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2900Re:Glass Negatives

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  • Steve Knoblock
    Feb 10, 2010
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      If 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
      frosted glass.

      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.
      Personal http://www.facebook.com/steve.knoblock
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