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Is it true that the image quality is better by shooting the negatives with a micro lens than scan them on a flatbed scanner?

Vicky12

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Have read somewhere that the image quality of the digitized conversions, i.e. from negative to digital, is better by shooting the negatives with a micro lens than by scanning the negatives on a flatbed scanner. The reason is that the micro lens is much better than the scanning lenses on most of the scanners.

Does anyone have first hand experience?
Share, please?

Thanks.
Vick
 

Snips

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I’ve never come across that particular process but coincidentally just 15 minutes ago I was asked to create a digital image from a family photograph from 1958 and all I will do is scan it then use Photoshop to adjust anything if it’s necessary. Sometimes when I’ve done this the result is better than the original because Photoshop can be used to clean up scratches and other marks,
 

Classicbiker

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I would say yes. 35mm film can resolve about 16mp, after that you are just enhancing the grain of the film. Dedicated film scanners do clean up scratches etc though but the results are no better if you're happy to do this in PS after.
 

Vicky12

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I’ve never come across that particular process but coincidentally just 15 minutes ago I was asked to create a digital image from a family photograph from 1958 and all I will do is scan it then use Photoshop to adjust anything if it’s necessary. Sometimes when I’ve done this the result is better than the original because Photoshop can be used to clean up scratches and other marks,
Thank you.
You probably are a professional and your scanner probably is a better one, better than the ones used by the common consumers. Would the result be so nice had you sued a scanner as the regular consumers do?
Thank you anyway for your goodwill of sharing.
Vicky

I would say yes. 35mm film can resolve about 16mp, after that you are just enhancing the grain of the film. Dedicated film scanners do clean up scratches etc though but the results are no better if you're happy to do this in PS after.
Thank you.
Why yes? Do you have first hand experiences as doing all the scanning work DIY & all the devices, maybe most of the devices DIY homemade?
Appreciate.
Vicky
 

Classicbiker

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Thank you.
Why yes? Do you have first hand experiences as doing all the scanning work DIY & all the devices, maybe most of the devices DIY homemade?
Appreciate.
Vicky
Yes I have tried them all. It's all a trade off, price vs speed vs quality. Quality and speed is very good using a macro lens and not so slow either. You just have to remove the dust and scratches manually in post after. If you shoot larger format film a flatbed scanner is the better option.
 

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The photograph edited is a little less than 8x10 (under A4 size including strut mount) and I used a standard household printer/scanner/copier to create a jpeg. I then spent a good half a hour editing this in Photoshop, despite it being in great condition, most of the time being spent to remove specks and marks, then printed an 8x10 on a dye sublimation printer.

Before from the printer scan
575C6655-116C-4F9A-B0FF-0249C67E1061.jpeg

After and ready for printing
88CE3E66-3D0A-4070-820F-338284EF513F.jpeg
 

Classicbiker

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Is this a scan from a Photograph or a negative? The OP was asking about scanning negatives not Photographs
 

Snips

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Is this a scan from a Photograph or a negative? The OP was asking about scanning negatives not Photographs
This is from a photograph - I know they were asking about the negative but thought this might help as the way I saw it, it would be working with a larger image.
 

Petrochemist

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It would depend on both the camera set-up for copying & the scanner. A top quality drum scanner will beat any camera setup, but a good camera set-up will easily beat a poor flatbed scanner.
 

Roger S

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Does anyone have first hand experience?
Share, please?
Personally, I use a projector and put the negative image up on a flat white wall. You have to be careful to make sure the projector is fully perpendicular to the wall/screen, and that your camera is the same. That way, you don't even require a macro lens, as a 20-35mm quality lens works great at the distance you are going to use.
 

BrianS

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I use an inexpensive, and now old- bought it new, Epson Photo Perfection 3170. This comes with negative carrier for doing 12 frames on a scan.





Would it be better to use one of my Macro Lenses and Slide Holders with my Nikon Df? I have the Micro-Nikkor 60/2.8, which goes to 1:1- and a lot of others.

It is hard to beat the ease of the flat-bed scanner for Color negatives. For B&W, you get artifacts when pixel peeping.

zoe1 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Now- if I wanted Photo Perfection, would use a macro lens with my Monochrome Digital camera and use red-green-blue separation filters. THAT would take a long time.
 

Vicky12

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Yes I have tried them all. It's all a trade off, price vs speed vs quality. Quality and speed is very good using a macro lens and not so slow either. You just have to remove the dust and scratches manually in post after. If you shoot larger format film a flatbed scanner is the better option.
Thank you.

Yes. It really is all a trade off. And this is probably true only to the "consumers" using scanners designed for consumers.

The reason that I posted the request is that I plan to scan my negative, 35mm films, and I am interested in doing all or most of the work DIY, unless that I have to buy some parts.

This is what I have that triggers me go DIY scanning.
1. A log of negatives, some of them shot in 1960s~1980s are no good anymore & even the later ones are not all good either.
2. Micro lenses, one is 90mm f2.5 1:2 & the other is 90mm f2.8 1:1.
3. A mirrorless FF camera.
4. A lot of spare time in the pandemic years. Good or bad, whatever the result will be, enjoy the experiences.

The photograph edited is a little less than 8x10 (under A4 size including strut mount) and I used a standard household printer/scanner/copier to create a jpeg. I then spent a good half a hour editing this in Photoshop, despite it being in great condition, most of the time being spent to remove specks and marks, then printed an 8x10 on a dye sublimation printer.

Before from the printer scan
View attachment 322699

After and ready for printing
View attachment 322698
Great work! And thank you for sharing.

It would depend on both the camera set-up for copying & the scanner. A top quality drum scanner will beat any camera setup, but a good camera set-up will easily beat a poor flatbed scanner.
Thank you.

Yes, what you say 100% right. It's just a trade off, as Classicbiker says.

Personally, I use a projector and put the negative image up on a flat white wall. You have to be careful to make sure the projector is fully perpendicular to the wall/screen, and that your camera is the same. That way, you don't even require a macro lens, as a 20-35mm quality lens works great at the distance you are going to use.
Thank you.

Very interesting. Good news for those what do not have a micro lens, but yet have to have a projector.

Two things come to my mind:
1. The colour of the wall that might affect the colour inversion.
2. A 35mm lens, yes, but what use a 20mm one? Because of the space in the room?

I use an inexpensive, and now old- bought it new, Epson Photo Perfection 3170. This comes with negative carrier for doing 12 frames on a scan.





Would it be better to use one of my Macro Lenses and Slide Holders with my Nikon Df? I have the Micro-Nikkor 60/2.8, which goes to 1:1- and a lot of others.

It is hard to beat the ease of the flat-bed scanner for Color negatives. For B&W, you get artifacts when pixel peeping.

zoe1 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Now- if I wanted Photo Perfection, would use a macro lens with my Monochrome Digital camera and use red-green-blue separation filters. THAT would take a long time.

Thank you.

Great photos. And great scanner. I do not think I can make any better scans with my micro lens.

Maybe the question should not be which is better, but which interests the person who wants his/her negatives digitized. For effective work and good result, a good brand scanner; for those who enjoy the hassle & challenge, DIY with a micro lens, just enjoy it but not compare the results.
 

kelvinjouhar

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I have an archive of approx 35,000 BW negatives and slides that were shot by my grandfather S.D.Jouhar who was a well known photographer in the period around 1930-1960. I have, at various times, used an Epson flatbed scanner, a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 scanner and I have also used my Canon digital camera on a tripod looking down to the negatives which have been backlit by an LED panel, with a piece of clear perspex keeping them flat.

All of the methods have their pros and cons.

The flatbed scanner has plastic mounts which allow multiple negatives to be scanned simultaneously - its important with older film material, that may not be perfectly flat, that the negative is held as flat as possible. You could put the negatives under a piece of anti-newton-ring glass. You can buy mounts that fit in the scanner that have ANR glass already included. The Epson scanner has 35mm negative, 35mm slide and Medium Format mounts available.

The Nikon Super Coolscan is a very good scanner that can handle individual negatives, strips of negatives, 35mm slides and you can also get a slide feeder that will allow you to stack up to 50 slides which will then be scanned one after the other. The Nikon software is not supported any more but you can buy very good scanning software called Vuescan which I have had good success with.

The Digital camera on tripod method - I have used this for making "contact sheets" of 20 or so negatives in their sleeve and then if I want to scan an individual negative, I use either the flatbed or the Nikon. I am planning to get another lens which will be more suitable for close focussing so that I can "scan" an individual 35mm negative using this method - I will use RAW and then process the image in Lightroom, which is where I store all my pictures.

The workflow that has suited me is to get quick scans of everything and then home in on images where you want to produce a top quality file, and spend more time on those.

Best of luck with your project.
 
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