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

Repair: Bronica Helicoids

Hello, everybody! My stomach wasn’t feeling very good this afternoon, I ate some cheese risotto with some very spicy chorizo slices. While this may seem to be an odd combo, it tasted very well because the spiciness compliment the sweetness of the cheese very well. In our lives we will encounter many such odd-combnations that work so well and today, we will talk about an odd combination that worked really well – Bronica and Nikon!


Today, we wil be covering a rare topic, the overhauling of the Bronica’s special helicoid! I didn’t find any good references online so I hope that this will help you fix yours. This is a rare topic and this should show you how this thing really works. There are people who’ll claim that there are no provisions for adjusting the focus on this thing but this article is going to show you how to do it and dispel this myth. Let’s go on a Bronica ride!

IMG_5940My Bronica S2a looks really compact because the Nikkor-P 75mm f/2.8 lens is small. If you think that the lens comes with its own focusing unit then you are wrong. Earlier Bronica-fit lenses don’t have any focusing units so you will need a separate helicoid to do that for you. The grease on the helicoid will sometimes get gummed-up and this is going to be our subject for this article. I don’t see any good references for this so I decide to make one. More

Retrospect: Nikon Df After 4 years.

Hello, everybody! The days went by really quick as we approach the end of the year and I was looking at my photo archives from a few years back and found some pictures of the Nikon Df launch done in November 2013 and thought that you might be interested to see these. I am not sure where the other pictures are but I will update this blog post as soon as I find them so please come back to my blog to see if something new was published.

10883043645_ca874f862e_zThis is what the reception looked like. Of course, the pretty receptionists are a must in a product launch. Maybe they can hire me next time for the ladies? What do you think? More

Repair: W-Nikkor 3.5cm f/1.8

Hello, everybody! The weather here in Tokyo is getting less humid because summer has ended. While that is a very welcome change, the thing that worries me now is the missile tests that North Korea has been doing. The country is literally locked in a Cold War stasis and all these worry of a nuclear war reminds me so much of the early ’80s where things can suddenly go downhill in an instant as best demonstrated by Nena. Now, not all things are bad in the Cold War and all that competition between the world powers pushed the limits of manufacturing and design. Today, we will talk about one of the more interesting products from the beginning of the Cold War that has endured the test of time. Read on.


Today, we are going to look at the legendary fast wide-angle lens for the Nikon S system, it is none other than the amazing W-Nikkor 3.5cm f/1.8 lens! This lens was introduced in the mid ’50s and is the fastest 35mm lens made by anyone at that point. Usually, things of this sort (world’s firsts) tend to have some flaws but this lens is one of the few examples wherein the manufacturer got almost everything right from performance to styling. Stay along and read the introduction to know one of the most important lenses made in the history of 35mm photography! I am sure that you will find this lens interesting.

IMG_5122Such a beautiful lens! This is one of the first black Nikkors on the market. The styling was so sexy that it carried-over to the Nikkors for the F-mount. As far as the small Nikkors for the S-mount is concerned, this one has a rather large filter size of 43mm. It had to due to the huge front element. Most wide lenses in its day are slow and have smaller front glass. More

Nikon D850 Negative Digitizer Mode

Hello, everybody! Here in this blog post, I will show you how to access the Nikon D850’s unique “Negative Digitizer Mode”. Now, I would apologize for the lack of sound on my video because for some reason my iPhone picked up nothing. So I was talking loudly making sure that you will hear what I was saying but once I got to see the video I was disappointed to find that no sound was recorded! This is probably good news for people who dislike my bastardized “Commonwealth English” accent. Again, my sincerest apology! I will make up for this!

img_3069I have been digitizing my negatives using DSLRs for some time now. I have been using the Nikon Picture Control so I will get a positive image when I preview my capture on the camera’s LCD. While this works well with monochrome pictures, I wasn’t very happy with this workflow when it comes to C41 process films due to the heavy amber tint and this requires more time and effort to fix in post but I have gotten used to it somehow (unfortunately) by now and Nikon rocked the boat so to speak when they implemented the new Negative Digitizer Mode. More

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