INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY MADE SIMPLE
The FilmToaster, an all metal platform pedestal, facilitates integration of your camera, film, and lighting; all in a high performance, modern desktop environment, digitizing 35mm through 4x5 black & white, color or slides–many times faster than flatbed or dedicated film scanners—and resolution limited only by your camera. Usage of already owned gear, and Sony full-frame mirrorless camera bodies, combining with a Canon, Nikon, and lens adaptation of your choice, make excellent digitization systems. Mirrorless technology, the camera choice of the inventor, translates into minimal movement and a viewing concept that is always "Live View."
Speedwise, how about 1/50 of a second per scan instead of two minutes? Consider the functionality of the FilmToaster as the 'Swiss Army Knife' of film duplicators!
Before describing other features, read a review from Jon Sienkiewicz, former vice president of marketing, Minolta, (Konica Minolta Photo Imaging USA,Inc.) contributing editor, SHUTTERBUG, PC, DIGITAL PHOTO PRO:
"The FilmToaster, brainchild of Cecil Williams (accomplished professional photographer, inventor and author of six books) is a contraption that combines the best characteristics of film scanners with those of slide duplicators. If you’re old enough to remember the Bowens Illumitran, you’ll see the family resemblance straight away."
"The FilmToaster uses your DSLR (full-frame mirrorless model preferred), macro lens, and in some cases, extension tubes. The official list of requirements cites these three components plus a steady desktop, an electrical connection and general understanding of both your camera and macro photography. To that list I add the following: patience, an eagerness to experiment and a fistful of negatives or slides."
"The verdict? If you have hundreds of the same format film to scan, or require super-high resolution output, you’re better off with a self-contained film scanner, something like a used Nikon Coolscan or a used Minolta Scan Multi. Unfortunately, both brands of scanners have been discontinued for quite a while. If you have a collection of various types and sizes of film and slides—even up to 6x9 and 4x5—then the FilmToaster is perfect for you."
- Jon Sienkiewicz
From the very first FilmToaster experience, you will understand this camera scanning innovation, (while transforming back to days of the chemistry darkroom) maintains the ambience of "FILM" while enabling conversion to digital; no more chalky blown highlights, fuzzy focus, and long scanning times. Instantly, first captures will have gradation smoothness and faithfulness of original film...impossible to duplicate with dedicated or document flatbed scanners.
Ever tried focusing with a flatbed? You can't!!! With FilmToaster, you control focusing, cropping, tweaking!
In fact, even without the FilmToaster, any camera capture of film will probably blow away all other scanners!
Dubbed "Object of Desire," by highly regarded PDN Magazine:
"Basically the FilmToaster lets you use your own camera to digitize your archive, which is potentially faster than a flatbed and delivers very high-resolution results," he continues. "On one end, you mount your camera using the filter thread of your macro lens. On the other, there is a removable 5000K LED that features battery and AC power. In the middle of the FilmToaster are slots where you slide in film or slide carriers much like bread slides into a toaster."
- Gregg Scoblete, technology editor
Yes, it is very simply–a black box, tempting some to make their own film scanner but not anywhere like the features offered with this unique accessory tool. A sleek metal constructed hybrid with aesthetics matching a modern desktop workstation, the FilmToaster was created with sixty-five laser CNC machining steps, and seventeen other precision parts specifically for large-scale image digitization projects. The platform requires use of your camera, a lens with a focal length between 60 and 105 mm that will attach to the filter thread (based on full-frame sensor), and sometimes extension tubes to achieve full-size, edge to edge, duplicates. And yes, with only small volumes of film, it is more cost effective to use temporary setups; and DIY photographers will continue to use a copy board and light sources to scan film - but the professional and modern digitization platform rises to the advent of the FilmToaster
COMPLETE STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTION MANUAL - DOWNLOAD FROM RESOURCES PAGE
Before digital cameras appeared in the mid-90s, generations of photographers invested talent, time, and resources in countless billions of images on various size rolls or sheet film. Today, because film equipment is declining–and all film fade and deteriorate–transforming film images into a digital format is inevitable. Plus, think of all of the benefits of having digital files of all media created from your earlier film photography?
Although standard in most archival equipment inventories, document flatbed scanners are easy to use, but slow, and 30% original content lost because tedious film thickness issues compromise sharpness. Dedicated film scanners produce better results but also slow, touchy and ugly algorithms appear with high resolution scanning. Now, since film content begins as a pristine image, the FilmToaster and your precision digital camera —everything changes!
USA TODAY SAYS
"Most American families owned at least one film camera in the second half of the 20th century, and an entire industry of craftsmen built their livelihoods around the taking and processing of film, slides and prints. Few activities in the analog-to-digital transformation have touched so many people as much as the switch from chemical to digital photography."
- Michael Antonoff, USA Today
THE TOASTER ETHIC
Toasting, that is, from the perspective of FilmToaster—digitally capturing 35mm, 120mm, or 4x5 into DSLRs—begins by placing film, filmstrips, or slides into one of five available film holders and inserting into one of six slots. Isn't that similar to toasting a slice of bread?
Setting new standards of scanning with a repeatable workflow, digital images of film can be captured on a memory card or tethered from the camera to computer, then, with one keystroke, inverted in Photoshop, or a special Lightroom presets. At that point, the digital capture might also be cropped, tweaked, made ready for adding metadata. The remaining FilmToaster slots are designed to accommodate other film holders; commonly available accessories for flatbed and dedicated film scanners. The slots, adapter rings, and technology are designed on an open platform and offer customization opportunities for future usage. Imagine, in addition to speed, image quality, all within an ergonomically stable bench system, drum scanner resolution is achievable with the Film Toaster—at 80% less cost!
In the hands of advanced photographers, commercial film laboratories, digital libraries, university and governmental labs, archival installations, curators, imaging specialists, preservationists, and others acquiring cultural collections photographed on film, the FilmToaster becomes a product capable of extreme image capturing capabilities.**
Frankly speaking, scanning film by manual feed is labor intensive with any system—including the FilmToaster—but this next generation passive technology exploits the classic and proven path to macro photography and does it faster with higher quality!
Exclusive to FilmToaster
Unavailable among other technologies, Film Carrier pass-through slits that accept long rolls of 35mm film for increased productivity. Imagine; a 36-exposure roll of uncut 35mm film, captured in approximately six minutes. Although mounted slides takes longer, multiple films may be readied on each load in the same holder that accepts uncut 35mm roll and bulk loads. Depending on cut length, 35 and 120 film strips of 4–6 require manual advancing and take longer, but higher capturing quality – and this method, easily outperforms batch scanning and the industry standard, flatbed technology.
To a degree, the FilmToaster's capture concept may be similar to slide duplicators popular decades ago but with dozens more features. It's designed the way a photographer would design a camera device, not the way an engineer would.
In addition to experience in macro and closeup photography, a DSLR, mirrorless, or four-thirds camera body, equipment such as a macro lenses, extension tubes, add-on filter rings, other closeup lens might be required. With the correct optics, settings on newer DSLR are relatively easy with auto settings. Other factors in the process may take in consideration, a camera's sensor size, precise focusing, shutter speed, white balance, and alignment. With older, yet very reasonably priced macro lens, settings are almost always done manually. With the recommended equipment, image sharpness and initial cropping with the Film Toaster is achieved between 3-9 inches. With the vast array of digital equipment available today, some experimentation may be required to obtain perfect and predictable results. Yes, it also accepts video cameras and some cell phone accessory lenses may be fitted!
Obviously, the FilmToaster offers options not welcomed by everyone. Recently, it apparently ruffled feathers of one flatbed manufacturer who labeled it, "a convenient $2000 copy stand." That's OK and actually, sheer flattery that a big conglomerate takes notice. Decades ago, Honeywell Repronar, Bowens Illumitran, Beseler Dual Slide Duplicator, and Kenro Spectra, manufacturers of similar analog slide duplicators, heard thunderous assertions from the 'big yellow box' towards their innovations which – with a slightly different twist – offered time saving photographic solutions in duplicating.
The FilmToaster may be mounted on a tripod or tabletop in a horizontal position, however, its native and most ergonomically versatile position is vertical. The FT45 Wedge is available at $299 as an accessory base for alternate angled mounting of the FilmToaster.
More on how it works:
The concept and workflow of the FilmToaster is passive and simple, yet highly effective. The lensplate end attaches to a rotating connector that connects to the adapter thread of a macro or other lens capable of capturing closeups. Image cropping and minor alignments are easily made with the lens board which may also be adjusted vertically. IF (internal focus) macro lenses work best because the physical size remains constant.
Included with the FilmToaster is a AC and battery operated 5000K LED light panel which provides flicker-free illumination. Or, an optional external LED, electronic flash or other source of illumination, may be used at outer front-end where an acrylic plate serves as a diffuser and stand.
Amazingly, with its open architecture and customization potentials, the FilmToaster supports a wide range of film holder sizes: 35mm, various medium formats, and 4x5. The FilmToaster also features a top loading universal slot that accepts many film holders from the era of enlargers and chemistry based darkrooms. Seasoned professionals who formerly shot film will especially appreciate a 'black box' capable of hands-on film to digital integration, reminiscent of the darkroom as well.
As a bridge accessory and platform mating film and digital, the FilmToaster has no comparison. It will never become obsolete because it has no internal electronics...when updating DSLRs and lens, the FilmToaster accepts the update via threaded adapters.
Camera scanning medium format film is an area where FilmToaster excels like nothing else. Yesterday's medium format cameras exploited numerous image sizes: 645, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9; all easily scanned in the versatile open-faced 120mm holder available from FilmToaster. While the robust 4x5 inch holder accepts film, one-at-a-time (which slows the scanning time and some cropping may be experienced), the piano hinged design facilitates damaged and thicker emulsions. Four 35mm holders are available, one for standard 35mm film, one for 35mm slides only, one for four mounted 35mm slides, plus film strips, and even long bulk rolls, one for 35mm twin bay strips. Short strips of 120 and 35mm film and slides must be advanced forward after each image but expect three to six seconds each for focusing and capturing. A 30-page operation guide is included. For optimal results, some closeup photography experience is necessary using the above recommended closeup equipment and accessories.
Invented by a Photographer
The development of the FilmToaster came about because the creator was challenged to find a solution to preserving tens of thousands of historically significant film images created over a 60-year photography career. The inventor who also invented two other photo-video accessories, is a Getty contributor, author of four historical books, professional photographer, and Director of Historical Preservation at a small southern-based university. From a one man shop, the FilmToaster emerged over a six year period from six prototypes; each worked, but perfection demanded continued development.
More and more, with the FilmToaster’s low tech and passive concept that avoids obsolescence, you will grow to understand its long term value as one of your best investments as the ultimate innovation – from film to digital.
**To maintain low costs associated with customized small production,
no returns allowed.**
MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS USING THIS EQUIPMENT
The FilmToaster requires additional equipment not furnished or included with purchase. Also needed are the following similar to requirements in macro photography:
1. DSLR Camera with media card
2. General understanding of your DSLR and manual settings
3. Film Holder to accommodate film format
4. IF Macro Lens/lenses with 52 - 58mm connectivity, capable of acquiring 3 - 9 inch focus range
5. Set of manual or auto extension tubes
6. Platform or sturdy desk
7. Electrical connection (batteries provide 8-10 hour usage)
8. General understanding of macro & close-up concepts
9. Understanding of Post Production Software & Computers
*All copyrights and trademarks belong to their respective owners.
* Although average image capture rate is possible at four 35mm scans (six seconds each) in approximately 30 seconds including focusing, selecting and inserting new strips in to the film holder and the image review, consumes time; therefore, yielding approximately 200 hourly.
**The FilmToaster is a DIY professional-industrial product, not for novice photographers expecting an out of the box solution. Precision and predictable results are only attainable after testing with your equipment, lenses, and format.
www.filmtoaster.photography • 1865 LAKE DRIVE • ORANGEBURG SOUTH CAROLINA 29115 • 803•531•1662