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Just wondering what was it about the Illumitran that didn't work for you?

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On 22/01/2019 at 04:17, Chuck Nacke said:

Then I spend hours, days, weeks hand spotting the scan.

 

Weeks, goodness... They must be valuable 35mm slides, but in bad condition?

I find scratches can be time consuming, but I've never spent more than about 15 mins retouching. 

 

Mark

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13 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

 

Weeks, goodness... They must be valuable 35mm slides, but in bad condition?

I find scratches can be time consuming, but I've never spent more than about 15 mins retouching. 

 

Mark

Mark,

 

I did an event with Steve Jobs, shot with a KODAK / NIKON DCS620 shot at 1600ISO (ah the dark, really dark, ages of digital).  I spent a month

working on the image to get it ready to upload at 2900 X at 300DPI (probably over 100 hours).  That image is licensed by Alamy almost every month and occasionally several

times a month.  On 35mm scans from chromes I usually spend more than 10 hours prepping them and most of them are licensed often.  I am very

selective and have not fired up my CanoScan FS4000 in several years, too busy doing commissioned corporate work.  No most of the chromes that I

select to scan are in fine condition.  My photo agencies have been very careful with them and as they went out of business they returned them well

packaged and with the original caption envelopes.

 

When my daughters were younger and I had to stay home with them, I spent my days scanning and spotting chromes that I shot in the 80's and 90's.  Luckily most of what

I shot for the major magazines around the world were major stories that are still in demand, just wish I had more time to spend working on the thousands of chromes sitting in my

basement...

 

Harry,

 

Just can not get the hang of the Illumitran.  It is working 100% and I am thinking of just selling it off.

 

Chuck

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15 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

Harry,

 

Just can not get the hang of the Illumitran.  It is working 100% and I am thinking of just selling it off.

 

Chuck,

 

Thanks for the reply, I'd just wondered if you'd discovered a problem with the Illumitran but reading between the lines it sounds as if your Canon scanner does the job for you in any case.

 

For anyone using the Illumitran, or thinking of doing so then this blog by Dave Green may be of interest. He had the contract to scan nearly 10,000 negatives of the acclaimed English photographer James Ravilious, almost entirely black & white negatives but a few Kodachromes I think. Ravilious, who died in 1999, was famous for his beautifully sensitive images of English rural life, and in particular for the wonderful tonal range he got from his uncoated Leica lenses and compensating development. The Illumitran was professionally modified to an LED light source to get the most from these negatives.

 

http://www.greengallery.co.uk/2017/07/digitisation-part-3-making-copies-of-negatives/

 

http://www.jamesravilious.com/biography.asp

 

I like your story of your Steve Jobs picture from the dawn of digital. I read that it was a 2MP, $10,000 camera, we've come a long way!

 

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

 

Chuck,

 

Thanks for the reply, I'd just wondered if you'd discovered a problem with the Illumitran but reading between the lines it sounds as if your Canon scanner does the job for you in any case.

 

For anyone using the Illumitran, or thinking of doing so then this blog by Dave Green may be of interest. He had the contract to scan nearly 10,000 negatives of the acclaimed English photographer James Ravilious, almost entirely black & white negatives but a few Kodachromes I think. Ravilious, who died in 1999, was famous for his beautifully sensitive images of English rural life, and in particular for the wonderful tonal range he got from his uncoated Leica lenses and compensating development. The Illumitran was professionally modified to an LED light source to get the most from these negatives.

 

http://www.greengallery.co.uk/2017/07/digitisation-part-3-making-copies-of-negatives/

 

http://www.jamesravilious.com/biography.asp

 

I like your story of your Steve Jobs picture from the dawn of digital. I read that it was a 2MP, $10,000 camera, we've come a long way!

 

 

 

Interesting - the problem I have with the Illumitran is that when using it with the standard BPM bellows and a D800, the camera body protrudes too far to be moved down the shaft of the bellows, meaning that it's difficult to cover the whole of a 35mm transparency (using a 50mm Rodagon enlarging lens). If anyone has a solution to this, I'd like to know it. I'm currently using the Illumitran without the bellows and with the camera attached to a copy stand, using a 55mm Micro-Nikkor.

Alex

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6 minutes ago, Alex Ramsay said:

Interesting - the problem I have with the Illumitran is that when using it with the standard BPM bellows and a D800, the camera body protrudes too far to be moved down the shaft of the bellows, meaning that it's difficult to cover the whole of a 35mm transparency (using a 50mm Rodagon enlarging lens). If anyone has a solution to this, I'd like to know it. I'm currently using the Illumitran without the bellows and with the camera attached to a copy stand, using a 55mm Micro-Nikkor.

Alex

 

The Nikon ES-1Copying Adaptor with 55mm Micro Nikkor, the PK13 (27mm) or similar extension ring to get lifesize images - does an amazing job for 35mm slides. I am using it with a D810 and a daylight LED. Very simple setup and excellent results. 

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On 20/01/2019 at 09:48, Harry Harrison said:

Guilty as charged! Glad that ES1 setup is working with the Micro-Nikkor, it looks like a nice simple setup and if I hadn't already got the copystand/lightbox etc. I probably would have gone for it. I'm actually quite surprised that you're not losing any detail by downsizing to 3000 x 2000 but I guess if you don't need any more than that for Alamy then that's fair enough. Still, I'm diverting from the original post. I still think that for a 'popped' slide it might be worth trying with the 'pop' away from the camera.

 

Downsizing is necessary to achieve good sharpness, not exactly comparable to a shot with a D810 but vastly better than the scans I used to get with the LS4000. There is no significant loss of detail that would be of any importance for submitting to Alamy or printing to A4.

 

After a bit of experimentation I am shooting with a D810 on tripod at f11, ISO 64, with the 55mm Nikkor to ensure sufficient depth of field to eliminate any curvature of the slide although the slides are in good nick (Velvia in original Fuji mounts from 2002 in this case). The slides are relatively clean having lived in a drawer in plastic for many years. They were shot on an FM2 with various Nikkor primes so are decent quality in themselves. Just a quick blow with a simple blower and a few minutes at the most spotting in Photoshop. Shooting at 5.6 makes any spots more diffuse or invisible but risks lack of sharpness I think due to less DoF.

 

I have experimented with develop settings in Lightroom - interplay of sharpening versus noise reduction. The noise (or is it film grain given that the D810 is virtually noise-free at ISO 64?) is very noticeable in comparison to a similar shot on the D810 where no noise reduction is required at ISO 64. The copy images are much less sharp than a D810 shot with but still amazingly good for what they are and should have no problem passing Alamy QC if I choose to upload them.

 

I should add that I am not doing this as a serious project at the moment - just an interesting experiment but I do intend to digitise or re-digitise a lot of my old work when time allows. 

Edited by MDM

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On 20/01/2019 at 11:07, M.Chapman said:

 

I'm currently digitising a large quantity of slides (500) containing what can largely be described as "my family and holiday snaps", the objective being to make them available for viewing on our devices. As such speed is taking priority over absolute quality. Hence the in camera jpeg & WB route. 

 

Judging WB by eye is difficult for me (I'm red/green colour deficient) so I tend to rely heavily on hardware and software tools.

 

Mark

 

The difference between shooting in raw and doing some very quick processing in Lightroom versus shooting in-camera JPEGs is so small I think that it is not worth considering the latter, certainly for a job like this. Setting a  preset for import and a preset for exporting the JPEGS. It  gives you way more freedom and adds very little time to the job.

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30 minutes ago, Alex Ramsay said:

the problem I have with the Illumitran is that when using it with the standard BPM bellows and a D800, the camera body protrudes too far to be moved down the shaft of the bellows

 

That is perhaps the limiting factor of using an Illumitran in the way it was intended, I think I've read about that somewhere before. It was naturally designed for film cameras that in the main were much smaller than digital, particularly when it comes to the distance from the base to the lens axis. I think that the camera in the Dave Green blog is a D600/D610 and that is slightly smaller than the D800 in that dimension, might that make the difference or have they done some other mod?

 

Yes, since the post is about an alternative to a £200 slide scanner then the ES1 looks like a very good solution. 

 

One advantage of using a copy stand arrangement independent of the target stage is that you can then contrive to do medium format in several parts before photomerging in Lightroom. This works really well with the ;short' side of the medium format across the 'long' side of the camera just making sure there is enough overlap between frames.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

 

That is perhaps the limiting factor of using an Illumitran in the way it was intended, I think I've read about that somewhere before. It was naturally designed for film cameras that in the main were much smaller than digital, particularly when it comes to the distance from the base to the lens axis. I think that the camera in the Dave Green blog is a D600/D610 and that is slightly smaller than the D800 in that dimension, might that make the difference or have they done some other mod?

 

Yes, since the post is about an alternative to a £200 slide scanner then the ES1 looks like a very good solution. 

 

One advantage of using a copy stand arrangement independent of the target stage is that you can then contrive to do medium format in several parts before photomerging in Lightroom. This works really well with the ;short' side of the medium format across the 'long' side of the camera just making sure there is enough overlap between frames.

 

 

Yes, the excess thickness of the D800 is only a few mm. I had been hoping to use the bellows with an enlarging lens as these lenses are designed, for obvious reasons, to give a very flat field.

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1 hour ago, Alex Ramsay said:

Yes, the excess thickness of the D800 is only a few mm. I had been hoping to use the bellows with an enlarging lens as these lenses are designed, for obvious reasons, to give a very flat field.

 

This could well be a silly suggestion but if you used a longer lens, say 80 or 105mm, then might you not need to move the camera down the bellows rail? I always use a longer lens anyway on my setup.

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4 hours ago, MDM said:

 

The difference between shooting in raw and doing some very quick processing in Lightroom versus shooting in-camera JPEGs is so small I think that it is not worth considering the latter, certainly for a job like this. Setting a  preset for import and a preset for exporting the JPEGS. It  gives you way more freedom and adds very little time to the job.

 

You're right :) I took both RAW and JPG on the last 100 slides and after some experimentation I set up a LR CC preset to do the majority of the work before finishing off in PS CC. I found my uncorrected Velvia copies were to contrasty with no shadow detail. So my preset lightens the shadows and mid-tones as well as applying a default WB based* on the colour of my lightbox. I also found that it was better to apply Adobe Neutral profile instead of Adobe Standard (Velvia is saturated enough without applying extra). 

 

*In the end I decided a default WB based on the Lighbox gave on average results that were too cool for my liking so I ended up applying a warmer default WB.

 

Mark

   

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It is a difficult proposition, working with 35mm chromes from years gone by.

I thought that the llllumatron was the answer, but.....

 

 At this point the best solution is scanning the 35 mm chromes on the FS 4000

But I had hoped that using the Illimatron was the answer.  From my experience

that is not the case?  Keep in mind that I am talking about images from Ronald

Reagan to Slobadan Milosevic.

 

Chuck

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4 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

 

You're right :) I took both RAW and JPG on the last 100 slides and after some experimentation I set up a LR CC preset to do the majority of the work before finishing off in PS CC. I found my uncorrected Velvia copies were to contrasty with no shadow detail. So my preset lightens the shadows and mid-tones as well as applying a default WB based* on the colour of my lightbox. I also found that it was better to apply Adobe Neutral profile instead of Adobe Standard (Velvia is saturated enough without applying extra). 

 

*In the end I decided a default WB based on the Lighbox gave on average results that were too cool for my liking so I ended up applying a warmer default WB.

 

Mark

   

 

Great Mark. I am amazed at the ability to recover both highlight and shadow detail in the Velvia slides I have copied using the Nikon slide copier setup I described above. Way better than scanning even using my Nikon LS4000 which I thought was superb when I bought it back in 2000 or so when it was released. It died a sudden death recently anyway having lain redundant for several years.

 

2 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

At this point the best solution is scanning the 35 mm chromes on the FS 4000

But I had hoped that using the Illimatron was the answer.  From my experience

that is not the case?  Keep in mind that I am talking about images from Ronald

Reagan to Slobadan Milosevic.

 

Chuck

 

The solution is not binary. There are other options. For Nikon D800 owners, the Nikon ES-1 slide copier is an excellent solution, especially if one already happens to own a 55mm Micro Nikkor which I did. The 27mm extension ring is necessary as well for lifesize reproduction with the 55mm Nikkor but the cost was about £175 (not much over $200 at the present exchange rate). Other macro lenses would also work with an adapter to fit a filter thread of 52mm. 

 

The ES-1 slide copier is a sturdy, well-made bit of kit as well which is important as the slides need to be perfecly aligned in the holder given the tiny depth of field. There is also an ES-2 which has a film strip holder and various adapters but is more expensive. 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, MDM said:

The ES-1 slide copier is a sturdy, well-made bit of kit as well which is important as the slides need to be perfecly aligned in the holder given the tiny depth of field. There is also an ES-2 which has a film strip holder and various adapters but is more expensive.

I got an ES-1 in preference to an ES-2 because it can better accommodate thick mounts such as Gepe and others.

An FH-2 filmstrip holder works well with it for unmounted film.

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I do appreciate this discussion on copying or scanning film and I put up an example

Take a look at: DX3JC0 (Alamy image #) That image was shot with a Leica M2, 21mm f3.4 lens on FUJI RDP at

200 ASA (+1) and scanned using a CanoScan FS 4000.  I have not been able to come close to that level working

with directly copying chromes with a D800.

 

Keep in mind that when I am scanning a 35mm chrome, I remove it from the mount and clean it with PEC-12

 

Chuck

 

 

Edited by Chuck Nacke
addition

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19 hours ago, MDM said:

 

The Nikon ES-1Copying Adaptor with 55mm Micro Nikkor, the PK13 (27mm) or similar extension ring to get lifesize images - does an amazing job for 35mm slides. I am using it with a D810 and a daylight LED. Very simple setup and excellent results. 

 

My Illumitran came with a PK-13. Since I don't use Nikon it's of absolutely no use to me so I am planning to auction it on eBay.

 

Alan

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3 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

Take a look at: DX3JC0 (Alamy image #) That image was shot with a Leica M2, 21mm f3.4 lens on FUJI RDP at

200 ASA (+1) and scanned using a CanoScan FS 4000.

 

Thanks for the link to your image, I think it's great that these 'historic' film images are present on Alamy, and incidentally I found your image BCM1C0 of the Chernobyl night watchman particularly haunting.

 

The original post was looking at the most effective way to spend £200 or thereabouts and I suppose that in this discussion we are comparing the results from a dedicated film scanner with those from direct camera ‘scanning’ (and the results from an Illumitran setup should be representative of this, as would the Nikon ES-1 route). 

 

Without in any way questioning your workflow and what is best for you I am happy with the results that I get from the camera scanning route and I am comparing my own results with those from my 4000 ppi slide scanner, a Microtek, and from my Imacon Precision II. The latter is capable of much higher resolution but in practice on a 35mm slide it’s not for me producing any more detail, it is also glacially slow in comparison, much as I love it.  I used a very exacting Kodachrome 64 slide to initially compare them, a street scene on a very sharp lens with lots of highlight and shadow detail right into the corners together with text of different sizes all over the frame.

 

N.B. I’m aware that judging and reporting my own results is entirely subjective, I’m marking my own homework here! It’s also all too easy to get into pixel-peeping and away from the real world of what is good for Alamy.

 

I think it is demonstrably true that camera scanning of mounted slides is much, much faster than any dedicated film scanner route but the slowness of the latter is offset by the post-production, spotting etc., it’s quite easy to spend the scanning time productively spotting/processing the previous scan. For rattling through slides where only selected ones will need the full treatment then it’s no contest unless I suppose you have a bulk slide loader on a Nikon.

 

It’s also worth pointing out that buying a secondhand film scanner, most of which are pretty old these days, can be problematic, even Imacons are giving up the ghost. When I got my Microtek (very cheaply) I was disappointed with the results but when I’d finally worked out how to get inside it I found all the optics, prisms etc. covered in a fine layer of dust, just attracted by static over time. I expect all old scanners suffer from this to some extent, and the light sources aren’t going to last forever.

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I picked up a CanoScan FS 4000 a few years ago for about £200 complete in carry case with manual plus 35mm film and slide holders, I had to download Hamrick software to go with it but never quite got to grips with it. I did download an up to date version 9.5.28 for the FS4000 in 2017 and have had another go at it but never seemed to get the settings right that was my reason for approaching it a different way IE with camera, also the FS4000 is rather slow.    

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On 1/19/2019 at 12:00, Liam Bunce said:

Whilst in the process of copying some of my slides I had a thought, is there a correct side of the slide that should face the camera? I am sure that someone will help me with this conundrum.   

 

Apologies........just realised that I must have got my threads crossed, this post started life as a very simple question which I've probably been guilty of expanding in a different direction!

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On 26/01/2019 at 14:10, Alex Ramsay said:

Interesting - the problem I have with the Illumitran is that when using it with the standard BPM bellows and a D800, the camera body protrudes too far to be moved down the shaft of the bellows, meaning that it's difficult to cover the whole of a 35mm transparency (using a 50mm Rodagon enlarging lens). If anyone has a solution to this, I'd like to know it. I'm currently using the Illumitran without the bellows and with the camera attached to a copy stand, using a 55mm Micro-Nikkor.

Alex

 

If it's only a few mm. too deep, you could try taking off the top bellows mount (the L-shaped piece screwed into the rails). The bellows is rigid enough with just the lower mount.

p.s. Another 2 of my Illumitranned archive licensed today. 35mm. negs from 1979.

Edited by spacecadet

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On ‎1‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 11:08, Harry Harrison said:

 

This could well be a silly suggestion but if you used a longer lens, say 80 or 105mm, then might you not need to move the camera down the bellows rail? I always use a longer lens anyway on my setup.

I tried using a NIKKOR 105 f4 Micro and the D800 will still not fit.

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29 minutes ago, Chuck Nacke said:

I tried using a NIKKOR 105 f4 Micro and the D800 will still not fit.

 

I was thinking more of a 105/100 mm enlarger lens which would require the bellows to be extended downwards - but I'm guessing really, I don't have one.

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Thanks for all your replies - I think I've now tried every possible combination of lens and bellows extension. The Illumitran bellows is simply not usable with a full-frame DSLR such as the D800, even with the top bellows mount removed. It can be made to work with a mirrorless body and a 50mm enlarger lens. I'll go  back to using it without the bellows, with a separate copy stand and a micro-Nikkor, which will also let me copy medium format trannys more easily.

A secondary problem is the very high flash intensity (designed for very slow copy film, somewhere around 6 ISO!) - fortunately this can be solved with the aid of a 75mm square gel filter, 3 stop ND, inserted under the opal diffuser.

 

Alex

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Beware of dust on all the ND and opal surfaces- having to use f8 or 11 can easily show it up.

For 120 you can increase the standoff by unbolting the bellows and re-attaching it by the top mount only- I have to do this with APS-C on 35mm. anyway- but it can make the setup a bit wobbly. I don't know if that setup would take a FF Nikon, I know they're quite heavy.

I find the kit zoom good enough for 120 for archival submission. I take off the bellows and attach the camera directly to the 'Tran column with a 1/4x20 bolt about 1" long, locked off with a nut, to get the centreline right. There can be a bit of vignetting but the LR tool fixes that.

Edited by spacecadet

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