I’ve posted about shooting film and scanning the negatives and positives (slides) using simple setup of a DSLR, macro lens, and light source. Here is a good post on the subject. Click here. Nate gives good information. I followed his steps and have gotten good results.
I have seen some posts that recommend taping down the slide or negative. Don’t unless you don’t value the negative. Also if you are dealing with a strip of negatives, taping them down flat is still a challenge.
I have also seen posts that tell you to place glass over the negative or slide to keep it flat. This will work, except some camera sensors will introduce Moire patterns in the scan depending on how they respond to the glass. It is a tedious process to remove them from a scanned image.
So I now use the Lomography DigitaLIZA scanning mask both for 35mm and 120 film. Works great. The negatives lie flat and there is nothing between them and your camera. The masks also work with a standard desktop scanner equipped with a film scanning backlight.
I recently went photographing with my Nikon FM2N, my extremely reliable very old film camera. I was testing some Fomapan 200 film and Rodinal developer, a great combination. The negatives looked great.
However when I scanned them using my DSLR “scanner” the images were blurred. It took me a while to figure out. I won’t go through all the steps, because they are tedious and uninteresting.
Take a look at this image and notice the “ghosting” or shadow around the lines of the scanned file. Whether you make out the ghosts or not, the image is a blur, right? This is also an extreme enlargement of about ten percent of the image file, still as a negative and not inverted to a positive image.
I thought it must be some problem with the camera or the lens. I was using an old 1970’s Nikon Series E, 50mm f 1.8, one of Nikon’s cheaper lenses but which also has a good reputation for sharpness. The blurring did not make any sense.
So I began troubleshooting. I set up a target, a tape ruler, and I began to test the camera and lens at various distances and f-stops. I won’t go through all those individual steps.
The image above was made by “scanning” with the Nikon D3400 and a 60mm Micro Nikkor D lens.
After talking to a couple people, I finally narrowed the problem down to the DSLR. The sensors in the DSLR may introduce problems that cannot be fixed with Lightroom camera and lens profiles.
So I switched from the D3400 to my Nikon D7500, with the same 60mm Micro Nikkor lens. Below is a scan of the same negative, from the D7500, and enlarged approximately the same amount as the first image.
Moral of the story: It may be your scanning setup that introduces problems. In this case it was the D3400. I am not indicting all D3400’s. I am saying that for the scanning application, it is not the best camera for my setup and process.
The D7500 works much better in this case.