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Archive 2012 · Best setup for shooting slides with DSLR?
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Best setup for shooting slides with DSLR?

Can anybody recommend to me a good setup for shooting my collection of slides and negs with my Canon SLR (1Ds3)? I don't have a macro lens but I do have an extension tube or could rent a macro. What's a good solution for attaching the slide/neg to the lens or camera?

Heck, I'd even spend a few hundred bucks on something that has an EOS mount, a lens that is dedicated to the task, and a good holder for slides or neg strips with a diffuser behind them.

I also don't have a ton of time to spend doing a DIY project either. I'd rather just spend some money on a nice setup.

Does anybody know of something they can recommend?



Jul 23, 2012 at 03:25 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Best setup for shooting slides with DSLR?

Can only describe what I have: Canon 1Ds, EOS/Contax adapter, Contax bellows unit, Zeiss S-Planar 100mm, Contax holder for slide/rollfilm. This is purpose made for 135 digital duplication, but probably out of your budget. A friend of mine has the Olympus OM equivalent rig using the Zuiko 80/4 macro. These configurations are very effective, but require knowledge of classic film gear and the patience to acquire the pieces.

Jul 23, 2012 at 04:35 AM
Roland W
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Best setup for shooting slides with DSLR?

My setup is made using the old Canon FD mount Auto Bellows and the slide copy holder that was made for it. I choose to not use the bellows part, but only the rail and slide holder. I then mounted a 5D2 body on a "spare" base part from another Auto Bellows, and that allows the camera positon to be moved smoothly and locked. I had to build an adapter mount, and get the camera at just the right height to align with the center of the slide copier. I then use my Canon 100 mm macro lens to shoot. I use a Canon ETTL flash on an off camera cord for rear lighting, and let the ETTL do the exposure. By shooting RAW you can do post processing for color correction and also adjust contrast lower to get reasonable looking copies. I normally just shoot the whole image area including a little bit of black around the edges, but if I want I can adjust the camera position closer and crop out part of the slide. The slide copy holder for the AutoBellows allows you to move the copy stage around, so you can crop in to any part of the image, not just the center.

It is a fair amount of adapting, and kind of expensive, but I really liked my approach where I can use an auto focus and auto aperture macro lens and ETTL metering. The auto focus catches different slide mounts and different amounts of bow in the slide, and the foucs is done wide open. And with flash lighting, I get consistent color balance and plenty of light to stop down and keep enough depth of field to accomodate the bowed slides. You do also need some ambient light on the slide holder difuser glass for focus and for live view, but the flash overpowers the ambient so it does not cause any color shift issues. I can bang away as fast as I can put the slides in the holder and check gross position via live view, and can do batch processing on the RAWs to get them to reasonable viewing conditon. I can then work on specific shots I like and do careful post processing croping, or even clone in the rounded corners made by the cardboard slide holder if I "need" the original compsition.

The old Canon Autobellows are a little hard to find at times, and they are not dirt cheap. KEH usually sells them for around $160, but they now do not seem to have them very often. The style of the rail and the whole autobellows was the same or very similar on many camera brands back in the day (1970's), so you may find a different brand bellows that has a good slide holder. My approach does not care about the lens mount, but if you want to also use the bellows for other uses or use a bellow lens for slide copy work, you can get an adapter to mount an EOS EF camera on the Canon FD mount of the bellows.

But if you do not want a DIY project, this route is not for you. Hopefully someone will give you a lead on a standard product that you can use, and I look forward to any information that may show up here, because I have a friend that is in need of a similar setup.

Jul 23, 2012 at 06:52 AM

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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Best setup for shooting slides with DSLR?

Yeah, sounds like pretty nice setups you both have there. I do have the knowledge of the older film gear (worked at labs on and off over the last 15 years) to put something together, but I just don't have the time. Hopefully somebody knows of a modern day off the shelf system. If not, maybe I can find somebody to machine me something that would fit on a 100mm macro - just a few tubes and a few flat sheets of steel welded and fit together and painted flat black.

Jul 23, 2012 at 07:02 AM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Best setup for shooting slides with DSLR?

There's a slide copier attachment from Nikon that's intended for use with a Nikon 55mm macro lens (which has a 52mm front filter thread), and a FF camera. It costs about $60 from B&H.

I imagine that it would also work with any Canon 50mm lens that has 52mm filter threads (like the Canon 50mm f2.5 macro). (You'd need to add an extension tube between the lens and the camera body if the lens doesn't focus to 1:1.)

If you added a spacer at the front, it would probably also work with the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens, which also has 52mm front filter threads. (You wouldn't need an extension tube between the camera and lens with this combination.)

I haven't tried it, but I'll bet there are other Canon guys out there who have.

product description:


how to use it:


Jul 23, 2012 at 08:58 AM
Roland W
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Best setup for shooting slides with DSLR?

The Nikon ES-1 looks like a low cost way to add a slide copy holder, and I for one am glad to learn of it. You are going to need macro focusing capability from some lens to use it, as well as a filter step down ring to mount it to lenses with filter sizes other than 52mm. Since it was designed for a 55 mm focal length lens, you may be able to make your current 50mm lens work, but you will need extension tubes to make it foucs to the macro range. Even with with getting it to focus with tubes, you still may not have the right distance at the front of the lens to get the full frame of the slide, so you will need to try things.

Since you shoot Carl Zeiss lenses with adapted mounts, you might consider a non Canon lens solution by getting a used Nikon 55mm Micro-Nikkor manual focus lens and a low cost Nikon lens to Canon body mount adapter. You may or may not still need some extension tubes with that, but simple extensions with no electronic coupling are also low cost items.

Getting a new ES-1 and a used Micro-Nikkor and a mount converter is all going to total less than $200, so that may be worth the investment rather than trying to rent a Canon macro lens and figure out the right adapters and tubes to use it with the ES-1. But do also note that the ES-1 is only designed for slides, and not for film strips, which you mentioned in your original post as something you wanted to copy. There was a review of the ES-1 that specifically warned it would scratch film strips. That would be one advantage of adapting the old Canon Auto Bellows, because it is made to accept either slides or film strips, and even had an accessory available to hold full rolls of 35mm film.

Jul 23, 2012 at 01:51 PM

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