Imagine having the capability to shoot an image with a resolution higher than most $20,000 cameras! Using a budget of about $250, my plan over the next 2 months is to build a 400+ megapixel camera out of a scanner and a vintage 8×10 view camera.
Check out the concept and my progress after the break….
The idea is simple, but not original: attach a modified scanner to the back of a camera. However, this will require heavy modification of the scanner. Also, mounting the scanner to the camera and focusing will require some ingenuity.
Canon LIDE 80 (for now) – $30 on ebay
Canon’s LIDE scanners use a unique color LED system combined with a mirror-less micro-lens design that makes them perfect for photography with some heavy modification. These scanners are also great because they only require a USB cable for power allowing for more portability (connecting to a laptop on location).
8×10 View camera – $200 used
A large format camera (or at lease its lens) is needed to project an image large enough to nearly cover the entire bed of the scanner.
- Exposure times are slow and anything moving will look oddly distorted. This effect can be very artistic, but is not always intended.
- A 400mp 16-bit raw file will be around 3gb and will take a very long time to expose!
- Scanning in color will require multiple exposures as well as an expensive IR blocking filter.
- Banding and scan lines need special treatment (multiple exposures).
- The setup is very large and cumbersome.
- After disabling the LED in the scanner, some software won’t allow you to use the scanner
Current Progress (a few hours into the project):
Step 5 – Disable the LED( sorry but no photo): Use gaffers or thick electrical tape to cover the White LED strip leaving about 1-1/4” of the LED exposed at each end. Covering the entire LED would be ideal , but most scanning software won’t allow the scanner to work without some light shining though.
Here is a comparison shot of my progress so far. Note that the CIS housing creates a keyhole effect which I will later correct. The scanner also shows heavy banding that can be fixed with dark-frames (similar to the frames I use to get rid of noise on my star streak photos). Also notice that the sheep is white in the scanner images. That’s because the scanner scans near infrared.
Goals to complete this project:
- Modify the CIS housing to remove the keyhole vignette
- Create a “holder” to attach the scanner to the camera (I was holding it by hand in the photos above) The holder should allow me to focus on ground-glass before attaching the scanner
- Figure out a way around the software limitations so that the entire LED can be covered up
- Get a IR blocking filter (B+W and tiffen both make them)
Credit goes to Mike Golembewski for his in depth article on how to do this.
Keep watching for updates….