With the $40 Happenstance slide copier attachment and your Nikon Coolpix 950 or 990 digital camera you can easily turn mounted 35mm slides into high-resolution digital images. The key to this slide copying system is the Nikon's ability to focus down to less than an inch with no auxilliary lenses required.
The Happenstance copier is constructed from machined acrylic and stainless
steel, it is a high quality piece of precision hardware.
Using the copier is really very simple, set your camera on the work surface as shown in the photo above. Load a slide into the copier and then place the copier on top of the lens.
The copier mates precisely with the lens ring but lets you move it for proper alignment of the image or to rotate a landscape shot into a portrait shot. Alignment and focus is now checked on the Nikon's LCD or better yet, plug the camera into a TV and use it as your viewfinder.
The slide is illuminated through the copier's diffuser using a desk lamp,
daylight from a window or most any other light source. I have an Ott Lamp
which is a small tabletop lamp that puts out 100% daylight. Almost any light
source will work. You can use the Nikon's white balance
settings to correct for the lighting being used or do it in software later.
Put the Nikon in M-Rec mode, turn Macro on and turn the flash off. After you startup the camera zoom out until you can see the entire slide on the LCD screen. Remember that the LCD only shows about 95% of the captured image so zoom back in a little more to avoid seeing the edges of the slide mount.
Take a picture and then immediately Play it back to make sure you have zoomed in enough to crop out the slide mount. Also check your color balance, if you're using flourescent lights you may need to use the Flourescent white balance setting although automatic usually works fine.
The Nikon 950 will not focus on the slide if it is zoomed all the way out
(which is default at startup) or zoomed all the way in to wideangle. If
you have turned off the continuous autofocus the camera will not focus
on the slide until you half-press the shutter button.
You can easily zoom in closer to the center of the slide and crop out
portions of the original image. You can also move the slide up and down
in the carrier as well as rotate it.
Now you can convert your 35mm slide collection into a digital collection that can be shown on the computer screen using any viewing program, I like ThumbsPlus as it not only allows you to adjust the images but it also has a slide show feature too.
The color range of 35mm slides may exceed the capabilities of the Nikon and its 8-bit per pixel capture capability but I have found the resulting images to be quite spectacular. Bear in mind that most dedicated slide scanners are 10-bit or 12-bit per pixel devices.
As with all digital images, half the fun is "tuning" them up using a good
graphics program like PhotoShop, PhotoImpact or the like.
I shot this picture on Ft Lauderdale Beach close to twenty years
ago and it still looks great. In fact it looks even better now because
I can digitally "massage" it any way I want!
I give the Happenstance Slide Copier a solid 5 (out of a possible 5) digicams!
It out performs much more expensive devices, it's very easy to use, it works great and it won't cost you more than $40 !
Happenstance's web page
DCRP: Andy Baird's Happenstance User Review
Sample Nikon 950 slide pics
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