Many photographers still enamored with film photography can attest to the unpleasantness of tediously digitizing film negatives. Costly scanners often work slowly, taking several minutes at a time just to convert a single image.
Ken Xu, a photographer based out of Atlanta, GA and a fan of medium format film, devised a way of speeding up the process without spending thousands of dollars. In fact, he made his makeshift with household items paired with camera equipment that he already had on hand:
Using a shoebox and thick book as a base, Xu uses an ordinary film holder taped down to the rig in order to keep his negatives steady. White paper and plexiglass inside of the box diffuse the bright flash of the speed light that illuminates the images. Triggered to a DSLR equipped with a long lens and a dependable tripod, the light instantaneously powers on with just the touch of the shutter.
Although the setup looks a bit crude compared to the sleek flatbed scanners available on the market, there’s no denying the quality of the final results.
Crisp, clear, and gorgeous, it’s hard to justify going back to traditional scanners after seeing the capabilities of this tricked out shoebox.
“There are sixteen shots…usually, it takes me an hour or so to scan on a flatbed scanner. So this is way faster. You can see it took me about two seconds to focus.”
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