Dust Removal in NLP

Hi Nate,

I’m just getting started using NLP with a DSLR scanner and I’m thrilled with the results. Thank you for this magical software.

The main rate limiter for me at this point is dust removal. My process is to batch WB/Crop -> batch convert -> finetune individually using sliders -> remove dust in Lightroom using the Spot Removal (Q) tool. I’m finding the final step takes ~20 minutes per image depending on how much dust is revealed after converting. See below:

Any tips for reducing dust either in the scanning phase or in editing? I’ve heard of people using Edwal Anti-Static cleaner but haven’t tried myself. In terms of software, I’ve heard of Polaroid Dust & Scratch Removal, AKVIS Retoucher and Silverfast but haven’t given them a try.

Do you plan to add dust removal in a future version of NLP or as an add-on? It would be greatly appreciated!


Are you sure that your development chemicals are ok. I saw this previously when i had many small spots on my negatives . I eventually tracked it down to small particles in the stop bath which I had been using multiple times. Once I changed the stop for new batch problem was solved
Hope this helps

Looks like water spots and not dust, try use distilled water for all chems or just the final rinse

There are many solutions. (It all starts by cleaning out your camera! Dust on film at the time of photography creates black spots in your images.)

If you process your own negatives:

Mix chemicals thoroughly with filtered water.
Use chemicals before the manufacturer’s recommended maximum storage date.
Follow the replenishment and storage guidelines precisely.
Maintain temperatures within a very narrow range.
Use a hypo clearing agent on black-and-white films to reduce wash times.
Use filtered wash water. Keep the wash temperature as close to the process temperature as possible.
Use a wetting agent before drying.
Use a CLEAN film squeegee to remove excess wetting agent or stabilizer before hanging film to dry.
Use a weighted clip that holds film straight as it dries.
Dry film in a dry, clean room where air does not blow.
DO NOT dry film with a hair dryer!
Handle film with white nylon gloves.
Store film in archival polypropylene pages or NegaFile glassine envelopes.
Store 35mm and 120/220 roll film in strips of at least two negatives. Otherwise, handling is awkward!

Invest in proper cleaning tools:

Giottos Rocket Blaster squeeze bulb blower — first line of attack for loose dust
StaticMaster Brush — next choice for clean film — reduces static so dust wipes away
PEC Pads and PEC 12 Photographic Emulsion Cleaner (Both are from Photosol. Use on stubborn grit, goo, tar, fingerprints, etc.)
Ilford Anti-Staticum Cloths (last resort)

Be gentle! Film scratches very easily.

Keep your copy rig spotless! If it is metal, electrically ground it.

Consider temporarily covering nearby walls with black landscaping plastic ground cover. CHARGE it by rubbing it with a thick wool sweater. This statically charged surface will attract the dust from the air nearby.

If you haven’t changed your HVAC filters in a while, replace them with high quality filters that are labeled “Allergen Reduction” or some such.

I worked in a huge photo lab for over 30 years. We had additional commercial solutions that didn’t work as well as some of these, back when we processed several thousand feet of film every day.

My normal dust/spot method is

I scan using Silver Fast 8 and adjust for defects/dust there.
Next is in PS I do filters>dust & scratches using Radius 3, Threshold 1
Next is th zoom up the image and working from right to left I scroll and use the healing brush to clean up any dust spots or other problem areas.
Next is filters>Topaz Studio 2> Reduce Noise.
Next is filter>Topaz Studio 2> Precision Detail, I adjust as followers
overall small detail boost Inbring down.
Same with Overall Medium detail boost.
Only do the Overall Large detail boost if needed.
Then adjust sharpen, midtonds, shadows, highlights, black point as needed.

If I’m working on a portrait I will use Topaz detail for skin smoothing with the above method.
I mask out the skin then invert the mask and use the boost sliders to make changes.
Very rarely do I use thedetail sliders.

Hope this helps someone.