Hi Folks -

OK, a couple of weeks ago, I took a stab at digitizing negatives. At that time, simply shooting the negs with the D7000 and hitting invert left me with a positive that had a distinct blue cast (which I understand is due to the orange hue of negatives; apparently, orange is the opposite of blue, or something). Having done some research and dicking around, I’m closing in on a process, which consists of:

  1. Shoot the neg (in my case 1/200 at f/4, but I’m sure other combos will work)
  2. Pull the neg shot into photo manipulation software (in my case, GiMP as I’m a cheap bastard)
  3. Go to Color Levels and set the black and white levels using the eyedropper controls. I use part of exposed lead as the black and the space between frames as the white
  4. Invert the colors
  5. Auto Color Enhance
  6. Auto White Balance
  7. Tweak brightness and contrast to taste

And get this:

So, there’s still a long way to go until it’s spot on and it’s still not better than I can get professionally scanned, but I’ve come a long way from blue, vague pictures. I had to burn the far left and right frames as those were getting close to the edge of the light box; I figured out that I need to rotate the light box 90 degrees and that problem is solved.

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As for equipment, having eschewed the negative scanner, I’m using the Craigslist light box and a clear glass shelf from IKEA for $3 to hold the negs flat. I figure I’m holding the camera about 12” above the surface and have the focal length set to 24mm for this shot. I tried using the tripod, but due to the angle of the camera and the field of vision, the tripod legs keep getting into the frame

That’s it for now. I’ll post updates and process changes as I figure out just exactly what the hell I’m doing.