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Thread: Large Format Digital Scanner Camera

  1. #1

    Large Format Digital Scanner Camera

    In April’s Popular Photography & Imaging under “News” was a brief mention of the work being done by Michael Golembewski which apparently has been covered by a number of publications. Michael created “The Scanner Photography Project” that not only shows how to construct a large format camera using a flat bed scanner, but also explores the creativity of the device. This is covered in depth in his site, (Apparently because of the high traffic and related costs it is at the time of this writing no longer available on the web although parts can be found by searching though references and mirrors.).

    I have constructed a camera using an old Burke and James 4x5 with a Canon LIDE 20 scanner. The results are fasinating! I have posted information and pictures on my site at:

    I would like to know if anyone is aware of others working with this modification and if anything has been posted about it?

  2. #2
    Administrator Tom Persinger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Pittsburgh PA USA

    Large Format Digital Scanner Camera

    welcome to f295 John.
    yes, there are several f295ers active w/ scanner cameras (staft and timeruinsbelief come to mind)

    here are a few links from staft:

  3. #3

    Large Format Digital Scanner Camera

    I assume the main modification to the scanner is to change the way it focusses. Does it need some form of diffuser/light collector in place of the film/ground glass?

    I have been interested in something similar for a while - putting a scanner under an enlarger to digitise negatives at a greater resolution than placing them on the glass (due to a larger image size).

    I have not really wanted to modify the scanner in the past but I might have a go now.

  4. #4

    Large Format Digital Scanner Camera

    I believe an aerial image can be detected if that's where the sensor is located... a viewing screen is just to make it easier for us.

  5. #5

    Large Format Digital Scanner Camera

    Steve, the posters here who've made scanner-cams haven't used diffusers or similar as far as I'm aware, though I can imagine you might gain on image coverage by installing a Fresnel on the scanner glass with focal length matched to the imaging lens. The same could surely be done for digitizing negatives, though there's a time factor involved -- for what it costs in time to digitize a few dozen negatives this way, you could buy a used Imacon scanner that gives a real 4000 ppi optical resolution (i.e. about 3x the actual information content of a 4000 ppi flatbed) on film from APS to 4x5 (and might be adaptable to 16 mm or Minox).

    Key to the scanner-cam concept is a scanner cheap enough you don't commit financial hari-kiri if you have to bust up 3-4 in the process of getting what you want...

  6. #6

    Large Format Digital Scanner Camera

    The first link above referenced by tpersin gives you a rough idea of parts involved. The scanner pictured and one that I used is Canon LIDE type (probably 20, 25 or 30. This scanner is ideal since it gets power from usb port (so can work in field from laptop), does not have mirrors and lens (actually array is full width of scanner) and can be used vertically.

    The basic steps involved in the modification are:

    Remove light source

    Remove pinhole lense strip.

    Open up angle that scanner array can recieve light (have to carefully remove array from housing)

    Use general software, Canon software will not work after you modify the unit physically.

    Steve, a lot of this is discussed in above reference and some on my sight. The explaination on the scanner photography site was very good - I wonder if anyone downloaded the information on their computer. Other thing, don't know how this would work with an enlarger. Good luck and will try to answer any specific questions you come up with.

  7. #7

    Large Format Digital Scanner Camera

    I keep working with the scanner camera and wanted to share a photo I took recently and a small portion of that photo to show the detail that is possible with a roughly 10-12 megapixel version of camera. I still think I can refine this with next camera to be a 100 megapixel camera.

    Attached files

  8. #8

    Large Format Digital Scanner Camera

    sorry- i didn't realize this thread was happening. i would be happy to share any of my experiences with anybody trying this. for me, the value of these scanner cameras lies in the distortion possibilities rather than the increased resolution, which tends to be offset by all the artifacts. these things are simply FUN! the trickiest part seems to be removing and replacing the sensor. my conversion worked the first time, but some people have gone through multiple scanners after snapping the brittle sensors.
    i used a canoscan n656e, and had no problems. i taped the lcd, removed the diffusor lens, and used a flexible shaft to open up the sensor carriage slot opening into a wide v-groove (which is best done withe the carriage/hosing removed, and the sensor MUST be removed for this step.
    a fresnel sheet on the scanner glass should increase the available light, because these don't work below a certain light level. i use a 300 mm gerogon reproduction lens that makes the best images at f12. i haven't tried any other lenses with it yet, but i have been happy with this one.
    let me know if i can help.

  9. #9

    Large Format Digital Scanner Camera

    staft, thank you for your description. I followed the same process with Canoscan LIDE 20 which apparently is the same construction as one you used (I have used your tread on the project to help explain to several others on the web how this is done.).

    I agree the whole thing is FUN! I just like to push the envelope a little and see how fast I can make one of these go... I am working on understanding artifacts and their causes. Will keep you posted on progress.

  10. #10

    Large Format Digital Scanner Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jvh
    I am working on understanding artifacts and their causes. Will keep you posted on progress.
    that would be wonderful to control! as soon as i think i have massaged one type away 2 more pop up. dirt in the calibration area, reflections on the scanner glass that bounce off the inside of the lens, a dark streak that may be a reflection from the steel rail (or rails in some scanners) bouncing back against the inside of the glass- let me know when i can send my camera to you to have these removed!!!
    mostly there seems to just be an unevenness that results in the horizontal "stripes". curable? maybe not, but it will take more patience than i posess...

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