What do you all think of the Film Photography Project 35mm Basic DSLR Film Scanner Kit?

I have thousands of my late grandfather’s negatives I want to scan that range all the way from the ‘50s to the early 2000s. It’s important that I do the scanning as accurately as possible for digital archiving purposes.

I’ll be using either a Nikon D750 or a Z6 and possibly a Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 lens (if it’s up to the task).

I’ve been looking at the Film Photography Project 35mm Basic DSLR Film Scanner Kit. Will it be substantial enough to do what I need? I’m brand new to this.

Thanks in advance!

I’ll start, I don’t think much of that copy stand.

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What do you think of this kit? https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1793925-REG/negative_supply_e35kitmk3_enthusiast_kit_for_35mm.html/?ap=y&ap=y&smp=y&smp=y&smpm=ba_f2_lar&lsft=BI%3A6879&gad_source=1&gbraid=0AAAAAD7yMh3n3HwdjbXRYvxOoafq4BRDL&gclid=CjwKCAjwrIixBhBbEiwACEqDJdeqxi3UZdCXXJe7FVFXRpC0pqFwkgx8Zd6CDkx4rkwaVcSgj0hByhoCbPEQAvD_BwE

Rather than set myself as a copy stand reviewer (from photos) I can understand the problem that manufacturers face, even top end ones. Copy stands, substantial ones, are very expensive to manufacture, and to deliver, just have a look at Kaiser. So anyone hoping to provide a kit that includes a copy stand has to make compromises. A solid copy stand is very important because any camera movement at 1:1 can have a very real detrimental effect on resolution - unless you use flash of course but generally film holders aren’t designed around flash, these aren’t.

So in my opinion if you can somehow make your own copy stand, or convert an enlarger, then that let’s you concentrate your available funds on crucial parts like the film holder and LED panel (or the lens but your Tamron should be good I think). Another way if you are only copying 35mm is get something like the Nikon ES-1/ES-2 or the Valoi easy35, even the JJC offering, then you don’t a need copy stand at all and problems with alignment and even camera movement are taken care of.

Vlad Srerebryany’s site is a very good introduction to different appproaches:

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Thank you for all of this information! I had seen the Nikon ES-2 long ago when I had thought about doing this. Is it more effective than going with the whole copy stand rig? Would I be losing anything going with the ES-2?

If you are copying 35mm only then I would say that design would be best. There is a very long thread on here that shows a lot of different setups, you could have a look at that as well:

The Nikon setup has been around for a long time, particularly the ES-1 (for slides only), the ES-2 (for slides and negatives) came along much more recently. People seem to be liking the JJC ES-2 copy and more recently Valoi have produced their easy35. The easy35 allows you have some film rebate around your negatives, the others don’t, not important for slides in mounts of course.

It appears the ES-2 was designed for the higher megapixel Nikon D850. Both of my cameras are half that.

First off, it’s great that you’re looking to preserve those precious memories from your grandfather’s negatives. With your Nikon D750 or Z6, you’re pretty well-equipped to handle this project. The Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro lens is a solid choice for 1:1 magnification, offering the detail needed for high-quality scans.

Before diving into gear recommendations, let’s address how these negatives are stored. Are they organized in pages with 4-6 frames per strip, or are they in rolls? This will influence your scanning process significantly, especially in deciding whether to scan entire strips or select specific frames.

Regarding the quantity, it would help to know how many are mounted slides, color negatives, and black-and-white negatives. This impacts the scanning method you choose.

For 35mm film, scanning at more than 30 megapixels typically doesn’t provide additional detail, so your camera setup should be more than adequate in terms of resolution.

When it comes to speed, your setup design will greatly affect how quickly you can move through the scanning process. A good, rigid setup means you won’t have to refocus the camera for each strip or roll if they’re from the same stock and have similar curvature.

I’d recommend considering the VALOI 360 with the Advancer, as it’s user-friendly, especially with shorter strips, and it keeps the film flat, which is crucial for consistent quality. If you’re going for a more robust setup, the CS-Lite combined with the VALOI 360 holder is a fantastic choice CineStill CS-LITE Camera Scanning Light Source with VALOI 360 Film Holder Bundle 95+ CRI Light with Film Holders For Digital Camera Scanning – CineStill Film. The CineStill CS-LITE provides a stable light source, and with a sturdy stand, your camera won’t drift or tilt. Just make sure the setup is rock-solid to avoid any movement during scanning. Check out these options online, like the bundles offered at CineStill Film.

For a DIY angle, browsing through forums and resources like film4ever.info can give you great ideas on how to build or enhance your setup. Vlad’s Rigs Gallery, for example, offers insights into custom setups that could be tailored to handle large volumes of film efficiently. film4ever.info - Vlads Rigs Gallery or film4ever.info - Vlads Rigs Gallery

As for Negative Supply - their holders are good, but they are too long to my taste. The set sold at FPP store is lacking mechanical stability IMHO.
For higher throughput, something like the Nikon ES2 might not cut it due to its throughput limitations.

Good luck, and enjoy the process of bringing those old memories to new life!

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The ES-2 was announced in conjunction with the D850 in 2017 but would work equally well with any of their full frame DSLRs. It was designed to fit the Nikon 60mm f2.8 Macro G but can be adapted to fit other lenses. The D850 alone has a built-in facility to ‘process’ colour and black & white negatives in-camera, the ‘Negative Digitizer’. It could only produce jpegs and by many accounts wasn’t entirely successful.

Good for Nikon though because this was before the real growth in ‘DSLR’ scanning so the ES-2 was a pioneering product in terms of copying negatives, the ES-1 for slides came out back in 2004 I think. The JJC version and the up-market Valoi easy35 come with extra adapter rings allowing you to fit them to a variety of different lenses straight out of the box.

I’ve got an ES-1 but I have gone down the route of a converted enlarger copystand and DIY film holders and in any case I want to copy medium and (some) large format so that makes more sense for me.

…to fit a 60mm macro lens on a full frame body
…to copy 35 format negatives or slides

I’ve seen reports of other people having used the device with other cameras and lenses and, from a point of view of physics, there is no reason to believe that the ES-2 fails on any other gear, after all, it’s just a tube holding an object in front of a lens. The D850 can convert negatives with its own firmware. It delivers JPEG files only and you can find reports on the internet about that too.

Fixing the copier to the lens is the best solution to begin with, because all components are closely coupled, they don’t move in relation to each other and all stray light is blocked. All in all, such a setup is the best you can start with.

Using the ES-2 with different focal length lenses and cameras that aren’t full frame will deliver an imaging ratio that is not 1:1, unless an APS-C camera with a lens that has focal length which will produce more or less 1:1.5 copies.

If I remember correctly, I’ve seen combos other than the intended ES-2 + D850 and searching the forum and the internet can give you some additional info.

BUT: if you intend to copy 120 format material, the ES-2 doen’t fit without some (DIY) add-ons.

While I was typing, @Harry has added his post, which contains about the same info :person_shrugging:

I use the Nikon ES-2 in conjunction with a Sony A7, a Minolta Auto Bellows IV, a Rodenstock Rodagon 4/50mm. And of course adapters to get it all mounted on each other. The Rodagon lens has a filter thread of 35.5mm, which is upsized to 62mm via two adapter rings to fit the 62mm thread of the ES-2. Meanwhile I’ve digitized about 150 old films with it, works well. I have to add that these films are all cut up into strips of at most 4 frames, which would make the slide-through film holders a bit too inconvenient.

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Good to get another angle on this, I also set up my ES-1 to work with an enlarger lens just to see if it would work. If anyone is looking to do this then the older 50mm Rodagon f4 enlarger lens has an unusually small filter thread, most will be 40.5mm and step-up rings are readily available, as they are from 35.5mm I think.

I used extension tubes and the appropriate adapters between the camera body and the lens instead of the bellows, bellows are easier if you have them. 52mm extension rings are sold in a variety of lengths to go between the lens and the ES-1 if necessary (for APS-C cameras perhaps), sometimes you have to order them from the Far East but in the UK a supplier puts them up on the auction site.

Hadn’t seen this link before - pretty much what I use. I grabbed a monitor mount pole off Amazon, ‘modified’ it with an angle grinder and attached it to an old chopping board - works well.

For a light source the cinestill CS-lite has worked well for me and I use it with the Valoi (https://kamerastore.com/pages/360-system) holder which gves a very stable base. I use Valoi holders for 110 and 126 negatives and the Essential Film holder for 35mm negatives and slides (I bought it first then added the Valoi - the valoi 35mm is probably just as good just haven’t needed it)

For camera Lumix G9 and then a G9ii with an olympus 30mm (60mm FF equiv) macro lens. Might add that micro rail and big thumbs up for the Benro geared head… much recommended.



Advanced High-Precision Vertical Setup #1 - with plumber’s pipe