The following are examples of readily available lens / camera combinations across the range of common manufacturers and sensor formats.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are countless camera models from the past few years that are incredibly capable imagers. If you are comfortable purchasing used equipment, KEH and B&H carry used options that are tested and graded. If you have any doubt about the compatibility of a certain camera / lens, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.
Your selection may depend on availability, personal brand preference, total budget and wether you value certain features for use outside of scanning. For the vast majority of use-cases an entry level camera performs comparably to it’s higher spec’d counterpart. Many selling points of newer cameras ( NFC, GPS, high frame rate capture, Bluetooth, 4k video etc. ) are irrelevant for film scanning.
It is recommended to purchase a compatible AC power supply for uninterrupted scanning ( as opposed to cycling and charging batteries). Most but not all cameras support AC power supplies, typically in the form of a dummy battery.
Before purchasing via the (Amazon Affiliate ) links below, please first try to support your local independent camera retail store.
See below for a breakdown of what to look for in a camera / lens.
( 105mm will result in cropping of 120 on the Strip )
( Not wide enough for 127 / 120 on the Strip)
Budget Option : 172E Tamron 90 (JP Model)
An EF to RF adapter can be used with any of the lenses listed below under Canon Full Frame (EF)
None of the three native RF macro lenses in the target focal length we are currently aware of are optimal choices due to physical constraints and lack of a 1:1 option.
The Canon 85mm macro only has a 1:2 ( 0.5x ) magnification.
The Canon 100mm with a 1.4x magnification, consequently is an inch too long to achieve full framing of a 35mm slide without modifying the projector.
The 100mm Venus Laowa, with a 2x magnification is physically longer still.
( The 100mm is a manual focus lens. It has excellent optical quality )
Canon R | 30.3MP / 5000PPI@35mm | C1 Shutter Release
62mm Filter thread
(90mm Sony cannot fill frame with 35mm slides on the SlideSnap Pro, will require some cropping )
( Will need to crop down some for 35mm with the Sigma ) ( 49mm Filter thread)
Resolution : 24MP seems to be the sweet spot for scanning 35mm images with higher resolutions subject to diminishing returns. Scan resolution in PPI / pixels per inch can be calculated by dividing your image width by your subject width. A 24MP image is 6000x4000px and a 35mm frame is 1.3″ wide. 6000/1.3 = 4615PPI. Assuming you overscan by 5%, you are looking at about 4400PPI after cropping.
Sensor Size : Full Frame vs Crop Sensor : In our testing, 35mm scans produced with a full frame sensor are qualitatively indistinguishable to those captured with a crop sensor. For medium format (120) scans, a full frame sensor can be worth the upgrade.
Sensor size WILL dictate the appropriate focal length of macro lens. A full frame sensor has 1.5x larger surface area and requires 1.5x the focal length to achieve the same framing as a crop sensor placed at the same distance. So where a 90mm lens is called on a full frame body, a crop sensor equivalent would be 60mm.
Mirrorless vs DSLR : Mirrorless is all the rage, primarily because it means a smaller package and fewer moving parts. It is a common misconception that mirrorless bodies have NO moving parts. They typically still have a mechanical shutter. One relevant advantage to mirrorless is that LiveView ( seeing what the camera sees on the LCD ) can be used full time without consequence to capture rate.
Lens options for the new mirrorless systems are comparatively limited, but growing.
Yes, you can experiment with adapters from one lens mount type to another., or turn a prime portrait lens into a macro lens using extensions tubes. You can achieve macro focus with add-on lenses or reverse mounting a portrait lens. You can shoot with a wider lens and aggressively crop ( at some loss of resolution ) instead of filling the frame with the image.
There are numerous alternative approaches available to you, but the added variables put these outside of the scope of our ability to consult. YMMV
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