Grainy scans from BW Negative with Nikon coolscan V ED

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by tony_f.|1, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. I just scanned a few frames with my new scanner, and the scans were so grainy. Of cours,e it could be the negative itself, but not sure. I shot some outdoor shot with Tri X 400, and I cant imagine them being so grainy. Maybe i need to change some of the factory settings? I did set it to scan Negative Mono and Greyscale.. on the Nikon Scanning software
  2. I havent used Nikonscan for so long now but I seem to recall I was never happy scanning B&W with it - prefer Vuescan with all features turned off. Also realise that at 4000 DPI this scanner can resolve film grain and Tri-X does have grain so it will be visible. It is also going to depend how the film was developed, what developer, dilution, time, etc. As a starting point, try the trial version of Vuescan (ignore the watermarks) and then re-evaluate your views.
  3. Your scanner has a very directional light source, akin to a condenser enlarger. I would think it's sharply defining actual grain. You might be able to use a diffuser in front of the light source, to scatter the light source. The effect is funny, it's not signficantly softened, but somehow the edge is knocked of grain (and dust!). The scanhanser site has some info on this, but I think it's still "beta" stage. You could also try throwing the focus off slightly, or Vuescan's grain reduction (John Kelly comment), or neat image.

    I had a few rolls of tri-x that were processed comercially, I didn't have a darkroom setup at the time. The grain on them seems twice the size of my hc-110 home process tri-x, so chemicals could be a factor as well.
  4. In bright sunlight, I will actually expose Tri-X at 50 - 100. Really cuts back on the grain. If you don't want grain, use a different film like Delta 100, FP4, or the like.
  5. Test a roll of FP4+. You'll see a marked difference.
  6. All scanners that scan at 4000dpi seem to enhance grain to a certain extent. You can
    minimize this by turning off "unsharp mask" or any other preset labeled "sharpening" in
    the scanner software, and then when you are working on your file in photoshop you can
    apply just enough "unsharp mask" to add crispness to your image in a more controlled

    All scanners seem to behave like a condensor enlarger, rather than a diffusion enlarger in
    how they reproduce film. That is, all grain and tiny flaws of the negative are enhanced.
    Tri-X and Neopan 400 do have grain when developed in D-76 1+1.
  7. I just sold my CS V (LS-50) after I compared the results to the new Epson V700. The Nikon makes terrible B&W scans - my tri-x looked just awful. Then I decided to try my Epson V700 for 35mm - outstanding scans. Did I mention that I sold my Coolscan V ED last week?...

  8. Grain is a funny thing. Some people, like me, love Tri-X grain. I've made some great B&W digital prints but the skies always look strange to me with no gritty stuff in them. Other people just hate grain. If you hate grain, Tri-X is not your film.
  9. ....Nikon makes terrible B&W scans
    It is not the equipment that makes bad scans, its the operator.
  10. From my experience, the Nikon fim scanners enhance the visibility of grain, especially at 4000PPI. They seem to magify it, to a point where it much more pronounced than it would be in a print.

    If you turn on the ICE GEM option ONLY, it will reduce the grain somewhat.
  11. Also if I remember the Nikon software over-clips the highlights and shadows for contrast which may enhance grain as well. The usual solution is to scan as slide then invert.
  12. I havent developed films for over 25 years, and i have a feeling, I may have made the
    negatives alot more grainy in processing phase. I think i developed the negs at higher
    temperature than i should have (probably at 75deg, instead of 68). So maybe i should do my
    next batch at 68 and see if there are any differences, insteda of worrying so much about
    scanning softwares.

    Thanks for all the info and feedbacks guys are all so knowledgable and tech
    savy :)
  13. The best negatives for scanning have just enough exposure to bring up shadow detail, and
    just enough processing so as not to block up the highlights. To someone used to
    processing film for darkroom printing, good negatives look a little thin and flat.

    My processing for Tri-X designed for scanning was to expose at ASA 640 and process in
    XTOL 1:1 at 74 F degrees, using very minimal agitation, and adding 10% in time over the
    time/temperature recommendation on the XTOL data sheet. This has the secondary effect
    of reducing grain as well.

    Give it a shot. Tri-X is a grainy film to begin with, however, so don't expect miracles.

  14. jtk


    Nikonscan is famous for this. The solution is to scan as if the film was a slide, then reverse in Photoshop. Magic. Alternatively, and more directly, use Vuescan and "slight grain reduction" setting.

    Don't use Ice with silver film, won't work, makes problems.

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