The new Nikon ES-2 film digitizing adapter set for the D850 delayed until March 2018



Nikon Japan released an update that the new Nikon ES-2 film digitizing adapter set ($139.95) for the D850 will be delayed until mid-March, 2018. The adapter will let you scan film at 45.7MP:

"The ES-2 is a Film Digitizing Adapter that lets you easily convert your film images to digital. Taking advantage of the high-pixel count of the D850's 45.7 MP, the Film Digitizing Adapter lets you convert both 35mm slides and negatives to digital files. Using a lens such as the AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED attached to the D850, the camera's digitizing function automatically reverses the colors and stores them as JPEG images. This once time-consuming process involving a film scanner can be done much more quickly. For negative strips, use the FH-4 Strip Film Holder with the ES-2 and for slides, use the FH-5 Slide Mount Holder with the ES-2." (Nikon)

Nikon ES-2 pre-orders: B&H | AdoramaWEX (UK)

The Nikon ES-2 film digitizing adapter is compatible only with the D850, for other cameras you can use the older Nikon ES-1 model.

Related post:

Nikon D850 negative digitizer mode


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  • Eric Calabros

    5 people who would buy that have to wait a bit longer

    • PhilK

      Based on the responses here it sounded to me like a significant number of people were looking forward to this item.

      The dumb thing is this seems like a fairly simple device to make and it’s hard to see how delaying the production of it is going to help Nikon’s production capacity much. They should have just outsourced it somewhere.

      • Typys

        The official statement back in october was that they had to review the design and the materials.

        • PhilK

          Yeah, and I consider that official statement a rather egregious insult to people’s intelligence.

          This is a very simple item. A few pieces of black anodized aluminum and a piece of milky glass or plastic. All of which are common materials used in a large variety of Nikon products. There are not even any actual lens components in this product. It is just a filmholder.

          • Allen_Wentz

            Just a filmholder, but it is macro capture and film is seldom flat so focus is a challenge, as is white balance IIRC from my jig. It is easy to get databasable captures but hard to get fully usable captures.

            • PhilK

              I really don’t think focus is an issue for a company that has been producing film-copying equipment since at least the 1970s. When you look at the complexity of design/manufacturing even the simplest/cheapest point-shoot camera that Nikon makes (in the millions every year), it is orders of magnitude more complex than something like this.

              In fact, I’d be surprised if Nikon did not outsource the actual production of such accessories to contract manufacturers after the design phase.

              As for white balance, what is so difficult about shooting a sample 18% grey frame/slide and adjusting as necessary?

            • Allen_Wentz

              Using the (not cheap) CoolScan 8000 on MF film strips I learned I had to focus manually or the scans would often be less than the best. I do not remember the focus process using my cardboard jig, but those captures were not usable for print.

              As to adjusting WB, that is a big question. Of course we can adjust per a grey card IF the process Nikon has built here allows RAW capture, but also the whole point is how much time it takes compared to a dedicated film scanner, and what kind of image results.

              I will be interested to see how well this Nikon jig with 45 MP capture actually works. Like I said, my homemade D2x/D3 jig was _not_ usable for print.

            • PhilK

              What kind of MF film were you typically scanning?

              I know that Kodachrome seemed at times to render different colors in the image at different depths of the film emulsion, but I never noticed such an effect with negative film.

              As far as an adapter such as this is concerned, it just needs to be accurately aligned parallel to the sensor plane and not wobbly. I doubt much can be done about film curvature with a simple device like this, unless you make it much more complex and sandwich the film in-between glass and then have all the problems that that technique causes. The rest comes down to one’s lens focusing technique.

              It is a bit curious why this system blocks RAW capture, I suspect there is some kind of rationale for that, just can’t think of one myself at the moment.

            • Allen_Wentz

              All 6×7 color negative. Also positive and negative 35mm film with the Coolscan 5000, but I had so much 35mm I mostly just databased using my own jig with 105mm micro and only scanned images that would be published.

              I did buy the stack loader to expedite 35mm slide scanning but it turned out to be a waste of money because a stack never, ever scanned without manual intervention; not once.

        • PhilK

          I think what is most likely is that it was set to be produced in that big Chinese factory that Nikon just decommissioned. Second possibility is that it was using production resources that they want to devote to boost inadequate D850 production instead.

          Neither of which they want to publicly admit.

          • Typys

            I don’t know, as you said this is a very simple item. I find it strange that such a small accessory, that is probably produced only in small numbers, is able to throttle the production of a much more complex object such as the D850.

            But you could also be totally right, this is just pure speculation, I don’t know nothing about mass production

          • ZoetMB

            The latter seems highly unlikely to me that these few pieces of plastic were being produced on a line that could produce the D850. More likely is that the farmed this out to some Chinese company and they got back samples and they were no good for some reason.

            • PhilK

              When I use the term “production resources” I don’t simply mean literally time/space on a particular factory production line. I mean things like:

              – Design time/money/personnel ‘people-hours’ etc
              – Sourcing and production management time/money/resources
              – Documentation/support time/money/resources

              Etc, etc.

              It is certainly also possible they outsourced part of the production of this item to a OEM fabricator (eg in China) and had issues with the pilot production run samples etc.

      • Allen_Wentz

        Yes simple to make. More than a decade ago I was doing lots of 35mm and MF scanning, and I _hate_ s l o w scanning so I made a cardboard version for use with the 105mm micro and a light table light. It worked fine for databasing the image files digitally; only if a pic will actually be used does a slow-assed scan ever occur. The original film is the best image data after all.

        My captures were no where near as good as dedicated scans. Maybe the reason that delivery is delayed is because Nikon is finding the same problem after advertising it as perfect IQ.

      • Someone

        Your comment implies that your opinion is that Nikon delayed this on purpose!
        Do you really think they wanted this delayed?
        You probably never worked in a business and have no clue that this things are internally very bad news, not just for customers.

        • PhilK

          I don’t know how you jumped to that conclusion from what I wrote.

          What I wrote about it in this discussion is that A) Nikon’s official explanation does not sound credible (eg, is likely not the real reason why it was delayed, which I suspect they do not want to admit publicly), and B) since simple accessories like this are relatively simple to produce and many of these kinds of things are likely already outsourced by Nikon to OEM fabricators, it would seem relatively trivial to do so in this case unless every single possible contract manufacturer is for some bizarre reason unable to take on this job.

          So my personal conclusion is either A) this device was planned to be produced in the giant Chinese factory that Nikon recently shut down, and they haven’t lined-up an alternative production resource yet, and/or B) Nikon wants to use whatever resources necessary to produce this to help get some of their other, more strategically and financially critical, products out the door. (eg, the D850)

          One last possibility is that, as commentor Nykon posted here, some people have suggested that the special film digitization mode on the D850 has some problems, and Nikon may be making up excuses about the ES-2 “not being ready to be produced” as a cover for the fact that they need to improve that firmware feature in the D850 before they start shipping the adapter designed to help people make use of it.

    • Typys

      This specific feature was one of the main reason that brought me to order the d850. I have a lot of old film that needs to be scanned and I still enjoy shooting film from time to time.

      And yes, I am a bit bummed since I already bought the 60 2.8 to go along with it, but at least they provided a release date.

      • Yeah. I’m in the same boat. I was hoping to get one soon, so I could digitize during the long winter here.

    • I resemble that remark!

    • Nobody Cares

      EH. If they can get it to output a raw positive, I’m buying it. I’ve got a negative scanner, but it’d be much faster to use this, but i can wait 4 months and hopefully they’ll use that time to work on the software (yeah I know it’s Nikon).

      • Paul LeSage

        If you read the specs, this will read a negative and transform it to a positive. Don’t know if that requires a D850 setting, but we shall see. I think the manual is already downloadable. If not maybe I read it in the initial propaganda.

        • Nobody Cares

          I should have been more specific. I want a positive raw file. A review of the current firmware on Petapixel indicated it didn’t do that and that it had issues when converting to JPG (and I assume TIFF).

          My reasons for getting this would be to speed up scanning and to get it in a raw file. But if I have to convert to positive, I’m not sure how easy that will be…just not sure if I have any blank frames of each film type.

          But We’ll see. I think being able to create a raw positive from a negatie is an important feature.

  • br0xibear

    “delayed until mid-March, 2018” …to coincide with the D850 being in stock ? lol

  • Jason Furda

    It would be great if they made it compatible with more than just the 60 macro. I have a 105 that does 1:1 and would love to be able to use it!

    • It would need an extender tube for that. Or you can use it as it is like a built in teleconverter.

    • Paul LeSage

      Ditto that. Not seeing lot of straight use for the 60mm without this in front of it. I prefer the 105mm also for Macro work..

  • FloB

    I have recycled the film holder of my old Nikon Coolscan IV for that purpose. Works great, the dedicated film scanner was not really usabe to scan a larger amount of slides it’s only catching dust on the shelf.
    I mounted an arca compatible plate on an aluminium profile together with a mount made from acrylic glass for the actual slide holder from the scanner. Together with the flashlight a plate of white acrylic glass and a D800 with the micro 60 2.8 the results are better compared to the coolscan and it is extremely fast. 2 seconds per slide including handling or 4 with cleaning using compressed air.

  • Eric Calabros

    Nikon updated Snapbridge and now we can change exposure setting in remote section. Big improvement
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/snapbridge/id1121563450?mt=8

    • Allen_Wentz

      Thanks for that. I will be curious to see if the claimed battery management improvement works as advertised.

    • Yes, I am doing the post right now.

  • Michael Jin

    “The Nikon ES-2 film digitizing adapter is compatible only with the D850, for other cameras you can use the older Nikon ES-1 model.”

    The last sentence of the article is what I still don’t get. It seems to me like this is just an adapter that you stick in front of a lens. Why would it not work with a camera other than the D850?

    Yes, the D850 is the camera with the built-in mode to invert the colors of the film automatically, but it’s not as if the ES-1 would give a camera this ability so you would presumably have the same issue if you got that instead. How would the ES-2 not be compatible in a situation where the ES-1 is?

    • PhilK

      It is a bit of a strange characterization. The only special mode the D850 has, to my knowledge, is the feature that inverts the colors and the orange masking normally used on color negative film. Shouldn’t have any bearing on copying slides.

      Perhaps there is some kind of setting on the D850 that makes it easier to shoot a series of shots with static settings or something? Or something special with the meter? I don’t have one so I don’t know.

    • PhilK

      According to the link poster Nykon posted, there is a bit more to the digitization mode than just the reversal part. It also apparently locks out people’s ability to use RAW and exposure compensation, LOL.

      • I forgot that it locks the user into JPEG only… that suggests some sort of communication with the camera body. RFID? Bluetooth?

    • I’m wondering the same, too. Could it be that the adaptor’s diffuser glass needs to have special light transmission characteristics?

      • Maybe the front is bigger so that it can read the colour and tone of the filmstrip. After all that is what would help in the reversal process.

    • longzoom

      I believe there should be some mounting pin on the adapter to connect with new micro Nikkor. That’s why one can’t be mount on the older micros. So why not? Or not?

      • Les Olson

        What was originally announced was that the ES-2 could be used with any camera. It came with two adapter rings: on its own it could be used with the DX 40/2.8, with the shorter adapter with the 60/2.8G and with the longer adapter with the 60/2.8D. The picture shown here illustrating the new announcement has the adapter rings, so it is presumably still the case that you can use any camera (unless someone has just re-used the old photograph).

        The only thing special about the D850 is that it will convert the negative to a positive in camera. Other cameras can photograph a negative but only output what they photograph – then you invert in software. For a slide all cameras are the same.

        A tone curve has to be applied to do the inversion, so it cannot be a RAW output. If you want RAW you just turn off the conversion mode and take the photograph again. That is a PITA and they could allow you to save the JPEG and the RAW but the files would be enormous.

        • longzoom

          Yeah, looks real…

  • azur

    Wouldn’t it be a very easy item to copy for those dealing with making cheap product copies ?
    Sounds a bit risky to have the launch delayed, perhaps cheap copies will even reach the market before the original.
    Can such a simple device be patented at all ?
    A tube with a thread and a piece of white plastic.
    Be careful with the pricing, Nikon.

    • PhilK

      You may be right, perhaps copies will appear before the original.

      • Member

        I don’t think this product wil sell in large numbers. And for a copy to be cheap it needs to be produced in large numbers. O.t.o.h. there are already cheap film and slide copiers on eBay

  • azur

    Wouldn’t the Capture NX-D software be a natural place to put the negative-digitizer function in a future version of NX-D?

  • azur

    Can anyone figure out why the tube seems to be in three pieces?

    • PhilK

      I assume that they are parts that change depending on whether you are shooting raw filmstrips or film mounted in slide mounts.

    • The smaller, narrow ring steps up from the 60mm macro’s 52mm filter threads to the larger 58mm ring which attaches to the adaptor; the adaptor slides on that ring for focussing on various lenses, with a thumb screw to fix it. In the ES-1, this ring is attached to the adaptor permanently. My guess, at least. I have the ES-1 which works great with my 60mm f2.8; I have another step down/up ring to use it with my Voigtlander 125mm macro, just haven’t tried it out yet. I bought the adaptor when I had a D750, which I’ve since replaced with the D850. I’ll try to find some time, and sun, this weekend…

      • E.S. Plak

        Do you use the older 60 2.8D or the newer 60 2.8 G ?

        • It’s the pre-D, 60/2.8.

        • ToastyFlake

          I use the 2.8d and it works well with the es-1 setup described above.

      • ToastyFlake

        You mention the sun; how are you illuminating the slides with the sun? I’ve been using a flash.

  • PhilK

    And if that’s true, then they shouldn’t be lying to the public that the reason is that they have to “review the design and materials”.

    • NYkon

      Nikon lie to the public? Never! LOL

      I don’t know if Krogh was using a prototype ES-2 or not. He does respond to e-mails via his web site so you might wish to investigate further….

  • Brubabs

    Isn’t there a rumor of a new 60mm macro lens being announced soon? Could they be delaying the ES-2 to accommodate some new feature that will require the new 60mm? Not likely, I guess, but an interesting thought.

    • That’s exactly the case – I got a clarification after I published my post today. Will post an update tomorrow.

      • AYWY

        I hope that isn’t true. I rather the company focus their resources on producing lenses for their MILC push. Instead of updating a lens that is barely a decade old and still works very well (excusing the vignetting at fast apertures)

        Look forward to the rumors update on this.

  • Originaru

    Cool!

  • NYkon

    I think we also need to keep in mind Thom Hogan’s post about Nikon designating a fixed amount of memory for firmware updates in their DSLRs. This might well factor into whether they can enable RAW functionality into the film digitization function.

    • azur

      Yet another reason to add the negative-digitizer function in a future version of NX-D where it belongs more naturally.
      Capture software in the camera, post processing software in the RAW-conversion-and-editing software.

  • tseo

    i am using the es-1/d800/60afd combo for slides and it works very well –
    here’s manhattan from empire state in 1996
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/19b94d869a4f710c6466b46ea2c310c0eb02aa73414e403f07914306706b2645.jpg

  • ToastyFlake

    Glad I bought the es-1 for cheap about a year ago. It works well with my d850 and 60mm 2.8d.

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