Author Topic: 5x4 sheet film  (Read 1712 times)

Wombat

  • Is it supposed to hurt this much?
5x4 sheet film
« on: March 20, 2018, 05:52:00 pm »
It sounds like a daft question, but does anyone know exactly how big a sheet of 5x4 sheet film actually is?  I'm assuming (possibly incorrectly) that the image is 5x4 inches, but what is the actual size of the sheet of film? 

I need to make a small portable lightbox to view many sheets of such film (one at a time), as part of a project to digitise some archives, which are engineering drawings which were photographed onto 5x4 sheet film.  I want to make it as small as possible, as I'll be carrying a 5x4 scanner (Epson V800 or V850), a laptop, sound recorder to make notes on, and said light box, and I'll almost certainly be travelling there by train.

I'm hoping that I can molish such an item from some LED tape, a box, and some opal acrylic sheet. Oh, and obviously a power source of some sort.
Wombat

nicknack

  • Hornblower
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2018, 07:26:31 pm »
If no one else answers between now and tomorrow I'll go and have a rummage in the shed and measure one. I can't remember offhand.
There's no vibrations, but wait.

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2018, 07:43:37 pm »
4 7/8" x 3 7/8" give or take a bit, but you might just as well call it 5"x 4". That's fuji provia and I measured it with an old 2' rule, so it may be a 32nd out.

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 08:36:47 pm »
http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Plate_Sizes

Expect 4x5 as there will be some variation. Unfortunately my LF stuff is at the office so I can't measure it till tomorrow. It is not larger than 5x4 for the outer limits and any image will have a small boundary from the film holder.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

nicknack

  • Hornblower
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2018, 09:44:52 am »
My old black and white Kodak ones are slightly less than 5"x4" - they're pretty much 100mm x 125mm.
There's no vibrations, but wait.

Wombat

  • Is it supposed to hurt this much?
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2018, 12:29:18 pm »
Thanks for that, all.  All I've got here are some 1920's glass plate 5x4 negs (aerial views of Gosport and area taken from a biplane!) and while I imagine they're close, and the image size should be the same, I couldn't be sure about the actual film size.

Sadly I see the purchase of an Epson V800 scanner in my future, ouch...  at least I don't have to buy the scanner for the other format I have to cope with, 35mm microfilm reels.  The institution where they reside has coughed for a new viewer/scanner, courtesy of Canon, those nice people who don't support their scanning devices for more than a VERY few years.  My own Canon 8800f scanner only continues to work because I paid for Vuescan software.  This of course means I stand no chance of selling it for more than 50p, if the buyer also has to buy Vuescan.
Wombat

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2018, 02:52:24 pm »
My old black and white Kodak ones are slightly less than 5"x4" - they're pretty much 100mm x 125mm.

That's Napoleonic 5"x4".

Wombat

  • Is it supposed to hurt this much?
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2018, 03:08:59 pm »
And I've just deployed my normally quite adequate Google-fu and found that very thin lightboxes are available for extremely reasonable prices, to my great surprise.  They are much bigger than I need (A4 is normal), but very thin indeed, and therefore probably easier to carry along with an effing great Epson V800 than a small but chunky DIY one...  Its only for identifying the drawing in question, so ultimate quality is not required.  Next hurdle, learn about the best settings for scanning a drawing which I know shows as dark brown on a light brown background, which I'll ultimately want as pure black and white.  The resulting images will be the museum's digital record of that archive.
Wombat

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2018, 03:50:28 pm »
I had a battery operated 5x4 lightbox for a while. I think I got it from Calumet or Jessops.

Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2018, 09:26:10 pm »
I’ve just measured a mono sheet and it is 3 15/16 by 4 31/32!

I was going to suggest an led light table. I’ve got an A3ish one and it is great for my dslr scanning set up, described elsewhere, but I would say generally preferable to the various film scanners I’ve used (including Nikon 5000 and 9000 and Epson v700).

The portability challenge would be in carrying the adapted 6x7 enlarger around though. But, if you could fettle a camera support that made perpendicular alignment relatively easy and repeatable you could build a nice solution. If you shoot Leica they used to have a copy stand (Beoon?) that some people are using in this exact way.


David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2018, 10:24:58 am »
A fold up stand with an LED light box and a decent digital camera may be sufficient, depending on the resolution you want. IME you will probably want to scan at either 2400 or 4800 DPI which will give fairly hefty files. 
Something like this may be fine for just looking at the films https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Portable-A5-LED-Light-Box-Drawing-Sketching-Tracing-Copy-Stencil-Board-Pad-Panel-/112655439504
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Wombat

  • Is it supposed to hurt this much?
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2018, 10:41:25 am »
David, that is similar to the A4 thing I found on Amazon.  I'd assumed it wouldn't be even enough to use for re-photographing the sheets, but I'll buy it now and have a try.  I use a Sony A7Rii, and have Zeiss lenses, so I imagine that wouldn't be the limitation in image quality, the files are normally 85MB uncompressed RAW files (42MP full frame camera).  I will endeavour to ascertain the likely size of uncompressed 16bit RGB TIFF files from an Epson V800.  I'll have around 225 images to deal with, so I'm going to be busy.  If I manage to rig up a copy stand and find that suitable, then that would almost certainly be faster than scanning.  I do need to rig up a copy stand anyway, but for longer distances, as I have some large paper drawings to copy, and they're too crinkly to put anywhere near a roll feed scanner (not that I have illicit access to one any more since I left work).  storage of the images while I work won;t be a problem, My laptop has a 520GB SSD, and I'll have a "spare" 1TB SSD as an external drive by then, as I'm about to bite the bullet and replace it in this PC with a 2TB one for storing my photos (yes, they're backed up onto two spinny HDD's).

Thanks for your input sojournermike, I think my assuming a scanner was the best bet without considering a copy camera setup, needs to be re-examined (both in the light of what YACF input has said, and also from detailed reading of my excellent book on photo restoration by Ctein).

Now who was it, who recently offered me an old enlarger?  Such a thing could be the basis of a copy stand, but hey, I've got machine tools out in the barn (pending building my workshop)...  I think a milling machine would be a bit OTT as a camera stand!
Wombat

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2018, 02:40:13 pm »
Don't forget that a piece of translucent perspex can go some way towards evening out uneven illumination, and a blank 'clean' frame can be used in photoshop to correct for illumination differences.

"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2018, 04:02:11 pm »
Before I had to get a digital camera I used to scan my 5x4 transparencies on a cheap Epson 2450 Perfection Photo scanner. I took some files into the engineers who I used to work for and compared them to their whizz bang scanner thing that cost them thousands.

My cheap scanner produced better files, which made my day.

If you can get hold of a secondhand one with all the masks, they are very good value and easy to use.

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2018, 04:29:37 pm »
I have an Epson V750 under my desk at work. The problem is it is rather large so may be an issue if it has to be taken to the data. It does do a very nice job.

If you are scanning engineering drawings, does it need to be 16bit? You may be able to reduce the bit depth if the film is ortho film
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Wombat

  • Is it supposed to hurt this much?
Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2018, 06:39:12 pm »
I'm not entirely sure of the technology of the film used, but it could well be ortho, despite it being done at some time after 1955.  Of course lith film and the like is ortho, isn't it?  I would have grave doubts as to the actual need for 16 bit, but I was determined to scan in RGB, then jiggle the channels to get the best result for the final monochrome end result.  The awkward bit is the usual issue of not knowing quite what you've got till you get there, and having to be prepared for all eventualities.  I'm not overly keen on carting a V800 about, or for that matter I'm not that keen on paying for one, but as its for a charitable institution that I'm a trustee of, we are generally expected to be self funding for special projects (and I do personally want to get my hands on the drawings to build a live steam model of the subject of the drawings).  I have seen these drawings myself, but it was quite a few years ago.  I have a memory of them having a slightly brownish tinge, reminiscent of the dyeline copy negative film we used for architectural drawings.  This could be faulty memory, though, it was at least 15 years ago.

That said, we sort of broke the self-funding rules recently, on our trip to Sierra Leone, as the cost of the trip came out of the very substantial donation by the couple of British folk who gave enough money to complete the re-roofing of the museum in SL.  We had to take it there in cash, and it was rather urgent!  Converted to Leones at 10,100 per pound sterling, it was a very big pile of money...

Out of curiosity I just did the nearest to a 5x4 scan I can do on my old Canon 8800F scanner, which is about 70mm x 125 or so.  I did that in 16bit mono uncompressed TIFF, and the file was around 615MB.  Hmmm...
Wombat

Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2018, 08:07:34 pm »
I'm not entirely sure of the technology of the film used, but it could well be ortho, despite it being done at some time after 1955.  Of course lith film and the like is ortho, isn't it?  I would have grave doubts as to the actual need for 16 bit, but I was determined to scan in RGB, then jiggle the channels to get the best result for the final monochrome end result.  The awkward bit is the usual issue of not knowing quite what you've got till you get there, and having to be prepared for all eventualities.  I'm not overly keen on carting a V800 about, or for that matter I'm not that keen on paying for one, but as its for a charitable institution that I'm a trustee of, we are generally expected to be self funding for special projects (and I do personally want to get my hands on the drawings to build a live steam model of the subject of the drawings).  I have seen these drawings myself, but it was quite a few years ago.  I have a memory of them having a slightly brownish tinge, reminiscent of the dyeline copy negative film we used for architectural drawings.  This could be faulty memory, though, it was at least 15 years ago.

That said, we sort of broke the self-funding rules recently, on our trip to Sierra Leone, as the cost of the trip came out of the very substantial donation by the couple of British folk who gave enough money to complete the re-roofing of the museum in SL.  We had to take it there in cash, and it was rather urgent!  Converted to Leones at 10,100 per pound sterling, it was a very big pile of money...

Out of curiosity I just did the nearest to a 5x4 scan I can do on my old Canon 8800F scanner, which is about 70mm x 125 or so.  I did that in 16bit mono uncompressed TIFF, and the file was around 615MB.  Hmmm...

Wait until you decide to do a stitched frame scan of a 5x4 colour transparency with your Sony, or worse with a Pentax K1 in pixelshift, then you have some big files... and you’ll probably decide that it was unnecessary overkill!

Re: 5x4 sheet film
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2018, 08:08:54 pm »
David, that is similar to the A4 thing I found on Amazon.  I'd assumed it wouldn't be even enough to use for re-photographing the sheets, but I'll buy it now and have a try.  I use a Sony A7Rii, and have Zeiss lenses, so I imagine that wouldn't be the limitation in image quality, the files are normally 85MB uncompressed RAW files (42MP full frame camera).  I will endeavour to ascertain the likely size of uncompressed 16bit RGB TIFF files from an Epson V800.  I'll have around 225 images to deal with, so I'm going to be busy.  If I manage to rig up a copy stand and find that suitable, then that would almost certainly be faster than scanning.  I do need to rig up a copy stand anyway, but for longer distances, as I have some large paper drawings to copy, and they're too crinkly to put anywhere near a roll feed scanner (not that I have illicit access to one any more since I left work).  storage of the images while I work won;t be a problem, My laptop has a 520GB SSD, and I'll have a "spare" 1TB SSD as an external drive by then, as I'm about to bite the bullet and replace it in this PC with a 2TB one for storing my photos (yes, they're backed up onto two spinny HDD's).

Thanks for your input sojournermike, I think my assuming a scanner was the best bet without considering a copy camera setup, needs to be re-examined (both in the light of what YACF input has said, and also from detailed reading of my excellent book on photo restoration by Ctein).

Now who was it, who recently offered me an old enlarger?  Such a thing could be the basis of a copy stand, but hey, I've got machine tools out in the barn (pending building my workshop)...  I think a milling machine would be a bit OTT as a camera stand!

My copy stand is an old 6x7 enlarger with a copy stand Adaptor. I’ve still got the colour head too!

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.