The first thing I needed to ascertain whilst intending to copy my transparencies from thirty years ago, was which Fuji lens would give the best result using the MCEX-11 extension tube? From my first tests, I found that the actual distances given on the table were not very accurate, giving blurred and distorted results. So, I used the figures given by Fuji only as a starting point and then set out to test all my lenses.
The lenses were:
XF18mm F2 R
XF23mm F2 R WR
XF35mm F2 R WR
XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS
XF18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
After examining all of the lens results, it was the brilliantly versatile trooper of a lens, the 18-55mm that produced the best images in terms of sharpness and lack of distortion. This was with the lens set to its wide-angle setting of 18mm. I used manual (back button) focus, aperture priority and although all the detail I wanted was on a flat plain I used an aperture of F11.
So, my rig was set up thus. Fuji X-E3 with the MCEX-11 and XF18-55mm mounted on a tripod. I used a hot shoe spirit level to get the camera level on all axis and a shutter release cable to ensure the camera wasn’t moved during the taking of the photograph. My lightbox had a piece of mounting board taped to the front with a hole cut-out to take a slide. The lightbox was then stuck to an old, very heavy, external hard drive for support and positioned vertically in front of the camera lens. The camera was then moved to ensure it was the correct distance from the slide and perfectly in line. Once it was all set up I then took the photographs.
I’ve still yet to tweak any of the images, but the main point was to retain a digital record of my old transparencies and this setup has now enabled me to do this. I still have many more years to copy, so this will keep me busy for quite a while.
Not content with trying to keep up with my image processing with photographs I am taking now, I have decided to try and digitise my transparencies from thirty years ago. I have them all in sleeves as hanging files in a couple of small cabinets in my loft and I just think that it would be best to try and save them to digital.
The question is how to go about it?
I have a small portable lightbox that emits a 5000k light and so together with the Fujifilm MCEX-11 macro extension tube, I have been trying out various lenses to see which one gives the best result and magnification.
Fujifilm supply a table of data about their lenses coupled with their two extension tubes, the MCEX-11 and the MCEX-16. The data gives magnification and magnification distance for the combination of any of their lenses and either of the extension tubes.
I have produced my own table to show the information with the just the lenses I own coupled with the MCEX-11.
I have currently used the XF35mm, the XF18-55mm and the XF18-135mm to take some test shots but I still have the 18mm and the 55-200mm to try out. According to their figures in the table, Fuji says that the best magnification will be with the 18mm with a magnification of 0.74 at a distance of 25mm from the top of the lens barrel to the subject.
What the table does show is that the lens that you would suspect to be the best at magnification, the 55-200mm is, in fact, the worst at 0.26 magnification at the wide-angle setting and only 0.25 at the telephoto end of the zoom.
It will be interesting to see how the 18mm performs because this little lens, which I really like, has a reputation of not being Fuji’s best in the XF range. However, I love its ability to focus close-in and coupled with a wide aperture it gives some nice bokeh.
I’ll keep ASV updated with how I’m getting on with the slide scanning and will post some images and a photo or two of my setup.