Scanning with a 35mm lens vs 50mm lens

Hi guys,

I have two extremely sharp lenses and was wondering which would be better for scanning 35mm film

My first option is a Zeiss 35mm Milvus ZF.2 with a 36mm extension tube on a D850 (46MP). This lens is basically an “APO” lens, with an extremely flat field curvature.

My second option is a Voigtlander 50mm APO-Lanthar with a 50mm extension tube + Sony E to Z converter on a Nikon Z6 (24MP)

I have everything already except for the converters, and I was wondering which set of extension tubes will make more sense with the setup? I know traditionally people have avoided the shorter focal lengths for macro, but its easier to stack up the extension tubes etc.

In general, longer FL designs are easier to design, which speaks for the Voigtländer.
On the other hand, getting more megapixels can be a bonus, depending on what you’ll scan.

You could buy the adapters and extension tubes and see what you get - or get a good macro lens instead. Either way, you’ll have to spend some time and money and the question remains: which of the investments makes sense?

My choice: Go for the macro lens. It’s more expensive but saves you from buying stuff that will live the rest of its life in a drawer. Make sure you check that the lens you get can do the ratio you need (2:1, 1:1, 1:2…) at closest distance.

I would avoid the extension tubes and use a true macro lens if you can afford it. I tried the tubes and focusing was difficult and I just wasn’t happy with the results. I use a Sigma 70mm macro lens for my Sony a7iii and I have gotten good results so far. You might want to investigate some sites for used lenses and see if you can find a native macro lens at a reasonable price. That might be your best solution.

None of them makes sense. No matter what lenses they are, they are not true macro lenses, meaning they have nearly identical center and edge sharpness with flat field curvature. They might be very close but they are not. It seems you have the money to spend on these good lenses, I’d suggest D850 with 60mm Nikkor Macro. None of these setups would be better than that on scanning.

I don’t think anyone has to go nuts and buy a Nikon D850 for scanning. My Sony a7iii is doing a very good job with “only” 24 megapixels! Personally, I think spending the extra money on an excellent macro lens for ones existing camera (presuming it’s a semi-new camera of reasonable resolution) is a better alternative. Plus, you can always use the macro lens for some regular photography.

24 Megapixels are easily good enough for prints of A2 (16x23 in) size. Stitching can take you further than that and Lightroom has all the necessary tools for it, unless a lens is used with lots of distortion and no correction profile…