Why not copy negatives with a camera?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by UsuallyClueless, May 13, 2009.

  1. UsuallyClueless

    UsuallyClueless TPF Noob!

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    I have been looking at scanners for black and white negatives. However, just to see who was in one of the (estimated) 3 inch by 4 inch negatives, I put it on a crafting light box and took a picture of it with a handheld little Kodak 6MP Easyshare camera.

    In comparing the new reversed image with the original old print, I couldn't really find any details that had been left out.

    I would suppose a better camera with a remote shutter and a stand and a closeup lens, for smaller 35mm negatives would be in order to get the same results.

    But I have been wondering why negatives are not copied this way. I would rather put the money into a better camera than into a scanner. Would it be that a print would be pixelated even if the files shows the picture to be OK?
    How else can I test this camera theory? I have never heard of anyone doing copies this way.

    Thanks!
     
  2. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some are done in this way. That's why they make macro bellows and copy stands. However this is mostly used for slide duplication or photographing small flat objects like stamps. I have never tried to duplicate negatives in this way. I enlarge my own negatives and print my own black and white film work. But I suppose that if you were to play with it enough it could work. However, it would be a copy of a copy. And though it might be 'sufficient' for some purposes, it would not be as detailed as a print from the negative.
     
  3. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well.. you can do it that way. But you will get more image detail with a good scanner.
     
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  4. UsuallyClueless

    UsuallyClueless TPF Noob!

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    I have inherited a big box full of old negatives, and a few large glass ones. I hate to have them all printed as I understand prints from large negatives are expensive. And that putting the negatives to a file is expensive also.

    And if a camera will capture the detail, I can keep the files of those wanted and do some editing.

    Maybe I should just have a negative copy made into an 8x10 and see what it looks like.

    I just wondered if these old eyes were seeing things, or missing things.
     
  5. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    I've done a bit of "scanning" with a digital camera and a lot of scanning with a very good flatbed scanner with excellent film scanning capabilities (EPSON v700). I've found that the camera copying can be rather decent, but has its limits.

    In general, the camera's lens is the most limiting factor. Any zoom, whether on a digicam or DSLR, will have some distortion and any lens other that a true macro will have some degree of lower image quality at the edges that will become noticable in larger prints.

    If your needs are modest, perhaps 8x10 prints at the largest, you may find that you can get quite decent copies with the right equipment. Exposure can be a bit tricky with some older negatives. You will also find that the images need more post processing to adjust the tonal scale than images from a good scanner.
     
  6. Actor

    Actor TPF Noob!

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    How did you get the image reversed? My wife's digital does not have this capability and neither does any software that I have. :confused:
     
  7. doucetd

    doucetd TPF Noob!

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    I have been copying large negatives for years...exactly the way you describe it 'could' be done; so don't hesitate - it works very well.
    Of course, owning a Ricoh camera helps greatly with that process. That particular make of camera corrects skew so you get a perfectly squared / framed picture every time.




     
  8. doucetd

    doucetd TPF Noob!

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    I reverse all negative pictures using MGI PhotoSuite (many other applications will do as well) on the computer.

     
  9. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You realize you're replying to a post from three years ago, right?
     
  10. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    What a terrible way to digitize images. That's almost like taking a picture of your monitor instead of taking a screenshot. There is a reason why film scanners exist.
     
  11. DuncanMKZ

    DuncanMKZ TPF Noob!

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    There's also a reason that film scanners have disappeared from the shelves of many photo stores.

    I've compared film scanners with flatbed scanners and camera reproduction in copying old 8mm movie film. This is, obviously, much smaller than slides or negatives, and flaws were easy to see. I compared a regular film scanner (Dimage ScanDual III) with a good flatbed scanner that can scan film, an Epson Perfection V500 Photo. Quality seemed to be about the same, and was a touch soft in both cases. Both can pose problems with curled film or Newton rings. Using a digital camera with a macro lens produced vastly better results.

    Using a digital camera works very well for movie film or black and white negatives. It is fast and, if you use a good macro lens, the quality is excellent. It won't remove dust on the negative, but neither will DigitalICE.

    For colour film, the quality is also good, but adjusting the colour is tricky. This article discusses the challenges.

    http://www.thedambook.com/downloads/Camera_Scanning_Krogh.pdf

    Duncan McKenzie
     

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