I’ve noticed A Lot of people visit my Homemade negative Scanner Post. I’m going to do one that’s more justifiable for both Methods. After scanning with both method you will still have to adjust it in photo editing software.
Using a regular scanner with the top open, and a light source on top (in my case i used a work lamp(also works better with a dimmer switch)). Put the negative on the scanner, emulsion side up, put about 2 to 3 piece of white paper (for desire brightness matching the light source), or a piece of opaque/ground glass which would be better (you can see the grain of the paper sometimes depending on the scene/negative) then you need something to keep the negative flat, glass, CD cases with weight on top etc.. And simply adjust the scanner setting in the computer and play with it till desired result. Below are 2 example of 120 film scanned using this method. With my cheap HP scanner and printer all in one set to 2400dpi, backed with regular papers.
Using your digital camera. Build some sort of light box where you can light up the back of the negative indirectly and evenly, in my case I used a photo box that was made for video taping still images via a cam corder in the early 90s. Behind the negative, once again, use papers or opaque glass. Using a Macro lens, tripod, and digital camera, set your camera to bw and using Manual Exposure mode (Give it an extra punch on the contrast is also a good idea), find the right exposure (you’ll have to play around with it a little bit), if you have Mirror Lock up, Use it. And then you’ll load them on the computer, and In your photo editing program, Use the Negative Image function, to make the Negative image positive, and proceed to play around with the recorded Image. The Following 2 Images, Nikon D80 via Vivitar Series 1 90-180mm Non AI Flat Field Macro Zoom, f11, ISO 100, Mirror Delay On, Tripod.
Generally, the bigger the negative the better the result will be either way. Scanning via a scanner will yield sharper, bigger, and more detailed result simply because everything is on focus and its a scanner, but the quality might not be as good depending on the scanner (e.g. you will see streaks/lines on your negatives, although uniform, but I imagine if you have a slightly better scanner than mine that should fix that problem.) Scanning through a digital camera, usually creates better quality instantly, but the variables are, how flat is your negative, and how flat is your lens pointing to your negative. And using a camera sometime is less frustrating as it works faster in a way. In conclusion, both method WORKS. And when it comes down to it you can use either to scan and preview your negatives, or even use the result images to showcase online depending on the quality, with what you already have, and for free.
Now, Be creative.
If you need photos or illustrations on what exactly I’m talking about, leave me a comment.