How to Use “Vlads Test Target” for Camera Scanning

When scanning film with a digital camera there are only two absolute musts in regards of captured image: it  should be uniformly sharp and focused from the edge to the edge.  Those two qualities can only be achieved when:  the film holder is absolutely parallel to the camera's sensor plane (and keeps film absolutely flat) and you need a lens which is capable of faithfully reproducing your image at 1:1   scale ( or around that value depending on the camera sensor size and film format)    The first requirements can be achieved by carefully positioning and fine-tuning the camera so that when the image to be captured is in focus, it neatly fills the camera frame, and the center and all the corners are equally sharp. The "Vlads Test Target" (Google it!)   has been designed specifically to allow visual control and the best alignment detection. The Vlads Test Target film strips are so sharp that even the slightest loss of focus causes image edges in the digital camera to b

Digitize Your Film with Confidence - Introduction Page

In this innovative offering, the ten USAF 1951 test patterns are strategically placed throughout the 24x36mm film frame - one in the center, and the others scattered across sides and corners. This unique arrangement facilitates a comprehensive evaluation of the sharpness and focus across an entire negative or transparency/slide in one shot.  P hotographers can now accurately evaluate the performance of their lenses and camera systems across the whole frame. This is particularly advantageous for detecting any discrepancies or weaknesses in image quality, which might typically go unnoticed with conventional  single-pattern USAF 1951 target needing to be moved in camera field of view. Clean, nice, sharp corners make or break the great scanned image    Welcome to - the home of  USAF 1951 Resolution Chart on real 35 mm and 120 film aka Vlads Test Target ! New 35 mm targets with extra Siemens stars (2021) Read here how I myself  use my test targets for film camera scan

For your cook-book. New Year recipe for Film Digitizers

The countdown to New Year’s has started, and speaking of countdowns… there’s only one easy way to cook... mm to scan all your film before you pop your champagne open! Here is the recipe and some pictures. INGREDIENTS 1 DSLR camera (can be be substituted with mirrorless) 1 Macro Lens - Sigma 70 mm Art DG is recommended 1 Benro Geared Head 1 Lens coral 1 "Pixl-latr film holder" 1 6x6 cm glass mirror 1 Flashlight with an extension cable 1 tripod with geared central column 1 remote control or tethering cable 1 (optioanal) camera battery powered from USB source 10 SD cards 3 frames "Vlads Test Target" 0.5 yard of masking tape 1 bottle of Champagne Madame Clicquot - can be substituted with 2L bottle of Coke or Pepsi Preparation time: 15 minutes Scanning time: from 12 am Jan 1 till no film to digitize left. INSTRUCTIONS For the holder: Assemble Pixl-latr film holder as shown, install legs and diffuser. Affix Pixl-latr film holder with the masking tape to the large piece of

How I use Vlads Test Target for camera scanning

So here is my scan rig tuning workflow if anyone cares: Aligning camera and film holder with the  Vlads test target as generator of the test image. The picture is to grab you attention. I used to see it often on my TV when I was 7 years old and was waiting to watch my favorite animated movies which would open the broadcast at 4 o'clock Moscow time . Prepare your scanning rig - whether it's a copy stand or camera bellows with vintage film holder from Nikon, Canon, Minolta, etc. I will assume that camera and lens are able to slide forth and back in relation to a film holder. Ideally you should use micro-focusing rail. Having Arca-swiss clamp sliding on the rail is possible but you will discover that when you start tightening the clamp once focus is achieved, the image will jump by 1-2 mm - pretty significant and irritating shift given overall frame size.    Keep the film gate empty. Adjust lights, mask out stray light, optionally tether your camera to the computer and connect you

New Type 120 Targets are available

Read this post first and then go to and see if any targets suit your needs.

New experimental feature - QR codes for resolution measurements

 The central part of the chart has been changed: instead of the "black hole" another USAF 1951 pattern has been placed right in the center of the capture area. Along with it there are number of square QR codes of different sizes. The smallest one still resolvable by a QR reader should be the measure of resolution. Each QR code encodes web address (URL) pointing to the individual web page on site . That page will eventually contain information about the specific resolution once the value is crowd-sourced from fellow digitizers like you. More details will be added soon.   The QR code online reader ( not affiliated with Vlads test target  ) is located  but other sites can and should be used as they may use different technologies to recognize QR codes. You may simply drug-and-drop the central part of the scanned negative to this site and observe which QR codes get resolved and click the link on th

Type 120 targets

  Quite a few folks IM'ed me if Type 120 targets will be available any time soon. The answer is yes, i am working on that. The issue with the type 120 design is that folks have different film formats: 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7, 6x8, 6x9 - that means that the target will be comprised of at least two adjacent frames of 6x6 ( i will be shooting with Pentacon Six i own) so USAF patterns should be located across the frame in such a way that by repositioning the film in a holder each person will be able to have one pattern in the center and couple of them close to the corners. Most likely that means that 6x6 frame will have nine USAF targets and may be more. The gap between frames on film might fluctuate - that's known issue with the Pentacon film advance mechanism. My current 36x24 design will not work so all new chart has to be produced, printed and glued together. If anyone has a better idea or want to lend me (or at least recommend particular camera make i can rent from Adorama) of a

What photographer would not brag about how sharp their lens is?

How to read USAF 1951 Chart? I stumbled upon this article, you may find it handy too. "How to read an USAF1951 target? USAF-1951 test charts (also called USAF-1951 test targets) get their name from the designers and the design year: “United States Air Force 1951”. The targets are available in various finishes , for example chrome on glass. The targets consist of “groups” of 6 “elements” each. The group numbers at the top of the group, the element numbers are located at the sides of the groups. Each element consists of three horizontal and three vertical bars. The camera is said to “resolve” a chart element, if the horizontal and the vertical bars can still be recognized as three distinct bars und don’t blur into one another...". Btw, for "Vlads test target" the resolution chart is as follows. Just remember that after you capture the negative with a digital camera and start reviewing which group-element i

What could SR-71 Blackbird see from above?

Before "Vlads test target" came to be, there were some developments which paved way for the now ubiquitous test strips.  As Cold War raged on in the 1950s, US Air Force developed "flying cameras" - super-sonic jets flying at hiesht altitudes and caring nothing else but high resolution camera to perform air  surveillance   tasks. The Sputnik was yet to be launched and the only way to get a sense of what sort of surprise your adversary is preparing was to fly over it (the national borders to be damned) and make a picture of it and then have a small army of analysts to argue what this or that building, channel, railway mean. To calibrate the cameras the  SR-71 Blackbird and the U-2 planes would carry around, the number of terrestrial test patterns were set down - typicaly near airfields. Thats how  test chart known as the 1951 USAF Resolving Power Test Target, conforming to milspec MIL-STD-150A, was developed. The design of the chart establishes the relative size of th

Test target for 6x6, 6x7 and 6x9 films

Update 11/16/2020: Now shipping: Folks ask often if a test target for MF films will be available. Something is in the works. Subscribe to this blog and you will be first to know when it's available.    I did consider making them in a way that would work as 4.5x6 , 6x6 , 6x9. But to make this work economically I need to make sure I have at least 100 customers ready to pay more than the current rate. Even shipping will be much more expensive as film will require better protection. I certainly have equipment and know how already, but still don't know if I want to get in this rabbit hole again. I can put up Google form to collect the requests and gauge the level of interest , but for now I would not promise anything. If you or anyone would send me any unneeded negatives on 120 film so I can asses the real-life sizes, that would help, I only have my own film as 6x6 slides.

Essential Film Holder for vertical scanning

Keeping digital camera stable and film flat and pinned to the specific place in space while digitizing are of paramount importance. Without camera looking exactly at the center of the image and having lens optical axis strictly perpendicular to the negatives' plane the quality capture is simply impossible. Film holder takes special place in digitizing process. It has to: keep film flat keep film flat ;-) allow film transport in strips or rolls without any disturbances to the alignment allow framed transparencies insertion and removal without disturbing the system as much as possible ( we know  that transparencies/chromes/slides come in different mounts over the years so it would not be expected that some lens refocusing will not be required).  Good quality uniform light diffuser - preferably built-in. ideally film holder should not be terribly expensive, unless expense of buying tank-like-built  film holder is justified by huge volume of scans.     Let's take a look at   Essent

In search for the Holy Grail of Film

To successfully assess DSLR scanning capabilities I needed 35 mm film which would not be outresolved even by the high-end  digital camera. Of all the chart pieces the real drama happens right there - in parlance of USAF 1951 - at Group 0 (zero). Say, if Group 0 Element 5 to be resolved, the lens +film resolution should be at least 87 lp/mm (calculation are based on my USAF targets dimensions and the shooting distance/lens focal distance). Just think of it - you are in front of a chart 24x36 inches (60x90 cm) at normal viewing distance - say two feet - will you be able to see the strokes of size 0.3 - 0.5 mm ? If your vision is 20/20 you probably will, but barely. The same is true for the camera as we will see below. So what film we should use and how to get it? Even if film+lens give us say 90 lp/mm what your digital camera will be able to capture? Read on... Even half a year ago, I was not familiar at all with the films sold nowadays in American stores. In B&H and Adorama prominen