3

Which one of these approaches produce better results with Lightroom later:

  1. Scan the negative with a flatbed scanner (e.g., Epson V600); output Tiff image; then proceed with Lightroom.
  2. Shoot your negative with a digital camera D750 (e.g. as Nikon Raw image); then proceed with Lightroom.
5

I get reasonably good results photographing negatives with a slide copier attachment and a macro lens (vs using a flatbed scanner). However, if you plan to scan many frames of film, you should consider a dedicated film scanner with batch feeder. Depending on your lens and camera, image quality from a film scanner may or may not be better, but it would be much more convenient.

Flatbed (or film) scanner

Advantages:

  • Scanning negatives is an anticipated use case. Software usually include ability to invert and color correct negatives, often with single click.
  • Scanner may have automated dust removal features (via additional infrared channel).
  • No demosaicing.
  • When image doesn't turn out well, it's most likely a problem with the film. (Don't have to constantly second guess scanner and settings.)
  • Light source is built into the scanner. Results are consistent.

Disadvantages:

  • Capture process can be slow. Scanning is done line-by-line.
  • Focus and resolution of some scanners may not be optimal.
  • Scanner takes up desk space.
  • Scanner likely cannot extract "all" information from film (grain structure and dynamic range).
  • Software usually automatically crops frame. May have difficulty capturing sprocket hole images. (More problem with film scanners than flatbeds.)

Other:

  • Convenience, if using a film scanner with an automated feeder.
  • Flatbed with transparency adapter is best (and most affordable) option for medium format.

Digital camera with slide copier

Advantages:

  • Capture is fast (about the same as taking a picture).
  • With good macro lens, can focus on image grain.
  • With increased magnification ratio, can extract more information from image (grain and dynamic range).
  • No scanner to occupy desk space.
  • Reasonably affordable if you already own the camera and lens. (Slide copier attachments are ~$35-50.)
  • Depending on attachment, can capture images that extend into sprocket holes.

Disadvantages:

  • More time is spent post-processing images.
  • Have to demosaic. Reduces resolution and may introduce artifacts.
  • No automated dust removal.
  • Photographing negatives is not a normal use case.
    • Camera may not meter properly.
    • White balance won't work properly.
    • Software is not designed to invert and color correct negatives. May have to spend lots of time tweaking curves.
    • When image doesn't turn out well, is it a problem with the film or camera or software? (Constantly have to second guess whether camera or software is at fault.)
  • Focusing on grain can be difficult (depending on lens, magnification, and eyesight).

Other:

  • Need to purchase a slide copier attachment.
  • May need to purchase a suitable lens.
  • Aberrations and distortions depend on lens.
  • Contrast, sharpness, dynamic range depend on lens.

  • For best results, have to use reproduction ratio greater than 1:1 and stitch.

  • Depending on how careful you are, lighting may not be consistent across the frame.

  • Medium format...

    • Difficult to find suitable slide copiers.
    • If using a lightbox, will likely have alignment problems.
    • Will likely have to stitch several images.
  • 1
    Also, flatbeds are just about the only affordable way to go if needing to scan in 120 or larger. – Hueco Jul 30 at 15:34
  • @Hueco I thought about discussing medium format, but wasn't sure if I should... guess I'll go ahead and add it. – xiota Jul 30 at 15:35
  • I figured I'd mention it because I went through the whole "how do I get my film digitized" process and found that it gets really, really pricey when considering 120 and up. dedicated 35mm scanners aren't too bad. Dedicated 120 scanners are ridiculous imo. – Hueco Jul 30 at 15:36
  • @Hueco Cut medium format film into 35mm strips for scanning 😛 – xiota Jul 30 at 15:42
  • bwuahahahahah. oh the sacrilege. >_< – Hueco Jul 30 at 15:44

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