News, Tech Tips, Updates

My film negative 'scanner' set-up

Even though I have two digital backs for my Rollei's, I still shoot a lot of film.  Film is great fun, and still has some qualities in look, color and feel that can be hard to get with digital.  IMHO - The biggest downside to film is getting it scanned.   I use my Rollei 6008AF and CF 528 digital back (multishot) to 'scan' my negatives.   In the picture from my cell phone, you can see a quick snap shot of my set-up.   I have the 6008AF on a copy stand with a light table under it.  Mine is a Kaiser eVision that has the light table built in. Obviously you could use any camera and light source, but its important to use a flicker free light or one that has a high frequency ballast so you don't get dull spots in part of the frame.  Typically I set my lens aperture to about f/11.  This gives me sufficient DOF (mostly for focusing errors but also in case the film bends under the heat of the light) but avoids diffraction losses of smaller apertures.   I used to use a bowen's illumitran slide copier for this purpose.  It has a built in flash under neath and a focusing light.  The flash makes for much shorter exposures and probably has higher CRI too.  I guess I'm just too lazy to set it up every time.   I use an enlarger negative holder to hold the film strips in place under the camera so I don't have to waste time getting them into place.  I just slide the film through frame by frame.  I have a Schneider enlarging lens fitted to the Rollei M39/M40 shutter adapter but sometimes just use the Rollei 90mm apo makro lens with extension tubes.  In the picture, I am have set this up to scan color film (Portra 400) which has a orange carrier.  The orange makes it hard to adjust color wise so I have made myself a blue filter to neutralize the carrier.  I did this by shooting the orange carrier, sampling the color and making a solid layer of that color and inverting it in photoshop.  I printed this blue onto a clear transparency film.  Sounds hard but was very simple.    I use a filter called color perfect to handle the color 'scans' after that.  I can 'scan' several rolls of film in about 30 minutes this way. I think traditional scanning would be many times longer at least at the resolution I get.

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Q/A How can I get to 1::1 magnification with either the 90mm apo or the 150mm apo makro?

I've just got this question and have decided to share on the blog when it might be helpful.   Rollei makes and made quite a variety of amazing macro lenses and accessories and there are really a lot of different options to get in close on your subjects.   They even put out a handbook that covers all of these in great detail.  If I am able to make the handbook available as a download from the shop I will do so - but in the mean time feel free to e-mail me for specific info.

Here's a run down of some of the macro tools:

  • Bellows Extension - 68-268mm
  • Vario Extension Tube  22-68mm (works with most bay VI lenses or those with narrow barrels)
  • 9mm, 17mm, 34mm, 67,68mm Extension tubes
  • Retro adapter - to use a lens in reverse with auto functions
  • M39/M40 Behind the lens adapter (no longer in production AFAIK)
  • X-Act2 Technical Camera + lens in electronic shutter or regular lens with lens adapter
  • Use of 1.4x extender gets you higher magnification since the minimum focusing distance doesn't change

Finally getting to the specific question:  

The 90mm apo macro gets you to 2::1 without any tubes and almost reaches 1::1 with the 34mm extension.  With the 68mm tube, it can get to 1::1.24 magnification (image captured larger than life size).  

The 150apo macro gets you not nearly anywhere as close even with the 68mm tube - just to 16.9::1 actually.    If you have the bellows unit all the way extended then you can reach 1::1 with the 150apo macro.  


There are three reasons why it takes much more extension than the 90.  1) Its a true lens with no retrofocal element so just to reach infinity it needs 150mm from the film plane.  2) Its a lot longer than the 90mm so it takes extra mm of extension just to get to where the 90 was starting.  3) The 90mm apo lens has a really long travel and lots of focus ring rotation.  

If you want to get higher magnification, you can get the extension bellows and mount the 90mm on it. The bellows gives you 268mm of extension, plus you could also mount your extension tubes on the bellows or even before it to get more.    If you need really high magnification, then rollei has you covered.   Just get a m39/m40 behind the lens shutter adapter and mount and of the shorter M-componon's, Leica Photars, or Zeiss luminars on it.     You can approach microscope magnification levels this way and take images of cells on a butterfly wing and things like that.   But wait, there's more.  You could also use the retro adapter and reverse mount a lens. This gets you very high magnifcation as well.   


Scales on a dead butterfly wing that I found.



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