How to get big files when scanning?

Hello there! hope you’re good!

I’m scanning with my DSLR and i like it, however i would like to get bigger files so i can print big, i’m using a Nikon D800 with a 55mm macro lens and a tripod, when exporting scans my scans are usually like 1-2MB and the 120 ones are like 6MB… Is there anyway to get big files ? (i can’t get closer, due to my tripod) Here’s an example of a 35mm scan

before cropping

Thanks !

Do you save your images as .nef or .jpg files?

Have you tried moving the negative closer to the camera? Put a shoebox under the backlight, or whatever might do the job…?

I save them as Jpeg, I tried the shoebox, but then the film holder isn’t parallel to the camera… Maybe investing into a copy stand will resolve this

No that won’t change anything but scanning them as .nef will change.

I’m surprised you scan as jpeg

I shoot NEF but i export as JPG…

Oh now that makes more sense. So then your export settings are too low. Again you don’t need to spend money on lighting equipment, if you are happy with your scans, ie light distribution, color distribution etc. Just make sure your camera is absolutely parallel to the film surface. You can invest on Nikon ES-2 kit for 35mm films which is fool proof and your negatives are always parallel, and because of the construction, light is always uniform.

I’m actually happy with the colors etc I just wish that I could get closer to the negatives while keeping the film parallel to the camera and without having to crop a lot. So that’s i was talking about a Copy Stand which would allowed me to get much closer to the negative

One way to go is shown here

Check details at 4:30…but the image tells a good deal.

Does your lens allow 1:1 reproduction?

If so, there is little difference between a tripod or copy stand. I’ve started with tripod then moved to copy stand purely because of convenience, nothing has changed in terms of the scanning itself.

Instead of a copy stand I strongly recommend Nikon ES2 kit. With copy stand you need to do multiple adjustments to make sure the camera is parallel to the film every time you scan.

With Nikon ES2, you can hand hood the camera and still scan the negatives as the kit attaches to the lens itself so it’s always parallel and doesn’t move at all

Fatih Ayoglu

Thanks looks useful!

Unfortunately I just bought the Essential Film Holder… I have another question, Would taking 4-5 pics of the negative and then stack them into photoshop help with large prints ?

The easiest way to get a large print is to get if from a lab an directly off the negative…

The 36 Mpixels of the D800 should be good for almost any size print. You can try to stitch (and stack if you like) and see what you get. It might be worthwhile with a few glorious shots, but it’ll probably be a waste of time in most other cases imo. I find that the limiting factor is the original negative (depending on gear and technique) rather than the digital copy (depending on technique)

Note: Use the built-in function of NLP to create tiff files. They offer more room for tweaking before printing directly in Lightroom or exporting a jpeg to be sent to a printing service.

Search around the forum and read Nate’s guide. Lots of answers are waiting for you there.

You need to have an absolute parallel negative to do that. Plus with 36MB Nikon you can print as big as if you shoot any digital photo with that camera. As I’ve said, check your lightroom export data.

Do you know how to use LR?

Fatih Ayoglu

Yes I know how to use it, my export options are JPG file with 95% quality, are these right ?

Thank you very much for your help! really appreciate it !

I put a large book on my copy stand and rest my lightbox on top of it for smaller frames like 110mm film negatives. That gives me room to move the camera up and down without hitting the bottom stop.

Maybe an 85mm Tiltshift lens with extension tubes will help. The idea is to get to a 2:1 or closer ratio and then use the Shift to capture a pan of the image. I used to get even closer than that back in the day using film but I was working on an optical printer with a microprocessor controlled film stage. The idea I’m proposing is the opposite. Maybe I’ll try it myself since I have everything.

Assuming you are scanning 35mm film or slides, consider the Nikon ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter Set. It should attach directly to your 55mm Micro-Nikkor. I haven’t used it with the 55 but reviewers have stated that the ES-2 has enough adjustability to properly frame a 35mm negative on full-frame with that lens. It works great with the 60, which I have. Holds films and slides perfectly square to the lens. Much more compact and easier to use than a copy stand. All you need is an even light source.

I use my Lumix G9 with a Lumix 30 mm macro lens for negatives and the amazing High Resolution mode of the G9 to get 80 MB files. I use a ball head on my Kaiser copy stand to get the camera perfectly level with the base and my Essential Film Holder.

Build a copy stand out of common PVC plumbing parts, oak doweling, etc. There are plenty of examples on YouTube of how to do that.

Your 55mm without an extension tube can get down to 1:2. A bellows or extension tube set/PK ring can get you closer. Once you can fill the frame, you will make the files you need! Just be sure the sensor in the camera is perfectly plano-parallel with the film, and that there is no stray light reaching your lens.

Study the forum posts here… There are MANY great ideas and approaches to this issue. There are also MANY resources on YouTube that explain how to make excellent scans with a dSLR/MILC setup. From copy stands to film holders to color-accurate light sources to how to use Negative Lab Pro, it’s out there.