DIY Slide Film Scanner

For years I have said I will get the best of my film slides digitized and backed up. I kept waiting to buy a slide scanner or simply pay a service to do so. Guess what?… It never got done!

Yesterday I sorted some slides from several backpacking trips I took in the early 1970s. I carried a Kodak Signet Rangefinder 35mm film camera. No batteries, just cock the spring-loaded shutter and shoot. Advance the film and repeat. Two weeks in the high Sierras with 3 role of 36 exposure film. 108 images total for 14 days…

I resolved to get these images in digital format and proceeded to build a quicky film scanner out of my Canon 5D MIII. At 23MP I would have good-sized files to work with.

I shot with a 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens and had the camera tethered to my 13″ Mac Laptop. Using Lightroom 5 to bring the images from the camera into the computer where I could see them right away and check for exposure, sharpness and color balance.

All you need is some inexpensive foam board, some tape, a light source and a camera capable of focusing close. Yes, a tripod too…

Canon 5D MIII, 100mm f/2.8 Macro, Really Right Stuff Tripod, Cable release, 5000k LED bulb (or set your white balance to match whatever light source you use) and focus manually.

In this iPhone video I show you my setup and how I did it. A bit “Blair Witch Project” moving around video. I was using one hand to shoot and the other to show what I was doing…

Enjoy and comment.


Sample image scans:

These are memories for me of good times and friends and no worries…

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Larry Pollock

I am an Artist who's medium is Digital Photography. I paint with Light. Product, event, portrait, landscape and fine art photography

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