|Albinar High-Load 28-Inch Copy Stand
2013 May Film Scanning
In a previous article
we looked at macro capture of slides. A good copy stand is one of
the most important elements, but pro-quality ones can cost $500 or
In search of a more affordable solution, I decided to test the Albinar (available here). Total cost, including shipping, is considerably lower than the $500 stands.
The Albinar stand with a DSLR
fit and finish are reasonably good. It's a lightweight stand, the
upright being an aluminum post with square cross-section. There's
a set screw on the back to keep the camera mount from lowering under
its own weight.
There is no significant headshake with the set-screw
tightened, and there is very little without it. This is a good
sign. It's steady enough to take macro pictures of 35mm slides.
Overall height: 28 1/2"
Total weight: just under 7 1/2 pounds
Base dimensions: about 15 3/4" x 18 3/4"
Column material: aluminum
Maximum camera weight: 10 lbs
quick-release mechanism is much like what you'd find on a typical
tripod, except that it has a lock that can be engaged to prevent the
camera from falling out. It's that brass pin that sticks up (see
photo above). Don't forget to lock it when you have the camera in
The rack-and-pinion gear system is pretty smooth,
considering it's an inexpensive unit. The one major drawback of
the whole stand is this:
On my stand, the rack gear is in two sections, and they don't meet in the center.
The gap is too great, so the whole mechanism stops. Fortunately,
this occurs at a height greater than you'll probably need for slide
you turn the height adjustment knob hard
enough, you can get past the gap. I don't know how this affects
the longevity of the whole arrangement, though. I'd be wanting to
use the extra height for backing the camera off a bit from the subject,
then zooming in to correct barrel distortion. I should emphasize
that this is not macro-lens territory, though. Therefore, the
design flaw is not a show-stopper,
but it would have been nice if they'd made the whole rack gear out of
Maybe your "copy" of this copystand will not be like
this, but at least you're aware of it. As I said, the stand
is quite usable for macro capture of slides just the way it is.
Oh, and if I didn't mention before: don't get into the habit of
picking up this stand by the upright. The support is made of
plastic and might not be able to take repeated torque. Pick
up and carry the stand by the flat base, and it should last you a long
UPDATE: Macro capture of 4x5 film sheets, using this stand, requires the camera to be just above the disjunction
in the rack gear. It wasn't that difficult to jump the gap, I
guess. With my setup, the correct distance for 4x5 on a mini light pad
puts the end of the lens at about fourteen inches above the
baseboard. What's cool about 4x5 is that if you have a
camera / lens combo that can do close focus (such as this one), you don't even need a macro lens.
I like this copy stand, actually,
quite a lot. Here's a "scan" of one of my personal favorites from
a batch of 4x5; I used the Albinar copy stand for this:
As you can see, I used somewhat short depth-of-field on this one;
I think it works for this particular landscape photo. (I also
left the uneven yellowing, an artifact of the developing chems;
it sort of gives an old-time look to the picture.)
In another article I'll probably post a close-up to show you that this
setup can resolve the film grain. (It definitely can.) Maybe we'll also talk about the
exact settings (etc) that I used for scanning 4x5 film.
For now, though, I'd just like to say again that this stand is adequate
for macro capture. It's no $500 pro model, but it works.
If you're serious about capturing slides with the sharpest focus, a
macro setup is the way to go.
This stand lets you do that economically. With shipping, it's much lower-cost than the
professional-grade copy stands
The Albinar High-Load 28-Inch stand is a reasonable compromise of cost
(please get yours through this link and help keep my site on-line).
I don't know that it would hold up for decades
of repeated, daily use (the way a more expensive stand would), but it
ought to be sufficient for the average user. Here's the
key: If you set it
up for one kind of capture (such as 35mm slides), so you don't have to
keep re-adjusting the height, it ought to last indefinitely. To
me, this stand is the most cost-effective way to get into macro slide
I hope you found
this review informative. Please help me keep this site on-line by shopping
for your gear through any of the links on here.
Thanks for reading!
More From 120 Studio
All photos and site contents are Copyright 2010-2013. All rights reserved.