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Author Topic: Digitizing fluid-mounted film with a high-res DSLR  (Read 1468 times)
Ray
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« on: February 11, 2014, 07:49:17 PM »
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I've recently experimented using a 60 mm macro lens on a Canon 50D to photograph some slides positioned on a transparency viewer. The lens allows me to closely match the long side of the camera's cropped-format sensor with the short side of the slide so I can create a higher resolution result by stitching 3 shots with significant overlap.

This give me a file size approaching that of a single shot from the Nikon D800E. If I were to use a 60 mm macro on the D800E, with extension tube between lens and camera, I would also be able to get close enough to stitch 3 shots of a slide, resulting in a very detailed image of around 800 MB in 16 bit.

I haven't tried this yet. I don't have a Micro-Nikkor lens.

What has occurred to me is that it might be possible to achieve the finest scan possible, better even than the most expensive drum scan, by photographing a fluid-mounted slide, but I can find no references to such a procedure on the internet.

I wonder if anyone reading this has any information on such a process, and if it's worth the trouble.

http://petapixel.com/2012/12/23/why-you-should-digitize-your-film-using-a-camera-instead-of-a-scanner/

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Glenn NK
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2014, 01:34:12 AM »
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Hmmm, the first thing that comes to mind is that you might be trying to get more resolution than the original slide contains (this might be akin to measuring with a tape measure then expressing the result in thousandths of an inch/mm).

I'm almost sure of it (until someone says 35 mm slides are better than that).
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Ray
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2014, 02:00:57 AM »
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Yes. That thought did occur to me, which is why I'm asking the question.

I don't want to go to the trouble and expense of trying this for myself if someone has already done the experiment and found no advantage.

What I've gleaned from comparisons displayed on the internet, is that there is some resolution advantage in stitching together a number of shots of a part of a slide,photographed with a DSLR.

I've also seen comparisons depicting cleaner, less grainy, and slightly sharper results from fluid-mount scanning with a dedicated film scanner.

Combine these two methods, then Voila!, one has the perfect scan.  Grin
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Fine_Art
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2014, 03:50:36 AM »
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It is a good idea. You will get all the film has to offer. My question is do you put the camera under shooting up, so you can swap film easily or film at the bottom with a fishing expedition each time? There is less risk to the camera on top of course, what about bubbles against the lens?

Would it really be worth it? Are you sure you cannot get grain level detail without the wet mount?
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 04:26:34 AM »
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Wet mount also allows complete parallel film and thus eliminating any possible DoF issues and it eliminates any Newton ring issues.
Experimenting is key, I think.
Cheers
~Chris
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Ray
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2014, 07:20:44 AM »
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It is a good idea. You will get all the film has to offer. My question is do you put the camera under shooting up, so you can swap film easily or film at the bottom with a fishing expedition each time? There is less risk to the camera on top of course, what about bubbles against the lens?

Would it really be worth it? Are you sure you cannot get grain level detail without the wet mount?

I don't know what the best procedure would be. My transparency viewer is a flat 6" x 8" screen. To photograph a dry slide, I cut a hole the size of a 35mm frame in a square piece a cardboard which is a bit larger than the transparency viewer screen. I place the camera on tripod above the cardboard and slide which are positioned over the viewer screen. As I view the slide through the camera's LCD screen, in LiveView mode, it's easy to adjust the position of the slide by nudging the cardboard to the left or right and so on, and of course it's easy to focus on the grain at the 10x magnification of LiveView.

I've never tried fluid mounting. I'd have to buy a fluid mounting kit and hope I can adapt it to use with my transparency viewer.
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TonyW
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2014, 08:59:28 AM »
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Ray,
Good to see that you are pursuing getting the best quality out of your images and it will be interesting to see how much improvement via DSLR  Grin

Somehow I am not convinced that fluid mounting will offer large benefits when shooting via your DSLR (scanner different of course) - have never tried it other than copying a textured print under glass and liquid to reduce the texture pattern.  This is just my theory rather than practical testing...

Shooting with a light source such as your transparancy viewer or even a flash bounced off a strategically placed card behind the film should give you a fairly diffused light source and should be similar to using an enlarger with a cold cathode (diffused light) vs a condenser enlarger.  The diffused light source should serve to minimise grain and any scratches rather than enhance as a more point like source would.

As to actually shooting the films then perhaps a homemade copier attachment would offer benefit as it could be tailored to your various film formats.  My preference when I last did this (analogue times!) was to fabricate a box similar to the attachment.  This is not my original image and I have no idea where it came from otherwise would have given the author credit.

Internal walls black to minimise any flare, aperture cut to match film size and light source flash bounced off a card some distance away from the film set at approx 45 degree angle.  Could be as simple and crude as the illustration or more complex e.g. camera mounted on a focussing rail with side as well as forward movement to allow for stepping across the film or just a moveable film mounting solution.

« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 09:01:50 AM by TonyW » Logged
Glenn NK
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2014, 05:49:45 PM »
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Yes. That thought did occur to me, which is why I'm asking the question.

I don't want to go to the trouble and expense of trying this for myself if someone has already done the experiment and found no advantage.

What I've gleaned from comparisons displayed on the internet, is that there is some resolution advantage in stitching together a number of shots of a part of a slide,photographed with a DSLR.

I've also seen comparisons depicting cleaner, less grainy, and slightly sharper results from fluid-mount scanning with a dedicated film scanner.

Combine these two methods, then Voila!, one has the perfect scan.  Grin

Ray:

Do you have any links you could share in regard to getting better resolution by stitching?

I've been putting off digitizing a large box of slides because of the work (my son was conned by his mother into using a scanner and I'm hearing some mild complaints about the effort level required).  Seems that I'm going to end up with the project.  Angry

Also, I've never heard of fluid mounting - what is that?

Glenn
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Ray
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2014, 08:59:59 PM »
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Ray:

Do you have any links you could share in regard to getting better resolution by stitching?

I've been putting off digitizing a large box of slides because of the work (my son was conned by his mother into using a scanner and I'm hearing some mild complaints about the effort level required).  Seems that I'm going to end up with the project.  Angry

Also, I've never heard of fluid mounting - what is that?

Glenn

Glenn,
I provided a link to a website in my first post showing examples of improved image quality resulting from stitching. This site was brought to my attention by TonW in another thread some time ago. Here it is again.

http://petapixel.com/2012/12/23/why-you-should-digitize-your-film-using-a-camera-instead-of-a-scanner/

Everything you want to know about the benefits of wet scanning are probably provided at the following website.

http://www.scanscience.com/Pages/Technical/Technical-Intro.html

I'm a bit concerned about the amount time involved in trying to glean the maximum amount of detail from my film in this manner. I've already found with my initial experiments using a Canon 50D, that to bring out the maximum shadow detail in a slide that has deep shadows, it's also necessary to bracket exposures for merging to HDR.

A scanner using Vuescan or Silverfast software can do this automatically.
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Glenn NK
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2014, 11:24:41 PM »
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Thanks Ray.

Seems that your idea will work, although in my case, I suspect many of my photos won't be in good focus or the DOF won't be good so gaining more resolution from OOF images wouldn't be of much help to me.  Smiley

Glenn
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