Scanning Negatives

An experiment in low cost negative scanning.

Negative Scanners are very expensive, 1000 euros or dollars for a low entry model is normal. So there must be a cheaper way of doing things, right? So at first I tried using a normal scanner, but you don't have enough light to scan negatives, results were, ...awfull... so I tried again but using a backlight. Results were a bit better but still awfull. So I searched the web and tried again with mirrors and lights and finally I gave up.

Seemed that a negative scanner was the only way to go....
But I got another idea, I have a Nikon Coolpix digital camera, with an excellent macromode. So I searched the web to find out if someone allready tried it... And someone did, I got loads of hits in the searchengine. So I started building.

Meet Prototype 1, worked but abandoned because an all perspex model lets light in but way too much, I needed to diffuse the light more. No problem a few moments later I built this.

Meet Prototype 2, now with "milk" perspex to diffuse the light. I used a Halogeen lamp as seen in this shot. This caused another problem. The whole system got too hot. And the lightcolor was all wrong. I needed neutral light. So I replaced the Halogeen lamp with a simple TL light. This solved the problem. The system actually works. You shoot the negatives with the digital camera, then load the negative digital shot into adobe Photoshop, invert the shot, use image, adjust, autolevels and you're there. Easy? Well... yes... but at first I had a lot of blue in the shots this ment I was using a lamp with the wrong colortemperature (the Halogeen) the TL also has a bit too much blue but it works better than I expected and it is correctable.
I've now upgraded :-) Prototype 2 to Prototype 3 which has on the upper plexiglas (or perspex whatever you prefer) black foam. I noticed that Prototype 2 has a reflexion in some scans from the camera, the black foam prevents that.
Why did I built it, well.... it is cheaper than a negative scanner and for webpublication this works very very fast.

This is a shot made with prototype 2 (halogeen corrected)


Also on my Zenit-3 page all shots made (except the camera shot) were scanned with this system. (TL lamp used)

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