First rolls shot, scanned and some questions

Hi guys, I have a couple questions about some photos that NLP has produced. You can get a glimpse of my setup in this post. I shot this roll with that setup but some of the photos have a haze that is most visible with the negative border still visible so I have included one of them for you to look at.

The other issue I’m having is that some of my lower-light shots, the blacks have gone very blue, and in the really low light shots they are entirely blue. I have included a medium-low-light shot where you can see that the street is very blue compared to the grey that it should have. Most of this roll turned out totally fine color-wise, though I did scratch it and get dust on it. Please let me know if anyone can help me address these issues. Thanks!


Did you see my comment on your setup? The issues you are seeing are from your setup. The issues caused by the setup will be more apparent on some negatives, so don’t assume that if some images look OK that the setup is OK. For instance, color film will show the issue a lot more because black and white only shows slight tonal variations, whereas the same issues in color film will show tonal variance as well as color shifts. You will also see larger issues in thin negatives (as the increase required contrast to normalize the image will make any light evenness issues become more apparent).

  1. You need to get even light illuminating your negatives with NO other light coming through, including light coming through sprocket holes. In your first image above, there is clearly some light that has come through the visible sprocket holes.

  2. If you are using the Essential Film Holder, make sure that you have it configured in a way where the film is as close as possible to the diffusion layer. If the light gets diffused too early, it will be more likely that you will get less light on the edges of the frame than in the middle, which could also cause some of what you are seeing.

  3. In the second image, you might just need to color balance it more in Negative Lab Pro. Add some green to offset magenta, and add some yellow to offset the blue. That should help get it closer, but I think it will be even better if you can get your setup dialed in and retake it.


Hi Nate,
Thanks for taking time to respond! I did see your comment and, though I didn’t mention it in this post, I masked off most of the glass top of the scanning bed. However, there is definitely room for improvement with getting the film closer to the diffusion layer and possibly masking the sides of the EFH, and I will also see if there is a different plastic negative holder that the EFH came with that will mask off the sprocket holes.
The next issue I’m working on fixing is some splotches/white spots on the negatives that I don’t think are dust, since they are visible as soon as the the film comes out of the paterson tank. Possibly these are from dust that was on the film when the image was taken but have been washed away in the tank? This camera has older seals and they may be leaving foam particles on the film. Again thanks for reading and responding, I love this process of home development and scanning and the software is a great tool.

By the time you get to the conversion stage there should be no border visible around the negative. To achieve more accurate colour balance and exposure you should follow the procedure outlined in the NLP on-line manual: (1) Before opening NLP, in LR click the eyedropper on the film border to neutralize it. (2) Crop out the four borders completely. (3) Open NLP and convert the negative. This procedure is robust in terms of producing decent, predictable outcomes. If you still see a global colour imbalance, there is an eyedropper in the NLP main menu you can click for selecting the next eyedropper that comes up. Use this second eyedropper to click an area of the photo that should be gray; normally this improves global colour balance. Additionally, you can use the B/Y and G/M colour balance sliders - very gently, to counter-adjust a global colour skew.

I looked at the photos of your set-up. Nate’s comment is correct, but I would go further. You have far too much extraneous light all over the place. Along with insuring that no other light is being transmitted through the negative than that needed to illuminate the image alone, your ambient light should be just about zero - in other words, back to the darkroom. Make your exposure in the dark and keep your digitizing set-up remote from your display. Even your monitor shedding light on the film will mess-up colour balance and the presence of reflected light could cause the appearance of haze in the photo.

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