70mm macro: good enough for 35mm scanning?

I’m considering a 70mm macro to scan 35mm film, because I think the lens could be a good focal length for portraits when I’m not using it for scanning.

I’ve read the guide and lurked for a few weeks. I remember reading something along the lines of “while even a 50mm macro would work, generally the longer the macro the better, because of the compression effect and less chances of reflections.” It seems like most people use macros ~100mm focal length.

For 35mm scanning, would the 70mm macro create some headaches, such as reflections/being too close to the film, etc.? Am I better off just going for a 100mm macro?

(I know a 100mm macro could be used for portraits, too, but I already have a 135mm telephoto, and both are a little too tight for the type of portraits I do, so I think a 70mm macro or 90mm macro would be the more versatile choice.)

I use a Sigma 70mm 1:2.8 DG macro lens on a Sony a7iii and have obtained good results. The only caveat I would give is the 70mm lens isn’t quite long enough to give m 1:1 camera scans with my copy stand. The lens doesn’t have the reach to get to the film/slides. I am forced to place the film on a book sitting on top of the copy stand base to get it close to the end of the lens. I think a 100mm lens might have solved the problem but once addressed, the 70mm does a good job.

Provided you have masked off the light source and have subdued lighting I don’t think reflections would be a problem, in fact if they were then that side of things needs attention, you can perhaps cut a circle in a black card and fix it to the lens with a lens hood of some kind, or put black tape on whatever is causing the reflections.

70mm focal length on a full frame camera is fine, the 55mm or 60mm Micro-Nikkor is widely used here for example. More important is to make sure that the 70mm lens that you are considering has a good reputation for flat field 1:1 slide/film copying, that won’t be true of all of them.

Edit: Actually I think there’s only one make of 70mm Macro, so that narrows it down a bit.

Does this Sigma 70mm macro Art have a good reputation for flat field 1:1?

Now that I don’t know because I’ve not used one but if you search this forum for ‘Sigma 70mm Macro’ you should find a lot of useful information, and hopefully how it compares to the Sony 90mm.

I had a quick look myself, it does seem to attract a lot of positive comments on here.

Agreed. I always shoot in a darkened room and mask my Kaiser Slimlite. The only light hitting the sensor comes through the film/slide. It’s the only way to assure consistent exposures.


I had forgotten that Robert O’Toole tested this lens on his site here

These are demanding flat field tests of a silicon wafer and it does very well, the Sony 90mm not so much.