- Feb 10, 2010If you have a light box, like the ones used for viewing slides, and it
is large enough, you can lay the glass negative on the box then
photograph it using a digital camera. I feel a digital camera can be
better than a scanner with a slide adapter unless it is very good
quality. Set the camera up on a tripod. If the tripod has the ability
to reach out sideways, and hold the camera upside down, you should be
able to photograph the negative on the light box. Otherwise, what I do
is reverse the tripod so the head hangs down and then turn the head so
the camera can look straight down, place the legs over the light box.
You can buy light boxes inexpensively. You do not need the expensive
ones used by professionals. A 5 x 7 light box is $89 from B&H photo,
but I've seen them on sale for as low as $49.
I have a light box I made in the 70s for contact printing, from an old
photostat copier, but that would be pretty hard to find these days. It
has an array of little flashlight type bulbs and a milky sheet of
plexiglass as a diffuser. It gives very even lighting, much better
than traditional contact printers using a single light bulb and
You can also try photographing the negatives against any diffuse light
source, such as in front of a white lampshade. I suppose you might try
making your own light box. You could take a card board box, cut a hole
in the top, fit it with some kind of diffuser material, like the top
of a tupperware box, lampshade material, a white sheet and put a light
bulb in through the side. Just make sure the box is rigid enough to
support the glass. You don't want to lose your previous negatives.
Steve Knoblock, Lead Developer, Folkstreams, Inc.
http://folkstreams.net -- Films about American roots culture.
Co-founder http://farmfoody.org -- Connecting you to farm and garden.
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