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Photographing old photos

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Hello:

 

I have a Sony a6000 with the 3.5-5.6/16-50 kit lens and also a Sigma 30mm 1:1.4 and Sony 4/18-105. I am very happy with these but have found it extremely difficult to take photos of old photos, especially with the better lenses. For some reason the auto focus doesn't work well with them (is it the shiny surfaces?). Even worse, it is hard to tell from the viewer that the focus is not crisp so I have to take twenty or more shots to be sure of even one okay. Is there anything I can do to solve this? Here are some examples:

http://imgur.com/a/BJAt4

http://imgur.com/a/3hyCD

 

Thanks,

 

M!

 

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If your object is simply to create digital copies of the old photographs, you would be far better using a scanner set to high resolution. Even using the one on my HP DeskJet the results I can get are far superior to anything I could get from photographing them

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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If you want to use the camera and not a scanner then I would suggest using a tripod that will allow you to point the camera straight down. Print off a page that has a lot of lines, etc that you can use to confirm focus then put the camera into manual focus and replace the paper with the photograph to be copied. Take the shot, put down the next photograph and repeat.

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Guest all8

Get the photos flatter (under some matt glass perhaps, from a handy picture frame...), and then use Manual Focus rather than Auto Focus. You can get wonderful results. Tripod is helpful too.

 

I've been doing this recently, using Manual Focus, ISO 100, f8 and a flash. If there are reflections, then I use the light from a Compact Fluorescent with WB Setting Fluorescent, which I have found to be most accurate ... and a tripod and a remote trigger. Otherwise, with the flash, Auto WB is perfect (since it uses 6100k anyway, no need for a greycard) and you don't strictly need the tripod either (but a tripod does make things much easier).

 

The folks over at Novoflex have a range of specialist products for this kind of work.

 

 

A scanner is faster and cheaper, but thats not always an option.

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I would scan except that some of the photos are in a library which charges twenty euros a page for scans and others are family photos that their jealous owners won't let me take out of their sight.

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Check out Peter Jenkins work here? https://www.facebook.com/groups/1510996062486122/permalink/1903319256587132/?comment_id=1903878169864574&notif_t=group_comment_reply&notif_id=1498052116234446 he uses bellows to achieve very good copies of old photographs?

 

I am sure Peter won't mind me copying and pasting his images here, after all, he can hardly claim copyright? and you could always visit his Facebook page and get chapter and verse from him?

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post-14019-0-31287800-1498091587_thumb.jpg

post-14019-0-31145200-1498091602_thumb.jpg

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Hello:

 

I have a Sony a6000 with the 3.5-5.6/16-50 kit lens and also a Sigma 30mm 1:1.4 and Sony 4/18-105. I am very happy with these but have found it extremely difficult to take photos of old photos, especially with the better lenses. For some reason the auto focus doesn't work well with them (is it the shiny surfaces?). Even worse, it is hard to tell from the viewer that the focus is not crisp so I have to take twenty or more shots to be sure of even one okay. Is there anything I can do to solve this? Here are some examples:

http://imgur.com/a/BJAt4

http://imgur.com/a/3hyCD

 

Thanks,

 

M!

 

Hi, you could also produce copies like this with your camera+ extension rings+ lens? 

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Hello:

 

I have a Sony a6000 with the 3.5-5.6/16-50 kit lens and also a Sigma 30mm 1:1.4 and Sony 4/18-105. I am very happy with these but have found it extremely difficult to take photos of old photos, especially with the better lenses. For some reason the auto focus doesn't work well with them (is it the shiny surfaces?). Even worse, it is hard to tell from the viewer that the focus is not crisp so I have to take twenty or more shots to be sure of even one okay. Is there anything I can do to solve this? Here are some examples:

http://imgur.com/a/BJAt4

http://imgur.com/a/3hyCD

 

Thanks,

 

M!

 

Here is an article that discusses the how to, and you could also opt to buy a set of close up filters the correct mm size to screw onto the front of your lens https://www.photo.net/discuss/threads/copying-a-huge-number-of-photos-by-camera-not-scanning.433497/

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post-14019-0-27773500-1498100156_thumb.jpg

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I've created a nice little digital film scanner that works quite well. But you need a macro lens and an old 4 x 5 view camera. If you use a lens that can

do 1:1, then you're set. I use my a7 and a Micro-Nikkor 55mm with extension tube. I've gotten some great results using this setup, but it takes a little

investing and tinkering know-how. 

 

http://danielmorrisonimaging.com/film-strip-and-slide-duplic.html

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If you want to use the camera and not a scanner then I would suggest using a tripod that will allow you to point the camera straight down. Print off a page that has a lot of lines, etc that you can use to confirm focus then put the camera into manual focus and replace the paper with the photograph to be copied. Take the shot, put down the next photograph and repeat.

This is good advice if there’s no way to use a scanner. Manual is the way to go. Note that if you aren’t using a macro lens, you may have a problem getting the entire photo plane in focus. In that case, you’ll need to back up a bit.

 

Then the problem will be setting up lighting. It’s tough to achieve even lighting over a print that does not create reflections of the light source or from walls. If you’re trying to copy color prints, you’ll also need to consider color balance of your lighting source. I don’t have any specific suggestions, but you might check the internet for tips on photographing paintings, since the lighting problem is similar. For example:

https://news.smugmug.com/the-art-of-copy-work-photographing-artwork-accurately-without-glare-80208e717304

https://www.artworkarchive.com/blog/4-steps-to-photographing-your-art-like-a-professional

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You can get sheet polarizers from American Polarizers 

 

   http://www.apioptics.com   

    

BTW do not use circular polarizers on e-mount cameras.  

It will work, but linear polarizers are more effective and 

there is no reason to use a circular polarizer. Those are 

for SLRs ... even on SLRs only for convenience, not for 

any reason of necessity. 

  

This will solve your reflection problem, but you will still 

have the problem of uneven illumination, which generally

requires a symmetrical 2-light arrangement. It's not very 

difficult technically, but is a royal pain ergonomically for 

portable use.  

   

You need a tripod or some sort of special purpose stand.

Image stabilization will not help cuz a handheld camera 

is drifting toward and away from the subject, which ruins 

your focus.  

   

For the task at hand, there is no convenient solution,

just solutions that are less awkward than others.    

   

post-12551-0-93388900-1509821403_thumb.jpg    

    

post-12551-0-07005800-1509821437_thumb.jpg   

    

   

Notice on the 2nd photo that some minor scratches are 

in focus, showing that focus is correct but the original 

photo was not 100% sharp to begin with. So beware of 

being confused about focus. Some originals look sharp

enuf at-a-glance, but when you try to critically focus on 

them, then they fail to look crisp in the MF maginifier.   

   

Of the 3 lenses you own, you can prolly get excellent 

results from the 18-105 in the 50 to 100 range if you 

stop down to about f/11. The other two are unlikely to 

serve well as copy lenses. You'll seldom benefit from a 

"true" macro lens in a portable situation. And you have 

no real need to heed any knee-jerk recommendations 

that your lens should reach 1:1. Do the math. [FYI your 

sensor is 17x23mm].   

   

Your lens will photograph 8x10 prints at about a foot 

and a half distance. That is about 1:10. For smaller 

originals you need to get down to about 1:4. You'll

need something like this [not expensive] :  

  

http://www.amazon.com/Meike-Automatic-Extension-Mount-NEX-5R/dp/B00BXZ9ALQ

    

  

 

     

   

 

 

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