35mm Scanning Mask – An epic Ebay failure

Well, my attempts to buy a Lomography 35mm Scanning Mask on Ebay have met with abject failure. My first attempt, a cheeky Make An Offer for £10 fell foul of the seller with a reply of “oh, I let my auctions run, I didn’t know I’d set make an offer, sorry”. BidSnipper also failed to win it for me, my top bid of £17.39 was pipped by one for a measly £1 more at £18.39 although he could of course had set a higher bid. Bugger!! That was a nusence.

Let me explain. I want to digitise some 35mm film negatives and I don’t want to spend £200+ on a scanner such as the Epson V600, useful though it is. I’m therefore looking at various ways I can do this for pennies or a few pounds. My idea then is to use a DSLR, in this case my Nikon D600, which will sit above the film and take a 35mm image which I can later crop and process in On1 2021. The easy part is to build a light box. My idea is to use a sturdy cardboard box, A4 size, this being lined with maybe metal foil (I need to check this idea in practice as it may affect the light white balance) or at least use something reflective to push the light upward onto a flat plastic diffuser and then onto the base of the film. It’s possible just a piece of white card curved to focus light might do the trick. To help with focusing, I’m going to use a daylight LED reading lamp, the USB type which will sit below the aperture in the lid. A flash head will also protude into the box, this being the main back light when triggered by the camera taking a photo. The idea is that the flash will obliterate the LED lighting so it doen’t matter too much about whether this stays on or off or what the WB is. The only problem left then is to hold the film negative perfectly flat and parallel to the box lid and this is where the scanning mask would have come in handy as it is precision made. 

Going back to my little story, Plan B was to bid on a Diana F+ toy camera kit with loads of goodies including, yep, you guessed it, a Lomography 35mm Scanning Mask which was hidden away in the small print. Current bidding was stuck on £21, even though these little camera kits sell for £70 new.  Now, I needed to be a bit careful here because I can buy the 35mm scanning mask from Speed Graphic for £29 plus shipping so this had to be taken into account, especially as I don’t really want the camera stuff. That being said, I felt that getting a toy camera thrown even if I had to pay a little bit more, say £5 wasn’t too bad of a deal so worth a punt. No such luck!! Even though BidSnipper did it’s stuff, yet again the eventual buyer pipped me by £1 getting it all for £34.91. Damn it!! Of course, I don’t know what his highest price could have been, he could have set his max bid at £40 or more for all I know.

Watch this space as they say!

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