Bulk Large Format Negative Scanning

Bulk Large Format Negative Scanning
Leon
11/28/2016

While we were cleaning out my late mother-in-law's estate we came across a large number of odd sized black and white negatives (in addition to a large number of photos, slides, audio tapes, and 8mm films). When I looked into getting them scanned I was a tad shocked at the cost (around $1 - $3 per scan).

At first I tried a few on a Canoscan 9000F Mark II flatbed scanner, but wasn't happy with the results. But as they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat.

In the past I've seen people with slide adapters that fit on the lens of a DSLR camera, which you then point at a light and take a photo. I thought why couldn't we engineer something like that?

The first thing I purchased from amazon was a document stand for photographing things with, and I visited my friend in Tucson with a light table to place the negative on to photograph. While this was a good proof-of concept, his old light table used florescent bulbs, which yielded banding in the resulting photos.

Next stop was to Arizona Art Supply to purchase a nice new LED based light table. I mounted my camera on the document stand, placed the light table on top of that, and took some more test shots with my Fuji X30 (12mp mirrorless camera). The results were very good. However they also included a feight perfect reflection from the camera on the piece of glass I was using to hold the negative flat - more than likely due to the whole surface area of the light table pumping out the photons. I really should have gotten the black X30 instead of the silver one.

An outting to Paradise Picture Frame was required to pick up a 4" x 6" piece of museum glass, which I mounted on the back of a piece cardboard that I painted black to cut down on the light leakage.

I also picked up a USB shutter release for the X30 to hold the camera still when taking the photos.