Scanning Colour Negatives With a Monochrome Camera

This is just a proof of concept.

Owners of monochrome cameras like a Phase One or Leica might profit from it. The process consumes a bit more time than simply using Negative Lab Pro, which is not needed for it anyway. In order to get some extra hurdles, I tried the process using my worst lit (mixed low light, underexposed) negative.

I used/did the following items/things

  • iPad as a backlight - with three images, one red, one green, one blue
  • Camera scanning setup
  • Photoshop (and Monochrome2dng)
  1. Scan the negative, one shot per red, green and blue backlight
  2. Simulate monochrome camera: Convert the shots to monochrome with Monochrome2dng
    note: this step is not necessary for people with monochromatic cameras
  3. Invert and convert the 3 monochrome DNGs to 16 bit TIFF and add to Photoshop as layers
  4. Premix image - lower % for R and G layers
  5. Add curve and colour balance layers and work them until the result is close to what you want
  6. Collapse layers and export


  • Keep your setup untouched while taking the shots in order to prevent misaligned shots
    the result I got looks like polaroid autochrome when pixel peeped, Probably due to step 2
  • Iā€™m not that good with Photoshop, others might get better balanced results
  • I also shot CMY instead of RGB, but have not yet processed that lot