Don offers an excellent suggestion, but I'd like to suggest that the
image quality from 8 mm will be marginal at best. The area of 8 mm is
about 1/4 of 16 mm. The 16mm film frame was scanned at 9600 dpi on the
Epson V700. The resultant TIF is 3930 x 2511 pixels ((9.9 MP). I did
confirm that the focus was soft with a loupe. 4800 dpi clearly showed
jaggies before the optical resolution fell off. My son Robert and I sat
there looking at different scanning resolutions starting at 2400 dpi. We
both felt that 9600 was the first one that was really good. He was
surprised I didn't take the next step, but that involves interpolation,
I think, so we left it at close to 10 MP for the image. He did a great
job of cropping each frame (they were different effective heights. This
appears to have been a commercial film strip, not part of a movie. I
never knew there were 16 mm film strips!
Remember, with the macro approach you will be way above 1:1 which is why
normal "macro" or "micro" lenses which go to 1:1 will not provide the
required magnification which is why all the fuss that Don described is
Wikipedia indicates that the frame size of regular 8 mm film is 4.8 x
3.5 mm, so it is a bit larger than 1/8 of an inch (3.175 mm)--every
The aspect ratio of 8 mm is about 1.37 while both full-frame and
APS-sized digital SLR sensors have an aspect ratio of about 1.5.
That means that height will control the magnification (if you don't want
to crop top and bottom).
With full-frame 35 mm image sensors (36 x 24 mm) you will need
magnification approximately 6.8 X. With an APS-sized sensor (Nikon DX)
size of 24 x 16 mm, you will need about 4.5 X magnification. This is
achievable with a macro setup. When I went digital, I sold my bellows
and slide copier attachment and then ended up buying another fixed slide
copy attachment (no bellows) later, which I have not used except for
proof-of-concept (or more correctly determining the annoyance-of-concept
for my scale of project).
If you just went 1:1, you would end up with about 0.5 MP (about 875 x
583 pixels) in a 24 MP full-frame DSLR and 0.76 MP (about 1072 x 715
pixels) in a 16 MP DX-sized (APS) DSLR. These may be barely adequate,
but I think I'd want more, so I'm afraid you're stuck with bellows or at
least extension tubes. You will be in the manual everything domain, so
make certain you can use your DSLR and lens in fully manual mode. You
will want to stop down, but not too far or diffraction losses will
reduce your sharpness. Reversing a lens, especially a wide-angle
lens--will get you closer to what you need.
On the other hand, a good flatbed with transparent material adapter as
Jerry suggested and I did with the 16 mm is easier to use and faster to
set up. At 9600 dpi your frame would work out to about 1814 x 1322
pixels or 2.4 MP which might be satisfactory. The Epson actually was
interpolating at 9600 dpi (in one direction) which is possibly part of
the softness. It's native resolution on the glass is 4800 x 9600 dpi
while the V-500 is 6400 x 9600 dpi. So, for your application, the V-500
or V-600 which are priced at under $200 here in Canada are less than the
cost of a bellows alone, let alone all to other pieces you need to make
macro work, so you might want to give it a try. I don't want to tell you
all the Nikon rings and things I have for fooling around with macro.
The individual frames will be less pleasing than looking at the
projected movie because, in the movie, the grain is random and tends to
average out from frame to frame whereas that does not happen when you
grab an individual frame. Also, with an individual frame, you will
probably end up looking at it for longer and at greater magnification
than the moving-image version...and people will expect more resolution
from a still than from a movie.
On 2012-09-20 9:00 AM, James Roth wrote:
> Greetings, all!
> First, thank you all for advising me on the baking of the 1/4-inch audiotape which had become sticky over the years.
> The tapes now play perfectly.
> I have many feet of regular, old 8mm film and I'd love to be able to scan certain individual frames of it, but they are so small (about 1/8-inch square).
> Does anyone know of a scanner that could handle such a minute picture?
> Perhaps there's a film editor that can snap a frame with the push of a button.
> Ben Roth
Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.