Use The Pro Mount MK2 to quickly digitize 4x5 film with full borders using a micro-etched ultralight matte acrylic surface.
Digital camera scanning is popular because it’s an easy and resourceful way to scan your own work with equipment you may already have. DSLR/Mirrorless scanning is relatively new to film, but it gives added speed, convenience, and precision for capturing frames in full detail. Modern cameras with high resolution also capture slide film with better reproduction quality and color due to CMOS sensor technology.
“After having scanned all our film for over a decade using a professional Fuji Frontier minilab scanner (essentially a Camera Scanner), Epson v750 flatbed and various others, camera scanning is finally emerging as a premium workflow solution for scanning your own work in all formats. The Negative Supply products solve many of the initial struggles of camera scanning. It is now fast and reliable with potentially higher resolution in a much smaller package and simply more efficient in nearly every way.” - Brandon Wright
The 4X5 Sheet Film Holder
- Micro-etched matte surface
- Anti-newton ring acrylic
- Ultralight construction
The surface prevents newton rings while transmitting light efficiently. This 4x5 film holder can also be used to capture short strips of 35mm or 120 film, but we recommend the Film Carrier MK1 for 35mm strips of 4 frames or more or full rolls of 35mm film.
Requires: Pro Mount MK2
The Pro Mount MK2
- Anti-static dust removing brush
- Laser cut aluminum plate
- Anodized hard coat finish
- Fiber reinforced insert support
- Stainless steel leveling hardware
The Pro Mount MK2 offers added stability, precision, and dust removal capabilities to our scanning system.
Additional Sheet of 4x5 Acrylic
You can also purchase an additional sheet of acrylic (used to keep strips of film flat or for added flatness for 4x5 film).
The light source is one of the most important things when creating a camera scanning setup. Consistent light creates evenly lit images, and full spectrum light allows for great color correction. Chances are, if your light source isn’t high CRI or has dips in the spectrum, your colors will be very hard to correct. There are many light panel options out there, but the very best offer consistent, full spectrum light with a brightness high enough to capture images at moderate shutter speeds.
Our favorite option for a camera stand is something you already own, like an old enlarger with an adapter plate, or a sturdy tripod with an invertible column so you can mount your camera underneath. However, if you must purchase something, Negative Supply has created the Pro Riser. This compact camera stand works best with mirrorless and midsized DSLR cameras and features lead-screw height adjustment for quickly and easily raising and lowering. Because of this adjustment option, it is impossible for your camera to “fall” or “descend uncontrollably” into your workpiece.
Camera & Lens
Just about any semi-modern interchangeable camera will work great for camera scanning. There are many mirrorless or DSLR options to choose from, with the most convenient offering tethered live view capture to your computer. The Canon T2i is probably the cheapest option out there with tethering and large lens selection, and new cameras like the Sony A7 series are now very affordable with great IQ. High end setups may even use the new full frame Panasonic mirrorless cameras with pixel stitching.
For camera scanning, the one real requirement is that your lens focuses close enough to capture the entire frame, without having to digitally crop. For full frame cameras and capturing 35mm film, the term 1:1 designates a lens that will reproduce the 35mm frame exactly onto the full frame digital sensor. With crop bodies, 1:1 focus even closer. There are also options to use extension tubes for older macro lenses. We have had excellent results with an inexpensive Nikon 55mm macro from the film days, using a simple extension tube to get 1:1 on our full frame bodies. Higher end, yet affordable options include the excellent Sigma 70mm ART Macro. The Outside of reproduction factor (1:1), also look out for lenses that are sharp, have good color reproduction, limit internal reflections (modern coatings), and have very little vignetting. Finally, it’s generally best to use your lens stopped down 2-3 from wide open, as this gives a good combination between depth of field and brightness.
Software for Negative Conversion
There are a few plugins and standalone programs for converting negatives into positives. Some older and some newer, all of them try to harness the color science based in darkroom paper to various degrees. Many professional scanners have used LaserSoft applications or some proprietary/built-in software to emulate darkroom printing. After all, even a professional lab scanner is simply a digital camera and a light source. The applications below do the same thing for converting negatives captured with you digital camera rather than a digital camera built into a scanner. We recommend choosing the one that best suits your workflow.