Negative Digitization with a Nikon DSLR

Hello, everybody! It’s starting to get cold here in Tokyo as we get closer to December. The temperature is beginning to get too cold for me to develop at home so I use this chance to digitize my film instead. Today, I am going to show you my film digitization workflow. I’ll also be sharing with you any settings that I use in post and I hope that you’ll like this one.


I’ve been getting questions on how I digitize my negatives using Nikon’s Picture Control. Hardware-wise, the technique that I use seems to be pretty popular and it was pioneered by somebody else nearly a decade ago but what makes what I do a little different is the use of Nikon Picture Control to invert the previewed images on the LCD. This makes this tedious task a little easier because you can gauge how much light you need to illuminate your negatives. I am not saying that this is the best way to do this task but I just want to show you guys a slightly different way of doing things that may appeal to some of you.

In order to digitize your slide using the technique I use you will need these:

  1. Nikon DSLR (ideal) but any digital camera with a TTL view will do.
  2. Flash that you can trigger remotely.
  3. Macro lens that can reach 1:1 magnification.
  4. Sturdy tripod.
  5. A setup to hold/secure your film strip or slide.

img_3069This is how everything works together. The macro lens has to be capable of achieving 1:1 magnification so you can fill the frame. The Nikon ES-1 is handy for digitizing mounted slides but I use a modified one for my strip film or else the spring on the stock Nikon ES-1 will ruin my strip film. Finally, a Nikon SB-700 flash is used to provide the high-powered illumination required for this kind of job. You can swap the tripod with a copying stand if you prefer to do it that way. Check out my article on the Micro-Nikkor-P 55mm f/3.5 to know more about the lens in the picture. I love this lens for this kind of work.



Update: Nikon D850 Negative Digitizer Mode Pt2

Hello, guys! A few weeks ago, I made a short post showing how the Nikon D850’s negative digitizer mode work. My iPhone’s video wasn’t working properly at that time that is why my accompanying video didn’t have any audio so people have to read my commentaries to get what’s happening. I would like to make it up to you so I went to Nikon’s office this afternoon and borrowed a Nikon D850 so I can show you how this feature works and this time I brought along with me a frame of C41 negative to use as a sample to help you guys see what’s really going on. There are many quirks on how this thing works and I really hope that this video will help shed some light on this feature.

Please forgive my speech, I have sore throat today that’s why I pause from time to time. More

Tools: Nikon A/R Ring Opener

Hello, everybody! I’m busy lately so I am writing a short blog post this time. Today, we’re going to talk about making a special tool to remove the lock/retainer for the A/R ring. It’s the ring or collar around the shutter button of the Nikon F, Nikon F2, Nikon SP, Nikon S3 and the Nikon S4. This ring is notorious for being difficult to remove as you will require a special tool to remove it and many beginners (and even “professionals”) botch this job by using the wrong set of tools to remove this. I will admit that I also botched my first try by using poorly-made tool that I DIY’ed but thankfully the damage wasn’t severe I ended up with some scratches instead of terrible scars on the surface of the A/R ring. I do not wish for that to happen to you and that is why I started this blog.

IMG_5948The A/R Ring has a retainer that has 2 slots milled on it. Many people botch this by using brute force to remove this with inappropriate tools such as a pair of screwdrivers,etc. It’s  used for switching between “advance” and “rewind” that’s why it’s called the A/R ring. On the Nikon F2, this part is used to switch between T or L (locked). More