Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Scanning Negatives vs. Macro DSLR Copying

When I first started getting back into film after well over a decade of digital cameras, I ran across a guy that was absolutely convinced that no scanner could beat his method of "scanning" negatives and slides.  He would use a macro lens attached to his digital camera, and photograph the negative in sections, merging them in software later. He posted an outline of his method on this page.

Mount Dora Storefront
The test image, a number of books carved
into a storefront in Mt. Dora, FL.
I was intrigued by this (and his amazing results), and decided to give it a try myself.  I picked out a random black & white photo (to make reversal easier) that had a good sharp focus point on it. This photo was taken with my Mamiya C330 on Kodak TMax 400 film (120 format, 6x6).

I don't have an Epson V700, but I do have a Canon Canoscan 9000F Mark II to use as a comparison.  It doesn't support any transparency larger than 120 film, but at around $150, it's a fraction of the cost. I scanned the frame at a (pretty ridiculous) 4800 dpi, which resulted in an image that was around 11600x11500, or about 127 megapixels.  Of course, this is well beyond the limitations of the scanner's optics, but I will scale it down shortly for comparison purposes.