New slide copier

I said page 2 of this topic: “(this device) lacks a strip film holder that would allow me to digitize negatives. Even some reversal films that I had more or less missed development, and that I had for this reason left in strips, proved to be exploit­able in digital.”

Well, since then, I have improved the slide holder of my slide copier to this goal. Here is an overview of the new device.

New slide copier, overview

On the film holder itself, I added a notch (1) for easier slide removal, and a horizontal slot (2) in the sliders to allow a path to a 35 mm filmstrip.

New slide copier, film holder

The film is placed into a thick slide mount arranged to hold it without damaging it. The two parts of the mount are connected by a hinge made of canvas adhesive. The internal centring frame has been modified by levelling the vertical reliefs. Admittedly, there is no sophistication, because the use will only be punctual. To change the exposure, I can’t drag the film into the film holder: I have to take out the film holder, open it, move the film, then close and put everything back in place.

New slide copier, open

Example of use

Choice of the negative

I choose a black and white negative of which I made prints in the 80s. It is very contrasted: it is a backlight with the sun behind a palm tree and the sun reflection on the sea. At the time, I got by with masks, pieces of cardboard cut and interposed between the enlarger and the photo paper, and moved during the exposure to avoid a sharp outline. Here, I had hidden the ground in the foreground to bring out the vegetation details. However, the result did not entirely satisfy me. We will see that in digital, it is quite different.

Shooting installation

Here, in black and white, the colour temperature does not matter, nor the exposure duration. So I just illuminate the film with a fluorescent lamp — the one in my office — projecting its light on an extruded polystyrene screen. The exposure time will be approximately half a second at F/8.

Installation and lighting

A big advantage of the digital camera for focusing: the Live View, i.e. the use of the rear screen for the framing (something perfectly commonplace for digital compact, less for the little older reflex — my Pentax K10D did not have this feature; my K3 do). The image is magnified ten times, which allows an extremely fine focus: see the small green rectangle of the first image.


Here is the “raw scan” result. We can see that the slide holder was not perfectly horizontal…

There is also a slight yellow cast, which is of absolutely no importance.

Raw negative

Here is now the final result. The longest operation was to remove the many scratches and spots that dotted the negative. In black and white, reversing the image to positive is very simple, unlike the negative colour that has an orange filter not easy at all to eliminate, because this filter does not have a constant colour in all parts of the image.

Then, an intervention on the range of hues with the Level tool then on the contrast with the Curves tool will be enough.

Here, you have an example of what practiced — perhaps still practice — some unscrupulous shipowners who, rather than paying for the dismantling of their old boats, preferred to make them voluntarily run aground on the coast of a country having few repression means, for (perhaps) receiving an insurance premium.

Final result