Digitizing Negatives

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hubcap91
hubcap91 Junior Member • Posts: 25
Digitizing Negatives

Hello everyone,

Firstly I'm sorry if this may be the wrong place to post this and I hope it can moved to the correct place if necessary - I'm new to this forum.

I'd like some input from anyone who is familiar with working and digitizing film. I recently came across several boxes with negatives and have started a project to digitize these and share them with family.

I'm using an Epson V600 scanner and SilverFast both of which have received very good reviews and have already scanned about 10 rolls of film.

While reviewing the negatives I noticed that many of them have scratches. This is quite unusual to me as I am very sure they have never been touched since they came out of the films labs and were wrapped in plastic sleeves since the 1980s.

Could someone please explain why there are scratches on negatives which I don't see on the enlarged paper prints?

Thanks!
HubCap91

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 29,560
Re: Digitizing Negatives

There are scratches on the negs because of careless handling in the lab. They don't show on the prints because the prints are small and not very sharp.

Are these colour negs or B&W ?

If they're colour you should be able to use ICE ( Image Correction and Enhancement ) in the software to suppress the scratches when you scan.

Don Cox

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Overrank
Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,883
Re: Digitizing Negatives
1

hubcap91 wrote:

Hello everyone,

Firstly I'm sorry if this may be the wrong place to post this and I hope it can moved to the correct place if necessary - I'm new to this forum.

I'd like some input from anyone who is familiar with working and digitizing film. I recently came across several boxes with negatives and have started a project to digitize these and share them with family.

I'm using an Epson V600 scanner and SilverFast both of which have received very good reviews and have already scanned about 10 rolls of film.

While reviewing the negatives I noticed that many of them have scratches. This is quite unusual to me as I am very sure they have never been touched since they came out of the films labs and were wrapped in plastic sleeves since the 1980s.

Could someone please explain why there are scratches on negatives which I don't see on the enlarged paper prints?

Thanks!
HubCap91

I’ve noticed this from when I first started scanning film, visible scratches on the scans but none on the (labs) prints. I’ve never printed film but I understand it doesn’t appear on traditional prints because they use a diffuser in the enlarger which minimizes the effect of scratches. (Perhaps someone who’s done printing might know better ?)

In terms of scanning, you should be able to remove minor scratches on colour negatives using the Digital ICE in your V600 - see https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/65034341 and https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/65046653 for some samples with the V550 which is more or less the same scanner, and some other scanners.

Barry Twycross Veteran Member • Posts: 4,671
Re: Digitizing Negatives

hubcap91 wrote:

Could someone please explain why there are scratches on negatives which I don't see on the enlarged paper prints?

There is a theory that labs employed a "kicker" who's job it was to kick the processed negs around the floor a bit to make those scratches. That is a joke, but negs often came back with some sort of scratches. Someone else has mentioned the type of printing made them less visible on prints.

Also as someone else mentioned the scanner should have a method of automatically cleaning up the scratches (and dust), it takes an infra-red scan of the surface and paints round any imperfections it sees. If you can turn that on in your software you should see a difference. Personally, I like VueScan to do my scanning.

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Bernard Waxman Senior Member • Posts: 1,664
Re: Digitizing Negatives
2

Most photo labs use roller transport film processors, which almost always leave some scratches unless the lab is meticulous about keeping the rollers clean.  That is the big advantage of dip and dunk processors that do not use any rollers.  On the other hand, it takes longer to hang the film when processing using dip and dunk.  Oh,  sheet film is not processed using roller transport.

On color film, scratches that are made during development on the emulsion side often have a color cast.  Scratches on the base side of the film are easier to get rid of by smearing a bit of nose grease on them or by using solutions that were made for that purpose.  Wet scanning should also take care of that.

As far as diffusion versus condenser light sources, diffusion was most often used in enlargers for printing color negatives while condenser enlargers are/were more often used for black and white printing.  As far as I know, all automatic printing is done using diffusion light sources.

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bmw

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hubcap91
OP hubcap91 Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Digitizing Negatives
1

Barry Twycross wrote:

hubcap91 wrote:

Could someone please explain why there are scratches on negatives which I don't see on the enlarged paper prints?

There is a theory that labs employed a "kicker" who's job it was to kick the processed negs around the floor a bit to make those scratches. That is a joke, but negs often came back with some sort of scratches. Someone else has mentioned the type of printing made them less visible on prints.

Also as someone else mentioned the scanner should have a method of automatically cleaning up the scratches (and dust), it takes an infra-red scan of the surface and paints round any imperfections it sees. If you can turn that on in your software you should see a difference. Personally, I like VueScan to do my scanning.

Some great insight offered here! I am using SilverFast which has a feature that can "intelligently" remove scratches on color film. It seems to work quite well for color negatives but sadly black and white film requires manual labour to select and highlight the scratches.

 hubcap91's gear list:hubcap91's gear list
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DenWil
DenWil Veteran Member • Posts: 4,458
Re: Digitizing Negatives

hubcap91 wrote:

Hello everyone,

Firstly I'm sorry if this may be the wrong place to post this and I hope it can moved to the correct place if necessary - I'm new to this forum.

I'd like some input from anyone who is familiar with working and digitizing film. I recently came across several boxes with negatives and have started a project to digitize these and share them with family.

I'm using an Epson V600 scanner and SilverFast both of which have received very good reviews and have already scanned about 10 rolls of film.

While reviewing the negatives I noticed that many of them have scratches. This is quite unusual to me as I am very sure they have never been touched since they came out of the films labs and were wrapped in plastic sleeves since the 1980s.

Could someone please explain why there are scratches on negatives which I don't see on the enlarged paper prints?

Thanks!
HubCap91

You omit what format you are scanning. The smaller the format  the more you enlarge to scan , the more the flaws are brought out. Just sitting in boxes for 40 years takes its toll.

Scan the minimum size required to  post to FB  -say 200 dpi for a 5x7 target size. Only the deeper  scratches and larger dust specs  actually show when printing out  wet. The medium  and most peoples' handling  was not in expectation of scanning at grain level magnification.

My film from the 80's even though sleeved the moment it was dry  is not flawless but it was intended to be printed on a cold head enlarger  and the smallest specs did not show and the larger ones were spotted out of the enlargement.  Now film is scanned within days of processing  and dust is manually removed  with a dry spotting brush  viewed though a large loop on a light table just before scanning.

I do not have issues with scratches. The film is never touched by anything but my fingers and the water is  filtered to remove any particulates. Some people use squeegees  to remove water and  machines are known to get dirty.

35 mm film   is also subject to being scratched moving in and out of canisters.The tinniest bit of debris on the felt.

I don't use Silverfast  so no thoughts on that.

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dw

hubcap91
OP hubcap91 Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Digitizing Negatives

DenWil wrote:

hubcap91 wrote:

Hello everyone,

Firstly I'm sorry if this may be the wrong place to post this and I hope it can moved to the correct place if necessary - I'm new to this forum.

I'd like some input from anyone who is familiar with working and digitizing film. I recently came across several boxes with negatives and have started a project to digitize these and share them with family.

I'm using an Epson V600 scanner and SilverFast both of which have received very good reviews and have already scanned about 10 rolls of film.

While reviewing the negatives I noticed that many of them have scratches. This is quite unusual to me as I am very sure they have never been touched since they came out of the films labs and were wrapped in plastic sleeves since the 1980s.

Could someone please explain why there are scratches on negatives which I don't see on the enlarged paper prints?

Thanks!
HubCap91

You omit what format you are scanning. The smaller the format the more you enlarge to scan , the more the flaws are brought out. Just sitting in boxes for 40 years takes its toll.

Scan the minimum size required to post to FB -say 200 dpi for a 5x7 target size. Only the deeper scratches and larger dust specs actually show when printing out wet. The medium and most peoples' handling was not in expectation of scanning at grain level magnification.

My film from the 80's even though sleeved the moment it was dry is not flawless but it was intended to be printed on a cold head enlarger and the smallest specs did not show and the larger ones were spotted out of the enlargement. Now film is scanned within days of processing and dust is manually removed with a dry spotting brush viewed though a large loop on a light table just before scanning.

I do not have issues with scratches. The film is never touched by anything but my fingers and the water is filtered to remove any particulates. Some people use squeegees to remove water and machines are known to get dirty.

35 mm film is also subject to being scratched moving in and out of canisters.The tinniest bit of debris on the felt.

I don't use Silverfast so no thoughts on that.

I'm scanning 35mm film at 3200ppi using the TIFF format. The output size is about 80 MB. SilverFast has options for using its own RAW format which can be processed further in its suite or in an application I've been told is Negative Lab Pro

 hubcap91's gear list:hubcap91's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon 35mm F1.8G ED Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II +2 more
Overrank
Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,883
Re: Digitizing Negatives

hubcap91 wrote:

Barry Twycross wrote:

hubcap91 wrote:

Could someone please explain why there are scratches on negatives which I don't see on the enlarged paper prints?

There is a theory that labs employed a "kicker" who's job it was to kick the processed negs around the floor a bit to make those scratches. That is a joke, but negs often came back with some sort of scratches. Someone else has mentioned the type of printing made them less visible on prints.

Also as someone else mentioned the scanner should have a method of automatically cleaning up the scratches (and dust), it takes an infra-red scan of the surface and paints round any imperfections it sees. If you can turn that on in your software you should see a difference. Personally, I like VueScan to do my scanning.

Some great insight offered here! I am using SilverFast which has a feature that can "intelligently" remove scratches on color film. It seems to work quite well for color negatives but sadly black and white film requires manual labour to select and highlight the scratches.

SilverFast has another dust / scratch removal algorithm that does use the IR channel and so will work with black and white. As I don’t use b+w much I’ve never really explored it.

I once scanned some very cracked old negatives which had a cracking pattern over them and found some “recipies” for Photoshop which could automatically remove them (they were too much to do by hand).  From memory you did an edge detect, then took a copy of the original as a new layer and blurred it over the cracks.  You the took the edge detect and used it as a layer mask to selectively use the blur to fill in the cracks. There was probably a bit more to it but that was the general idea.

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