Need help with how to clean old negatives

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by kutsyy, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. Hello,
    I am working on scanning my collection of old negatives and I need some help on cleaning.
    I am using Epson V800 dry mount for scanning. Prior to scanning I either just remove dust with Kinetronics brush or use PAE-12 cleaning solution with PEC-PAD to clean negatives.
    However, some of the negatives show damage/dirt which I can not remove. When I started I tried to wash negatives in Kodak's solutions but I don't think it was too helpful either.
    I picked one image as an example, to show. It is not the very good image and I scanned it directly into JPEG without any additional processing/settings at all, but it display the damage I am taking about.
    Negative scanned without ICE:
    same negative scanned with ICE:
    When I put negative on the the light box, I can see the white marks as well so it is not the scanner.
    Any recommendation on what I can try to clean/repair the negative?
    Thank you,
    PS: I have negatives which I would be OK to loose so I can try something crazy (I've read somewhere that people used lighting fluid ?). I am also think about trying wet mount, but I am not sure how it would help.
    PS2: same image scanned as 48bit TIFF and converted to JPEG using DXO OpticsPro:
  2. Well, in the day (that's THE day when I started developing and printing) negatives and slides often came from the manufacturer and, particularly, the processor with embedded dirt and scratches.
    I personally have scans (some repeats at different resolution) from over 90,000 slides and negatives (over 655 Gigabytes on disk). While some 'automatic' noise reduction is OK for low res (like web display or small prints), I am firmly convinced that for any large or detailed use of the image there is really no alternative to manually spotting the image at 100% (just like the film days).
  3. For actual physical damage - scratches - there is not much to do. Digital ICE is your friend.
    Some of the "white spots" look like dirt or dust. For those, start with a blower like the Giotto Rocket and an anti-static brush like an Kinetronics.
    If the dirt is stuck to the negative try PEC 12 solution on a PEC Pad
    Do not use water unless you intend to re-wash, stabilize color film, and hang to dry. Definitely do not try water on a PEC Pad or cloth.
  5. Brooks, thank you, I do use Kinetronics brushes and pec-12 with pec pad.
    Allen, is there really a difference between Edwal Anti-Stat and PEC-12?
  6. I gave up trying to clean negatives before scanning them. I bought a Wacom tablet and pen and use the heal and clone tools in PS. Yes, it takes time.
    The Edwal anti-stat might keep new dust from getting on the film. Worth a try.
  7. Les,
    I am using SiverFast to scan and yes, ICE does very little to these defects. If I have dust then ICE works exactly as expected, removing most of the dust. Links are correct. The scanner I have is V800 and I do appreciate ICE, but I have not personally used Coolscan.

  8. Les,
    Scan using Epson software (ICE is on, the rest is off):
    Scan using SilverFast with max ICE correction:
  9. Many moons ago Kodak sold a liquid film cleaner. Used with a soft cloth, it removed foreign materials and static charge. I've been away from film for so long, that I don't know if such a product exists by another brand.
  10. Here is my experience that works well for me.
    (I will say I never use Pec-12 anymore. It swells the emulsion and introduces streaks that have never come out. I threw that stuff away).
    • First I dust off/blow off/brush off the film. 50% of the time that does the trick.
    • Next I will rewash the negatives as if I had just developed them. I use either Photo-flow for black and white, or stabilizer for color a an after-treatment and then hang them to dry. This works for another 10%
    • Third, for those really dirty, smudgy ones with stains, fingerprints or old jelly sandwich droppings, I will clean them with Ronsinol (lighter fluid) and a q-tip or soft wipe. This gets all but the final very few.
    • For those last ones, I softly wash them under flowing water with soft hand soap and my fingers. I have done hundreds like this and can do it carefully without scratching or damaging the emulsion.
    If all these steps don't get them clean I doubt anything will. I scan them and clean up in software.
    My Best Regards to All
  11. If it was my film I would take some filtered water or bottled water and gently wash them. Then I would do a photo flow rinse, use a squeegee and hang the film to dry. Some people use their fingers for a squeegee but I have not had much luck with that for water spots.
    Digital Ice or dust and scratch removers do not work with B/W film as it will attempt to remove grain. So turn that function off as you scan.
    Scratches are permanent damage and you can live with them or clean it up in photo shop.
  12. Sorry for the delay on the update, was waiting till weekend.
    I decided to give cleaning negative a try. I cleaned it with Pac-12 again, very very through, used 99% Isopropyl alcohol and cleaned it with water.
    Here is scan with no ICE used:
    not much changed, but interestingly, ICE could work much better. Here is a scan with ICE to the max (I am using SilverFast):
    I tend to think that this is most likely damage to the physical layer due to age (yes, it is Kodak Gold, and yes it was not stored in perfect condition).
    I think that wet mount may help me, so it is a next step, waiting on scanning fluid. Will update...
  13. I am currently scanning about 3 years worth of 35mm negatives. Many of my negatives were processed using "Kodak Premium Processing" which included a plastic film on both sides of the negative (along with a paper "reorder" guide). Removing the film is pretty easy, but in doing so... a residue of the adhesive remains. The adhesive is not on the image section (only on the edges, in the tractor feed part of the negative), but it is very sticky and causes problems in my 35 mm trays on my V850 scanner. The worst part is putting the negatives in my plastic binder sleeves. I saw a thread about this about 2 years ago.... I was hoping for an easy & fast cleaning solution.
  14. SCL


    When all else fails, it is back to basics....manually spotting and healing/cloning out the artifacts.

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