Digitising Transparencies 3

The on-going digitization of my 35mm slides from thirty years ago continues apace. I think I now have the whole setup sorted to the extent that I get the equipment placed out fairly quickly. To get decent images you need to ensure not only that the camera is level on all axis but that the slide itself is as close as perfectly parallel as you can get it to the camera lens. The most important factor, of course, is to ensure that the lens is the correct distance away from the slide to ensure that sharp focus on the face of the slide can be achieved.

Before the transparency is copied, it must be free of dust and specks so I ensure that a rocket blower is always used before taking the image.

The actual camera settings themselves are quite simple.

• I take the image in RAW
• I use back-button focus
• ISO set to the X-E3 native of 200
• I use aperture priority at f/11
• Shutter speed is left to take of itself
• An electronic shutter release is used

Going through the images has been good fun actually. I have not looked at them for many years and it has been wonderful looking at old memories and photographs of Mrs M in her youthful late twenties.

There have been a few things that I have noticed about the pictures. The first is that early on there are many rubbish ones. I wasn’t very good initially. As I go through the years though it looks as though I may have grasped the rudiments of composition as some of the images I am digitizing at the moment are not too bad.

I am finding that the camera is picking up more blown-out areas on the slide than I expected, particularly in the skies. This may, of course, be down to the light coming through the slides on areas of low or little detail i.e a clear transparent area or the fact that I didn’t put an ND filter on at the time. However, dropping the EV to -3 or -6 before taking the photo can sometimes expose a little bit of detail in what looks like clear areas on the slide. There are of course a few images that have the sea etc. sliding off the edge which has to be corrected in PP as well.

To date, I have been digitizing two types of slide film. The colour transparencies have all been on the brilliant Fujichrome 100 and the monochrome slides were taken on Agfa Dia Direct 32. Importing into Lightroom, I find that the Chrome simulation for the colour slides and the Acros simulation for the mono work really well.

The procedure I have been using for the copying of the transparencies is as follows:
• Remove slide from the sleeve and ensure it is dust-free.
• Place transparency on the lightbox.
• Focus on the slide.
• Adjust EV if necessary
• Take picture.

The next stage in the process is to transfer the digital images to Lightroom as either Chrome or Acros files.
Once they are in the software and arranged according to year and date, I do the following:
• Crop to remove slide surround. This can be done fairly quickly by doing the first and then copying the settings. These can then be applied to the other slides taken in that session.
• I have found that clicking ‘Auto’ in the ‘Tone’ section of the Develop Basic panel will give quite a nice balanced initial process to the image.

Basically, that’s it. I have not yet done any final processing, but I will put up some samples on ASV as soon as I have done so.






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