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Grainy scans from BW Negative with Nikon coolscan V ED

Tony F. , Sep 28, 2006; 12:34 a.m.

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

test scan


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Craig Cooper , Sep 28, 2006; 12:45 a.m.

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.

Les Sarile , Sep 28, 2006; 01:27 a.m.

Have you compared the scan grain to the grain as seen under a grain enlarger?
Is this example you posted supposed to be grainy? Maybe a 100% crop of a section would be more appropriate . . .

Mendel Leisk , Sep 28, 2006; 01:41 a.m.

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.

Evan Goulet , Sep 28, 2006; 07:09 a.m.

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.

Mr. Smith , Sep 28, 2006; 08:06 a.m.

Test a roll of FP4+. You'll see a marked difference.

Gene E. McCluney , Sep 28, 2006; 09:06 a.m.

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 fashion.

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.

Michael Hogan , Sep 28, 2006; 10:15 a.m.

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?...


J Sevigny , Sep 28, 2006; 11:32 a.m.

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.

Ace Fury , Sep 28, 2006; 11:50 a.m.

....Nikon makes terrible B&W scans

It is not the equipment that makes bad scans, its the operator.

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