ALL QUESTIONS ARE AUTHENTIC ONLINE INQUIRES
Q. Will mirrorless cameras work with this instrument?
A. Absolutely. Attach any macro lens with 52 or 58mm threads, plus if needed, extension tube, to front plate and away you go. In order to achieve focus between 3 and 7 inches, an extension tube or closeup attachments may be needed.
Q. What support is available before and after purchase?
A. Passionate support is available by calling inventor personally at 803-531-1662.
Q. What settings are typical for 35mm Black and White film negatives.
A. With 200 ISO, aperture will be about f8 and shutter speed 1/60. With auto and manual lens, it might be wise to experiment with manual, (S) shutter, and (A) aperture.
Q. Why is this product so expensive especially since I must use my own camera and a macro lens?
A. Expensive compared to what? A high quality top-of-the-line, comparable drum scanner is $20,000; a well known dedicated film scanner is $1,800. The cost of the FilmToaster is influenced by keystone markup. The FilmToaster is also not mass produced but rather custom made in small numbers. The FilmToaster is manufactured with 18 gauge metal and except for film holders, virtually no plastic used. The 4x5 film holder, with henge, a trend setting innovation itself, is made of metal capable of accommodating even damaged film. The FilmToaster may be ordered without 4x5 film carrier for $299 less.
Q. What kind of results can be expected with color negative film with orange cast?
A. Everything is sharp and process is fast but more post processing adjustments are necessary. This remains a challenging matter with all camera scanning techniques. We have found that a blue filter is helpful as well as ColorPerfect plugins. We are advising laboratories who have film collections in jeopardy to proceed with camera scanning because the remedy will always be post production solution. We are working on a solution.
Q. Why are no returns allowed?
A. Returns are not allowed because this is a highly custom made precision product dependant on DIY techniques. The no return policy is comparable with some specialty products purchased from large camera box stores.
Q. Are additional camera scanning products available from FilmToaster?
A. Yes, however, this page is under construction.
Q. If I purchase the FilmToaster without the 4x5 film holder for $1299, can I later purchase the 4x5 holder if I need it?
A. Absolutely! In fact, a majority of purchasers will not need the 4x5 holder. The 4x5 format was popular during the 1950s and 60s, and probably needed more by older photographers with large collections.
Q. Why is the 4x5 film carriers also so expensive?
A. Again, expensive compared to what? Drum scanner carriers range from $200 -$400 each. Unlike most plastic or aluminum holders, the 4x5 holder is uniquely built with a piano henge and heavy metal to tame problem negatives.
Q. Is the FilmToaster faster in loading and preparing films to scan?
A. No. Loading, preparing, cleaning, and sorting of films is time-consuming with this and ALL scanning solutions including bulk loading systems. It will be boring and repetitive back and forth handling is not an option that is likely to become faster. However, once film is loaded, expect captures of 1/60 second compared to one or two minutes among all competitors.
Q. Are instructions and examples included?
A. Yes, a 40-page Instruction Guide (always being updated until time of shipping) is included explaining usage, components, and ideal setting for various formats.
Q. The expensive box you are selling; can't I make one myself?
A. Sure. One of the inventor's first camera scanning setups was merely a back lighted window pane. On the resources pages where our product is being slammed as being expensive, individuals talk about how to make a scanner out of a shoebox. Compared to say, transportation, you can move fast with a pair of roller skates but an automobile offers a better and intelligent solution. The FilmToaster is a professional solution for scanning film. It integrates film, lighting, and your camera; all in a perfect environment!
Q. As a professional with tons of wedding negatives, I presume a good use of the FilmToaster would be to aid in digitizing my old wedding and event images for the 80s and 90s?
A. Very pleased you raised that matter. recently, someone wrote: "After 21 years ****** and I have agreed on getting our wedding picture album. (Yeah some things just take longer). Anyway, we were hoping you still have the proofs and we could put something together.
Our wedding date was April 29, 19?? and was in ********. We are the former ***** and ******* ********. Thanks so much and we look forward hearing from you."
The above message illustrates a valid point about the treasures that may reside in your negative files. I proofed the medium format color negatives, converted to positives and emailed them to client for their album choices.
Q. I am looking for a device to produce quality film scans and am considering your product.
1. As digital camera, I have a Fujifilm X-Pro2 with 60mm lens. This has a 39mm filter and a maximum magnification of 1:2. Would I be able to use this lens/camera with the film toaster?
Q. How long on average would it take to digitise a roll of film (36-39 frames)?
A. Thank you for your question. Very pleased to learn you are considering the FilmToaster. If I don't have to convince you advantages of camera scanning over any other type of film scanner, flatbed, or drum scanner, then you are on the right path for a professional solution.
Let me say from the start, if you only have a small amount of film, there are many make-shift methods that will work and a lot cheaper than a FilmToaster at $1299. But, if you want the fastest and number #1 product in the world, this is it.
That being said, any mirrrorless camera including the Fuji X Pro 2 will work fine and if you also have the FUJI X-F 60MM Macro F2.4 LENS, you will also need a set of extension tubes plus a 39mm to 52mm adapter especially to focus in tightly on 35mm film. Also, remember a format like the Fuji X Pro 2 will have a 1.5 crop factor which will help achieve the 3-9 inch focusing parameters needed for various film formats. From a similar format I have experienced, it will probably take a combination of your 60mm lens and one 20mm extension tube.
Regarding speed, you're going to love the FilmToaster because it will enable scanning 60 or so times faster than anything else around.
I'll going to guess and say that once you become familiar with the FilmToaster, it will take 3 to 6 minutes to scan 36 exposure.
You will also love the handles on the FilmToaster which will help manage long roll film. The "see saw" 35mm film carrier, only one in the world like this, will also make film scanning less painful.
Q. Recently, I attended a workshop where you digitized incredibly sharp high resolution files from film using A Nikon D600 and the FilmToaster. On your monitor and prints as well, it appeared your digital files were higher resolution than even the film; or at least they looked that way. How is this possible when you said the film was taken 30 years ago and to begin with, only so sharp?
A. Mainly, two things contribute to what you observed; the first being scientifically very well researched absolutes and the other, an opinion that I have observed, but lack the technical data to back it up with.
Technically, film doesn't have a resolution in the sense that a digital display or capture device does. Also, film has no actual pixel number and no orderly arrangement of thousands of markers on a grid. Film has grain and composed on a transport medium for a chemical emulsion that, when exposed to light under controlled conditions, captures subject in great detail. However, because film and digital are not analogous it is impossible to classify different sizes resolution.
Secondly, my opinion about why sharpness from an otherwise normal looking negative become"sharper," can be attributed to the amazing LED Light Pad bundled with the FilmToaster. Back light traveling from the LED through the film negative is traveling in very straight lines, rather than as in the case of flatbeds and dedicated film scanners, small patterns of light which pyramid up to a larger size. Hope this answers your question and please follow up with telephone support as well.
Q. Can you finance a FilmToaster at reasonable rates?
A. Please call us at 803-531-1662 for info how to "lease" a FilmToaster. Also, it may be possible to set up purchases composed of three payments. Education and industrial clients, our largest user segment, may authorize a purchase order.
Q. How do I get rid of the orange mask on color negatives? I thought the amount of orange masking was dependent on the original colors in the scene and the density (brightness) of various parts of the scene. Therefore, does a one size fits all blue filter really get rid of the mask?
When I scan, what I consider pristine and well presevered, 35mm color negaitves using a Plustek 8200i scanner, I am amazed that there are still tiny dust particles and tiny scratches that show up even after using the Plustek/Silverfast IR scan process (that supposedly gets rid of these problems). Will your process yield even more issues with dust/scratches (that are almost invisible under a 10x magnifier). These negatives originally were used to produce very nice 11x14 chemically made prints but seem to yield a lot of dust and scratches when making a comparable 11x14 ink jet print.
I am looking for a better approach to saving my 5000 negatives than what I can achieve with my Plustek/Silverfast process yields. How can I be convinced that your equipment/process will be the answer?
A. Your letter is ideally the kind we like to receive. You raise some important considerations.
The FilmToaster is built for speed and extremely ultra sharp high quality camera scanning, approaching, and many cases depending on your camera's sensor, surpassing drum scanners. This being said, in gaining sharper and more normal looking images, you will actually see additional detail present with dust and scratches. To specifically respond to your question, yes, the FilmToaster may reveal even more issues.
However, the solution must take in account what are you trying to do and also how much your time worth. Typically, a FilmToaster scans each image at 1/60 second versus 2 - 4 minutes per scan with flatbed and dedicated scanners. Although I am not a software programmer, or engineer, it is my understanding that all software solutions made for getting rid of scratches and dust, will actually soften the image and other degradation as well.
Unfortunately, regarding the orange mask, without post processing procedures, the FilmToaster will not yield pleasing and acuarate out-of-the-box results, nor will any other camera scanning technique. We are working on a solution but unable to offer– even the same results you receive with the very well known SilverFast Archive Suite 8, an amazing product, when time and ultra sharpness are not a major considerations. However, with blue filter, Photoshop and Lightroom, I personally have no major problems achieving great results with color negative films.
Additionally, the ideal placement for the FilmToaster is for industrial photographic requirements which approaches the film-to-digital conversion from the perspective of wanting to receive the fastest and maximum potential for a one-time scan, from each and every film.
Q. Do you have any high res sample files that we can look at? We are interested in buying a unit with all of the film holders and an extra set of holders as well. We have a very large project we are working late this summer and were dreading the thought of transporting scanners, computers ect to Arizona from Atlanta to do the work.
A. I am very pleased you stopped for a moment to ask questions. On my website, there are two samples and I have plans of uploading more but time passed by so quickly. Here's an invitation; why not send me one of your negatives or slides to digitize.
After receiving, compare with any scanner on the market including $28,000 drum scanners. The FilmToaster without the 4x5 carrier is $1299; with 4x5 carrier $1699. An optional 45 degree base is $299. You can always purchase additional carriers but the included carriers (except the 4x5 which is my invention)are generic and easily obtained anywhere online.
Traveling (weight only 6 pounds) and using without electricity poses no problems because the LED is battery and AC.
I invented the FilmToaster because after being a photographer since age 9 (I'm 78 now), I had to find a faster solution
to scanning my collection of nearly one million negatives, 35mm, medium format, and 4x5. (My 4x5s are nearly ruined and faded).
Not sure of where you live but I invite you to attend an upcoming regional ASMP workshop usually held in August at Furman University, Greenville, SC, where I will demonstrate the FilmToaster to this elite group of America's best photographers.
Q. I wanted to know if you have some sort of instruction manual, or images or perhaps an instructional video on how to operate your digitizer? I guess your device is rather new, eh, as I haven't been able to find any technical reviews on line, if there are any.
I will most likely have to get a new camera, too, so any recommendations would be appreciated. I doubt I'll want to enlarge my 35
stuff any bigger than 12 or 13" long, but I do have some 120 stuff that is good enough I'd want to get it up to, say 15-16" square if at all possible.
In a previous life I was a serious photo student but after a career in the Navy and retirement doing just about anything besides
photography, I've decided to return to this work and, naturally, now have to find ways to digitize all my archive of negatives. Being retired, I can't have them done professionally and your gizmo sounds just PERFECT!
A. It was nice speaking with you earlier today. A 40 page instructional manual is included. Yes, the device is new having debuted October 2015 at the New York PhotoPlus Expo. There are two reviews currently underway and I am anxious to read them myself.
Any DSLR will work but my favorites are the Nikon D610 with 60 macro, and Sony A7II with FE90mm Macro. You would also need a set of extension tubes which will assist with the required 3-9 inch focusing parameters.
I think you will find the FilmToaster unlike any other product available on the market for fast digitizing at high quality.
Q. I am amazed by your FilmToaster and wonder why it had not been invented way back when we all went digital. We left our film behind. But, I'm on a fixed income and only have a few thousand films (mostly 35mm slides from vacation in Europe) I need to digitize. Do you have a plan I can rent the FilmToaster?
A. Yes, call 803-531-1662 for weekly rates or we can scan your film as well.
Q. The 50,000 image collection we are digitizing is from ••••••••••• •••• There are three facilities plus the family that has the archive. From what I understand there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 images. We also need to purchase additional carriers. The need for additional holders wold allow one to be loaded while one is captured.
A. Wow! Your project with 50,000 images sounds like what inspired the invention the FilmToaster. The inventor is 78 years old and starting in photography at age 9, had approximately one million negatives. At a small university where he is Director of Historic Preservation, they are using two FilmToasters to complete the task with Two interns assisting.
Have you thought about purchasing more than one? Additional holders while scarce, will be made available upon your purchase.
Please permit us to offer the following information:
All file scanning techniques/equipment are time consuming. Whether using a flatbed, dedicated film scanner or drum scanner, each strip of film must be manually loaded in a film carrier. One of our carriers accepts strips of 6 or 4 slides. Another included carrier accepts 35mm rolls of 20, 36, or long bulk (and we have the only one in the world that does this). After feeding the leader through a small slit on the end of the carrier and manually moving it after each scan, the remaining portion can be rapidly scanned in a "see-saw" movement which usually takes only about 5 minutes for an entire roll. It would take a large format flatbed around 30-50 minutes for the same task even using a batch mode
Camera scanning of color negative film with the FilmToaster will require additional post production in Photoshop and Lightroom.
Currently, we are experimenting with various blue filters to speed up the process. Bulk scanning with flatbeds which have a built-in software solution to digitize color negative film, require an even digitizing longer time; but postproduction is faster than the FilmToaster.
Q. Thanks for sending the instruction manual. It answered several questions about the lens setup. I think I may be able to use the lens with my existing setup. I am using a Vivitar slide copier bellows on double rails with an El Nikkor 63mm f2.8 enlarging lens reversed. My focusing distance from the camera to the slide is 9 inches. I get about 90% of the image. Removing one rail and using the single rail, I have bellows extension for 8 inches with the camera mounted. So with the lens plate on the toaster I can attach the lens with the camera and bellows. That will give me enough adjustment to focus to near 1:1 in different slots? I have had excellent results with the lens setup and bellows but the Toaster would make it faster and a better light source with the option for other formats. Thoughts?
A. I once tried using my Nikon bellows with the FilmToaster and ran into a problem with vignetting so I’m not quite sure if you will also run into a problem. I highly suggest a good set of extension tubes with standard lenses, and with macro lenses, tubes will allow so many additional distance solutions.
Here’s one more possibility to achieve the 9 inch distance you need with your existing lenses. Using the included Twin Bay carrier in the first slot will place it pretty close to 9 inches from your lenses. However, even though the Twin Bay Carrier is a freebie (earlier units did not sell with the carrier), it requires extreme repositioning for centering alignment to become possible. You will need the two magnetic strips located inside the FilmToaster to block light entering top or bottom. It does speed up things having a double strip loaded and ready.
I camera scanned lots of images with my Nikon bellows along the route in inventing the FilmToaster but you will find it makes things so much easier. You will grow to love the included LED light and marvel with the pristine captures you will achieve using it. I have some customers removing the LED and using diffused electronic flash through the acrylic base as well.
One final but important point is, when attaching any lenses to the Lens Plate, always remove the plate first and firmly screw the lens into the front adapters. After this attachment is made, reconnect the lens plate/lens back to the camera body.
As you see from the website, a one week rental is $350 which includes shipping both ways; plus if you purchase, $150 of your rental fee is applicable towards purchase. If you wish to transact the rental by telephone, just give me a call at 803-531-1662.
Q. One of my coworkers sent me a link to your product. We are doing some research on some film scanners and considering your product. Do you have any resellers in New York City (where I'm based)? Or do you know of any museum or library that might be using your product? We would love to see the product in action, but also to compare the quality of the scan versus other products? Would you be into scanning some samples for us? Thanks for your response.
A. I invite you to attend my next presentation. I have also made presentations at the New York PhotoPlus Expo, University of South Carolina (librarians and archivists), and further back a dozen other venues. I intentionally don't have any resellers; preferring to sell direct to keep the cost low because the FilmToaster is a limited production instrument not mass produced, but manufactured by a prototype engineering firm in Nova Scotia (assembled in USA).
Q. The Interchangeable Film Guides rails are not a tight fit and the carrier moves freely within the guides with only gravity keeping it flat. However that is only good for the two middle slides. The end slides tip when centered under the lens and are not flat making accurate focusing impossible. So it is only possible to copy two slides at a time with this carrier.
A. No, four slides may be loaded and scanned. The Film Holders, slots on both sides of the enclosure, and Interchangeable Film Holder Guides, must be utilized collectively for optimum performance. Flatness of field, perpendicularness, and precise orientation of film stage must be given important considerations. Inside the enclosure and alongside the slot and groove, minor tweaking and flatness of a film holder may be accomplished by rotating with thumb screws, one or both Interchangeable Film Holder Guides, 1/16, or 1/32 from its normal position inside the enclosure and slot. Of course, over-rotating the grooves will prevent the film holder from smoothly moving. This tweaking will minimize the film holder’s lateral movement within the grooves, thereby achieving horizontal flatness. It also helps to have slides or film loaded in the holder since the first and last film positions are affected more, if weight is distributed along the end portions of the holder. Fortunately, when macro scanning under high magnification, when the field of view within the film holder is not perfectly flat, the depth of field-of-field is spread more equally on either side of the point of focus; therefore achieving extreme sharpness across the entire film, end to end, top to bottom. Because of diffraction, it is not recommended to use apertures smaller than f8 to achieve extended depth-of-field.
Q. Recently, my minister described the FilmToaster to me which they are using for a large historical collections of slides, and although I heard of it a few times, why is it not featured in more magazines. I have seen it online, but not much in print. I'm attracted by the name alone but would like to know more about it.
A. Without advertisement, FilmToaster sales are fantastic. Once print publication find out you are a small fish with no money for their pockets, they stay away from you as far as possible; especially, if you have a competing product which works 75 times faster than one of their faithful clients. And none should be blamed for that. The FilmToaster, which is made in small prototype quantities, is selling about as fast as we can make them. A large order from a research university in October completely wiped out inventory but, now, we're caught up.
BRAGGING: If you are like I am, a serious photographer, an archivist and historian, I would have thought speed alone possibilities of the FilmToaster, would have attracted you; - 50-75 times faster than flatbeds and dedicated film scanner! But quality-wise, no flatbed, dedicated film scanner or any other device ever, equals the quality of the FilmToaster. Yes, I will be very pleased to scan a few for you at no charge. Meanwhile, even without the FilmToaster, consider making a camera scan of any film with any medium to high quality DSLR or mirrorless camera. Merely place your film on a windowpane and take a macro-scan getting in as close as you can. Then, compare your scan with any flatbed, dedicated scanner, or Nikon Cool Scan on the market. Why it is better is easy to explain? If you have an Epson 1000/1100, it has a$75 lens and capturing sensor that scans your image. How will that compare with the very fine high quality $200 to $600 lens on your camera combined with a 24, 32, or 41 mp CMOS? It can't! Better yet, talk to any professional photographer who has macro scanned images.
As for references, I will work on that for you because right now I will not be able to share contacts without their permission. I can tell you that six well known world-class photographers who contribute to Getty, are among purchasers. I can tell you that in just 12 months on the market, over one hundred photographers, and 8 university laboratories are now using the FilmToaster. In fact, these figures are quite unique because I have not even begun marketing museums, and archivists.
Of course, since I am director of historic preservation at a small university myself, where we have been funded a $51,000 grant to scan my collection of nearly one million negatives, it would not be a fair reference. But, it was this task, my large collection, that inspired the invention itself.
If you have further questions, why not give me a call at 803-531-1662. Or come and pay us a visit at my studio and sales headquarters located in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Also, please consider checking out our reviews in USA Today, PDN Magazine, and Shutterbug.