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Scanning 35mm negatives

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by Gibson67, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. Gibson67

    Gibson67 Well-Known Member

    Hi all

    I’ve recently got back into film photography and was hoping fellow members could give me a little advice. I’d like to scan my negatives once processed and have digital copies to share on social media, Flickr, Instagram etc. I’m a little unsure the best route to take?

    I don’t have a scanner, but do have a decent DSLR a Nikon D5300 with a 18-55 kit lens aswell as a few vintage 50mm primes. I was planning on buying an artists light box placing the negative slides between two sheets of glass placed on top of the light box. My question is could I purchase a macro tube for my Nikon, or do I need a dedicated macro lens? I do also own a Fujifilm X10 with a macro feature allowing me to focus in to about 2cm. Given my Nikon is 24mp camera am I correct this is the camera I should be using over the Fuji?

    Assuming I can get decent results with my current kit, what free software would I need for conversion? I’m currently using Capture one express Fuji & Nikon Capture NX D. Lastly! Would a DSLR set up give me as good, or better results than purchasing a cheap older scanner like an Epson V200 or V330?

    Thanks in advance

  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I don't see why your plan wouldn't work. You don't need true macro unless using a full frame camera. One sheet of glass should suffice, I suppose glass for negative carriers is still available, on a photographic light box. Inverting the image involves compensating for the colour mask then inverting the colours. I'd be surprised if there were not profiles available.

    Curiously the comment column in AP this week bemoans the death of the scanner.
  3. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I've done this a few times so this might help...
    1. See if you can source a spare film carrier from any film scanner (7 day shop used to do them for a few quid). Scanner carriers are glassless because the last thing you want is to add 4 more surfaces - unless you really like removing dust spots.
    2. The D5300 will do a grand job. I've used a D5100 and it worked OK. (I generally used a FF Canon but that's just me).
    3. The ideal way to do this is to get some cheap Nikon fitting macro bellows. They don't need to be all that good because if you're only using 35mm you'll be able to set them up once and lock them in place.
    4. The 50mm primes should do a fine job. If you happen to have a 35mm prime around that might be even better as you're using a crop format camera but you'll probably manage ok without it.
    5. Set the D5300 to 'A' mode and stop the lens down to f8. That should work nicely.
    6. See how you get on with the software you've got. If it doesn't manage download the GIMP - it's free and works fine.
    7. Make sure the tripod or other support you're using is rigid.
    I think that's about it. Some samples:

    From a Nikon FM2n...

    Canon Eos 1996 07-21.jpg

    From a Canon Eos 5...

    Nikon FM2n 1996 08-01.jpg

    From a Canon F1...

    Canon F1 Ilford Film 1996-13_ 21.jpg
  4. londonbackpackr

    londonbackpackr Well-Known Member

    Yes , is the easy answer, even the newer flatbed scanners can have problems, especially if the film is cupping. Lomography do a scanning mask which is pretty good but tends to be OOS a lot and is £30.

    You also need to make sure the camera is 100% parallel to the film mask, or you'll get distorted scans.

    OM10 with HP5+
    [​IMG]Temple Church, Middle Temple by George Griffin, on Flickr

    OM10 with T-Max 400
    [​IMG]DSC_5218_edited-1 by George Griffin, on Flickr
  5. JMK

    JMK Active Member

    I have not read this article but I think they are being just a bit premature. I use all types of camera digital and film ( film mostly ) and when not darkroom printing my Nikon LS50 scanner has the capability of making superb scans from negative, either B&W or colour. The individual file sizes that are produced are usually larger than most digital cameras can even hope to get (at the moment The Nikon will scan in RAW as well and has a D max of 4.2 so the quality is superb. Whats more they can still be serviced.
  6. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I'd understood that they (coolscan models) were all discontinued - sorry if this was an error.
  7. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    The best 35mm scans I had was from a Canon CanoScan FS4000US They are still turning on eBay. Not dirt cheap but if you want really good scans it's the way to go.
  8. JMK

    JMK Active Member


    Nikon scanners were discontinued years ago but I have the LS50 and to be honest as film scanners go there is very little to touch them. I think I paid over £500 for mine more years ago than I can remember, certainly before 2008 when I went onto Windows 7. Even now they are selling for around £450-£500. It has been serviced twice by a company based in Vauxhall, south London, but all it needed was a good clean. Some parts are becoming hard to get but if they are available then they will have them.

    My Epson flatbed will in theory scan at a higher resolution, but not in RAW with a D max of a measly 3.2 consequently the scans are not a patch on the Nikon one.
  9. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    That is what the AP article was bemoaning - that they aren't made anymore.
  10. JMK

    JMK Active Member

    Thanks for clarification, as I said originally I had not read the article, but I took it to mean scanners (all) were being or less available.
  11. RobertCoombes

    RobertCoombes Well-Known Member

    I use a Nikon Coolscan V ED and am tempted to go back to mono film. It is very slow but excellent. I still use Nikon software Scan 4 with Windows10 and it shows every abrasion and dust spot, so hours of fun with the process software.
    peterba likes this.
  12. JMK

    JMK Active Member

    Nothing that I know of which is done quickly, will be as good as something which takes a bit more time. My flatbed scanner will do 2 strips of 6 negatives in less time than the V50 will do 1 strip but the quality is just not there.
  13. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    A camera copier will be far faster and at least as good in my opinion.
  14. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    I'm a bit late to the table here - does this mean that my Nikon Coolscan 5000ED scanner is now an appreciating asset?
    I bought it hoping that I could get the multi-slide attachment off eBay, but then found that I'd got the wrong model of scanner. So no facility to scan a whole film at one go.
  15. John King

    John King Well-Known Member

    No Nikon Coolscan will do a mass scan with mounted slides without help. (as far as I am aware) The mass scan is for negatives, both B&W and colour can be done with the model you have so long as you have the appropriate film adapter. However, and I am assuming this, so long as a strip of slides is not cut there should be no problems scanning them the same as negatives.

    The 5000ED scanner was the top of the range 35mm scanner made by Nikon and they were expensive when new. Now they have been out of production for nearly a decade their value is just about just about stable, certainly not loosing a great deal of cash. Even a 50ED is still fetching around £450-500 and they were around £600 new. They are still serviceable by a company based in Vauxhall, London SE1, I had my 50ED done about 2 years ago which cost me about £105 incl post and packing return. They clean the optics and drive, check the circuitboard and sensor and if all is OK they send it back.

    I cannot remember the name of the company that does the work, but if you telephone the Nikon Dealer, Grays of Westminster, they will provide it for you.
  16. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    There is somebody, who I think is based in Lincoln can repair the circuit boards, the chips can still be found and the mechanicals tend only to need cleaning. I keep meaning to contact them as I have two inoperative Coolscan 8000s. Can be contacted on coolscanuk@gmail.com
  17. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Sadly, I was mistaken.
    The scanner manual had both "5000ED" and "50ED" in its title, along with other names for different markets. On checking my hardware, mine is the lesser 50ED.

    Nowadays, I scan using an Epson flatbed 4870 PHOTO. This can scan documents from A4 downwards, and has frames for 5" x 4" downwards for slides and transparencies. Some slight mods to one of the frames (black tape over some small gaps in the plastic) improved the automatic image recognition software and that saved me a lot of time, and frustration.
  18. John King

    John King Well-Known Member

    You will not be disappointed with the 50ED which I have - except as you have found they are slow. They were ahead of the field at the time they were made and are still ahead of the D Max of any flatbed scanner made today. The lens (especially) and sensor is also superb - perhaps a bit too good, as it will easily scan the grain of colour negative and B&W films. Slides will not be as bad. All scans, if the original is sharp will be sharp as well. Not only that, it will (along with the other Nikon scanners) let you scan in RAW (NEF) which flatbeds will not do.

    The only downside is it has to be used with an XP operating system or an Apple equivalent, although alternative 3rd party software such as Silverfast allows you to use Windows 7 and later (at a price) I have tried both and prefer the original Nikon software, so keep an old, but serviceable XP laptop to use with the scanner then save onto a USB stick and fiddle about with Photoshop on my desktop.
  19. RobertCoombes

    RobertCoombes Well-Known Member

    See my post #11, you can make the original Scan 4 software work with modern operating systems.
  20. John King

    John King Well-Known Member

    I have searched for the repairer in Lincoln and came up with a website for Lincolnscan and this was confirmed what I was looking for with the list of equipment they can deal with However there was no telephone number attached. A further search took me to an E mail address of coolscanuk@gmail.co.uk but that has been bounced back as undeliverable. Any ideas out there.


    Persistence pays off. I have found an E mail similar to the one above coolscanuk@gmail.com which is in the website but not clearly visible and this was used and so far nothing has been spit back.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019

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