Converting 35mm Slides to Digital

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Re: Converting 35mm Slides to Digital

Post by fishmonger » Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:25 am

oldranger wrote:Ok so I have a 12 megapixal D-5000, with the adapter and the 40mm micro Nikon lens can I get decent digital copies of my slides? or even without the 40 mm and my kit 18-55 zoom and extension tubes? Kind of like doing it myself because I can just do a few at a time with a cost much less than the services (even if I have to buy the lens.

The D5000 sensor is pretty good and 16mp is plenty to retain detail for most slide film originals. The 40mm lens is a little expensive, although you end up with a proper macro lens in the process, not just a slide duplicator lens. The 18-55mm would need an extension tube setup to get to 1:1 focus at that short distance, and it is questionable that it will actually be in focus across the entire slide plane. For DX, the 40mm and the adapter is all you need. I've seen the 40mm for $200 on ebay, while a good set of AF extension tubes will probably cost over $100 and not necessarily give you decent focus. Do some searching on that subject, as I don't know if the 18-55mm could even be made to focus at 1:1 with tubes.

For flash, pretty much any flash with a way to be triggered remotely with a cord. Doesn't even need to be TTL - you'd set this up after a few test runs to be all the same, manual settings for aperture and shutter and a manual setting for the flash, adjusting the perfect exposure by finding the perfect distance of the flash to the adapter. For really dark slides, you may move it a little closer (2-3 inches if normal is 16" for example). Setting the custom white balance is also a one time process that depends on your flash, you set that in the camera with no slide in the adapter. Get critical focus (perhaps AF works better because not all slides are perfectly flat), but for the most part, once you get that set, you probably can leave that on manual as well. Shoot RAW files, not JPEG, or you are throwing away a lot of the dynamic range and color depth before the images even leave the camera.

Once all this is set up, you shoot your images quickly in succession. Cleaning dust off the slides is going to save you tons of time in post processing, so you'll be spending more time on that than the exposure itself. RAW files contain image data that extends beyond what you can see on the screen at one time, but with the proper post processing steps you can tap into that to lighten up the shadow areas that tend to be pretty muddy on slides and bring down the highlights, adjust for color shift (the most difficult part). The video I linked shows how that works briefly, but there are much better tutorials on that process (ask if you want to know more about that). Adobe Lightroom is all you need to do all of that.

The first dozen or so slides will take a little time to get a feel for the process, but after a while, you'll get through the adjustments very quickly. They can't be automated very easily, as each slide needs slightly different adjustments and crop, but you'll spend less than 30 seconds on the base adjustments once you get rolling. The dust cleanup, now that's where you could spend endless hours. Focus on the important images and the most annoying dust spots and you'll be moving along at a good pace.

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Re: Converting 35mm Slides to Digital

Post by oldranger » Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:32 am

Fishmonger, thanks. Looks like a good excuse to get a lens! Still way cheaper than the services If I get at all my pics.


Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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