized as I moved the negatives and swapped strips. A little gaffer tape now holds it pretty much in place. This means I can have the lens zoomed more closely to the full frame of the film which allows for a higher resolution scan.
With everything tethered in to Lightroom, the import process is pretty smooth. The preset I use is okay but I am regularly tweaking for the white balance and exposure. This is not too big of a deal. I find I can get better detail out of the shots than was possible with the scanner and using the raw convertor gives me plenty to work with. They are still limited by the quality of the original shots of course!
Overall I am very pleased. I can scan a lot of stuff very quickly compared to the old way and now I am happy to scan a whole shoot without worrying about whether any of them could be ignored. It is quicker to scan them and then discard them afterwards. I am scanning stuff that I have been thinking about for a long time and rescanning shots that had been done before but really were not great. Of course, now I have even more stuff to do in whatever spare time there is so maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all!