Blurry Scans With Weird Colours

I just started camera scanning a few days ago and I can’t seem to get sharp scans without strange colour casts and there is little detail in the shadows.

My setup is a GFX 50r, EFH, iPad Pro 11’ (first gen) as a light source, a Pentax 645 120mm f 4.0, and I inverted my tripod.

I can’t figure out what is going wrong, I align the camera and film holder using a mirror, I have the camera set to the electronic shutter, and I am using the 10-second delay. So there shouldn’t be any movement.

For the focusing I am using high blue peaking, opening the aperture all the way, focusing, and then closing it to f 8.0. I am using manual exposure, with a shutter speed of around 4 seconds, ISO of 100, and auto white balance (I am shooting RAW)

And then for the iPad, I am using the Negative Supply app, which gives you a (supposedly) colour-balanced white screen. I am shooting at night in almost complete darkness, and I put a lens hood around the film frame to really prevent any glares.

Here is a link to the raw scans, and some of the converted scans that I tried to get looking how I want:

The only things I can think of that could be possibly causing issues are the iPad is not bright enough, the focus shift when opening and closing the aperture, and the camera is not getting the right white balance, which shouldn’t be an issue because I am shooting in RAW).

The film negatives themselves are sharp and were properly exposed and developed. I know because I had already scanned some of these negatives using an Epson V6000 and those scans seemed sharper and had better colours than the camera scans.

I am wanting to get the scans so they look as close to neutral as possible in terms of colour and exposure using NLP. So I can then edit the copies to the colours and tones I want using LR.

I would greatly appreciate any advice or tips! As I am getting a bit frustrated!

Hey – Quite sure the blur comes from the shutter speed. 4s is really long and I doubt it’s possible to prevent any shake from happening.

From your scans I could see you have quite a huge amount of masked area in the shots. You should try getting closer to the negative to capture more light. You could also try using ISO400 to make sure camera shake is not the issue. The GFX is a very capable camera, you will hardly see any difference from ISO100 and 400 but increase the shutter speed significantly.

On the iPad: make sure to have True Tone off and the brightness at maximum (if you’re not doing this already).

Hope this helps!

– Chris

Thanks for your tips @cvandebroek!

I’ll give it a go at a higher ISO and see if that helps. Regarding the masked-out area, that is the EFH film holder, I am almost focused as close as I can possibly get with this lens but I’ll try and see if I can get closer. But at least with the GFX’s high megapixel count, I am still getting good-resolution scans.

In regards to the colour the iPad is on full brightness and the Tru-Tone is off. So are the colour casts (weird magenta and yellow) got to do with the camera not picking a good WB? The colour casts are especially strong on the scans of 50D negatives (the scan with the sailboat, and the scan with the twisted branches). It is so strong that trying when to convert them in NLP I can barely reduce the casts using WB sliders in NLP even if I max them out.

Should I be setting a manual WB in the camera off the film border to offset the film’s orange mask? Because trying to set it in LR off the border using the dropper tool doesn’t seem to work. Because the WB sliders in LR pretty much max out.

Should I change the profile assigned when the photos are imported into LR from Adobe Colour to Adobe Neutral? Then take the WB off the border once the profile is changed to Adobe Neutral. Will that help fix the colour cast issues?

I also have a Fuji gfx50r and a Pentax lens. Works perfect for me. I have a few tips. I you have a tripod that’s standing on the floor you have to stand absolutely still when taking the shot. Leaning forward to set focus and then leaning back will actually change focus a lot. Unless you have a concrete floor perhaps.
Set white balance to daylight or 5600 to keep it consistent. The GFX electronic shutter can quite often weird out and create strange blurs in the image. 4 second exposure is way too long, especially with that electronic shutter.
Ditch the iPad and get the cinestill light and a basic VALOI film holder, works fantastic and is actually very cheap.

Okay, thanks for those tips.

I’ll try scanning on the concrete floor in my house’s basement, which should eliminate vibrations. I am planning on getting a better light source, but I am a high school student so I don’t have a steady income, which means I have to really budget and can’t just go out and buy something (It has taken close to a year for me to get everything I have for scanning). Though I have started working for this summer already and I will be able to have enough to get light. I was looking at Cinestill’s CSlite the only problem is they aren’t sold in Canada. I am also thinking of getting a Vlad’s test target to help with getting the right focus. The GFX doesn’t have the greatest focus peaking, at least compared to Sony.

Costs do run away when trying to camera scan. Just try to stand still when taking the pictures and it will be fine. I use a fine point black pen and place a tiny dot on the blank part of the film and focus on that. Works perfect, no need to get those targets, tempting but probably a waste of money.
I’m pretty confident that the weird colours comes from the iPad. A strong good light source is key, and good film holder. The VALOI basic holder works nice and is really cheap. Don’t buy anything else from VALOI, the advancer and mask or the diffuser. Only the tiny plastic film holder.
I have a very beefy tripod to hold up that heavy gfx with the big lens. A lesser tripod might cause the camera to creep ever so slightly.

Focus has to be verified and possibly set with each capture. Changing between film and target will not help. Vlad’s target is meant to give you an idea of your setup’s resolution…and I think you can save the money for a target, specially if you can’t simply buy a better lens, should yours look to soft. Zoom in Liveview for focusing, focus peeking works well in normal situations, for macro, I find it to be too tolerant.

I think the first step is to reduce the shutter and raising the iso, as someone already suggested is a good start. Even if you’re not happy with the iso it will be a good test as to wether it improves the blurry images. Get as close as possible with the 120. You can even go wider on the lens f4-5.6 to see if the faster shutter speed helps. Once again even if the aperture isn’t ideal, if you get shake free images that’s a start. Does your camera have an electronic shutter for silent shooting? If you do go for the electronic shutter option, that big shutter may cause a certain amount of camera shake. That option made a difference on my Sony with a similar setup.

Hope this helps

A quick search shows the Fuji gfx50r has an electronic shutter. I don’t know what the limitations are but you don’t need fast speeds. If you can reduce the shutter vibrations and increase shutter speeds by adjusting iso and apertures that would be a good start that doesn’t cost anything.

You can buy a Kaiser SlimLight Plano, the basic model from B3K Digital in downtown Toronto for CAD 165. It’s excellent. I have been doing many hundreds of film captures with it, no problems. You don’t need Vlad’s target. I have one and don’t find it very useful, but maybe that’s just me, I don’t know. The best solution I found for assuring correct focus is to use a frame of grainy negative film and make sure the grain is sharp. You may need to stop-down enough to see all the useful detail, which you can assess corner to corner. If you can, it’s best to use software that allows you to operate the camera tethered to your computer, using a TetherTools cable also available from B3K Digital. This way you can control the brightness/exposure from your computer and fire the shutter remotely. Helps a lot with both getting correct exposure and avoiding camera shake.


I’ll try and find a really grainy negative. Do you still get weird colour casts when using the Kaiser or does having the higher CRI and brighter Light eliminate that problem?

Using the Fuji plugin, I have been using my camera tethered to a computer. It gives me a live view so that I can set the focus easier than just using the camera’s screen.

to eliminate any vibrations I will start shooting on the concrete floor in my basement rather than my desk. I will also probably DIY a copy stand using some pipe and one of the camera clamps designed to clamp around a pipe, and then use a macro rail to make focusing easier and more precise.

I do not get weird colour casts.

Improving your capture set-up the way you describe should help resolve issues of sharpness.

@Mark_Segal I managed to get a free Nikor 6x7 enlarger yesterday with a super nice copy stand, FOR FREE!

So using that should eliminate most of the vibrations and make it a lot easier to focus. I am also wondering if it would be a good idea to also use the lamp as a light source?

The light is bounced 90 degrees and then diffused, which means it isn’t heating up the negative. Another possible benefit is it is a color film enlarger so it has knobs to adjust the light source’s color so I should be able to eliminate any color casts in the film. The lamp is also super bright, I was dumb and looked at the bulb while it was on and had a black spot in my vision for the rest of the evening.

Nice find, re the enlarger. Should help a lot.

As for the light source, I don’t see how that could be set-up. The negative needs to be backlit and the camera focused exactly parallel to the negative and above it. Where does an enlarger lamp-house fit this kind of structure? I would have thought you need to get rid of the enlarger lamp-house assembly and use the remaining stand as a copy stand onto which you attach the camera instead of the lamp-house. Am I missing something?

I am mounting the camera where the lamp house would go and I would slightly modify the removed lamp house to sit on the copy stand base below the camera, and then put the EFH on top. I’ll post some photos later today showing what I mean.

Do enlarger lamps work well for illuminating the film, in terms of CRI compared to a LED light panel? I can also adjust the hue of the light because of built-in filters (it is a colour enlarger) which would help counteract the orange mask of the film base. Plus it is also ridiculously bright.

Ah, I see what you intend now. I have no experience trying to digitize film using an enlarger colour-head in this manner; it’s rather unique. I think you have nothing to lose by just trying it and see what happens.

Enlarger light bulbs tend to be high power tungsten lamps, all of which feature the best possible colour characteristics.