UPDATE, 1-11-19: I’ve added a color negative scan editing video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ffznu3gHXc
UPDATE: Check here for my new scanning video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68f43NSZCh4
It's not an old idea to use a camera to reproduce images from film. It is logical then to not be shocked that photographers have turned their digital cameras toward film, hoping to gain some magical portal to the analog past. With megapixel counts rising, reports of success have grown. A handful of bloggers have shown how their DSLRs are creating increasingly faithful renditions of their film images … something most scanners have not done such a wonderful job with.
After reading a particularly convincing post on this topic (this, too), I decided to try my own hand at taking backlit, macro images of my film. And I am happy to report that this experiment has forever changed my photography. The best part is that it's not terribly difficult, and it's especially easy to repeat.
First, a little back story: I have always loved the look of a black and white image taken through a Hasselblad V Series camera. The magical squares are burned into my mind as the height of art in photography. I finally managed to get my hands on a nice setup, but have been repeatedly disappointed with my efforts to capture this magic when I put my film to a scanner. My photos always looked mushy and rarely captured that stunning detail I long coveted. Finally, I realized it was the scanner at fault. Flatbeds can only do so much. So I explored wet prints, sending off to photo labs for scans, and everything else I could dig up. I even got my hands on a Nikon Coolscan, which indeed did make nice black and white scans … all it took was waiting what seemed like forever, playing a guessing game with second-party software and clinging to increasingly outdated computers so I could still use it. And sadly, my schedule just doesn't allow time to be a proper traditional printer.
After some successful experiments, I went head-first and ordered a 4x5 Logan Slim Edge Light Pad from B&H Photo. I don't own a macro lens, but I do have a couple of Hasselblad macro rings, so I decided to order an adapter to put my 80mm 2.8 CF on my Nikon D600. Getting the height and angles correct was a major pain, but I got my first good result.
And wow. Just wow.