Quality difference APS-C vs Full frame Sharpness and Color reproduction

Hi, I’m new to NLP. I have two questions. Mostly because I wonder if it is worth investing into a better DSLR to get better scans.

Has anybody seen significant color rendition differences between very new DSLR`s and Something older like a Canon D700. In theory the color rendition of the latest models is a bit better. But does it matter when scanning film negatives ? While the colors are not worse than with a flatbed scanner (Epson v700), it would be nice to improve on that. My Nikon Coolscan 5ED does overall produce more consistent colors. Big downside, is the scanning speed. It just takes way too long to do a scan.

Has anybody made a scan quality comparison between Using an APS-C vs Full frame DSLR ?
I’m currently using a Canon D700. I’m using a Canon EF 100mm Marco lens. Results are good. Better than with an Epson flatbed scanner. But I’m wondering if a Full Frame camera will improve the sharpness of the “scans” ? I know, that most newer DSLR will give me more Mega Pixel resolution. But that’s not what I’m after for 35mm negatives. I’m after more sharpness. I’m using a flash as light source, so camera shake is zero and does not contribute to loss of sharpness. Light source is diffuse, because the flash light bounces off a few white surfaces, and goes through a translucent perspex 10mm below the neg. I’m shooting at f8 or f11. That should give me enough depth of field. I’m using a Lomo filmholder. So negs are reasonably flat, but could in theory be a bit flatter.


I’ve tested a Canon 5D Mark III against a Canon M6, both with a Canon EF100 f/2.8 USM Macro lens and found no major difference in what I got out of both setups. I shot with manual and auto focussing and saw no big difference as long as I used liveview on the 5D3. Shooting the emulsion side helps too.

You can check sharpness and other quality measurements documented on dxomark.com. Be aware that more megapixels can provide sharper images.

I thought you shoot the shiny side when scanning with DSLR, this is how Nikon is advertising their ES2 film holder and Nate is showing on his videos.

Basically, you can take your shots from either side of the film. If the film base is absolutely clear, differences should be minimal.

The emulsion side offers the better potential for best sharpness as requested in the original post. Shooting the emulsion side requires to flip the shots after import.

Individual mileage may vary. In order to see what you get, I propose to test shots taken from each side.

I experimented with shooting emulsion side, but could not see any improvement. I guess it depend on the setup.

That‘s interesting. Thanks for testing. Regarding Mega Pixel. I think, that for most 35mm film I shoot, the resolution of any recent DSLR is far above, the amount of analog resolution a 35mm frame contains. Scanning 6x6 or larger would be different. Mega Pixels would start to matter. I‘m also not printing large enough to justify the MP count of a Canon MK3 or better. That‘s why I‘m interested in sharpness without increasing file size.

Indeed, printing size matters for Megapixel calculations. Let’s look at an example:

  • My EOS M6 (24 Mpix) takes shots of 4’000 x 6’000 pixels.
  • Printing with 300 dpi will therefore produce an image that can be 20 in or 50 cm wide.
  • When I copy 4.5 x 6 negatives and include some margin for cropping, I can make
    prints of 30 x 40 cm - easily large enough for a typical coffee table book.