Home Open Account Help 131 users online

Railfan Technology > Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.


Date: 03/30/06 18:55
Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: Mgoldman

I got myself a new toy - a Nikon Coolscan V ED and I'm still playing around with it.
I've heard it was one of the better units though perhaps pricy.

I have been shooting mostly digital for the last 2 years or so and love the results and ease
of tweeking the shots - Photoshop is now the darkroom I never had.

The debate on film versus digital has me stumped.
My digitals look great, razor sharp in a wide range of situations.
My prints never really looked as sharp as I had hoped.
I thought it was the processing (low end? Kodak drops at Supermarkets or drug store, but always the Kodak processing option). I gather those 4X6's were scanned at 300 dpi and developed onto the film.
So now I have my Photoshop darkroom and well preserved negatives and a 4000 dpi scanner.

Everything so far is very grainy - unless I use GEM which is like a smart blur. That reduces the grain but I think the sharpness suffers. Unsharp rarely can bring it back perfectly. ALSO, the grain remains - less like dots and more like lines that are muddled or sometimes splotchy looking.

Any ideas or advice?

Most of these photos are on Kodak Royal Gold 100 or 200. Some on Gold 100 - when I didn't bring enough film on the trip, it had to do.

I have a bunch of slides but I'm more concerned right now with the negatives.

Here's an exagerated example - enlarged 200% with GEM and later some sharpening. GEM reduced the blur but the photo looks like water color. Less GEM means more grain again - has the effect of bad contrast, too.
Ironically, I can scan my 4X6 prints with better results at this point.




Date: 03/30/06 19:15
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: Mgoldman

Here's the same scan zoomed up to show detail - this time with no GEM (no bluring).




Date: 03/30/06 19:17
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: Mgoldman

Here's the original untouched scan without GEM.




Date: 03/30/06 19:28
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: Mgoldman

It isn't as simple as "Don't use Kodak Royal Gold 100" is it?
I understand slides or atleast ASA 64 would be less grainy but I heard that enlargements print better from negatives - and they are easier to show. I've had film developed at A&I also but that shouldn't necessarily effect (or improve) the quality of the negative in any way, correct?

Thanks for any advice!



Date: 03/30/06 19:35
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: mp366dot5

Bear in mind that you are cropping the image substantially, although in my opinion not drastically, so you will see some breakdown of the image structure. That said, are you scanning at "excellent quality"? You can find the resolution setting in "preferences". "Excellent quality" usually results in a 22-27Mb file from a 35mm slide, I'm not sure if you'd get the same result from a negative, but I'd wager a guess it might be close. I'll try to throw in what I've found using my Nikon scanner(same model as yours...I've been quite happy with mine, see attached)...scanned from a Kodachrome slide...




Date: 03/30/06 19:48
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: Mgoldman

mp366dot5 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
You can find the resolution
> setting in "preferences". "Excellent quality"
> usually results in a 22-27Mb file from a 35mm
> slide, I'm not sure if you'd get the same result
> from a negative, but I'd wager a guess it might be
> close.

I am using Nikon Scan 4.0 - I do not see "Excellent Quality" but
I am scanning at 4000 dpi resulting in a TIFF file near 65 MB.
It's hard to say by your shot as it is a slide, and it's a night shot.



Date: 03/30/06 19:59
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: mp366dot5

There should be a "tab" or maybe a button on the left side of your preview/scanned image to allow you to edit your preferences...there's one to toggle between faster scans with low res and excellent quality with higher res....my 27Mb file size is with jpeg, I have yet to scan to a tiff or giff....

I don't have mine fired up right now and it's late Eastern time here in NY, I'll fire it up tomorrow and maybe we can work through the image acquisition problem. Looking at the thumbnails you posted, I'm not sure I'm seeing excessive defocus, but some definite color balance and contrast questions....



Date: 03/30/06 20:10
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: Mgoldman

I see it. It's only for JPEG.
I do not think that will effect the quality in a positive way.
I think that is strictly for the amount of compression.

I might need to play with some other settings - bit depth or curves.
I am really surprised that default settings are prone to poor scans.
I suppose it is either the film choice or maybe I just need to get advice
from someone who's tried every possible combination of settings from
curves to contrast to w/ and w/o sharpening and levels of ICE and GEM, ect?

I'm all ears.



Date: 03/30/06 20:15
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: alco636

This is an interesting thread. These scans are from an old slide. Not Kodachrome as far as I know. Thanks for the tips about the scanner. I have a Nikon Cool Scan V.
This is an Amtrak train rolling westbound into the Minneapolis, MN depot on August 13, 1971. I like the settings better. The sharpness is ok on the last shot. I zoomed in quite a way. But one may now read the numbers on the B units.








Date: 03/30/06 20:17
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: alco636

One last shot from Minneapolis. Thanks for all the information. Interesting reading.




Date: 03/30/06 20:24
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: Mgoldman

I'm drooling over the photos - my favorite Hill railroads!

Your shots are grainy too, but perhaps this is due to the age of the slides?
What type of slide film was it? Do you recall the ASA?

To my point, my shots look similar but they were taken only 3 years ago.
Here's a shot that in 20 years might be OK, but I'm not even gonna try
to post anywhere for show until I get it correct. It hurts me to just look at it!
I've lightened it in Photoshop quite a bit and hope this is the direction towards a fix.
I might need to adjust the curves to lighten up the initial scans but then I'd have to fix
the faded look.





Date: 03/30/06 22:16
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: E-21

You might try out Vuescan (you can test before you buy) and see if you like the results better. It has the ability to use your digital ice and also adds a grain reduction feature. You can find it at http://www.hamrick.com/

I have found with my Nikon Super Coolscan 4000 that scanning negative film usually results in a fair amount of grain. I don't have many negatives, so I don't sweat it. With some of the older Agfa I shot, I get some grain, but again using a little grain reduction, doesn't seem to hurt too much in the sharpness. With Velvia 50 the scans are pretty much grain-less.




Date: 03/30/06 22:20
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: alco636

Here is two more, this time with ICE on. July 31st, 1971.






Date: 03/30/06 22:44
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: alco636

Thanks again for the help. ICE seems to really help. I know I sure like it.




Date: 03/31/06 05:37
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: mp366dot5

Question: Is it the monitor you're viewing them on that's causing the problem?....other than some random dust and the image being(in my opinion only) too light, this scan looks fine...Have you tried to print one of your scans to see if the grain structure is apparent? Not with your home printer, but through Ofoto/Kodak or Snapfish.



Date: 03/31/06 11:13
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: E-21

Part of the problem is the software that TO uses reduce the size of the image. Everything I have posted since the "upgrade" has lost sharpness - digital or scanned. Go to my website to get a better idea of what the scans should look like. I list the film I use on the scanned photos, I used Velvia 50 for this one. It is difficult to get scans as sharp as a digital image, simply because a desk top scanner just can't deal with all of the data from a good slide or negative. That's where the expensive drum scanner comes to play.

You might look at using a few of the screen shots that are out there for doing a basic screen calibration. The scan I posted has plenty of contrast and "pop" on my CRT monitor.

http://w3.gorge.net/schwanz



Date: 03/31/06 20:32
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: Mgoldman

Still listening for any tips -
here's one thing that was creating many problems -
There is a feature called DEE in Nikon Scan 4.0 which
has an adjustment for shadow detail defaulted at 50.
Way too high. Things are comming along better at 20
to 30!

See photo of 1522 in the Notalgia Board - here's a
variation for those who can't get enought 1522.
Thanks to everyone who's given advice.





Date: 03/31/06 20:42
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: E-21

Mitch - that scan looks real good on my computer.



Date: 04/02/06 14:44
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: chico

Mitch, that last shot looks outstanding.

Ray, Bingen, WA, 7-6-05



Date: 04/09/06 05:13
Re: Advice scanning negatives - too much grain.
Author: bandob

Thanks for starting this thread. I too have starting scanning negatives, with marginal results, although they are still better than scanning the photo. I use an Epson Perfection 4490 and obviously have a lot to learn.

Bill Hakkarinen



[ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.143 seconds