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What lens do you use for 8mm scans? (Retroscan or other scanners.)


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I just set up the Retroscan for 8mm. I never scanned 8mm with it. I hate 8mm, but I have about 450 R8mm and 120 S8mm to scan. And that number was after I sold off about 400+ R8 / S8 films. They are just too low Q for me. But there is a lot of rare material in the 8mm films that I have, so I will have to make do with the low IQ. 

 

DSC29092.jpg

 

I'm using a 50mm Ricoh CTTV C mount lens. Sharpness is acceptable, but it takes a 3-inch (75mm) extension tube to fill the frame for R8mm. The max scanner light output just about covers normally exposed film at f4.

As a comparison, the 50mm lens works fine for 16mm scans with a very small extension tube. I can get by with f5.6 most of the time for 16mm. To overscan the R8mm I would use maybe 2-1/2 to 2-3/4 inches of tubes. (I didn't test the overscan really, so guessing.)

I was thinking maybe a 75mm or 80mm lens would be better for R8mm with less extension tubes needed...but just guessing.

What length lens / extension tube combo do you use for 8mm?

Thanks!

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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This is what I am using on the Mark II, the suppled Ricoh 50mm lens, the supplied adjustable extension plus a bunch of CS-Mount to C-Mount spacers. I have been tempted to try a C-Mount to Nikon F-Mount adaptor and Micro-Nikkor lenses but so far I have not been tempted enough.

SCANNER SHIMS FOR 8mm.jpg

Edited by Robert Hart
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Here's my friend's one:

dscan.thumb.jpg.f10ceba9754abb151664f7f54564cc16.jpg

The light and the custom gate (which you can't really see there as it's a 3D-printed prototype) make far more difference than changing the optics or the camera. So you have: camera ~$3K, optics about $400.

The light on the other hand is about $200-250, to fit it into the original housing it's attached to a custom machined heatsink, and you could improve the diffusion method if you were motivated enough. It takes some fiddling to get right as it is, it's not like you can just pop the diffusing glass ontop of the LED and call it a day! The warped-film gate isn't for sale but assume a range of $500-1,000 if it was available at retail (per gauge). You can't see it in the picture, but there's also a speed controller so that he has complete control over the speed. The stock machines run at 15fps, but he can slow it down as required to improve the scan.

The point being that it's kind of pointless to start with replacing the optics or the camera and leaving in the original light. The low-brightness, low-CRI light is the main limiting factor followed by the lack of film gates to hold the film in focus. A brighter high CRI light gets you much better colour and reduces smearing/motion-blur. Changing the camera and lens is more expensive, it will improve the quality of course but it's futile if you're pointing it at the same light!

That one is a couple of years old and his ScanStation now handles most film so it doesn't do much work now even though it is quite capable compared with a stock Retroscan. In my opinion these things are only good value for someone with a strong DIY mentality who is technically capable and able to make improvements, for someone like that they can be a good learning tool. Other than that they're capable of making "access scans" which is what they were originally designed for, and that's about it.

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Thanks for pointing that out Todd.

If you have an existing Retroscan Mk II you are much better off doing it yourself. They're just using a 90 CRI COB LED and you can use a higher CRI light, the diffusion won't be designed to conceal scratches because it takes precision to get that right and a lot of tinkering. It doesn't have a 4K camera at all, just a 2.4K GigE camera (resolution is 2448x2048), the old camera which was this one (a model from 2016) had a resolution of 2048x1536.

It is good to see they've made a cheaper model though.

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On 9/28/2022 at 1:06 AM, Dan Baxter said:

The one in my friend's one is an APO-Rodagon D 75mm. But the light is more important to change than the optics or the camera and building/fitting in a decent light for the Universal Mk1 won't be easy.

That is a great lens. Too bad Retroscan didn't use a M39 mount instead of a C mount.

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38 minutes ago, Dan Baxter said:

Thanks for pointing that out Todd.

If you have an existing Retroscan Mk II you are much better off doing it yourself. They're just using a 90 CRI COB LED and you can use a higher CRI light, the diffusion won't be designed to conceal scratches because it takes precision to get that right and a lot of tinkering. It doesn't have a 4K camera at all, just a 2.4K GigE camera (resolution is 2448x2048), the old camera which was this one (a model from 2016) had a resolution of 2048x1536.

It is good to see they've made a cheaper model though.

 

 

universal_sample_medium.jpg

https://www.videouniversity.com/wp-content/uploads/RetroScanUniversal.jpg

Internet photos: Fair Use

I've got their old Universal model with 2K camera. The diffusion LED light has worked fine for me Dan. Is the light on the newer models subpar?

With 16mm I use it at 80% light at get a f5.6 scan. I found with slight overscan with 8mm I can get by at f5.6 using 55mm extension tube instead of the 75mm tube I was using. Only with the densest underexposed films do I have to go wide open with the lens. Every once in a while, I found having more light would have helped. But 98% of the time it is fine.

That Universal seems to be built like a tank. I see old ones on eBay all the time. Hope mine holds up. If it goes, I will be in trouble!

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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11 hours ago, Dan Baxter said:

Here's my friend's one:

dscan.thumb.jpg.f10ceba9754abb151664f7f54564cc16.jpg

The light and the custom gate (which you can't really see there as it's a 3D-printed prototype) make far more difference than changing the optics or the camera. So you have: camera ~$3K, optics about $400.

The light on the other hand is about $200-250, to fit it into the original housing it's attached to a custom machined heatsink, and you could improve the diffusion method if you were motivated enough. It takes some fiddling to get right as it is, it's not like you can just pop the diffusing glass ontop of the LED and call it a day! The warped-film gate isn't for sale but assume a range of $500-1,000 if it was available at retail (per gauge). You can't see it in the picture, but there's also a speed controller so that he has complete control over the speed. The stock machines run at 15fps, but he can slow it down as required to improve the scan.

The point being that it's kind of pointless to start with replacing the optics or the camera and leaving in the original light. The low-brightness, low-CRI light is the main limiting factor followed by the lack of film gates to hold the film in focus. A brighter high CRI light gets you much better colour and reduces smearing/motion-blur. Changing the camera and lens is more expensive, it will improve the quality of course but it's futile if you're pointing it at the same light!

That one is a couple of years old and his ScanStation now handles most film so it doesn't do much work now even though it is quite capable compared with a stock Retroscan. In my opinion these things are only good value for someone with a strong DIY mentality who is technically capable and able to make improvements, for someone like that they can be a good learning tool. Other than that they're capable of making "access scans" which is what they were originally designed for, and that's about it.

 

Beautiful setup!  It is kinda hard to follow total cost that was invested in parts in your post. Was the camera $3,000 alone? When you change the camera, did the original software still work?

I've tried a light pin gate for 16mm. Worked terrible on warped film. That was my experience anyway. 

After he made all the mods, how did the scan compare to the Lasergraphics? You had sent in a sample scan comparing the Retroscan to the Lasergraphics a long time ago. Was that Retroscan sample output photo made with this scanner after all the updates? Or was it a stock Retroscan output photo?

 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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26 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

I've got their old Universal model with 2K camera. The diffusion LED light has worked fine for me Dan. Is the light on the newer models subpar?

The (original) light on both models is sub-par, but it'll matter less on black-and-white film.

14 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Beautiful setup!  It is kinda hard to follow total cost that was invested in parts in your post. Was the camera $3,000 alone? When you change the camera, did the original software still work?

No the software is locked to the supported cameras. You can use the camera manufacturer's capture software (Spinview, it's free) and get raw captures that are superior to what the software does anyway. Yes the camera was about $3K, it's gone up a bit in price. But really you'd get a different camera now as the Pregius S chips are better and cheaper.

17 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

After he made all the mods, how did the scan compare to the Lasergraphics?

If the film is good, as in it has good or at least decent colour it was shot well etc then it can get very close in quality. But it's not anywhere near as useful for commercial scanning work (including home movie scanning and dailies) because there's more work involved in using it. That's the major catch. You have to re-render the scans multiple times to get to the same deliverable format, whereas the scan that comes directly off the LG is good to go to the customer most of the time.

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For what it may be worth, I thought I would try my understanding of the notion of a spherical light source.

I trimmed off part of a table tennis ball with the intention of the opening being directed towards the film plane. The ball sat on a PVC ring cut from some water pipe. The ring inside was sprayed with some bright chrome paint in hope of a bit more light scatter.

That plan did not work. The round end of the ball was too close to the centre LED and created a hot spot. There was a bit of weird stuff going on with specks of dust on the clear film test. They acted like little lenses and created ring stains in the image. I guess this might be the defocus effect on scratches. 

I turned the ball over and set the opening towards the LED panel. The light spread seems to be quite even. The colour looks a bit grubby. Neg seems to scan and invert a little better but that is purely subjective on my part from live previewing as a test.

pi.jpg

Edited by Robert Hart
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On 9/29/2022 at 3:10 PM, Dan Baxter said:

Thanks for pointing that out Todd.

If you have an existing Retroscan Mk II you are much better off doing it yourself. They're just using a 90 CRI COB LED and you can use a higher CRI light, the diffusion won't be designed to conceal scratches because it takes precision to get that right and a lot of tinkering. It doesn't have a 4K camera at all, just a 2.4K GigE camera (resolution is 2448x2048), the old camera which was this one (a model from 2016) had a resolution of 2048x1536.

It is good to see they've made a cheaper model though.

What do you think about the cheaper model? retroscan 816 2K

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49 minutes ago, Patrik Ondrasik said:

What do you think about the cheaper model? retroscan 816 2K

816_page_header_001.jpg

 

Probably similar to Universal Mark-1. Ask the maker. The light pin does not seem to do good with warped film, at least with the Universal Mark -1. But I don't have much experience with it. Maybe someone that has lots of experience with the Light Pin can chime in. 

I think these Retroscan machines are great for the budget film scanning business trying to scan people's films on the cheap for them.

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You can't make a film scanner work without a rigid gate which doesn't move, which the film touches as it's being scanned. Retroscan machines don't have gates, thus nothing prevents the film from warping slightly. So focus will never be fixed. 

We spend months trying to get a fixed gate for our Film Fabriek. We finally got a development gate system they made years ago and we've been modifying it to work and it's a prerequisite. 

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5 hours ago, Patrik Ondrasik said:

What do you think about the cheaper model? retroscan 816 2K

It's a better price, but it's the same thing really.

39 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Retroscan machines don't have gates, thus nothing prevents the film from warping slightly. So focus will never be fixed.

That's because as it says on the website they were designed for archives (the Academy of Motion Picture Film Archives) where the quality isn't essential so they can catalogue their holdings. The home movie transfer companies are just a bonus market.

6 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

I think these Retroscan machines are great for the budget film scanning business trying to scan people's films on the cheap for them.

They definitely are not the best scanner for any type of commercial film transfer business.

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On 10/6/2022 at 7:52 AM, Dan Baxter said:

It's a better price, but it's the same thing really.

Retroscan 816 has a good price of €5,500. I compare it with retroscan markII -4k. I see you have good knowledge. which choice is the better price/quality of scan.

 

Quote

They definitely are not the best scanner for any type of commercial film transfer business.

I know the quality is not the best. But in a similar price category, nothing beats the price of €5,700 + VAT. and retroscan is 8/16mm. I would like the filmfabriek HDS, but the price of €35,000 + VAT is too high for me.
Or pictor pro for €19,000+vat. 8mm with sound.
Which scanner would be your choice?

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Well I haven't seen the results off one, but 90 CRI is not particularly high and it wouldn't surprise me if the new cameras have visible sensor noise. The low-cost scanners in the $3K-12K range were originally designed for low-end work where the quality wasn't important. Moviestuff designed theirs for archives where the quality wasn't essential but they just needed to catalogue their holdings, and the Tobins were designed for the home movie to DVD market in the 00's (there's a little bit of information from the guy that designed them here). The Tobins cost $3600 new. The thing to take note about those 00's low-cost scanners is they had a particular use case in mind because the companies that were making the professional scanners weren't paying those markets any attention, which is clear if you ask how many professional scanners in the 00's could do 8mm at all? They were all focused on restoration (the scanning manufacturers that is) but some of the scanning companies were also looking at new markets like archives and government work.

In 2010's you saw an entirely new class of scanners that were professional or at least semi-professional and suitable for those markets (and also for dailies), and which didn't cost upwards of $500,000. So the purpose that Moviestuff and Tobin were designed for, while those markets certainly still exist they now have scanning systems designed for them that are a much better fit for that purpose today. You can see in the 2007 thread that Clive Tobin said "It is a specialist 1CCD camera which is adequate for old home movies." Adequate for the market in 2007 is how the original designer describes it - it's now 2022.

For non-commercial work such as hands-on hobbyists they can get value out of some of the cheaper scanners today like the Pictor Pro, or even a Moviestuff if they want to put in serious efforts to improve them. But it does take serious work, even just building a new light and fitting it in is not an exercise for a novice user. For commercial work you really want something more capable now because it affects your workflow. If your budget allows for a Pictor Pro and that's the best you can afford and it's for commercial work, then sure that may be the best entry choice and then you could invest in another scanner down the line. The downside is you wouldn't be able to do 16mm until you can buy another scanner, but if 16mm is not essential for the time being then you would definitely find it better than starting with a Retroscan for 8mm work.

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