Let's see your DSLR film scanning setup!


Had a question for you on your setup, how did you connect the tripod head to your 8020 vertical beam? I’ve considered using a Manfrotto super clamp but my concern is that I’ll have issues leveling everything. Did you just screw the tripod head directly to the aluminum beam? If so was there specific 8020 hardware you used to fit in the channel?

I’m working on a copy stand design similar to yours out of 8020, that’s reminiscent of Negative Supply’s stand and have been trying to workout any blind spots I have in the process.

Any input would be awesome! Thanks!

slightly different take here, my lego rig! works with 35mm and 120. i use a regular tripod with a canon 7d/tokina 100mm pointing straight down

Nanlite LumiPad 11 + sheet of dura-lar.


A pretty “no-frills” setup compared to many, but I’m very happy with how it works, coming from an Epson V550 before this. A big thank you to everyone for sharing their setups and advice as inspiration and to help me in crafting my own!

Camera: Canon EOS 70D (on AC power)
Lens: Vivitar (Komine) 55mm f/2.8 auto macro (adapted from Olympus OM mount)
Support: Bogen 22B Special enlarger base + Manfrotto 488RC2 ballhead
Film holder/light source: Skier Sunray Copy Box II

USB tethered to early 2013 iMac for tethered capture with Lightroom. The whole digitizing setup (sans computer) is on a remote outlet so it can be completely powered off/on as needed

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I’ve been using this setup for 2+ years with great success. I capture film, slides, and reflective media, up to 800 pieces per hour.

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I’ve shot with several Canon bodies (crop frame, full frame, mirrorless, and 5DSR) and the only one I use daily is the 5DSR. Totally worth it for me!

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I’ve reworked my setup slightly:

Instead of attaching the camera to the copy stand, I now use a lens clamp instead. This lets me rotate the camera so that I can see and use it as usual, which is a great relief.

Gear: Stand from Fujimoto “Lucky” enlarger, Canon EOS 5D3, Canon EF100 f/2,8 USM, Kaiser plano backlight, cardboard lens shade, rocket blower and remote release.


With too much free time offshore :wink: I made up this camera scanner.
It’s fully adjustable but once setup for a particular camera / lens then no more adjustment is needed.
It does negatives and slides.
I use Veho negative carriers and just slide them along to capture the next image, all very quick and easy.
I use my Samsung tablet as a back light and it works fine.
My Sony A7R3 is tethered to my PC using Song remote app and LR watches the download folder and shows the photos pretty much immediately


Is the rail that support the 5DSr and the lens 3D printed as well? The legs?

Is the whole rig 3D printed?

I’d be interested in buying the stl’s if you ever think about licensing them to others.



Hi - the camera slider, light source and diffusion were all bought on Amazon;

Fomito Upgraded Camera Video Slider Track Dolly Stabilization System
(60cm / 24")
Aputure AL-H160 160 Bulb on Camera Light (Black)
A 1/4" thick sheet of 55% translucent plexi to provide two layers of diffusion.

For copying 4x5 film, I designed a slightly different holder, and used
a studio flash 6’ away to light the film…I was worried the LED light
source might not be even enough (it is fine with 6x12 film, so I was
probably paranoid.

The total for the above was about $165.

I can send you more photos of the system, film holders etc if you
e-mail me at ericbb@evolvingbeauty.com

I’d be happy to give you the STL files…I don’t feel comfortable
selling them, as that implies some level of quality…and I am a total
amateur when it comes to 3D design, so I am just happy it works.

All the best,



This thread is immensely useful and I’m learning a great lot. I’m about to pull the trigger on a dslr rig myself and would value the input of all members of the following items:

  • I’ve seen a YouTude vidéo where a person is using a studio strobe for lighting. From what I got as information, the strobe is a 300W. It is mounted vertically under the copy stand and there’s a hole in the table and copy stand. There is three levels of diffusion. Would you suggest such a setup for someone like me who is buying all from scratch, except the 5Ds and the Contax Zeiss Makro Planar 100mm f2,8?

  • I’ve seen both horizontal and vertical setups in the thread. Initially I was looking at an horizontal setup but then the idea of wet scanning came to my mind courtesy of YT… A vertically mounted negative wouldn’t be able to be wet scanned… what do you recommend?

Thank you for any comments!

@Maude, as far as see from my test setups, there is no simple answer to your questions. The number and size of negatives and how they are cut makes a difference. Let’s have a look at a few things to consider:

If I had to scan large negatives like 4x5, I’d opt for a vertical setup. Wet scanning could be an option for the very best few images or if dry scanning were not good enough.

If all I had were uncut 120 and smaller films, I’d go for a setup that allows to change negatives easily. Have a look at my vertical setup which makes serial scanning easy.

Short strips of film work well in a film strip holder that fits the format of the negatives. The digitaliza holder works well, but it does so only with shorter strips. Strips of four 645 negatives need repositioning, which is annoying.

A horizontal setup seems best for comfortable scanning because you can sit down and work with your head upright. No snaking around copy stand columns or tripod legs. Great for serial scanning.

A closed path between negative and camera looks like a very good idea because it eliminates stray light and creates a firm geometric coupling between negative and camera. Nothing moves around unless you want it to. A closed path allows for scanning during the day too. No need for a dim room or nightwork.

Tethering or no tethering? Tether if you can, it adds comfort.

Dust is omnipresent and a big pain.

All of the above are building blocks for your setup. See what you like best and what parts of the setup you have, can buy and what you can’t. This might tip the scale too. Your first setup does not have to be perfect. Start with what you have and see how far you get with it. You can always improve your setup later.

Does the above answer your questions? Probably not.

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OMG! Thank you… Of course your comments are helping. For the moment I’m considering tethering for the comfort at least. This setup may one day be used in some sort of commercial way if I decide to scan for others, so moving between negatives easily will be important…

My train of thoughts for this moment after looking up items on Amazon and EBay is to use a kind of construction foldable bench like a Workmate WS425 from Black and Decker. I would open up the middle of the bench, position the strobe vertically underneath while using a soft box to join the space between the flash and the base of the bench. This would provide a first diffusing level.

Then, the plan is to procure an acid etched/frosted piece of glass the length and width of the bench and place it over the opened “mouth” of the bench. This would provide the second and last diffusing level. The strobe I’m looking at is a 600W. If, and it’s a very big if, I can keep the surface of the glass clean and free of dust enough, that surface would be my base scanning surface, wet scanning and another piece of glass over it.

The 5Ds would be mounted on follow focus rails the would allow movement in both the x and y directions as well as some z (height, spacing between the lens and the surface). If this pans out, I could place a whole 36 exposures in stripes on the surface, wet it, cover it and scan them in no time using the follow focus dolly that will be on the x dimension. The ends of the x follow rails will be mounted on wheels and that will give the y dimension movement.


I talk/write too much… I don’t know if this pipe dream or not but the budget is there for the start of September… Which me luck !

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Don’t limit your vision. Go crazy! Think big, start smart.

The glass you’ll want is opalized glass, which is a clear glass with a fine sheet of opaque white glass fused to it. Put the clear side towards the film in order to protect the opal and get more even diffusion. Check for colour shifts.

For lighting, you could use something like this or this instead of a strobe in order to not flash your brain repeatedly. Provides working light too!

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I plan to use something like this in between the lens and the film carrier so that there will no external light coming between sensor and negative…

EBay Canada


That looks nice, but expensive! I was thinking about MacGyvering something out of some black cloth and some wooden dowels to get the same effect for much less money.

By the way, I scan with a 400W Buff Alienbees flash, similar to what you’re looking into. This over powers most of the light in the room, but eliminating stray light is still a good idea and from my tests will improve results. These flashes are very powerful, I do most of my scanning at 1/32nd power, and I still need to back the flash off a good foot from the negative holder to scan ISO 64 and around f8-10, and this distance depends on the film stock. I would suggest blocking the stray light from the flash from bouncing around the room and into your eyes as well.

EDIT: Just wanted to add that having adjustable bellows also seems overkill, the distance from the negative to the sensor is almost always fixed in my case. I scan just below 1:1 magnification. The only time I change the distance is if I’m scanning 120, and that also depends if I’m stitching 120 or not.

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@Tristan, I took the first such item from the ones available on EBay… there are similar but less expensive models Similar

I thank you for your comment and will definitely take it in consideration. All comments are welcome…

@Digitizer and @tristanw,

This guy’s setup is my inspiration:

Video YT

At this point the only thing I’ll update is a higher resolution camera. Maybe something with an electronic shutter and full frame. I feel like this setup may be shaking slightly when making the capture (I do use a shutter release cable.) Currently using a Fuji X Pro-1 with an old Nikkor Micro + M2 extension tube. Getting the negative to fill up the frame now, which is awesome. Should be able to get some decent prints made from 35mm.

It would also be great to have a camera that tethers to my laptop or something as the X Pro-1 lacks the functionality, but no biggy.

  • Peak Design tripod
  • Raleno LED studio light
  • Negative Supply MK1/MK2

Nice but the price is kinda … Plus - how does this thing keeps film flat? Is there a glass sandwich?

Also - there is only defused light option right?

Regards, Rene

It uses a laminated wood base, but MDF would work well too.
Manfrotto Super Clamp
Good ball head
5500K light table
1/2 inch black foamcore with a 5x7 hole cut in the middle
A variety of film holders, some Beseler and some custom as the film ranges from 35mm to large format
Mirror for alignment
F8 to f11, varying the shutter speed for exposure adjustments
I have a Nikon D800 (although I’ve also used a D850), 60mm f2.8 G micro Nikkor
live view, 5 second timer

I don’t have NLP as I’m running Linux, and most of the film is B&W or colour transparency. My friend, on a Mac, is probably going to buy NLP so I’m curious to see how colour negs work on his system. From the online reviews I’ve seen it looks like really excellent software with great support, and I would likely buy it if I were on Win or Mac.