Using the Skier Sunray Copy Box 3 for digital film scanning

I hate scanning film negatives. Especially color film negatives.

Scanning software is universally atrocious to use. Getting good color from scanned film is such a hit-or-miss (mostly miss) proposition that I’d largely given it up.

Many people are moving from using film scanners (flatbed or dedicated) to “scanning” with digital cameras. I’ve been skeptical of this, but ever since the introduction of Negative Lab Pro it’s become more interesting. NLP makes it easy to get decent color from a digitally scanned negative.

To scan film using a camera, you need a copy stand to hold the camera, a lightbox or other bright, even light source, a macro lens, and something to hold the negatives.

I’ve been using my Fuji X-T3, 7Artisans 60mm Macro, Kaiser Slimlite, and the MK1 from Negative Supply. This all worked pretty well, but was limited to scanning 35mm film. I also shoot 120 and 4×5. Putting together a kit for every format using the pricey Negative Supply gear would run me well over $1,000. More like $1,699 for the pro kit.

I started looking around for something a little more reasonable and found the Skier Sunray Copy Box 3. The kit for 35mm, 120, and 4×5 costs $299, so I took a chance and ordered one.

My scanning station looks like this…

Skipping to the chase, the Sunray box works great. The light source is ridiculously bright, allowing me to stop down and keep a fast shutter speed to avoid any shake. The holders are easy to handle and do a good job of keeping film flat. I was able to digitize a roll of 35mm film in less than 10 minutes.

My workflow for this is a little convoluted, since I use Capture One Pro for editing but NLP requires Lightroom Classic. I import the “scans” into Lightroom, crop, and convert in NLP, save TIFF copies of the edited RAW files, then move them into my C1 library for finishing. I’m still working on making this more efficient, but I’m getting the hang of it so it gets easier every time.

If you are looking for a (relatively) inexpensive way to scan film negatives using a digital camera, the Skier Sunray Copy Box 3 is a very good option.

Roam and TheBrain, together

Where should I keep my notes, TheBrain or Roam? I decided earlier this year to use Roam, and was confident in that decision until TheBrain version 12 added backlinks.

Now all bets are off.

With proper backlink handling, I’m considering bringing private notes back into TheBrain. I love the Plex and how it enables me to quickly gather context about a topic simply by looking at it. I already have thousands of inter-linked thoughts in my Brain and finding things there has always been fast and easy.

But I still love publishing to my public Roam database, so where do I write about something that might just as well be public? For example, I would like to keep notes about this blog, but where?

How about both!?

I sometimes forget that TheBrain includes a nice built-in (webkit-based) browser, accessed by simply attaching a URL to a thought. This means I can drag any page from Roam into a related thought in TheBrain and it gives me the best of both worlds. The screen shot above shows an example. The Plex on the left shows all my links in TheBrain, and the notes pane on the right shows the page in Roam. I can edit the Roam content right in TheBrain, but I can also link private thoughts or take private notes in the Notes pane, like this…

This is good.

The iPod Classic (revisited)

GQ told me that Now Is a Great Time to Go Back to an Old iPod and I believed them, so I bought one.

This is a 7th-gen iPod Classic fitted with a custom board and 256GB flash storage. I got it from PiratePTiPods on Etsy.

I admit it was a bit of an impulse buy, but after a week of use I’m glad I have it. I’ve loaded it with a bunch of my favorite songs, and have not yet run out of things to listen to.

Loading songs onto it hasn’t been my favorite pastime. I use Roon rather than Apple Music so I had to fire up Music and drag-and-drop songs into the app, then tell the iPod to sync.

On the other hand, it’s wonderful to use. I really like being able to just reach over and play/pause/skip or change the volume without looking up from whatever I’m doing. Touch screens are no match for that click wheel when it comes to actually controlling music. And of course not having the device send me notifications every two minutes is nice, too.

Wired headphones are required, but this is preferable because I own pretty good ones. The best part is that they don’t have to pair or charge. Also, unlike every pair of AirPods I’ve owned, they always work.

This may be just a fun bit of nostalgia, but it’s a nice-sounding, pleasurable, easy to use bit of nostalgia.

Coping with the Mechanism

Sometimes I get bored with the way I’m running things around here and look to mix things up a bit. It’s happened again. This time, it meant bringing back the Coping Mechanism blog.

You’re soaking in it.

I have my stuff at a few different domains:

  1. This brand new blog. Running WordPress Ghost WordPress.
  2. My blog since 2000. Generated by Hugo. I’ll probably move the thousands of posts to and make an introduction and jumping off point. I have mixed feelings about this, but here we are.
  3. Roam Research. I have a public Roam database that I pour words into throughout the day. Nothing is edited, or even well-considered, for that matter.
  4. Short posts using the wonderful service.
  5. This was my wiki for quite a while. Built with TiddlyWiki, but now idle.

I’m afraid there will never be such a thing as The One True Blog for me. But, for now, I’ll be focusing my blogging attention here. There will also be random gibberish in Roam, and short posts at

There’s no real story behind why I’m doing this. It’s just that I’m currently bored with plain text and I’m looking to avoid the hassle of posting using Hugo, which runs I’m feeling very pointy-clicky again, so WordPress it is.

I asked around about domain name preferences, and it was a close race between and The former won, and it’s what I preferred anyway. So that worked out.

So here it is. Post number one at the new I hope you’ll stick around.