Adapting a Lens

Estimated Cost: 0-50€

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Using a lens you have a good way of getting started if you really have the minimum budget. However, be aware that these scans will not be amazing - they will vary from 'bad' to 'Epson Flatbed' level quality on 35mm.  You can either use the lens that comes with your digital camera or that you have for it, or you can choose to adapt a vintage lens.

If you own a digital camera, or very often even if you buy one, you will have a lens for it. Modern digital cameras will usually come with a ‘kit’ lens - this is usually a relatively cheap, but not necessarily bad, photographic lens that is meant to cover a wide range of use. It is almost always a zoom lens (has variable focal lengths) and almost always an autofocus, electronically controlled lens. This lens will not be optimal for scanning, but you can use it.

To use the full resolution of your sensor you will need to use extension tubes because most of these lenses do not focus close enough to fill the frame with a piece of film. Extension tubes are rings that you mount on the camera, that you then mount your lens to - a sort of middleman between the lens and camera body. We won’t go into why, but it’s enough to understand that moving the lens further away from the sensor (camera), allows you to focus closer.

If you want to adapt a vintage lens, you will probably (unless you are using Nikon F) need an adapter in addition to extension tubes. You can buy most adapter types on Kamerastore.com.

If you want to learn how to adapt lenses, head over to read this excellent article from Kamerastore about it. 

Using extension tubes on an automatic lens (with autofocus) means you want a set of extension tubes with electrical contacts (usually marketed with “AF” or “autofocus”) - this lets the camera communicate aperture and focusing information to the lens. There are ways around this, if you can only get ‘dead’ (non-electronic) extension tubes, but this method is not recommended as it can damage the camera and/or lens.

Pros

Cheap

You don't need to buy all that much - at worst you will have to buy a cheap extension tube.

Good for testing out

Because it's accessible and affordable it's a good way to get into camera scanning, learn the workflow and hopefully scan some images. Be aware that it could produce bad results that could put you off camera scanning. Please read our 'common problems' guide at the end of the manual that is included with Valoi products and that is available on our website.

Cons

Low quality 

By using these lenses you will run into problems with low sharpness and resolution, and even things like vignetting (dark edges that become light once you convert the negative). If you want camera scanning to be good as possible, this is not something we recommend. 

Suggested Lenses

In no particular order

Extension tubes - Automatic extension tubes - Kit-lens

Make sure you know if you need an automatic extension tube (with electrical contacts) for your lens or not. If you are using vintage lenses then you generally don't. Chances are that you will if you are using a modern lens!