What aperture should I be using for Digital Camera Scanning?

I’m new to this and I haven’t really seen much info on the exposure settings for the setup. Can you share your exposure settings? I think I’ve been foolish using maximum aperture. Also have been on auto-iso and auto-ss.

I’m using a Fuji X-T4 with a rented XF 80/2.8 Macro. Digitaliza and Kaiser Slimlite plano.


Usually lenses give sharpest result somewhere near F8.
I haven’t seen any lens resolve well over F11, so max aputure does not make sense in my mind.

Use minimum ISO (or small reasonable ISO) and adjust shuttes as needed.
Kaiser is not very strong light, so you would need to go rather slow with shutter.


My particular lens gives me the best result at f/11. I would echo the general recommendation of best results usually falling around f/8, +/- 1 stop and to shoot at native ISO and adjust shutter speed for best results (unless you get into lengthy shutter speeds like 1/2 sec or longer where potential for camera shake would jeopardize sharpness). Pretty quick and easy to shoot a couple shots at different apertures with your own setup to compare for yourself.


F/8±1 is a good range. The risk of motion blur is greatly reduced with a sturdy setup, a remote control or self timer.

1 Like

Is it fine, though, to shoot ISO less than native? If by native you mean the film’s ISO. All of these negatives I’m digitizing are 23-35 years old, and I didn’t really pay attention to the film’s ISO. I just set the aperture less than 8 and ISO at 200. SS is 1/5 but it’s fine since I use a tripod and remote shutter.

Does the ISO matter, apart from obviously large number ISOs?

The recommendation to shoot at your digital camera’s native ISO is to achieve best overall performance with regard to both digital noise and sharpness as it is what your camera body is electronically optimized for. Expanded ISO settings below native usually require changes in the voltage your camera delivers to the sensor and possibly other software based simulations to adjust sensor sensitivity, which can cause unnatural changes in noise or reduced dynamic range

1 Like

As far as I see from X-T4 specs, native ISO is 160. 200 is just a third above that, so it should not really matter. The lens you use seems to be sharpest between f/2.8 and f/11 according to this page. Chromatic Aberrations seem to be well controlled too.

Top sharpness of your lens is at f/4, for DOF’s sake, I’d close the aperture nevertheless. You best take a series of shots at 160 ISO between f/4 and f/11 and see how they compare.


There is no way to get rid of heat with the Skier set up so you are stuck with negatives distorting as most film holders fail to clamp the film truly flat. A better set up is a bellows with slide copy attachment and a free standing light. This solves a whole bunch of problems in one go.
Remember that most macro lenses perform best stopped down by one - two stops. Any more than that is misguided - any increase in sharpness or depth of field will be more than negated by diffraction losses.

Fuji’s sensors (as with many modern sensors) are ISO invariant. There’s no difference in shooting at ISO 160/200 and boosting 2-3 stops in post, vs shooting at ISO 400/640. An additional gainstage is introduced at ISO 800 if I recall correctly, so differences begin to appear when using that ISO and higher.

I am inclined to shoot at ISO 640 to keep the shutter speeds as low as possible during capture.

I decided to set my ISO at 100 for my scanning. As the camera is fixed, there’s no need to worry about camera shake or vibration especially if you are shoot tethered. I then took my Sigma 70 mm macro lens and did a series of test shots from minimum to maximum aperture. Using Lightroom, I did a one to one comparison until I found the aperture giving me the sharpest image. In my case, that was f13. So, I now have my ISO and aperture settings. When scanning, I use the shutter speed to adjust the histogram until I get the results I need. As noted, since the camera is locked in position and I’m using Sony’s Remote software to trigger the a7iii, I don’t have to worry about vibration. Therefore, pick the lowest ISO you can reasonably used and the aperture that gives you the sharpest picture. Use the shutter speed as your variable and you’re on your way.