Is there a certain brightness I should be aiming for with the backlight?

I have this product for scanning my old 20-30 year old negatives and surprisingly it works really well!

The question I have is, does it matter what brightness I use for the LED backlight? I’ve been using max brightness and have been happy with it, but the negatives I’m using are old and used by an amateur for home photography, so probably can’t see what I’m missing, if anything.

Hey Alan -

Appreciate the link to the product you are using; looks quite practical.


  • Regarding the light source: Does it run hot?
  • Regarding the negative strip holders: Do they keep the negatives flat?

Appreciate it if you would let us know if there are any other “gotchas” using that device.

Regarding the matter of “brightness”, I’m by no means an expert in that area BUT … a good source to start with for more info. on this, is a company called Negative Supply. They seem to know a bit about light sources and their CRI & TCLI ratings … which may help you.

Also, you may want to check out another company called CIneStill as well.

Anyhow, wish you continued success with your digitizing venture!!!

Oh it runs pretty damn hot at max brightness! haha, which is what I’ve been using. Which is fine, as I use it in bursts. Expected though considering how cheap it is. Colours seem accurate to my eye, but I’m no pro. Might try a lower brightness though.

It’s a surprisingly very cool device for the price.

The only other gotcha I have is that the film holder is a bit finicky to use and the sliding mechanism for the film holder makes it almost possible to have each film lined up in the exact same spot for every shot (scan). Auto-rotate and crop software would solve that, but not sure if that exists.

Also I seem to be having some light bleed in my scans at the edges, mainly bottom left and right. Not sure if that has anything to do with this device, or maybe LED brightness is too high or maybe something to do with the age of my negatives.

Either way, I’m extremely knew to all this. Never actually used film.

Thanks again for sharing your experiences with your setup.

If the colors look good to you, then that’s all that counts … unless you’re doing this for a paid client; then it’s up to the clients eyes of what looks good.

Having the negatives “lined up” for the next frame was another concern I had too … which I’m glad you pointed that “gotcha” out. Does that happen even if you place the part that is attached to the lens extension tube on a flat surface?

As for the “light bleed” … does this occur when you use both the negative and slide carriers? Also, It looks like there are (2) rails/channels to slide the carriers through. One, on the extension tube and the other on the light source itself. If you haven’t already tried it, you might try using both and see if one of those eliminates your light bleed problem.

Well, you are “using” film … just not at the “capture” and “processing/developing” stages!!!

The alignment problem is because the sliding mechanism has a lot of play. I can take a video of the mechanism if you’re interested. I am using the extension tube on a flat surface at the moment.

I’ve only tried having the slides infront of the diffuser (away from the light source). I can’t see a reason why you’d want it outside of the diffuser? I can give it a try.

Haha good point!

Ahh yes … well if the sliding mechanism has play in it, that does make it rather difficult to repeat the same process without having to re-adjust/align each time. If you’d like to post a video of it, that would be awesome.

You have it correct on where you are placing the slides.

I noticed in the product video there are “guides/grooves” on both the light device and the lens extension tube. So I thought that maybe using one or the other might help eliminate that light bleed you are encountering.

In the product video, the negative carrier is being slid through the guide/groove on the lens extension tube part (0:59 mark). And then later (1:11 mark) it shows the light device being used separately from the camera … which shows the guide/groove I’m referring to.

So it looks like you have two options on how to digitize … (1) Light device attached to the camera/lens/extension tube and (2) Light device separate from the camera/lens/extension tube.

I just may give this device a try too. After all, I’m new to this too!!! That’s why I love these forums … I get to learn from people smarter than me (which is practically everybody!!!) :rofl:

You want a nice, bright source that is cool enough not to damage film. I tried the (no longer available) Solux light, but although the color was accurate, it was too hot!

Most important is the QUALITY of the light, both for uniformity and for color reproduction. Color is not much of a concern with black-and-white negatives, but for color negatives (and slides), it is key. Diffusion needs to be completely uniform.

You want something with a very high CRI, or color rendering index. Especially important is good RED output that renders TCS09 accurately (see article linked below). Good candidates for this are usually LED light panels made for pro video and photography. If you use a variable color temperature source, you might want to experiment to find the color temperature that works best with the films you use.

There are 15 color test samples (TCS) used to evaluate CRI, and what you are looking for is light that renders as many of them accurately as possible. What is CRI? The ultimate guide to the Color Rendering Index | Waveform Lighting is a great read.

I use a Viltrox L-116t light panel. It has a reasonably good CRI of 95+, and decent red output. I am getting exposures of 1/250 at f/5.6 at ISO 200 on my Micro 4/3 camera with 30mm f/2.8 macro lens. Depth of field at that aperture is like f/11 on a 60mm lens on full frame… but on Micro 4/3, it is only two stops down from wide open, and right in the sweet spot of the lens where there is maximum resolution and good correction of lens flaws. 1/250 helps eliminate camera shake, but I use my mirrorless camera’s electronic shutter, turn off all camera noises, and use a two-second delay on the shutter to give the whole rig a chance to settle before the exposure.

I’m using an Essential Film Holder most of the time, along with a copy stand to hold the camera. Everything is leveled before a capture session. The EFH has a built-in diffuser that works perfectly. The bare light panel is not uniform, as you can see the individual LEDs behind its minimal diffuser, so the Perspex sheet in the EFH takes care of that.

Mask all stray light so only light from the negative enters the lens. Be sure the lens is scrupulously clean on all surfaces, too. These measures are to avoid flare.

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