Let's see your DSLR film scanning setup!

I originally submitted this in another section, then just noticed this one for scanning setups:

This my compact horizontal DSLR scanning setup that I built recently using the EFH and a Raleno 116 video panel. The camera platform is fixed and the EFH/Raleno platform is adjustable vertically, and tilts left/right and front/back on springs using the black knobs; and slides forwards/backward along linear rods on ball bearing bushings.

It can accomodate my Nikon D850 (FF) and my Nikon D7000 (APS-C) with Sigma 105mm macro and Nikon 55mm macro lenses. With the D850 I can scan 35mm and 6x6 with the 105mm lens by moving the platform back and forth, and could scan 4x5 with the 55mm lens with the appropriate negative holder. With the D7000 I can scan 35mm with the 105mm lens and 6x6 and 4x5 with the 55mm lens. The tilting mechanism allows me to ensure the film plane is parallel with the sensor plane within a small fraction of a degree, confirmed with a digital level, and is square with the sensor frame with small adjustments of the knobs.


Here’s my setup. I used this for digitizing my color slides, which date back to the ‘80s and ‘90s.

  • a Nikon D90 with Sigma 70mm macro, stopped down to F/11;
  • a IR remote control to fire off the camera, avoiding physical contact;
  • a SC17 remote flash cable with a single SB400 flash unit, mounted on a tripod;
  • a copy stand and some white reflecting boards for creating a lightbox;
  • a piece of 50% opaque perspex, with the flash coming from under;
  • a simple metal hook glued to the perspex to hold the slides.

All slides were mounted in Hamafix, so no glass or other frames etc.
This worked very well, I was able to process approx. 12 to 15 slides per minute!
I always work in RAW (NEF), so white balance and color space are to be determined later on.

Now, couple of years later, I’d like to process my B/W and color negatives as well.
I tried various setups, making a kind of contact sheet first, using a film strip holder, and even using an iPad as light source. Using the iPad doesn’t work well, causing moiré patterns.
Not very satisfactory, and very time-consuming. So I’m now thinking of the following process:

  • cut the 35mm filmstrips into single frames (!) and put them into the hamafix slideholders, just as if they were slides;
  • process them like I did with the color slides, but with one extra: to be sure to obtain a correct exposure, I plan to use the exposure bracketing feature of the Nikon D90, which also works with flash. This will give 3x as many pictures, but I need to do this because I am not sure beforehand that a single shot will be exposed correctly. The correct exposure is also determined by the density of the negative;
  • only very important or interesting negatives are kept, the rest is disposed of, hence the exposure bracketing.

Frankly, I am still figuring out the best way to process the color negatives, which are Kodak VR200 and 400 mostly. I like the negativelabpro plugin because it handles the orange mask very well, but I would like to stay away from Adobe software. They are feature bloated and I don’t like the licensing model.

The D90 has a 13MP sensor, which may be low for current standards. On the other hand, the effective resolution is 400dpi, which is sufficient for me. And higher resolutions also lead to much bigger files and longer processing times. This may not be a big deal, though.

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Dear Richard
I am setting up a similar setup as yours would please let me know the slide holder bellows ring size when you attach the front of the lens? I mean the set-up or stepdown ring used in the front of the Rodenstock 75mm f/4 APO Rodagon D as shown in the photo, it says 40.5mm to?
Very much looking forward to hearing back from you.
Sanju Mathew

Fuji X-T1 camera, Pentax bellows, Rodenstock APO-Rodagon D 75mm f/4.0 lens, home made light box containing a Nanguang CN-T96 96 LED Light, all on an ALZO Copy Stand.

A few details about making the box for the LED panel <here>

Still to do: make a platform to hold the negatives which is independent from the light source. I am thinking about using the LED light panel box for focusing, then switching to an electronic flash for the exposure.


I have Sony a7R4 & FE 2.8/90 Macro G OSS, so inspired by fredmiranda.com post, I got Nikon ES-2, and a dozen step-up/step-down rings to extend the ES-2 reach to my 90mm’s minimum focus distance of 0.28m. Using Sony’s Image Edge for tethered shooting, dropping shots into a Lightroom “auto import” folder. Using Neewer LED light panel for light source.


I came across this thing on amazon.

The device allows to point the camera precisely (to center a mirror image as shown here) by turning the knobs so that the camera swings in two planes, left-right and fore-aft in a vertical setup.

The photo shows the device with max swing in both planes. The base is Arca-Swiss compatible, the screw sticking out at the top has a standard 1/4 inch thread. Max dimensions are 4 in approximately, max load 6 kg.

Here’s an image of the device in use:


HI there, here is mine :slight_smile: :
Canon R5 + 100 L macro, MacBook to control the camera remotely, durst 301 stand, essential film holder, recent iPad, and some black paper to protect from any light pollution.
The setup give me extra good results, and I feel the iPad is giving decent colors for conversion. My only drawback is the exposure time, between 5 to 6 sec @ F9 @ 160 Iso. So I take extra care of any vibrations around but since I can see the grain on my scan, it seems to be fine :slight_smile:

I nice upgrade will be a new light source to make exposure time shorter, but I’d like to make sure it ad something before spending the money.

Thanks for NLP, amazing software


Hi Nate,
Although I just started with negative scanning, I like to share my set-up.
It is still more or less a prototype, but I am really happy with it.

From bottom to top:

  1. the base layer

  2. a wooden frame from some left-over pieces I found at home to carry the Raleno video light (the video light has no flat backside); the openings at the side are to connect the charging cable to the video light if needed.

  3. the Raleno video light; I put some strips on the corners of the surface of the video light to avoid movement of the negative holder during operation.

  4. the essential film holder

  5. two layers of MDF wood with circular openings; the hole in the upper layer is big enough to fit the sunhood of my Canon 100mm macro lens; the hole in the lower layer is slightly smaller so that the sunhood rests on this layer.

  6. the camera (Canon EOS R6 with Canon Macro lens EF100mm 1:2.8 USM)

The height of the standard is such that the photos of the negatives fill 95% of the viewfinder of the camera. I found the perfect height by experimenting with a tripod and measuring the perfect height.

In a DIY shop I paid €7 for the mdf wood and €12 for a hole saw.

I still want to paint the inner side of the standard with non-reflective paint, but black paper works also fine (I took some test photos with the video light on and the negative opening covered and the result was 99.9% black).

To me it is very handy because it takes just a few seconds to put the camera in its perfect position (horizontal at the right distance).

Once I figured it out, it took only one hour to produce it.

Of course this solution works only with one negatives size; for other sizes the measurements will differ.

It’s a little bit early to show some results because I also just started analogue photography again. But here is a photo I took this week (Leica M3, Summicron 50mm f/2 Rigid, Fuji Acros II ISO 100 B&W).

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I had the same setup also with an iPad Pro as a light source. The light was okay, but it wasn’t bright enough. I upgraded to the Relano Video Light LED. And now, I have the same setup with ~1/200s as shutter speed. For me it was was game changer to upgrade the light source.

Hi Pablo, thanks for responding me :slight_smile:
The Led you got is cheap ! I would definitively enjoy a shorter shutter speed but what about colors once you’ve converted the negatives ? Did you make any comparaisons with the iPad ? what’s your thoughts about it ?

I think it’s a fantastic and extremely precise setup. By using a relatively large light source on top of your z-axis stages you have also added additional precision. Congratulations!!

Would you know how much tolerance is allowed before you start detecting a loss of planarity in the light source and subsequently in the digitized negative’s sharpness (corner to corner)?

Just finished digitizing about 1,000 slides…
Using a Canon 5D MIII with the EF 100mm f/2.8 IS macro lens in manual focus mode.
I use (7) of the Wolverine slide trays to enable a nice process flow. (have similar amount of Wolverine negative trays)
Light source is a Ulanzi VL49 LED


Here’s a shot of my Solux 47K rig using a standard 6" white PVC coupling from Lowe’s. I experimented with distance of bulb surface to diffuser a bit to get even coverage of 4x5, 1" craft blocks glued together for that purpose. The camera stand was also built from plumbing parts and a 24x24 nicely finished (cutting board?) also from Lowe’s.
Solux 47K bulb lash-up

OK we can just paste images, missed that before

My setup includes a Nikon D750 full frame camera with Nikon 105mm macro lens, a Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 tripod that can shoot straight down, a Kaiser Slimlite Plano 5000K lightbox, and a Kaiser Filmcopy Vario holder for 35mm slides and negs. I also use a Hoodman Hoodloupe for checking focus in LiveView, and a camera level. I got most of the advice on equipment from a course on KelbyOne taught by Jack Reznicki, who also led me to Negative Lab Pro for processing the negative images. I added 10 pound weights to the tripod and TV tray to stabilize them, since they are not optimum for the process. (A high quality copy stand would be better.) However, I can easily move this rig when needed.

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DSLR Scanning Setup
I’ve been doing a mix of flatbed and DSLR scanning for my 4x5 and 120 negs. Typical process was to set up a tripod and put the negs in an enlarger negative carrier on top of a LED light pad. This worked fine but setting it all up and getting everything aligned each time was a bit of a pain. So I decided to build something more permanent.

The base is a bamboo cutting board I got from Target, the column is a Leofoto H-32 Horizontal Stereo 2 Camera Mount from Amazon with a macro slider attached for fine focusing. The camera is a Nikon Z7 with an old 55mm Micro Nikkor. For 120 I’m using the basic 120 film carrier from Negative Supply , while the light source is a cheap LED light pad from eBay with a sheet of Dura-lar on top to smooth out the light. For 4x5 I lay the negative right on the light pad. The Z7 is tethered to Lightroom so I see an enlarged Liveview on the computer and can control the camera settings without having to touch the camera.

So far everything works great. I am looking to upgrade the light source to something brighter just to get my shutter speeds up a little faster. Right now I have to do my scanning after dark to avoid glare from the ambient light from the window.
Cheers! jc


What bellows are you using on this setup? Awesome workspace, btw!

Thanks Kris! The bellows is a Hasselblad compendium lens shade. The Hasselblad bayonet lens mount is removed and replaced with a Cokin 52mm filter system mounting ring. You can get these rings in just about any size to fit your lens filter size. Fair warning the outside diameter of the Cokin filter ring is a tiny bit larger than the Hasselblad bayonet ring so you’ll need the trim it down a bit to fit. I have a metal lathe so this is a pretty easy job but you can also do it by hand with a file, sander or bench grinder, it will just take a little more effort. Cheers, John

Awesome, thanks for the info

Here’s my setup, now that I’ve got my hands on a macro lens. I’ve only used this for scanning black and white 120 film so far but I could use it for 35mm negatives or slides.

  • Ravelli ball head tripod, inverted
  • Nikon D800E 36.3 MP DSLR
  • Nikon 55mm f2.8 Micro and Nikon PK13 macro tube
  • 2x eBay video lights
  • Remote trigger
  • Matte diffuser from one of the video lights
  • Sheet of glass
  • Rocket shaped air duster thing
  • 2x cannellini beans and 2x garbanzo beans to balance the diffuser on

This is very DIY compared to some of yours but it works for now and I plan to improve on it.
This setup allows for 1:1 reproduction so I’ve been taking one shot of each corner and one or two shots of the center of each frame, and doing a panorama merge in Lightroom.
Some changes I’m planning:

  • A mirror or camera level
  • A wooden box that will allow me to mount a macro focusing rail with the video light directly under the diffuser and eliminate a lot of the space taken up by the tripod. This will get me onto a tabletop instead of the floor…
  • A slide holder with diffuser in the back such as the Essential Film Holder.
  • Something to dust my negatives with, any recommendations?
  • Someday a better light if I decide to scan color film or slides.

If you’ve read all this thanks for looking and I appreciate any advice you can offer!