Aputure MC as light source for slide scanning?

Hi All! I have come by a lot of slides and want to digitise them. I have a 5dsr and an OK stand, so looking for a good light source. Having read through a lot of this forum (so many great posts!) I was thinking of a Kaiser Slimlite Plano. But I only want to digitise slides, so was wondering about using an Aputure MC? It’s smaller than the Kaiser, but has a CRI of 96+ and might be more useful for me in other ways, too. It looks like it’s about 1000 lux at 1ft, but I’m not sure how that compares to the Kaiser. I tried using an iPad which was ok, but could be brighter.
Any thoughts?

I have and use both Kaiser and Aputure (al-mx) light panels and both work well. Exposure times are longish with the Kaiser and require a sturdy setup.

Having more light would shorten exposure times for sure, but at a certain point, the light gets uncomfortably bright.

Thanks for the reply. Do you mean that the exposure times for the Aputure light were longer than the Kaiser? My setup is stable, so I’m less worried about the length of exposure.

May I suggest to look away from MC model…because it has large distance between LEDs and diffuuser is not easy to modify/use.

I do use and suggest https://products.aputure.com/al-mx/
I have 5mm magnets to raise up diffuuser to have constant and diffuused light. I have about 3-4 times faster shutter time compared to Kaiser panels.

Good point! Thanks for that. The AL-MX is the same price as the Kaiser panel (where I am). The AL-F7 also looks good, and is much cheaper (I don’t need a battery, nor the metal construction). And the AL-F7 is brighter, too, so I could have some options about moving the light further from the slides, etc.
Do you think this route is a better option than a Kaiser Slimlite Plano?

Depends on your long term idea - If you want to go over 35mm, you would need something bigger.
I do use AL-MX in my 35mm scanning rig(s) what are far from “normal” solutions what people use.

AL-MX is bi-color, F7 is fixed. Not important on BW, but in color negs with AL-MX you would have possibility to adjust it.

Old picture of AL-MX setup.

The F7 is also bi-colour. Thanks for the setup pic: that’s inspiring!

Hmm, wield, I had wrong memory about F7 :frowning:
But yeah, that setup fits into small backback and trust me, new owner for that setup was more than suprise when I arrived hands in pockets to office to deliver machine :smiley:

Do you mind posting more photos of your setup? I’ve just ordered the AL-MX along with a couple of sheets of 3mm thick Perspex 1TL2 acrylic for diffusion, and it would be great to get an idea of how you have set up and using yours.

I currently use the Kamerakraft negative carrier which raises the negative off the surface a few centimetres. Thanks.

Why would you want bi-colour? Doesn’t that mean that half of the LEDs are tungsten and half are daylight? So if you want daylight, for instance, you’re only using every second LED, which may create “hot spots” on the diffuser, unless it’s really well diffused. Furthermore, LEDs don’t “dim”, but rather turn off and on really fast, so unless your daylight LEDs are on full, you can get banding when digitizing film, depending on the shutter speed. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a single colour panel, preferably daylight, and work with it on full power?

I don’t have that setup with me - it was made as one-off for end customer.

Maybe there is true 5500K light out there, but I have not found one.
My AL-MX did give out 5500K with all leds working, used separate colormeter to check true values.

I have not visually seen flickering - could be just that shutter speeds are to slow.
And lights are different - some flicker, some don’t. Not sure about technical reasons behind it,
but thats my experience during event photography for customers.

If you’re using a slow shutter speed, chances are you won’t see banding, but at higher shutter it can be quite dramatic with the LEDs turned down. I just did some experiments taking some shots of a Huion light panel with the LEDs dimmed down and some of the lines can be almost black at shutter speeds from around 1/125 second and shorter.

At events some of the worst lighting is mercury vapour. I shot a national gymnastics championship in 2007 with a brand new Nikon D3. Miserable, low lighting but needing high shutter speeds, which is why I bought the D3, which at the time was just about the only pro camera capable of doing the job properly. Just about every shot was coming out a different colour, even in a fast motor drive sequence. I thought something must be wrong with the camera so I called up the store where I bought it. The owner asked if the lighting was mercury vapour, which I confirmed. He told me that those lights cycle at around 1/125 second, so for when I was shooting at 1/1000 second I was only getting a small slice of the spectrum, which accounted for the different colours. Fortunately I was shooting raw so I could adjust the colour after.

It’s best to test your light panel. Set the focus on the surface of the panel and take a bunch of shots at different shutter speeds, with just the panel (film removed). Use different brightness settings for the panel. You may find that at slower shutter speeds, such as 1/15 second, any banding will even out, but at faster speeds, such as 1/200 second, you may see the banding in some of the shots (but not necessarily all of them). In any case, I find it safest to set the panel to full brightness to eliminate any banding.

Your testing method is correct. :slight_smile:
I did run some tests some time ago (I don’t have that light with me right now to retest) and I did not get any banding with 1/1000. Usually you could see banding starting from 1/250 and faster. Typical Kaiser Plano gives shutter speed about 1/10, I did run AL-MX with shutter 1/100.

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Does the Kaiser have a brightness adjustment? Just wondering what the results would be with the brightness turned down. Test with my Huion light panel show some pretty dramatic banding at around 1/200 or 1/250, sometimes with a section of the frame completely black.

One of my light tables is 5500K and no brightness control so I can always trust it. The Huion, which I normally only use to sort film is about 9400K and has the brightness control so it should be always at full brightness for digitizing film. You’re right that the shutter speeds with light panels is generally slow enough that it shouldn’t be an issue, but there still could be some subtle darkening in bands. Whenever I’m digitizing film I do a “blank” first, with no film, just the light table. The histogram should be a narrow column. If it widens out it shows that the light is not even across the frame.

Kaiser Slimlite plano is adjustable, http://www.kaiser-fototechnik.de/en/news/produkte/1_1_plano.asp

In LR you can use pipet to check area values to check evenes of light aswell.

Yes, I find, however, that the histogram on the camera LCD provides a quick visual reference on the evenness of the light. I don’t have a Kaiser, but with the Huion at partial brightness, the banding can vary a lot between frames, so you can take several “blank” shots and find some of them with no banding and others with subtle or more severe banding, depending on when the shot was taken in the LED’s cycle. The safest thing to do is use full brightness.