Suggested backlight sources for scanning film with DSLR


Thx for the Q.

It’s pretty easy to advance the film - you simply move it along manually.

The neg is kept flat by using 2 ‘layers’ separated by a 0.5mm spacer. For 35mm, for example, there’s a shaped spacer that provides a channel through which the film can move. That channel is 0.2 mm wider than 35mm film (so the film is kept laterally aligned) and the height is set at 0.5mm. Typically 35mm film is 0.18-0.25mm thick (180 microns- 250 microns) so there’s very little opportunity for the film to move. Even quite severely curly film has nowhere to go!

In the attached iphone picture, you simply slot your film into the white guide and this keeps two black layers apart as well as creating the channel for the film to run.

I’ve included a shot with the top layer removed and you can see how the film is held in place.
(Hope these pics upload OK ! - if not you can email me and I’ll send them directly to you.)

There are some pics on the websites…




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Hi @NAF, are you going to fry your film on an overhead projector?

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I am not sure what you mean. I am going to try it with my Beseler Negatrans. The light that is underneath is super bright being 600w. I am going to try it with Sony 90mm 2.8 macro lens once it arrives.

…your setup looks like you are using an overhead projector. It probably isn’t though…

As for flatness: All film will bend after a while because the light will warm the film and film borders differently. I notice that film I kept in filing sheets are fairly flat. Film that I kept in rolls (for 30+ years) tends to be harder to tame. I also remember the slide shows that my colleagues did after their travels: Slides were projected and after a few seconds would snap out of focus because they would bend because of the heat. Some of the slides simply burned in projectors that used very powerful bulbs, something that should not happen on your light table/copy stand.

Ahh yeah. It might look like an overhead projector but it is not. It’s a professional heavy duty copy stand.The bulb inside so far looks spectacular. I don’t think there is going to be any heat issues. The bulb sits far away from the glass and it has cooling fans to pump out the heat. I just don’t believe my Beseler Negatrans 35mm is keeping negatives flat enough that’s why I am looking at [] film holder. I like this concept. I might give it a try.

I tested the Negatrans. It is clearly NOT as good at keeping negatives flat. Attractive for it’s convenience, but test and stop down for DOF if you are going to use this device.

I have a couple Solux 4700K I’ve used for color correcting prints. Tailored Lighting used to offer them in a desktop and clamp fixture, but not seeing them on the current web page. The task lamp had a weak joint and so that bulb was available for me to play with. There is a frosted glass convex diffuser to spread the beam a bit. I have it in a box with the diffusion plex about 10" above the convex diffuser which gives an even area for 35mm and maybe medium format. I’d like to get more so I fixed a piece of Dura-Lar half way between convex diffuser and diffusion plex above, but didn’t gain much if any even area. I suppose the solution is a deeper box.

BTW Nate if you’re reading I’m loving NegLabPro, really good stuff. Still testing and setting up but already loving this software.

Is that an ancient Bencher copy stand I see there?

I recently contacted skier to purchase the copy box 2, and was directed to one of their distributors. For anyone interested, their taiwanese distributor is selling it for cheaper at 160usd. But according to the guy I spoke to, the copy box 2 is currently out of stock and theres a copy box 3 on the way. Any one has any information about this new iteration? Also, does anyone know the difference between the 1st and 2nd version? @nate @Richard1Karash


The wood on the box changed from #1 to #2. Bamboo for #2. The quite good film holders are unchanged.

There is still an issue that the wood shrinks, film holders get tight. That may be what they are working on for #3.

Exactly…that’s Bencher. I am super happy I got it. Amazing piece of equipment.

Yes it is a great tool. I used a Bencher copy stand from 1980 to 2012. The first eight years, I was a multi-image AV producer, copying thousands of yearbook pages for editor training workshops, along with lots of slide duplication and special effects work. The Bencher was key in all of that. I wore out a 55mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor on my pin-registered F3 with that setup!

I used it off and on as I had eight other jobs at the same company, eventually using it heavily again with digital cameras from 2005 to 2012. I replaced the quartz peanut lighting system with two Westcott TD-5 Spiderlites with 27 Watt photo grade daylight fluorescent lamps in them, and two 32x24 inch softboxes with two layers of light diffusion. That got rid of all copy glare, by making everything a highlight.

Folks, If you can find them, used Bencher copy stands are awesome.

So apparently v3 now supports panoramic mf film, 6x12 is supported which isnt very appealing to me. But I have noticed that they have changed the light source here is some info from their website:
Copybox 2 Zen:

  • 5600k
  • 18w
  • 97CRI
  • 1250Lm
  • 1 stage switch

Copybox 3 Panorama:

  • 5500K
  • 22W
  • 94CRI
  • 2600lm
  • 3-stage switch (25%,50%,100%)

What do you think of these changes? Do you think it will still be a good light and a good product worth buying? I was going to buy the v2 but a retailer was out of stock and told me to wait for v3 but v3 is more expensive!

Not much I can say, except that they did a good job with the V1 and V2 light, which suggests they’ll make a good choice for this.

Brighter light is interesting change. The V2 light is bright enough; gives me ~1/100th 1:1 f/5.6 ISO 100.

I thought this was interesting as well, but most likely I doubt there will be any significant difference in the quality of light from the new panel. I am also surprised at the increase in brightness considering how bright V2 is (my current settings are ~1/320th, ISO 100, f/8).

Like you, I have no need for any of the “upgraded functionality” that comes with V3 as I only shoot standard 35mm and medium format up to 6x7, so I am lucky that a second-hand V2 popped up for sale just after Skier sold out of their crop of V2s and before they announced the V3 box.

Might be a long shot, but may be worth reaching out to them directly to see if they are able to sell you a V2 if they have any leftover parts/stock, or at least a V3 box with V2 holders if that’s an option.

Hi everyone.
Wondering if anyone had comparisons between Skier and Negative Supply gear?
Also do both systems allow you to include sprocket holes in ‘scans’? If so how much of the film borders is possible to include?

Thank you!

Fred HB

@FredHB, you can find at least one answer here:

Hello everyone!
I’ve been reading this entire thread and others on this forum and i learned so much!
Until last week i never new CRI was a thing… But now looking to buy a light source i stumble upon TLCI score.
Is it important for film scanning ? Should i care ?

Thank you for your advice!

I searched the internet in order to find what TLCI score was and found an article that says a few things that might be it or not:

Halfway down the page is a table that I find very informative. It’d be interested in seeing something similar regarding CRI.

Yes this is it. It looks like TLCI important for color rendering in video recording… But does it matter for film scanning ?
Or am i really nitpicking here ?
I found this page with a huge database of CRI(Ra) CRI(Re) TLCI and some more color accuracy score for LED light source
I’m kinda overwhelmed with info right now…