Suggested backlight sources for scanning film with DSLR

Any further test results from this panel? Looks like a good budget option but can’t find any specs aside from what they advertise… @Richard1Karash: Have you had an opportunity to test this, or confirm the panel it contains? Thanks, both!

  1. Taxes of 70 Euro on the Skier! Sorry to hear. Has not been a problem here in US.

  2. Advantage of a video light over light panel (or phone) is brightness. I get ~1/100th with a video light, more like ~1/3 sec with light panel.

  3. Home Depot… There is a nice CREE Daylight BAR-style bulb that is excellent, about $15. I have no idea whether to trust the flat panel light mentioned earlier, but without a brand name, I would be suspicious.

  4. @danrubin asks about a panel… Not sure what panel you are asking about. Inside the Skier CopyBox is a flat LED panel CN-T96. On eBay or AliExpress search “CN-T96” for the same panel built into a video light. These are quite good. Dan, ask further if I’m misunderstanding your question.

@Digitizer mentioned taking a ‘blank’ shot and applying NLP. Yes, that produces an awful looking result. Question is just how uneven is your lighting? Would you see this in cam-scans of normal negatives? Not-normal negatives?

I have some unevenness, hard to eliminate it all. Most of the time, a modest radial adjustment before NLP takes care of it; eliminates the bright-edges problem.

I wonder if a left-right gradient would make your setup work OK. Maybe, maybe not.

Nate gave a feedback about converting a blanc shot. In Summary: spare your time.

If you want to check your backlight, take an image of it, custom WB from it and have a look at the histogram you get. The narrower the histogram, the better. The perfect histogram would show one white line and nothing else, reality is different though… Be aware that your camera setup also introduces some falloff, so better close the aperture to something between f/5.6 and f/11.

Apologies, Richard! I hit the ‘reply’ button to Adam’s comment about the RALENO Led Video Light and didn’t realise how vague it would appear when not seeing it threaded above.

Just looking for good budget options that will ship to the U.S. quickly, as the CN-T96 wouldn’t reach me until May-June from any of the suppliers I could find…

Appreciate your insight and all the details / reviews you continue to share!

A new interesting negative holder, needs an added light source:


Does anyone have experience using the reflecta A5 LED Light Pad:

Great stuff! I especially like the price section!

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I did a few tests on backlight diffusers, some folk might be interested.

Some of you may have seen the summary of these test in one of the FB groups, but you can find it here too…about half way down the page.

Conclusion, if the backlight is OK (enough) then where you place the diffuser can make it good or very bad. Intuitively, I’d have guessed differently, but having done a whole series of tests with all sorts of backlights, the principles are the same regardless of Art Panel, Video light etc.

Thoughts and experiences??

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Hi Andrew.
I am interested in buying your Film Holder. Can you post some more images of it here ? How easy it is to advance the film ? One thing I don’t understand is how is the negative kept FLAT and how do you advance the film ?

I am about to test my new setup soon that I am really excited about.
The bulb is 600W - 12000 LUMENS !! 3200K rated at 100CRI .

@nate Do you recommend using AWB white balance or fixed temperature balance when shooting for more consistent colors ?

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White balance during capture won’t matter so long as you are shooting RAW. You will be setting it more precisely later in LR when you white balance off the film border.

That said, I usually just leave my white balance on AUTO during capture.


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?