Using the Dual MF Film Holderä for Epson® Scanners
(For use with 4870 and 4990 models)
It pays for itself quickly by allowing you to be more efficient with your time and helping to minimize “handling damage” to your film.
The Dual MF Film Holderä has been designed to mimic the performance characteristics of the factory supplied Epson® medium format holders. If you have problems concerning color balance, system calibration and other software related issues, please seek help with these issues from Epson® or your third-party software supplier (e.g. Silverfast or VueScan). The ScanTips.com website is also a great resource to learn basic scanning techniques.
Tip: You will probably find it easier to work with and align your film within the holder if you work on a light table or on a flat surface with a bright white sheet of paper lying underneath the film channels. The higher contrast makes it much easier to align your film within the film channel.
Epson® recommends inserting the film so the emulsion side (dull side) is facing up and thus the manufacturer’s edge markings on the film appear to read backwards. If your film is relatively flat, orient the film this way first, but don’t be afraid to experiment with the orientation of the emulsion because some users claim they get better scans with the emulsion side down (most say they can’t tell the difference). If you scan your film “emulsion side down,” you may need to reverse or flip your image. This is easily accomplished in Photoshop by using the following menu commands: Image > Rotate Canvas > Flip Horizontal.
If your film strip has a pronounced arch/curl to it, place the film in the film holder so it arches/curves away from the scanner glass. You do not want the film’s arch/curl to allow the film to “bow” down and come into contact with the scanner’s glass (usually causing “Newton Rings”). When the film’s arch/curl is oriented correctly, the T-Lock system (see below) will help to minimize arching/curling.
Place the film within the film holding channel so that it aligns straight over the Dual MF Film Holderä window.
(In this picture, the film has not yet been locked down in place by the T-Lock, so you see a larger than normal gap along the sides due to the film’s “arch”.)
The Dual MF Film Holderä window is the same width as the Epson® film holder’s window and thus will “mask”/frame your film frames with the same constraints. The film channel (recessed area in which the film is placed) is slightly wider than normal by design. This makes it possible to scan out of specification films and images from cameras that do not center the image on the film (quite common). A clean pencil eraser is a handy tool for moving/final adjusting of film strips placed in the holder.
Important Notes on How The T-locks Function
#1 – The T-locks are not designed to fit into the holder very tightly in order to prevent premature wear issues. The T-locks only need a slight tension to stay in place and to push the film down flat.
#2 - With the “dual” type of holders, if you only plan to use one of the two film channels to just scan a single strip or frame of film, you should also insert T-locks into the unused/empty film channel. When T-locks are only inserted in one film channel, the holder can flex to the point T-locks may not fit tightly enough. At a minimum, you should place T-locks at positions approximately one quarter, one half and three quarters of the length down the empty film channel. (See image on the left.)
#3 - Due to the tight design tolerances of the T-Lock, if you don’t have the T-Lock inserted perpendicular to the film channel, it will not hold itself within the film holding channel. If you insert it at an angle, it may not hold well and may cause premature wear of the T-Lock.
The laser cut T-Lock for Dual holders
Grasp both ends of the T-Lock at the “ears”. Align it so that it is perpendicular to the sides of the Dual MF Film Holder’s film holding channel.
Now, gently insert one side of the T-Lock bottom just barely down into the film holding channel (1 mm or less). Any more than this and you will risk damaging the T-Lock to the point where it will not adequately hold itself in place.
When applying pressure to the T-locks, press on the thicker body of the T-lock as opposed to the thin “ears.” Now apply gentle pressure to the other side of the T-Lock until it pops down into the film holding channel. Continue applying downward pressure evenly on the T-Lock to firmly seat it into the film channel. While you don’t want to over exert pressure on the T-Lock, you must push it in down far enough so that it holds the film strip in place and keeps it from shifting.
***Common sense dictates that, to avoid damaging your film, it is imperative you let the T-Lock come into contact with the film only in the frame gaps between the images as shown in the picture. Once the T-Lock is secured into the holder, DO NOT try to move it or your film while the T-Lock is secured in the holder. If an adjustment is needed, pull the T-Lock out and then reposition items into the desired location before reinserting the T-Lock.
One of the main advantages of the T-Lock system is its infinite adjustability. If you plan to scan only one or two frames, you can “mask off” just the frames you wish to scan. By placing the T-Lock right up against/next to the frames to be scanned, you maximize the T-Lock’s film-flattening abilities. Lock down one end of the single frame with a T-lock across the top end of the film channel (where it can lock and fully grip/compress the film against the lower part of the film channel all the way across).
If you plan to scan a longer strip consisting of multiple frames, there are a few T-lock placement strategies that can be used. If you are using three T-locks, one technique is to FIRST insert one T-Lock close to the middle of the strip at/over one of the film strip’s frame gaps. Then insert the second T-Lock at the top end of the film strip and the third T-Lock at the other end of the film strip (see picture at left). If you are using four T-locks, the strategy is pretty much the same where you first insert toward the middle and then work your way outward. By inserting the middle T-Lock(s) first, you minimize the chance of a wave or hump forming in the middle of your film strip.
An alternative technique is to place the film in the film channel, lock down one end of the film strip with a T-lock across the top end of the film channel (where it can lock and fully grip/compress the film against the lower part of the film channel all the way across the opening instead of at just one point on/along each side of the film channel), create a slight tension at the other free end of the film by pulling on it the end of the strip, and then press in the second T-lock at this other end. Finally, insert the other T-Lock(s) in film frame gaps in the middle of the strip. This technique really helps to keep the film as flat as possible during the heat buildup of scanning. If you plan to scan a longer strip consisting of one frame (e.g. 6x12 or 6x17), I recommend this tension technique.
Due to the thinner “ears” on Dual MF Film Holderä T-locks but thicker overall body, it is best to remove a T-lock by grasping the T-lock toward the middle with both hands and gently pull upward. If there is an occasion you need a little extra leverage, you can grasp the T-Lock in the middle with one hand while inserting a fingernail under the end of the T-Lock and gently pull up.
The Dual MF Film Holderä should be placed directly on the scanner’s glass so that the film holder channel and T-Locks face up (away from the scanner glass). For illustrative purposes an original MF Film Holderä is shown in the picture on the left, but the placement will be the same.
Once the film is inserted in the holder, do not let the holder drop or slap onto your work surface or the scanner’s glass. If you do, an air cushion created by dropping/slapping the holder can possibly shift your film’s position as well as cause waves in the film. Always place the holder gently down on any surface.
It is important to make sure the Dual MF Film Holderä is placed in the upper right-hand corner of the scanner (nested directly against both the top and right sides of the scanner bed). The Dual MF Film Holderä is designed to use almost all of the scanner’s light lid area, so unsatisfactory positioning could result in partial miscropping of your images. The correct positioning makes sure the calibration notch is correctly positioned and will ensure repeatability if using VueScan’s batching scan function to scan multiple frames on your film strip.
A finger grip has been built into the each lower corner of the Dual MF Film Holderä to help you get a grip on the holder and lift the corners from the scanner’s glass. After using the finger grip to lift the corner off the glass, you should be able to easily slide your hand under the Dual MF Film Holderä in order to fully grasp the holder and then remove it from the scanner.
The surface on top of the rubber bumpers can have a great deal of grip/stick. If the bumpers begin to stick to the scanner’s transparency adapter when you open the lid, put an extremely fine coat of baby/talcum powder dust on the top surface. Gently and lightly wipe off any excess powder. This will eliminate the sticking.
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