Digital noise from Camera Scan

Hi. I have noticed that the camera scans from my negatives have a lot of digital noise. Is this colour noise normal? Settings: Kodak Portra 400 (shot in Olympus Mju II), Nikon Z8 with ES-2, ISO 64, F/8, 1/15 sec, lightsource: Nanlite FS 300 with softbox (double diffused, approx. 13 cm away). NLP settings: Basic, saturation 3, LAB Standard (no changes), WB-Auto-Neutral, HSL: Neutral.

Here is 100% zoom screenshot from my mac (especially notice the noise above the bushes at the bottom). It actually looks worse in lightroom:

I can gladly send the original .nef file if anyone is interested.

It seems that this “noise” is pretty much on most of the negatives. Is it just underexposure? Regardless of what the Mju did, I tried to expose to the right when photographing the negative (1/8 was already too far right), but it doesnt help.

Looking forward to hearing from someone with more experience :slight_smile: Many thanks in advance!

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It is normal when DSLR scannign exposure is too short and the amount of light passing through dense negative parts (white walls!) is not enough. Solution here is overexposing; Some say “Matrix meter on medium negative +1 stop”, my opinion is to say “Spot meter + 2.7 stops”.

Thanks for the answer. I also shot it as 1/8 sec, but then it was already pushed the histogram too far and there were blown out areas. I tried with other images with longer exposures, pushing more the right, but it is the same :frowning:

Wondering if you might try 4-shot pixel shift to see if there is an improvement. Can you be sure that this isn’t from the negative itself?

I have not used the new pixel shift feature on the Z8 yet. but I’ll give it a try :slight_smile: It might be that my Olympus Mju II (which I found in a secondhand shop for 10 €!) underexposes, meaning all the images would have more noise in the shadows and midtones. I will try and scan some negatives from another camera to see if they are better. Do you think trying on a 24 MP sensor would be better (I have the ZF)? If anyone else has any ideas or tips, that would be wonderful :pray:

At a quick glance, that looks like pretty normal film grain to me, but I’m looking at it on my phone so not completely sure. Not sure about your lens, but I think a Z8 should resolve the grain on even well exposed Portra 400 just fine. I’m scaning on on a Z5 and don’t see pretty much any noise from the sensor, but plenty of grain from the films themselves, depending on the film of course.

Since you have the option of the Zf you may as well try it, the comparison might be useful. Incidentally I don’t think that you should be needing to use pixel-shift as a matter of course, it’s a bit of a procedure as you need to process the different frames in Nikon’s own software and you end up with a slightly unconventional RAW file but again the comparison might be useful. Your camera has a great sensor so it should be fine as it is really.

The Olympus µII is a great small film camera, I used it as a pocket camera for 15 years.

David Bailey is quite a famous photographer, this will amuse some:

Anyway here’s a snap with it using Fuji G800 and the built in flash.

Thanks everyone. I will try both the ZF and pixel shift with the Z8 :slight_smile: I also noticed that I could get less colour shifts in the grain/noise by lowing in the pre-satuation level when converting. So if anyone has this problem, I would recommend try to reduce it to 1 and seeing if it gets better. Or even better, don’t underexpose the shot like I did :wink:

Thanks for sending the video. Dawn French is always so funny and I have never seen that ad before! Glad you enjoy using the Mju too!

Firstly, one needs to sort out whether this is film grain or digital noise. Magnifying your photo on my hi-res display suggests to me that the irregular pattern probably means we are seeing film grain. A way of testing for this distinction would be to opened the scanned negative in Lightroom as a raw file and attempting to use the new "DeNoise feature in the sharpening panel. If the application of this tool hardly makes a difference to the graininess, then you can be pretty sure this is film grain, but if it cleans-up the photo very considerably, then you know it was digital noise, which has a “signature” that this tool can clean-up.

Now, if it turns out to be digital noise, then you need to question your ISO setting and exposure. If the former is too high and/or the latter too low, sensor noise will definitely show through.

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It looks just like the grain I see in my scans of fast miniature colour neg film.