Huge amount of noise in thin negative compared to lab scan

  1. Which version of Negative Lab Pro are you using?


  1. If using DSLR scanning, please include: 1) camera make/model, 2) lens make/model, 3) light source make/model

Camera: Canon EOS R5
Lens: Sigma Art DG 70mm MACRO
Light: Cinestill CS-LITE

  1. If using film scanner, please include: 1) scanner make/model, 2) software used for scanning, 3) settings used for scanning


  1. Please add the conversion you are having difficulty with, along with a short description of what you are seeing wrong with it.

I have a few very thin negatives, produced from low-quality expired film that was not stored properly - i am under no delusions that i’ll be able to get perfect images from these, but I was suprised how much worse the images i got from NLP were than the cheap lab scanner JPEGs - there is a huge amount of noise, and a massive green cast compared to the lab scanner (images attached). While the lab scan photo is poor quality, the NLP conversion is completely unusable.

Is this to be expected, or is there something I’m missing about conversion of underexposed negatives?

  1. It’s not required, but it’s very helpful if you can provide a link to the original RAW or TIFF negative before conversion. If you don’t want to share this file publicly, you can also email it to me at

This gdrive link contains: the raw CR3, an exported TIFF of the problem i’m experiencing, and a copy of the lab scan for comparison

I played with it and see what you mean. I would experiment with bracketing the exposure of the negative. Go 2 stops over to 2 stops under in 1/3 stop intervals. Process them all in NLP. See what happens. Attached is the result I got. It’s still very noisy, despite pretty stiff noise reduction.

One thing I’d also look at is what sort of flare you are getting from light spill around the edges of the negative, and from other reflections or transmissions in the area. Your film holder should keep the negative flat and mask off any unwanted light spillage.

Honestly you cannot expect good scan from severely underexposed shot. Lab scan tells the story - the shot was taken in deep shadows , the lab actually did a decent job of keeping people in the shadows not trying to bring them up . If they did , you would see the same terrible noise you see in your scan. So scan your film to be what it is : people in deep shadows and don’t expect miracle like in the movie “Blow up” ;-). Hope you put your light in Cool (bluish mode) and then made the digital capture which places orange mask as high in brightness as you can without loosing details. Then accept what conversion gives you.

…my usual approach in such cases is to convert to B&W, where we’re slightly less intolerant to noise. But then again, the coarseness is in the negative already and there is not much one can do about that.

You might want to try modulating the light source as sometimes excessive light blurrs the colors.