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Thread started 20 May 2020 (Wednesday) 21:56
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Negative Scanning with ChromeOS

 
Stan ­ Jones ­ Photography
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May 20, 2020 21:56 |  #1

Hello! It's been a long time since I last posted on here.

Years ago I was a full-time wedding photographer, but since then, I've let my old PC go by the wayside and, honestly, my wife and I rarely use a computer anymore. However, we did need a computer for some random odds and ends so I purchased an Asus Chromebox.

I was looking through old film photos that I had processed at Walgreens from 2008 and I thought that it would be pretty cool to develop my own film, which doesn't require much space or equipment, and have the negatives scanned onto my computer... but, as the title states, I'm using Chrome OS. I would like to be able to scan negatives large enough to be able to print small - medium sized photos.

Do any of you guys / gals have any experience with scanners / the chrome operating system? Any products / program suggestions would be amazing! Cheers!

PS: I have enabled Linux on my Chrome OS, so that might be of assistance.


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Archibald
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May 20, 2020 22:25 |  #2

Photographing negatives with a digital camera works pretty well. I use a fluorescent light box for this and use a blue gel to reduce the redness of the neg. Later in software you can flip the tones to get a positive. I suppose you could use Snapseed for the post-processing.


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Stan ­ Jones ­ Photography
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May 20, 2020 23:14 as a reply to  @ Archibald's post |  #3

I've looked into that route, but I guess that's almost an ironic way to go about it, Right? I could be completely wrong, though.


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gjl711
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Post edited over 1 year ago by gjl711. (3 edits in all)
     
May 20, 2020 23:21 |  #4

I am my families archivist and have been scanning negatives/slides/print​s for years. Lately I have given up on my scanner and switched to my 5DIV. It does a much better job and is much faster. I did some side by side comparisons between 2 different scanner software packages and the 5DIV. The results were rather stark. Check out this thread. I have a pic of the setup I use. Very primitive, just a cardboard box with a light source with a sheet of printer paper taped to it, and the 5DIV with a negative attachment I made. It works very well though. Check out post 22, post 25, and post 28.


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May 21, 2020 00:49 |  #5

Stan Jones Photography wrote in post #19066557 (external link)
I've looked into that route, but I guess that's almost an ironic way to go about it, Right? I could be completely wrong, though.

All the worlds museums are moving to photographing negs instead of scanning them.
We're at a technology point now where a good APS camera delivers better resolution and tonal range than a scanner.
And all the best scanners have gone out of production.


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May 21, 2020 01:32 |  #6

Stan Jones Photography wrote in post #19066557 (external link)
I've looked into that route, but I guess that's almost an ironic way to go about it, Right? I could be completely wrong, though.

From the ironic to the quixotic...


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Stan ­ Jones ­ Photography
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May 21, 2020 06:54 as a reply to  @ Moppie's post |  #7

So now my question would be, what equipment other than my current 5D Mk 2 setup would I need, specifically lens-wise?


Your local, young, friendly, heavily-tattooed wedding/senior/portrai​t photographer... if you're from Lincoln, NE. ;)5Dii | 5D | 1Dii | 24-70/2.8L | 50/1.4 | 70-200/2.8ii (APO DG)
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Colorblinded
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Post edited over 1 year ago by Colorblinded.
     
May 21, 2020 07:02 |  #8

Hah, I think I saw your post on the Chrome OS subreddit. Not much of a reddit user so this feels very unusual!

It was an interesting question, if you could find a filmscanner that would run on linux on your chromebook that'd be an interesting setup.

Anyway, for using your camera a macro lens would be a good bet, and a lightbox or something similar to provide uniform backlighting.


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gjl711
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May 21, 2020 09:04 |  #9

Stan Jones Photography wrote in post #19066687 (external link)
So now my question would be, what equipment other than my current 5D Mk 2 setup would I need, specifically lens-wise?

100mm macro either L or non-L as optically they are very close.


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John ­ from ­ PA
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May 21, 2020 09:46 |  #10

Review the thread at https://photography-on-the.net …showthread.php?​p=18811505 where I posted some info about a well reviewed Kodak negative/slide scanner. You can often find the scanner in that thread on eBay for mush less than the list price becuase people do the scanning and then sell the device.

The device by the way saves the digital images to an SD card so if your Chromebook can use an SD Card or SD card reader you should be good. You may wish to look at storage options however as some Chromebooks have limited storage.




  
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May 21, 2020 09:57 |  #11

gjl711 wrote in post #19066742 (external link)
100mm macro either L or non-L as optically they are very close.

Agreed.

There are many rigs you could set up for this. A friend uses a slide copier attached to his lens, and points it to the blue sky. But it is better to use artificial light so it can be controlled and is reproducible. You can use flash or LED bulbs or fluorescent. All will work. Incandescent is too hot. Warmth will tend to curl your negs.

I use a fluorescent light box made many years ago and IMO it works great. But it is bulky and I will probably be replacing it with a new LED panel. They are much lighter and cooler and more compact, all big advantages. Some of them have a texture to them, though. Anyway, you need to place the neg a distance above the surface of the light so you don't image the dots and dirt. I made a little device with little card stock rails that facilitates quickly sliding a neg strip in and out and holding it flat.

I use a copy stand to hold the camera and shoot firing down. Others shoot horizontally. Your choice.


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Post edited over 1 year ago by ThreeHounds. (2 edits in all)
     
May 23, 2020 11:53 |  #12

I just got finished capturing about 500 negs and transparencies from 35mm, 120 & 4x5. Used my 5d mklll and Tamron 90mm 1:1 macro mounted to my heavy Bogen tripod
with the column inverted so I could shoot down towards the film with the camera fairly well centered between the 3 legs. 1:1 magnification is pretty important so you can fill the frame and get as much resolution as possible.
Also invest in a 3 axis bubble level (about $10 on Amazon). The camera's level is useless and the single axis found on most tripod heads are too when shooting inverted. Just put the 3 axis on the back of the camera and you'll be fine.

For illumination I have an old Port A Trace lightbox with daylight flourescent tubes that I used to use as a slide sorter. It has a translucent white plexi face, so no texture/grain from it.
An important part of the light source is to have a holder/mask system to keep the originals flat and eliminate light spill and glare. I used cardboard cutouts and Cinefoil to accomplish this.
The only troubles I ran into here were that my negs weren't as well stored as they should have been, and many strips had a vicious curl. Tried to flatten with a piece of glass on top,
with several layers of tape strips to lighten the pressure, but I had issues with Newton rings, due to the humid Tallahassee weather. I was able to solve some in Post, but not all.

If you can tether your setup, it's a huge help. I shot connected to Capture One on my Mac (Hackintosh). This is huge as many of my exposures varied widely and you get the ability to focus very precisely.
I also recommend shooting in mirror lockup mode, 2 presses to activate the shutter. Many of the exposure times were in the 1 second area, so you really want to eliminate any vibration.
I also attached a boom weight to my tripod to help with this.

This was a great Pandemic lockdown busy work project for me. Now I have weeks worth of post processing work to look forward to.

I hope this is of some help to you. Good luck and have fun...


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Archibald
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Post edited over 1 year ago by Archibald.
     
May 23, 2020 15:46 |  #13

ThreeHounds wrote in post #19067823 (external link)
I just got finished capturing about 500 negs and transparencies from 35mm, 120 & 4x5. Used my 5d mklll and Tamron 90mm 1:1 macro mounted to my heavy Bogen tripod
with the column inverted so I could shoot down towards the film with the camera fairly well centered between the 3 legs. 1:1 magnification is pretty important so you can fill the frame and get as much resolution as possible.
Also invest in a 3 axis bubble level (about $10 on Amazon). The camera's level is useless and the single axis found on most tripod heads are too when shooting inverted. Just put the 3 axis on the back of the camera and you'll be fine.

For illumination I have an old Port A Trace lightbox with daylight flourescent tubes that I used to use as a slide sorter. It has a translucent white plexi face, so no texture/grain from it.
An important part of the light source is to have a holder/mask system to keep the originals flat and eliminate light spill and glare. I used cardboard cutouts and Cinefoil to accomplish this.
The only troubles I ran into here were that my negs weren't as well stored as they should have been, and many strips had a vicious curl. Tried to flatten with a piece of glass on top,
with several layers of tape strips to lighten the pressure, but I had issues with Newton rings, due to the humid Tallahassee weather. I was able to solve some in Post, but not all.

If you can tether your setup, it's a huge help. I shot connected to Capture One on my Mac (Hackintosh). This is huge as many of my exposures varied widely and you get the ability to focus very precisely.
I also recommend shooting in mirror lockup mode, 2 presses to activate the shutter. Many of the exposure times were in the 1 second area, so you really want to eliminate any vibration.
I also attached a boom weight to my tripod to help with this.

This was a great Pandemic lockdown busy work project for me. Now I have weeks worth of post processing work to look forward to.

I hope this is of some help to you. Good luck and have fun...

Sounds like a pretty good method.

I don't like glass negative carriers either and fashioned a glassless one (pic below). It holds the neg a couple inches above the frosted plastic so bits of dirt don't get imaged. I put some black paper on the carrier to reduce stray light, and the off-white board it is on is black underneath.

Of course it isn't actually necessary for the camera to be level. What you need is for the sensor to be parallel to the negative. You can achieve that by placing a mirror where the negative goes and checking that the lens is centered in the viewfinder. The orientation of the neg holder is easily fine tuned with shims.


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ThreeHounds
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May 23, 2020 16:16 as a reply to  @ Archibald's post |  #14

Correct about the sensor being parallel with the neg... left that sentence out. I also adjusted the light box to be 3 axis level, which resulted in in film and sensor being parallel. I didn't need to make any adjustments there in post.

Most of my film looked like yours, nice and flat, no troubles. A bunch didn't though and that's when I resorted to the glass. When I used to scan with drum scanners, I oil mounted the film to the drum. Tried to figure something similar, but all I got was a mess.


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Archibald
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May 23, 2020 16:23 |  #15

Good stuff.

I have a really old neg from B/W 620 film that is badly warped in the middle. It somehow got crinkled, it's quite nasty. I tried to restore its flatness (reasoning that everything that warps can be unwarped), and put it between glass, slightly tensioned, for a couple of weeks. Made no difference! How the heck did it get warped in the first place then? Water doesn't help. I am too scared to try heat on it.


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Negative Scanning with ChromeOS
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