Compare Interneg Tools

Lioner brand zoom copier


Nikon 105/2.8 macro with bellows and slide copier accessory

Recently I came across a second hand Nikon bellows unit together with the slide copier attachment. These are the old models PB-4 and PS-4. I use these with my N8008s (F801s) and AF 105/2.8 macro lens together with an SB-26 flash extended  to about 12" behind the slide copier with the SC-17 cord. I have started looking at what sort of results I can get when copying old slides to print film.
I focus the setup using f/2.8 and then move the aperture ring to the f/8 setting (effectively about f/11 to f/16 depending on enlargement, I copy medium format slides as well). The camera is set to aperture priority and the flash to TTL with the 20mm diffuser in place, it works every time.
About the same time I was lent a zoom slide copier of brand Lioner. This attaches to the camera via a T-mount and the flash is used the same way as above. The zoom allows from 1:1 to 2:1 enlargement.
The first step was to compare the convenient Lioner copier to the slightly more fiddly Nikon setup.

This is the way the Nikon equipment looks when attached to the custom made frame to hold everything in place, see my other article (page in construction still) about how that was made. The camera body shown is not the one I use for copying work.

First up a scan of the whole test slide print, which was from a Kodakchrome 25 taken in 1965 while visiting London Docks.

There is no point showing the two scans of the two prints made from the Nikon setup and the Lioner slide copier as there is only slight difference to the naked eye. We have to examine small portions of each print to see the differences in quality. This was scanned at 100 dpi. The camera I used then was a Minolta SR-1 SLR with a 55mm lens.

This is a small bit of the scene that was copied using the Lioner brand zoom copier at 1:1, scanned at 1200 dpi then adjusted in size a bit.

This is about the same portion but from the print made using the Nikon lens and accessories at 1:1, quality a little better, looking at the rope hanging over the side gives the best way to see a difference.

For comparison this is about the same portion of the slide but from a print taken using the Nikon lens and accessories with it stretched out to maximum enlargement of about 3.5:1. Limited by the size I made the jig to hold things in place. More enlargement would be easier if I bought the 55mm macro lens. Just a thought.

I judge the relative resolution of the above portions by examining the porthole and the rivet detail there.

The conclusion seems to be that the Lioner zoom copier is "good enough" for the family album type of prints from slides, but I will persevere with using the all Nikon setup as the extra quality is what I wanted.
At a casual glance the two prints that were made look the same, but a more careful look at normal viewing distance reveals the Nikon one to have a little more "snap". It just looks better.
The above scans vary a bit in colour etc, but I didn't want to fiddle them to make them look exactly the same. I mainly was after the resolution differences. Later experiments will be done incorporating some degree of "pre-flash" to reduce the contrast a little. Earlier experiments indicate that the resulting contrast of the final print can be easily made more or less than that of the original slide by altering the pre-flash quantity. Finding the best pre-flash quantity to use for the slide and print film combination every time is going to be the trick. So far I am only using cheap Fuji Superia 100 and 200 print film. Maybe if I bothered to buy a roll of the recommended Kodak interneg film I would get better results.

A side effect of the experiments has shown that by using slides and then copying with some degree of magnification, a cheap zoom lens substitute is available. For instance, I could take a slide of a sunset or full moon with my maximum lens of 300mm then copy it to another slide or to print with the jig set to enlarge as much a possible (3.5x currently) so the result would be a slightly grainier shot but looking if it were taken with a 1050mm lens. OK all this could be done easier if I owned a good film scanner, but currently I want everything to be on slide or prints.

Also for no effort on my part, my photo processing shop can enlarge the centre portion of my negative up to about 1.7x onto the standard 4"x6" print. This method extends my 28-105 zoom lens to 178mm and my 75-300 lens to 510mm. If you want to go the other way, that is make a wider view than the lens you own, then the only way is to take a few photos with the wide angle lens and join them with scissors and tape. Or scan them and join them with photo stitching software.

If you are contemplating buying a digital camera then don't worry about the wide angle end of its zoom, concentrate on the tele behaviour, then simulate a wide angle lens with the stitching software (see my links page).

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