How to have excellent focus

Good evening everyone, I use the film scanning system with a Nikon D500 DSRL with a Micro nikkor 55 Ais f2.8 (sometimes I use a Sigma 150 macro f2.8) using a reproduction stand, I place the films inside the masks that I I am produced with a 3d printer, I place them on a light table with 5000K light, I would like to ask you how you can achieve the best focus, you need to use a slide that moves the whole camera with the lens or it would be better to use a bellows that moves only the goal? Can you make good focuses?
Thanks for your suggestions !

1 Like

That’s what I ask myself too. Like, sometimes with a negatives with extremely shallow depth of field. You really need to find the little area that’s in focus? It’s sometimes so hard to tell. Or like…how are you actually sure it’s in focus when all you see is brightness- and color-inverted? Does focus-peaking really help here? Or should I go ahead and get Capture One to tether my camera…does it enable zooming into the live view window?

To maintain constant magnification move the whole camera+lens assembly. That provides much more nuanced approach to focusing. Think about it . If you move the lens, both the distances between lens and sensor and between lens and film original change simultaneously so the focus changes rapidly with slightest lens move.

1 Like

Yes, focus peaking helps. Just make sure that focus peaking works with the external monitor. For Canon it does not work. So you use focus peaking with camera’s display.

There’s a guy in Brooklyn who takes perfect negatives of the 1951 Air Force Resolution chart. I don’t remember who he is and how to reach him–sorry. but I bought a strip of 5 negatives and I slip it just above the negatives I want to scan and focus initially on that. It’s really clear when that’s in focus. If I have any doubt, I put on top of it a loop. Of course, focus peaking is important confirmation.

You can buy similar negatives elsewhere but they’re super expensive. His were (IIRC) $25.

Unfortunately I cannot apply focus peaking with the Nikon D500 it is not provided in the firmware

He is named Vlad…and he just posted 2 posts above you :smiley:

Wow. Sorry. But glad to be able to endorse Vlad’s product. It is spot on!

If you can move the camera and lens assembly closer/further away from the slide independently of the slide position, it is much easier to set the lens to the 1:1 magnification, then move the whole camera/lens assembly on a micro focusing rail to set the focus. In my experience focus peaking at 1:1 distances is not entirely reliable and I suggest examining the image at 100% on the rear LCD screen. As always you must critically align your camera/lens assembly to the film carrier.

1 Like

That is not $$. A good glass original res target is $200 + I just acquired one to do tests, not for focus.

Here it is with an Epson V500 test.

Examining resolution on the flatbed scanner with various degrees of focus adjustment. – Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection – II (

The center is viewable…with a microscope. I ran some tests with a V600 and they were worse. The V600 must need focus off the glass. My Fuji 16mp didn’t do well, but I didn’t have any tubes. Have to try the V700 So still experimenting.

There is member here with a APO Rodagon 75mm in another thread I wanted to ask about focus with their bellows. But since new I could not post too many things there.