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---- Frequently Asked Questions ----

  

01. What DSLR camera do you use for photographing the originals? 

The Sigma SD10 is used with its unique Foveon X3 sensor. This is the only consumer camera with this three layer sensor
which gives the finest images with no color artifacts and no need for anti-aliasing. Visit the Foveon.com web site for
full details on this sensor and see the gallery. Here you can see the sizes of some of the finished jpegs images at
half size and same size (2268 X 1512 pixels).
 

 

02. Why do you use a Minolta slide copier with the Sigma SD10 camera? 

Sigma does not make a bellows focusing attachment much less a slide copier. I was fortunate to find this
ideally suited Minolta Auto bellows III focusing attachment with slide copier on eBay and have been able
to configure the SD10 with the Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro lens to the Minolta slide copier. 
 

 

03. What are the dimensions of the image sensor used in the Sigma SD10? 

The sensor is 20.7mm X 13.8mm in size with 2268 columns by 1512 rows of pixels.
Each pixel consists of three stacked photo detectors sensitive to
blue/green/red.
See this Foveon PDF file for full details. It is the same 2:3 aspect ratio of 35mm
film but has 1/3 the active area of the 36mm X 24mm 35mm film frame.

 

04. How do you adjust for the telephoto effect of the 50mm macro lens? 

Yes, there is a 1.7X factor here which makes the 50mm lens seem like an 85mm would for full frame 36mm x 24mm 35mm film.
For normal slide or negative copying I do not use the focusing bellows. The Sigma macro lens is mounted on the SD10 and
directly coupled to the bellows of the slide copier attachment. This setup will give fine 1:1.8 (whole frame) to 1:1 (cropped) reproductions.  
  

The slide copier itself has lateral up-down and side-to-side motion built in for cropping off center. It all works out quite well. 

 

05. Does your photographic method produce better images than a scanning system? 

I really do not know. I cannot answer that as I have not done a comparison. I have never used a film scanner.
What I do know is that is when the SD10 is used in high resolution mode there will be 3.43M pixels (2268 X 1512) to
record the image with each pixel consisting of a stacked blue, green, and red photo sensor. This is equivalent to
1600 dots/inch resolution of a scanning system. See this Foveon site for a graphic overview of this technology.
 

Perhaps someone would like to send me a slide which has already been converted using a scanning system.
Then the results could be viewed side by side on the screen using MS Office Picture Manager or other software.
 

 

06. What kind of files does the Sigma SD10 produce? 

The SD10 produces RAW (digital negative) X3F files in three possible resolutions.
The actual file sizes will vary with the image photographed.
 

In general I always copy in the highest resolution mode for archival purposes.
One can always downsize the images later if desired.

 

Using Sigma Photo Pro 2.1 software one produces, from these RAW files, jpeg or tiff files of three possible sizes
(half, same, or double size) with user-selected variable quality settings for each. All exposure, contrast, and
color correction are preformed here either automatically or manually. It is a beautiful system and easy to use.
Double size files are equivalent to viewing a same size file at 200% magnification in MS Office Picture Manager.
 

 

07. How big in pixels and inches is a high resolution jpeg file? 

For my screen native resolution setting of 1680 x 1050 (20” Acer AL2032W - 17” x 10.7”) we have: 

Acer AL2032: 20.1” Flat Panel active-matrix TFT LCD Monitor – Wide Screen with “normal” setting capability. 

         P/N: ET.L380B.005 - 1680X1050, 31-81KHz/56-75Hz – Pixel Pitch: 0.258mm X 0.258mm  

 

Please note that some wide screen monitors used in “wide” mode may distort images by stretching them out in the horizontal
dimension if not operating at their “native resolution”. The native resolution is the maximum horizontal-vertical pixel resolution
built into the display. Double size files are equivalent to viewing a same size file at 200% magnification in MS Office Picture Manager
 

 

For high resolution we have: 

  1. half size: (366 mm x 193 mm)  (14.4” x 7.6”)  (1134 pixels x 756 pixels) (81kB) 

  2. same size: (732 mm x 386 mm)  (22.8” x 15.3”)  (2268 pixels x 1512 pixels) (240kB) 

  3. double size: (1464 mm x 772 mm)  (45.6” x 30.6”)  (4536 pixels x 3024 pixels) (693kB) 

 

08. What kind of image files do you provide to your clients? 

The best and least expensive option is to work with the RAW files yourself using the free downloadable
Sigma Photo Pro 2.1 software at the Sigma-photo site. This way you are in full control and can make any
size jpeg or tiff to any quality you wish whenever you want. This will be the option of choice for any
savvy photo buff.  There is also the users guide at this Sigma-photo web site.
 

 

With this option I review each RAW file for quality with Sigma Photo Pro 2.1 before e-mailing you.
It will be as well exposed as it can be. The software allows you to adjust exposure/color/contrast
as you wish with the results changing on the screen. 

I can also create the jpegs for you of any size you wish for an additional charge. TIFF files can be very large because
they do not use any color compression and employ 24 bit color rather than the 8 bit color compression of jpegs.
 

 

09. How do we receive the image files you have produced for us? 

For one or two images I can e-mail them to you although the large RAW files can be as big as 10MB. It
takes very long to upload a 3MB file and much longer for 8MB. This e-mailing of large files may be unworkable.
 

The best method for multiple originals, where the RAW files are desired, is for the client to include a CDR, CDRW,
DVD R or RW in a jewel case with your originals which will also provide protection for your slides/negatives.
I can supply these discs as well. Please state your preference on the job input form so I can include it in the quotation.
For jpegs e-mailing should not be a problem. After I complete a job I will send you a sample jpeg in any event. 
 

 

10. How will the image files be written onto the disc media? 

The best way for me is with Roxio Drag-to-Disc which will leave the disc open for adding files to in the future.
You should not need to have Drag-to-Disc on your machine to read these files but you will need it installed if
you wish to write more files to the disc. 
 

If Drag-to-Disc is not to your liking then I would use Roxio CD Creator in multisession format which only closes
that part of the disc which has been written on leaving the remainder for future writings.
Please indicate preference on the job input form.
 

 

11. Where do we find the Sigma Photo Pro 2.1 software and users guide? 

This is the Sigma Support site:  

http://www.sigma-photo.com/support/camerasb_sd10_downloads_spp21.asp  

 

12. Can I (or you) make positive digital images from B&W and color negatives? 

Fine quality color and B&W digital images can be created the same way as for slides with these additional two steps:  

In Sigma Photo Pro 2.1 define an area of the image as neutral gray or clear (border margin of film or around sprocket holes)
to create a negative with clear, non-colored film base background and edges. Further adjust there as you wish.
I can do this for you for an additional charge. You will most likely want to do this yourself. Save image to a jpeg and then use
Silver Pilot ($30) to reverse the image into a positive and make further color/exposure corrections. I use Silver Pilot but
there are probably other apps out there to do this as well. It will take some work and experience to make an excellent positive.

I struggled for months to achieve really excellent positives from negatives. Now I know how to do it in a minimum of steps. 
A standard negative with a neutral 18% gray card or 24 step gray scale will help you to get an absolute neutral gray
(blue, green, and red values all equal to each other). 
 

 

13. How do you price your service? 

My fee is based entirely on the total amount of my time needed to complete one copying job for one client.
Multiple originals will cost less per original than doing just one slide or negative.
All the exposures, computer time, packaging and mailing back to client are considered. 
 

 

So for starters I will request a $5.00 fee for one original plus return postage. This high fee is mostly just handling time
for the one original. For several/many originals the cost/slide or negative will drop considerably to as low as $2.00/original.
This may seem high but please realize that this is not a “One Hour Foto” shop in a shopping center. Each original is handled
separately and cropped as requested. This is the fee for the RAW camera file only. There will be an additional charge (see below)
for conversion to jpegs.  You will have to decide if this extra attention is worth it. 

 

For any job please download my “job input form” and fill out in MS Word and send back to me as an attachment (phil@philsaun.com).
I will then review your needs and itemize my costs for the job on this same form and send it back to you for consideration. 
If you wish to send originals for copying please send this input form back to me again as an attachment for me to print out
here with any of your additional mark-up as needed.
 

 

If processing to jpegs is desired then the total charge for one slide will be $6.00 and for a negative $8.00 due to the extra work involved.
Clearly it is in your interest to do this processing yourself if you wish to. The Sigma Photo Pro software is easy and fun to use but I will
gladly do it for you for the small extra fees involved. TIFF files (24 bit-no color compression) are possible but can be very large while JPEG files
are 8 bit and smaller but have some color compression. For TIFF files it is best you generate these yourself on your computer. I can do it here
but the files will have to be sent to you on a CDR or DVD along with the RAW image files.
 

 

14. How do you bill us when the job is completed? 

PayPal is the easiest, fastest, and most preferred way. If you don’t have a PayPal account then I would highly recommend opening one.
I will accept checks if PayPal is out of the question for some reason. 
 

Normally I will send a PayPal “request for payment” form with all the necessary information for submitting payment in that request.
When I receive the notification from PayPal that your payment has been made I will ship off your originals and CD/DVD or e-mail you
the jpeg photos as the case may be. When I finish a job I will e-mail you and include a small jpeg image file from one of your originals
so you can see that all is as promised. 
 

Rest assured, if you are not pleased and satisfied with the results then we will work out a just resolution. I will request an explanation
of just what is lacking so I can make changes if possible. I always check all images here for quality before contacting you with a “job done” message.
I will not ship images which are not as good as can possibly be made. Of course, my copy can be no better than your original.
 

 

15. What do you expect from us before sending originals? 

Please always contact me via e-mail before sending any originals. 

Check each original with a magnifying glass for dust and scratches. Carefully remove any dust with a Dust-Off type of product.
Protect negatives in glassine sleeves or equivalent and slides in appropriate plastic covers such as those clear plastic 8.5” X 11”
slide-holders sheets which go in notebooks. You can cut these sheets in strips as needed to hold your slide(s).
Of course, please always write your name on the slide mounts and on the negative sleeves.
 

 

16. It all sounds real good but I need to see some results first? 

I have posted on this site (under downloads) a RAW data file of a Kodachrome 25 standard transparency (24 step gray scale and color bars)
copied at high resolution (2268 X 1512 pixels). It is 6.37MB in size. Download this file and work with it using Sigma Photo Pro 2.1.
I have also posted a “same size” jpeg created from this RAW data file which you can view and magnify with the "full image view” button.
This jpeg same size image is about (23” x 15”) which is larger than most enlargements from 35mm format film. Check it out for resolution.
 

 

17. I have some precious slides and negatives which I cannot bear to lose. 

      May I send them by Certified or Registered mail and have them returned the same? 

Yes, of course, but here again I have to charge a fee for my extra time trekking over to the post office, standing in line, returning home
and the same again when I send them back to you. Usually 1st class gets through just fine with clearly printed To: and From: labeling (printed labels). 
My extra fee for certified or registered mail will be $10 plus any USPS charges for receiving and sending. This extra cost will be somewhat offset
for a large copying job. This charge will be itemized on the job input form I return to you.

 

18. I am uneasy about sending you my precious originals. What should I do for starters? 

If you are uneasy about sending your precious originals to me or have concerns about the quality of the digital images
I will produce I suggest the following course of action: 
 

Find a slide or negative or both of interest but one you could afford to lose. Send it to me with all the information requested on my “job input form”
which you can find here. Download and e-mail me this filled-out input sheet first and send your original(s) after hearing back from me. 
 

Upon receipt I will notify you via e-mail that your originals have arrived. I will proceed to produce the image file(s) and e-mail sample jpeg(s) to you
for your inspection. If the digital images are not to your liking then simply inform me as to what the problem is and I will try to rectify the problem.
If the problem cannot be resolved then you can simply keep the images and that is that.  I will return your originals and notify you when mailed.
Please realize my digital image files can be no better in quality than the originals provided to me to copy.
 

 

19. How will my originals be kept once you receive them? 

Originals should be sent in sealed plastic bags. They will be kept in your original hermitically sealed plastic bag(s). The bag needs your name on it with an
indelible marker or label. Once here they will be kept in a hermitically sealed container such as a Rubbermaid storage box with desiccant during the humid months.
This is how I store my own originals. See this site for the desiccant I use: http://www.dehumidify.com/.
 

 

20. Will you be posting a photograph of your copying equipment? 

When I have a second digital camera to take a photo of my setup then I will post some photos. 

 

21. How about sheet film formats such as 120, 6cm x 7cm, 4” x 5”, or even 5” x 7”? 

Yes, I am able to photograph larger format originals. Using a Gepe 5000K Slim Light illuminator with my existing setup and with the flat field Minolta macro lens
one can make excellent copies of transparencies and negatives up to 5” X 7” .For sizes up to 4” X 5” the original is held between two anti-Newton ring glass plates
for flatness. For 5” x 7” the film will be supported with tape at the edges on the illuminated surface. The aspect ratio may not match that of the camera sensor so
for full frame photos of these formats there will be wasted pixels. If cropping is desired then this may not be an issue. 
 

If there is a real interest and commitment by someone I will look into this further. I know I can do it but it is not clear if the results would be an improvement over
a scanning system. One consideration is that you will receive RAW data files in addition to finished JPEGs to work with as you wish with my service.

 

22. Do you offer any image correction or image touch-up processing? 

When finished JPEGs are requested then I will check each image thoroughly at high magnification and remove any dust or specks from the image.
Also some unwanted parts of the image such as litter on grass can be removed. The software used is Retouch-Pilot.
 

 

23. What other special services do you offer? 

(1) Cleaning of originals using Kodak Film Cleaner on a special film holding jig which allows one hand to drip film cleaner from a Gaunt Precision Applicator onto the
film and the other hand to immediately wipe clean using sterile gauze. It works well. The first cleaning step is to brush off film with a
STATICMASTER brush and Dust Off
to remove any possible loose grit. Transparencies will have to be unmounted from their cardboard holders for this cleaning process. The transparencies can be remounted
in the cardboard holder or in a Gepe slide mount if desired.
 

 

(2) Full frame copying: For some transparencies the absolutely full frame (24 X 36mm) size of the exposed film image deserves to be copied edge-to-edge.
The cardboard mount covers some (~0.5mm) of the sides and top and bottom of the image. For these I carefully remove the mountand clean the transparency if necessary.
 

 

Then the transparency is held between two Anti-Newton ringglass plates of the exact size as the film in a plastic frame and that assembly is placed in the slide copier.
This arrangement allows the very finest copying possible as the film is held perfectly flat and the whole 24 X 36mm exposed area is photographed.
I do this for some of my own transparencies with excellent results. All the jpegs images shown at my JPEGs from slides page have been copied in this manner.

 

The transparencies are remounted in either of three ways:

 

1. For true archival protection the transparency is mounted in GEPE 6002Anti-Newton ring glass mounts. These I have and add $1 to the copying cost.
2. Mount the transparency in GEPE 7001glassless mounts for no additional charge.
    Both types of GEPE mounts are thin plastic mounts which work in 140 Carousel carriers and can be opened again if needed.

3. Remount the transparency in the original cardboard mount. This cardboard mount is cut but not damaged in unmounting the transparency. 
    I do this for my own transparencies. 

 

24. How do you insure the colors in the digital image file are identical to the original? 

For transparencies this is carefully done while at the computer display. Here a Hakuba M70 slide viewer with a color temperature of 5000K is used
to view the slide along with the digital image on the flat panel display with the same color temperature of 5000K. Referencing the slide on the illuminated
viewer I can make the subtle adjustments needed to make the jpeg image look almost identical to the original.

 

For negatives this is not possible unless I have an actual photograph to view using an equivalent temperature fluorescent lamp (which I have).
In the case of no photograph to refer to I use my own best judgment as to what color balance yields the most pleasing digital image.
You will be the final judge of quality of the digital image.
 

A negative with a known neutral gray or Kodak 18% gray card or 24 step gray scale will allow for the accurate rendering of gray with the
blue, green, and red components all having the same numerical value between 0 and 255. In this case, the same custom color profile used
to obtain a perfect gray would be used to correctly balance the other negatives of the same film type taken with the same temperature light source.
 

 

25. Are you able to copy Minox negatives? 

Yes, the 9.5mm, 8 x 11mm format Minox film can be copied with my equipment.  The process would be the similar to photographing an 8mm x 11mm region
of a 35mm negative or transparency. The film will be held in the film carrier part of the slide copier and placed into position for the exposure.
 

I have not worked with this small film yet but I am able to. Contact me with questions.  

  

More questions will be included and addressed as needed.