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Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives

Tootler 19 Jan 11 - 11:48 AM
maeve 19 Jan 11 - 12:04 PM
Silas 19 Jan 11 - 12:08 PM
Bert 19 Jan 11 - 02:30 PM
Tootler 19 Jan 11 - 06:25 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Jan 11 - 12:24 AM
Tootler 23 Jan 11 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,Ray 23 Jan 11 - 12:32 PM
Newport Boy 23 Jan 11 - 01:34 PM
JohnInKansas 23 Jan 11 - 02:44 PM
Tootler 23 Jan 11 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,Ray 24 Jan 11 - 05:42 AM
Newport Boy 24 Jan 11 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Jon 24 Jan 11 - 06:19 AM
Charley Noble 24 Jan 11 - 08:25 AM
Newport Boy 24 Jan 11 - 12:30 PM
Edthefolkie 24 Jan 11 - 03:06 PM
Edthefolkie 24 Jan 11 - 03:09 PM
Charley Noble 24 Jan 11 - 06:26 PM
JohnInKansas 24 Jan 11 - 07:46 PM
GUEST,Ray 25 Jan 11 - 11:44 AM
Charley Noble 25 Jan 11 - 12:30 PM
Bonecruncher 26 Jan 11 - 10:54 AM
JohnInKansas 26 Jan 11 - 05:30 PM
Edthefolkie 26 Jan 11 - 07:53 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 26 Jan 11 - 08:10 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 26 Jan 11 - 08:25 PM
Bonecruncher 26 Jan 11 - 09:07 PM
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Subject: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 11:48 AM

My last film camera was an APS type where you dropped the film cartridge in the camera, shut the back and film was automatically wound on to the start point. When the film was finished it was automatically wound back into the original cartridge ready for processing.

When you got the developed film back from processing the negatives were still in the original cartridge. Very convenient for protecting them.

I am gradually digitising my photos and I would like to access the negatives from these APS films but I don't want to destroy anything as I wish to keep the originals.

My question is: can you roll out the negatives so they can go through a film "scanner" and then get them back into the original cartridge? If so, how?

I realise I can scan prints on a flatbed scanner which is fine where I have prints, but that is not always the case as many of the prints have been lost. However, I still have the negatives.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: maeve
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 12:04 PM

My husband tells me there is a machine that would rewind the APS film back into the canister. Unless you can access one of those, he says you'll need to destroy the cartridge to extract the processed film, then store it as you would regular negatives.

Why not simply contact a reasonably local film developer to arrange for a cd copy to be made? You'd have the cd copy and your film would be re-rolled into the cartridge. Kodak, for example... The film is still available; I assume processing is also.

Good luck,

Maeve


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Silas
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 12:08 PM

Now, you see the problem with dyslexia is that those of us who suffer from it would read you title as 'Disgusting pictures from APS negatives'

Bit of a let down when you read the posts really...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Bert
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 02:30 PM

You can buy a scanner for APS film. I saw one once in a thrift store so you might pick one up cheap on Ebay.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 06:25 PM

The CD idea is a good one, but it could get pricey. I have four to hand which were in the packet with some prints so that would probably be quite reasonable pricewise. However, I have a box full of them somewhere when I can find it and that's when it could get pricey.

I have recently bought a scanner for my slides and older 35mm negatives, so I would like to use that if I can.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 12:24 AM

The "APS" film cartridge appears to be the familiar 35mm cartridge, althouth the original concept included "indicators" that haven't been present on commercial 35mm film packagings for decades.

For 35mm cameras, you received a new film with the film sticking out of the cartridge, but you must rewind the film back into the cartridge before opening the camera.

A few "nut cases" I've met insisted that you needed to watch the frame count and stop rewinding as soon as it went to zero, but most people just wound it until it was all completely inside the cartridge.

The "remover" that made the film stick out again so that it could be pulled out for processing was just a little pin with a slot in the end to engage the center shaft of the spool inside the cartridge. Commercial proccessors usually had a machine to spin the film back out, and in later years the film was "ejected" directly into the "processing machine." In ancient times (15 years ago or so) most smaller processing labs just used a stick with a knob on one end.

If you turn the spool, the film almost always will reappear and stick it's nose back out of the slot in the side of the cartridge.

It would be reasonable to expect that turning the connection that the camera grabbed to rewind the film into the cartridge, but going "backwards," would be quite likely to induce your film to poke out of the can. (About like the way that hitting the outhouse with a hedgeapple always made uncle Ferd stick his nose out, except that the film shouldn't yell obscenities and throw the apple back at ya'.)

With 35mm cartridges you usually could accomplish the "winding" by just pressing a pencil eraser agains the "hole" and twirling. Stubborn cans might require you to push the tapered (sharpened but with the lead tip broken off so it didn't "bottom") end of the pencil into the hole. If you open a camera and look at the hole where you'd insert the film, you should be able to see the end of the "rewind shaft" poking up, to get an idea of what a "real" ejector shaft would look like.

In the fairly rare event that the film gets "hung" inside the cartridge, you would likely just pry one end off of the cartridge, which would normally destroy the cartridge. Reloadable cartridges were available, however, with an end that screwed on and could be easily removed and replaced. I suspect that they'd still be around for 35mm film, so that you could replace a can that you had to destroy; but they'd likely be difficult to find.

It was extremely rare in the US for a processor to rewind the film back into the cartridge after processing. The film was completely removed (detached) from the cartridge and after processing was nearly always cut in 4 to 6 frame strips that were returned in paper or plastic protective sleeves. Commercial processing machines used here usually cut the film automatically as it came out of the dryer, just as they cut the pictures apart as they dropped out.

Here, a cartridge with film inside but no end sticking out would mean that the film had been exposed but had not been processed. Ejecting the film, or opening the can, except in total darkness likely will destroy any images on an uprocessed film.

If you have a "genuine" APS cartridge, it should show a little "square" on the bottom that indicates that the film has been processed, but its been a very long time since any such cans were common in the US - so far as I've seen. If yours shows anything other than a square, it may have been rewound but not processed, in which case you'd need a processing lab to do anything before you mess with it.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Tootler
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 12:02 PM

The cartridges are genuine APS cartridges and all have been developed and have the square showing.

Looking at the data you linked to, John, it would appear that APS film was in fact slightly smaller than 35mm. It was standard, here in the UK at least, that APS negatives were returned in their cartridges (I used several different processors at various times), unlike standard 35mm film where the negatives were returned in strips of 4-6 exposures (I have those as well). They usually provided a sheet of thumbnail prints which had each picture on the film numbered so if you wanted extra prints, you simply told the processor the numbers of the pictures on the thumbnail sheet you wanted printing.

I have tested scanning from prints on a flatbed scanner and that works well and is probably the best solution where I have prints available. However where all I have is negatives I need some way of getting the negatives out of the APS cannisters so I can "scan" them. I suspect in the end it will be a matter of trying some means of winding out the film and seeing what works. I just want to avoid losing the originals if I can avoid it, but may have to sacrifice a canister or two.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 12:32 PM

I have a rather ancient Nikon film scanner and one of the accessory options was a film holder for APS films. Whether you can get the same facility for modern film scanners I don't know. Compared to a digital photo, I have always found 35 film scans - whether from a film scanner or a flat-bed film attachment - something of a disappointment. APS scans are likely to be worse.

Depending o the value you assign to the photographs you could have them professionally scanned to CD. Not sure where you are but these people don't look that expensive - http://www.mr-scan.co.uk/aps.html - and you'll probably get better results than you could do yourself.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Newport Boy
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 01:34 PM

I still have a Pentax Auto 110 camera with a number of lenses, although I haven't used it for about 10 years. I must have some developed films somewhere, but I cant find them at the moment.

I think that the only way of getting the film out of the cartridge is to cut the glued-joint cartridge open. There are 3 links at the bottom of this page which describe the method. If you want to replace it afterwards, you can reassemble the cartidge with tape.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 02:44 PM

Try a look at Getting APS Negatives Out of the Can

I can't offer any assurances, but the instructions seem like they'd be pretty simple if you had a cartridge to look at while you read them.

At the bottom of that page, there's also a link to some pretty good images of the process.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Tootler
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 03:52 PM

Mr Scan looks promising. Possibly worth it for APS film especially as I do not have to deal with opening up the APS cartridge. At the lower end for 35mm slides but it still adds up if you have a lot of slides. Probably better quality than the "scanner"* I bought, but that job's already done and I can always rescan those I am not happy with.

I bought this scanner. You can also read my review of it there. The other review dismissed it completely. I didn't think it that bad and I think it is a matter of expectations. If you want perfection, then these devices are not for you.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 05:42 AM

Mr Scan was the first thing Google threw up - I'm sure there are others.

I can see what you mean about "this scanner". Mine, as I said, is a Nikon with twice the spec. but 10 years old and still gives worse results than a 5MP camera. You also need to factor in the amount of time you'll spend scanning negatives/slides individually. It can be a real pain if you have several thousand.

Anyone looking at cheap scanners should look not only at the number of pixels they produce but also at their dynamic range (bit depth) i.e. the range of tones they produce between pure black and pure white. If the spec doesn't tell you, they have something to hide.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Newport Boy
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 05:57 AM

The images in John's link are clearer than I'd found before, but that method only allows you to view and work on the negative strip. You might need to remove the strip from the cartridge to scan it, and I don't think this is possible that way. If you can remove it, you would not be able to replace it. That can only be done by splitting the cartridge to access the spool.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 06:19 AM

http://www.camerahacker.com/extract_APS_film/index.php


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 08:25 AM

I've never had much success in scanning negatives with my dedicated Nikon Supercool Scan 5000. What setting should I be using or is it some conversion routine in Photoshop that I should be using to process the image?

Are there different procedures for scanning Kodacrome color negatives, verses black and white negatives?

I suppose I should read the directions...

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Newport Boy
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 12:30 PM

Guest,Jon - That's the same link that JohnInKansas gave, which my comments followed.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 03:06 PM

Charley, I envy your ownership of a Super Coolscan! They are THE best film scanner, at least at consumer level.

I can only speak from experience of using a good flatbed scanner (Epson 3170) myself. Colour negatives (eg Kodacolor) are always a problem with any scanner because of the orange mask which you can see when you look at negs. The density and hue of this mask varies according to the make of film. The "color negative" setting on Epson Scan software does quite a good job with Kodacolor negs, but the resultant scan always needs tweaking in Picasa, Photoshop or whatever.

A friend tells me that there is a known problem scanning some Kodachrome slides with a Nikon Coolscan - if you use Digital ICE to get rid of the dust etc on the slides, it doesn't work too well. This is something to do with the way the Kodachrome process uses a sort of dye sandwich, very different from Ektachrome, Fujichrome etc.

There's LOADS of stuff on the Web about scanning negs & slides and I'm afraid some of it does my head in! "The Kodachrome Project" is a good site, it's a sort of memorial to Kodachrome but with a lot of very good advice.   

Oh dear, sorry not much about APS there, I have to confess I hate the stuff, Kodak's last attempt to foist


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 03:09 PM

Oops. Finger trouble - meant to say "Kodak's last attempt to foist a clumsy and difficult format onto us - remember Disc, 110, Instamatic, etc?"


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 06:26 PM

Edthefolkie-

Thanks so much for your suggestions.

I do quite well with scanning some challenging slides but I do confess that I've had little success with scanning negatives. I'll try out your suggestions.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 07:46 PM

While I haven't found particularly good advice on scanning negatives, I have found that the film thickness can be sufficient to place the "picture" a significant enough distance from the scanning surface to give some loss of sharpness.

Most of the negatives I've tried scanning were very old B/W, but I'd expect even more difficulty with color, since there are usually three separate layers of images, with filter layers between them, in most kinds of color film. The multiple layers should be thin enough to cause little dispersion with some scanners, but seem to be sufficent to "fuzz it up" with others.

Some scanners essentially "wave a light bulb" past the image they're trying to pick up, while others do a fairly good job of "focusing" decently colimated light that doesn't disperse too much to pick up a decently accurate reflected image for the depth of the film. I've seen a visible degradation if the negative isn't carefully placed "emulsion side down" in one of my "photo scanners" but little of the same effect on one other. A "quicky" method of seeing if a scanner has some depth of field might be just to scan a "wrinkled" sheet of paper and see if it blurs where the paper is "off the plate."

An accurately colimated illumination source would seem to be a requirement for a "transmission" scanner designed specifically for negatives, but I haven't had one of those to play with. It would be an expected feature in a "negative scanner," although finding specs sufficiently detailed to include that much detail likely would be difficult.

One of my multipurpose scanners had a "transparencies mode" setting, but I hadn't bothered trying to figure out if it worked; and it was an HP so I didn't have occasion to try it out before the scan bar crapped out - 13 months out of the box. (But the printer still works just fine.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 11:44 AM

If the film thickness is resulting in some loss of sharpness John, turn it over and scan it from the emulsion side!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 12:30 PM

The Nikon Supercool Scan 5000 does have the option of manual focus (trial and error) if the standard focus doesn't work. I generally haven't had to use that option except for some ancient black and white slides.

I also might be working with some vintage glass negatives but I guess I'll be using the flat bed scanner for those.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 10:54 AM

Back in the days of Methuzelah, when film cameras were generally of the 35mm format, it was common to wind the film fully back into the cassette. Sometimes those of us who were pfotographers rather than snapshotters would need to partially rewind a film to change from black and white to colour or to change to a film with a higher or lower emulsion speed (ASA or ISO rating). The partially used film could then be put back in the camera and the remaining shots used. Film and processing was expensive!
If the film leader tab happened to be rewound into the cassette it was easy to remove by simply sliding a thin piece of plastic or metal, like a feeler guage, into the mouth of the cassette and then turning the spool backwards. End of the film would just pop out.
I can see no reason why a similar technique could not be used with APS film.
Personally I use an Epson Perfection 3490 flatbed scanner for digitising slides, negatives and prints and have found no problems with colour shift, even with some slides which are over 50 years old.
Colyn.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 05:30 PM

The APS cartridge does have a "latch" that has to be opened, but full instructions appear to be given at one of the links I posted somewhere up above. The difficulty claimed is that you have to cut the film to get it completely removed for scanning, and there's no simple way to reattach it to rewind after scanning.

The normal method of storing APS negatives is just to wind them back into the cartridge. While it's doubtful that keeping the whole cartridge is significantly safer than chopping the negatives and storing them in typical 35mm glassine sleeves - if you have a safe place to keep the sleeves - it is undoubtedly true that the additional bulk of the cartridges should make a much more impressive display of how many pictures you have, for anyone who didn't actually look at the negatives. To benefit from that feature, however, you'd need a display case so that visiting people could see your cassettes.

If the negatives are in good shape and have enough historical significance to interest a museum somewhere, it might be of some value to have them in "original condition" as evidence of provenance, so it is sort of a judgement call.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 07:53 PM

I ought to mention....I showed a friend how to scan a slide or two as he's got loads in the loft. He said "OK, so presumably you throw them away once you've scanned them!" NOOOOO! What happens if your hard drive goes "phut" and you forgot to do a backup?

Once scanned, I took mine out of the yellow Kodak boxes and stuck them in some quite small new ones which each hold 600 slides. Luckily I've always written date, location etc on slide mounts so a little index sheet in the box is adequate to find a slide. The whole lot only take up a couple of feet of space and there must be 5000+ slides. I suppose the best thing to do with negatives is to keep them in binders. APS - likewise!

Yeah, I know, life's too short, we have to remember we can't take it with us, but who can now read a 7" floppy disk? Or a 3" one these days!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 08:10 PM

Mudcat is the novice introduction to EVERYTHING.

BONECRUNCHER - RE: Film and processing was expensive!

It may have been "time intensive" but it was never expensive.

Anyone's kitchen could cook up a batch of D72... from scratch.... in less time than you can pronounce "methamphetamine sulphate bicarbonate of soda."

Potassium bromide
Sodium carbonate
Hydroquinone
Sodium sulfit

Like Betty Crocker's "Devil's Food Cake" mix - Kodak made the ease of commerical quality film development .... Mix Ready.

In a return to Kodak's earlier days...the entire "box camera" 60th/shutter was sent to the processor and it was returned with negatives, prints, and new film rewound.

American Memory of the Library of Congress USA - (sorry UK you have British PaTHEtic)is collecting - additional positions are in the 2011 congressional "Jobs Bill."

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 08:25 PM

YIKES .... forgot to mention



STOP - BATH very expensive



Sincerely,

Gargoyle



Acetic Acid - aka - diluted VINAGER


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digitising Pictures from APS Negatives
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 09:07 PM

Thanks for the reminder and the recipe, Gargoyle.
Personally I preferred Ilford film and ID11!
Colyn.


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