How to digital scan a color negative film with a DSLR

General discussion regarding photography practices and Capture One workflow as well as integration with third party applications.
Please DO NOT post to this thread regarding OS specific concerns or questions.
Forum rules
For the sake of being thorough, please remember to note if you are using Mac or Windows.
Hopefully this will keep any confusion to a minimum.

How to digital scan a color negative film with a DSLR

Postby fatihayoglu » Tue May 15, 2018 11:45 am

Hi all,

I am fairly successful on converting my TX400 films into digital with a Nikon DSLR and Macro lens. Its as simple as converting the RGB curve and adding some contrast etc.

However I am not quite sure if the same method works for Portra400 films.

Could you please enlighten me or show the right paths?

PS I use CO11 for RAW processing.


Late 2015 iMac 5K, 4Ghz, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 4GB GPU
Nikon D750, 20 f/1.8G, 35 f/2D, 50 f/1.8D, 85 f/1.8D, 24-70 f/2.8E, 70-200 f/2.8G
Leica M10, 35 Summicron, 50 Summilux, 90 Summicron
Posts: 179
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2015 5:57 pm

Re: How to digital scan a color negative film with a DSLR

Postby cdc » Thu May 17, 2018 2:57 am

Color film conversion is definitely more involved, but doable. To invert a negative in Capture One you can use either the curves or levels tool. Move the black point all the way to white and the white point to black. The draw back of doing this is that many of the other tools work in reverse and things become unintuitive, but now you'll have an inverted image.

To deal with the color cast of the inverted color negative film the best way I've found is to use the R,G, & B channels of the levels tool and drag the end points to the same relative positions of the histogram. In the capture one preferences you can set auto levels to adjust the R, G, & B channels, as opposed to the RGB channel, and this will make that process quicker/automated when you use the auto levels feature. From there you can fine tune the levels adjustments and use the white balance and the other color tools.

You may find it to be a smoother workflow if you import an already inverted TIFF as opposed to doing the inversion directly on the NEF file in Capture One, of course then you will loose the benefit of working directly on the RAW file.
Posts: 406
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2015 12:15 am

Return to Workflow and Common Photography Exploration

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest