Lines on 120 film scans.

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by josephlockley1, Dec 3, 2020.

  1. Hey guys,

    I got some 120 film scans back from my local lab recently and there are visible lines in the darker areas on many of the scans (see attached).

    Does anyone know what the issue is here? Do you know if upgrading to higher quality scans like .tiffs would solve this?


    cameragary likes this.
  2. If you paid for these, they should be redone or your money refunded - that is not professional work.
    cameragary likes this.
  3. Maybe I don't see the lines you mean, but the ones I see look like tree branches viewed through fog.
    (That is, the ones that aren't tree branches not viewed through fog.)

    There should not be (and I don't see) horizontal or vertical lines going all the way across,
    which commonly come from dust on the scanner sensor.
    cameragary likes this.
  4. It's most visible in the black area on the lower right.
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  5. I've done some extreme Levels adjustments, to emphasise the lines that I think the OP is referring to.
    This reminds me very much of another thread on this site 6 years ago...
    Strange "Grid" Pattern on Flextight X5 Scan
    cameragary likes this.
  6. +1
    Just about acceptable for a cheap minilab scan, but not at drum-scan prices.

    I'm guessing that there are so few orders for film scans these days that scanning equipment sits unused for weeks on end and gets 'stuttery' through lack of use and maintenance. Through simply getting old as well.
    TIFF is just an output file format.
    'GIGO' - Garbage In, Garbage Out - applies.
    cameragary likes this.
  7. Scanners will try to do what they can to get an image. Sometimes it's just all too much for the little dears. When they strain to resolve detail that isn't there, especially in really dark/underexposed area you get results like this. There are features in graphic manipulation applications to cover this up, but really you need not to ask so much of the scan-accept that the exposure was less than optimum to get the results you (or the technician) apparently wanted.
  8. Nice photo by the way, well done.
    josephlockley1 likes this.
  9. Alright cheers everyone - Will make sure to lean towards overexposing in future as that seems to be less of an issue. Was my first time doing night-time long exposures so some did turn out a little dark.
  10. If I turn my screen brightness all the way up, I can just barely see it.
    The adjusted one shown later makes it more obvious.

    How big are the files, compared to the resolution.

    I always do my JPEG files at the highest quality (least compression) available.
    My only guess is that it is JPEG artifacts related to the DCT block size.
    This is the dark part of the image, so almost clear (well, orange) in the negative.

    Yes, more exposure would get the shadows farther up the curve.

    Depending on how you metered, with the bright light in frame it might be somewhat
    underexposed. It is hard to tell looking at negatives, and even harder looking at prints
    (or scans).
  11. Easiest way now to test out night-time exposure is with a digital camera.
    When you get the exposure right, use the same for film.

    I used to have a night-time exposure calculator, where you select the type of image,
    and some other things, and it gives a value. But this might be more unusual.
  12. Aren't you forgetting about a little thing called 'reciprocity failure' that film is heir to, but digital cameras don't suffer from?
  13. I am not so sure what digital sensors do at very long exposures, but yes.

    The OP didn't say how long the exposure was. Metering into the light is hard even in the day.
    For shots like this, you are lucky to get within one stop of the right exposure.
    The statement was meant to be within the metering range of the digital camera.

    But, yes, use the reciprocity correction given for the film in use.
    This will be especially true using B and a locking cable release, and doing
    very long exposures. Trial and error until you get something that looks right.
    Then adjust as appropriate.
  14. I don't know anything about film but its perhaps an unfortunate combination between the image (large, subtly changing dark areas) and the scanned (and compressed) image quality which caused this 'banding' noise pattern.

    It would probably not occur (or be notably less) if a Hi-res scan was made to a 16-bit lossless file format (TIFF) rather than to an 8-bit jpeg. It's also worth asking what the level of jpg compression was.

    Still all is not lost! Most 'De-noise' programs have options for 'de-banding'. And there are various ways in PP (notably gaussian blurring) to make the lines less conspicuous.
  15. When I look at the original picture, it looks fine to me.

    That is, the foreground is completely black, the way I expect it to be.
    You can adjust things, as was done, but that is not how I believe it should look.

    The dark foreground adds to the spooky quality that I think it needs.

    Of course, if the whole idea was the foreground, and the rest is just an accident,
    that is completely different.

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