Bracketing and merge?

I was reading the guide for NLP v3 and noticed the part about camera settings.
“If you are using a digital camera, use the same ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed for every shot”.

I have been thinking about if bracketing and then merging the different frames in a HDR kind of way would be beneficial when scanning negatives with a DSLR. Should I read this guidelines as “no, don’t use bracketing”, or is this just best practise for using Roll Analysis?

I have not started scanning my negatives yet, if that wasn’t obvious already…

The dynamic range stored in a negative is very compressed - it will easily fit in the dynamic range of any relatively modern digital sensor, so there would be no benefit to HDR merge. This can be useful for slide film, but even then probably shouldn’t be your default, just used if your sensor can’t keep up with the image.

Yes, no need for HDR as explained, but spend a bit of time exploring what your fixed exposure will be for a particular roll, or a particular frame if it is a one-off. Nate has suggested that he bases his shutter speed on making sure that the film rebate is just on the point of clipping at the chosen aperture, ‘exposing to the right’ if you like, but you can use that as a starting point and adjust slightly to see what gives you the best results. Others just use aperture priority with a bit of exposure compensation thrown in or a mixture of the two.

My personal approach is to take a series of photos at 1/3rd stops until any channel of any pixel clips, then back off by 1/3rd stop. Then I use those settings for the whole roll.

This usually (not always, this depends on the density of a specific negative on a roll) results in a meter reading of around +1⅔ stops overexposed, FWIW.

I tested exposure bracketing and HDR merging and found that it can slightly change how images look regarding colour and tonality, but NLP “first tab” output is a starting point anyways. Can you make out any substantial difference?

→ My lesson learned: No benefit in exposure bracketing.

Exposure bracketing or any wider range of exposures interfere with Roll Analysis. NLP will show a message (after all images have been analysed):
Bildschirm 2024-05-16 um 15.25.28
→ Stick to what the manual recommends!