Negative Scanning Assistance

So I posted this on Reddit, but just found this forum, so asking the same and wanted to see what else I could do, or could be doing wrong here.

So I started scanning my old negatives (not well-kept for the most part). Also, they are over 20yrs old.

So my current setup is a

  • Negative Labs MK1 Stand
  • CS-Lite light source 95+ CRI
  • Valoi 35MM holder
  • Canon T5 DSLR
  • Canon FD 50MM Macro Len w/ Adapter

Having never tried this not sure of many things. I set the camera to the recommended settings.

  • 200 / ISO
  • F8
  • Cant autofocus with the manual lens.

I am using Lightroom Classic (Student Version) and have the trial version of Negative Labs Pro

I guess I remember the shots to be crisper then what I am seeing, and just looking for suggestions.

shottaken in 1995 that I played with today. (And yes I know about the dust currently, need to make sure they are clean going forward) This was just a trial. Wanted to see how much money and if it was worth it. Still think its pretty cool to see these photos again from so long ago.

I have a few more shots, and the “setup” but could only post one picture

Here is the rough setup (just pulled out to take a picture of everything)

Welcome to the forum @xfaith

Converting a negative with NLP is a first step in many cases. Additionally, you could

  • try the options on NLP’s second tab and see what they do for a starting point you like
  • use Lightroom’s tools…but some can change the colour balance, unless you save positive copies to work on

I’d suggest finding a negative (or a transparency if you have one) that clearly shows sharp detail, to the corners preferably. Alternatively buy Vlad’s Test Target. Then you’ll be able to gauge if you’re actually getting the sharpness that you should be from your setup. Everything has to be spot on at these magnifications and it is easy to introduce vibrations, I wouldn’t even put it through NLP at this stage though NLP won’t be causing it to be unsharp of course. From what I’ve seen the basic riser is not the most sturdy copy stand on the block and your camera and lens are reasonably heavy. Are you using a delay on the shutter? Not being able to autofocus shouldn’t be a problem but you will need to focus very carefully. This is easiest with the aperture wide open but you do need to check that you won’t get focus shift when stopping down.

Thanks, never heard of this VLad Test Target. I am picking up a new USB cable (don’t have these old cables lying around anymore). And going to see if the EOS Utility will allow me to use the Remote Live View. This way I can see the negative a lot bigger and see if i can focus better.

Understand about the riser. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money in case it was total failure, and the Riser was on clearance for like 99$. I guess I could build something more sturdy eventually or try and pick up something better. I remember reading about the issue with the riser and the weight of the camera, esp with DSRL vs Mirrorless, guess I just didn’t think that with such a small lens it would matter, but looking back its litterly held onto the bar with like a small screw :).

Another thing I need to understand is the distance from the lens to the negative. Its been so long since I have used a camera and its a “new” lens to me, which I actually never tried to use outside of sticking it on the riser.

This should tell you all about Vlad’s Test Target, written by Vlad himself, and his own website is easy to find. Quite a few on here and other related FB forums post their results with their different setups and it is extremely useful for evaluating any lenses you might try and making sure everything is focused and aligned properly.