First some background:
I am a photographer who likes to use film negatives, and who mainly shoots 6x6 medium format (Hasselblad 500CM) and some occasional 35mm (Pentax KX).
I own an Epson v550 flatbed scanner. The scans are acceptable, but they seem quite soft to me, especially if I inspect the negatives for sharpness with a magnifier.
Things I have tried to improve sharpness/resolution:
- Scan at higher DPI: this only adds more noise above ~4800 dpi
- Scan directly on the glass plate: apparently, the focus plane is already calibrated somewhat above the surface, as this technique resulted in a loss of sharpness for me (in addition to the appearance of Newton rings).
- Scan using the holder with ANR glass slide on top. The ANR glass sometimes produced strange artifacts and seems to increase the noise in the scans, especially for 35mm film.
Also, I feel that the dynamic range of the scanner is not capable of capturing the full dynamic range of the film.
Because I am frustrated with the inferior quality of my scans, I would like to give "scanning" with a DSLR + macro lens a go. My question is the following: What DSLR + macro lens setup should I buy, considering it is used only for scanning film?
(a Pentax lens that would fit my KX would be a bonus, but not a requirement)
I imagine I have the following requirements:
- Price: of the total setup should be under 500 euros. Second hand/older models are not a problem.
- Lens: can be a fully manual lens, as long as its a sharp macro lens with something close to 1:1 reproduction.
- Camera should be able to shoot in RAW
- To get the most out of the dynamic range of the negatives, I imagine a HDR mode would be extremely helpful (yes, I am shooting slide film too)
- Resolution: I am not really familiar with all the megapixel requirements, as I am a film photographer, but I think it should at least be above 10 megapixels. (preferably more)
I understand that it might be hard to give a definitive answer to this question, but I feel an answer would be helpful to this site, as film photography still is quite popular and people are using DSLRs more and more to scan film.
Edit 1: as pointed out in a comment, my goal is to shoot one negative frame in multiple parts, and stitch them together using software on the PC.
Edit 2: I will mainly be using color negative and positive film, but also the occasional black and white film.
Edit 3: The reason why I am considering a camera setup instead of a dedicated 500 euro negative scanner, is because tests have pointed out that you can get much more detail from your negatives with a camera setup compared to for example a drum scanner: http://petapixel.com/2012/12/23/why-you-should-digitize-your-film-using-a-camera-instead-of-a-scanner/ Also, I use different film formats (for now 35mm and 6x6, but definitely 4x5 in the future) and like the flexibility a camera setup offers. However, if it turns out that there is a viable scanner alternative, I will consider it.
Edit 4: Here are two examples of the results I'm getting. 120: https://flic.kr/p/KfJdw1 35mm: https://flic.kr/p/xFE6BJ There are more examples on Flickr. I feel there is a lack of sharpness, but I'm not sure if this is due to too high expectations or limitations of the current setup. Camera/lens/film details are included on the photo page.