Scanning Negatives with the Olympus Zuiko Macro 50mm f/3.5

Comparsion scan from Canon 9000F flatbed scanner and Fujifilm X-E3 with Zuiko 50mm F3.5 lens

Using the Zuiko Lens on a Digital Camera (DSLR)

The Olympus Zuiko are so common that there is certainly an adapter to allow you to use these lens on a mirrorless or DSLR.

I know from my experience I’ve used the Zuiko lens on a Sony for portraits also on a Canon 5D which has an EF mount. Now also on the Fujifilm X-Mount.

The adapters are readily found online and cost 10-20 euros/dollars.

Close up, scanned with Fujifilm X-E3 with Zuiko 50mm F3.5 lens
Close up, scanned with Fujifilm X-E3 with Zuiko 50mm F3.5 lens

Scanning Negatives with the Olympus Zuiko 50mm f/3.5

The little Zuiko is quite capable of scanning your negatives too. To achieve this, you’ll need a light table. I would  recommend an LED version which are inexpensive. In my case I wish to complete the proof of concept so to speak.

Therefore I used a free app called “Light Table” on my Android phone. I’m pretty sure it’s available on iOS too.

I set my mirror-less camera up on a tripod directly over the mobile on a flat surface and placed a piece of glass over the negative and proceeded to take an image once I had manually focused the lens.

Listen to this article

Some tips to ensure correct exposure.

  • Firstly you should turn on your Highlight alert on your digital camera for live view.
  • Zoom into the negative and focus manually as sharp as possible.
  • Set the camera to manual exposure and the lens to f/8 or f/5.6.
  • Set the camera to the base ISO, usually 100, 160 or 200.
  • Use a cable release or in my case I use the threaded release cable which I can use on both cameras.
  • Switch on your histogram. To give you an idea of however the exposure will be.
  • Use RAW+JPEG mode of your camera.
  • Set the JPEG mode to FINE.

Remember that everything will be inverted in Photoshop once you convert the negative scan to a positive scan.

You should overexpose so the highlight alert is flashing through the notches of the negatives. Overexpose as much as possible once you see highlight alerts in the negative image, dial the shutter speed back. Now you are ready to snap an image of your negative.

You can also set the film simulation on your camera to black and white. That’s what I’ve done on my Fujifilm Digital X-E3.

 

Video

Everything you want to know about the Zuiko Macro Lens. This stuff packed video about all the awesome things you can do with the Olympus Zuiko 50mm f3.5 Macro Lens. This macro lens you can use on both analog and digital camera. I will cover scanning film with the zuiko macro. Shooting film on the streets of Graz both Macro photography and straight photography with this little lens. I also cover the workflow in photoshop how to convert your scanned negative to positive.

Conclusion

I would like to make note, using a mobile phone will pick up the pixels patterns from the display. As you can see in the scanned images. But as I said it’s a proof of concept. 

Having said that, the lens is quite capable. I hope to replace the mobile app with a proper light table and a copy stand to ensure a flatter plane of focus.

Let me know what you think and your tips.

Resources

https://phillipreeve.net/blog/review-olympus-om-zuiko-auto-macro-50mm

http://www.alanwood.net/olympus/macro-lens-50-35.html

https://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/olympusom1n2/shared/zuiko/htmls/macrozuikoC.htm

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