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Scanner noise?


Active Member
A question I and a fellow shooter have been asking recently.

When we get Fuji Frontier scans done by a pro-lab, many of the scanned images look noisy to varying degrees on the screen when enlarged to fill the whole "page".

The "noise" I refer to is like fine droplets of snow. They are at their worst in dark images; they happen with 120 and 135 format film, negatives and positives.

This noise is NOT film grain - any grain I can see separately to the noise.

But when the image is modified in PS and given to the lab to print, they are fine - no real noise.

What do those of you who do scans yourselves think???

PS: I certainly don't want to do 135 scans myself - takes too long and I shoot a lot of film. I will not scan 120 film until I can buy a mid to high end scanner.

Comments please.
Not sure what you mean by "when enlarged to fill the whole "page""

Analysis of scans should ideally be carried out on screen at 100%. Any scan worth a light shouldn't have anything that isn't on the original. It sounds like noise, are the imperfections multi-coloured? Is it possible to upload a detail at 100%?

As far as scanning is concerned and as a rule you do get what you pay for.
Many thanks Keith. I certainly agree with your comments about price/cost! I'm taking the files and film to another lab to see what they do!!
I think I have some humble experience here..

Frontier "scans" are not scans they are just quick photographs of the neg, they are meant for consumer use, so don't expect anything HiRes nor HI-Quality here....

Nikon coolscan 9000ED (£2,000) not bad but you will still get noise, just a problem at more than 25mb size

I am using an Imacon scanner and boy that is a beauty, could say ZERO NOISE, just pure immaculate grain :D

You will get digital noise with all scanners anyway, so try a few, or go to a pro lab, but they charge a lot, can't remember well but maybe £50 per image (drum scans/imacon scans)

Thanks CS. Yes seems the best solution for me is just to select the best pix from the roll and have pro scans done.
I scan with a Nikon 8000ed and always at maximum 4000dpi. I found that especially with colour neg scanner noise was a problem and, combined with grain aisling, I was getting disappointing results. I then decided to experiment and bought Noise Ninja and shot a series of charts of all my favourite films shot at various EV values. To each of my scans now I filter them using profiles made from each. It is very important to note that the settings I use are very low - usually with the amount slide only set to 1 or 2 and the smoothness slider set to between 2 and 5, very occasionally higher, depending on the scan and how over or under exposed the neg / tranny was. Doing this doesn't effect the film grain but just gets rid of the horrible scanner colour noise. I think people are often too heavy handed with Noise Ninja or Neat Image, and you can tell by the smeared details. If you make your own profiles and err on the side of caution, you'll be very impressed. Money well spent.