What's the best Nikon for duplicating historical scrapbook pictures?(29 posts) (16 voices)
This is my first post here and I felt I should way in with my experience as I used to do this for a living back in the day when slide shows were state of the art. (Yes, Fred Flinstone was one of my customers).I would first like to address one very important issue not mentioned here yet and that is ergonomics. It looks like you may be spending many hours bending over your viewfinder and will have some serious problems with fatigue and back strain. I have put together some suggestions for you based on your budget. I will list them for you and then explain.
1. Nikon D5000 est $650 new body only.
This camera has a tremendous feature that will allow you to rotate and move the rear screen to any angle and you can use this while the camera is pointing down on a tripod. Focus will be done manually and you will see a small square in the viewfinder after you have achieved perfect focus on your subject. This procedure will save you tremendous amounts of time and effort as you will quickly be able to frame and adjust your objects without having to squint through the viewfinder.
2. NIKON MICRO-NIKKOR AI-S MACRO LENS 55mm f/2.8 est $200 used on ebay. This is a MANUAL FOCUS lens and one of the finest pieces of glass ever made. Any of the other micro nikkors will also work if affordable but I would keep to the 65mm or less. In copy work the manual focus is an advantage.
3. A good tripod that will allow you to reverse the center post so that the camera is between the legs. A crank for adjusting height would be very helpful if many of you subjects are of different sizes. The heavier the better. A used enlarger with a motorized carriage would be ideal like the old Besslers. I am not up on the current tripods out there but I think you could get something around $150 new or much less used. A trip to your local camera store or suggestions on this board should help.
4. Wireless remote control (extremely important) Est $14.
ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control.
Here is a generic equivalent that you can get on ebay for less than $2.00 including shipping! I would get several of these as they could be easily lost.
4. Lighting. I would opt for the light box solution as suggested by earlier posters for affordability. Try to restrict the light from illuminating the surrounding room if possible as the glare will cause problems. Some simple "barn doors" can be made from black poster board. Although expensive, the ideal solution would be to have two spot lights at 45 degrees with polarizers placed over the lights and to also use a polarizer on the lens. This is how the pros do it when photographing paintings and other objects with texture to control micro-reflections. These result in reduced contrast and glare that can degrade the image. Unfortunately these are expensive. I would opt for a good consistent light source. Be sure and set your camera to manual white balance based on your light source. Inexpensive flash units may work but you may have to trigger them from the on-board flash. This might be doable though.
5. Also, place a black card around the the lens to shield the camera and your white ceiling from reflecting back from the subject. Just cut a lens sized hole in some black poster board and cut to size. The larger the better. It is very distressing to have a days shooting ruined because of the image of the camera faintly looking back at you in all of your images.This will be extremely important if you use a sheet of glass as a platten to keep your subjects flat. Also, if you do use a glass platten remember that most window glass will add a green cast to your image. A few tests should show you the correct compensation. A sheet of good grade framing glass would be ideal. A polarizer on the lens may still be helpful with these setups.
5. Use your camera in manual mode for exposure and white balance. Once you are set up your light will not change.
6.Use an eyepiece cap. I know it sounds weird, put light does come through the camera both ways and can effect your image. Nikon makes a custom one but anything will do.
7. You can use an external power supply for your camera. This will keep the camera from shutting down just when you are about to click the shutter. I think it is around $100.
Good luck! I hope this helps and that my suggestions are within your budget. You can contact me if you have more questions.
NOTE: Ken Rockwell at
has just done a review of an inexpensive Dolica AX620B100 tripod for around $35 that would work for you. The legs lock at three angles, and each has a screw foot for a spike or rubber tip.
The column reverses, but even better, there is a second 3/8" screw at the bottom, so you can reverse the column, or just screw the head onto the bottom instead. It even includes a carrying case for that price and will hold up to 13 pounds.
OOPS... Sorry, my bad. It was my first post and I was trying to be as specific as possible with the suggestions. I have no connection with any of the links I posted and they were placed for information only. I won't break the rules again.
BTW, is the link to Nikon I included also forbidden?
You must log in to post.