Strange Dots on scans

Hi there, I just switched from flatbed to Digital Camera Scanning and I’m getting strange dots on my scans.
Sony A6300 —> 7Artisans 60mm 2.8 macro —> Skier Copybox 3 —> Lightroom/NLP

  • Dots don’t appear when I use the camera/lens combo to shoot other things
  • I thought it might have something to do with the ventilation holes on the Skier Copybox, so I covered those, to no avail.
  • cleaned copybox “glass”
  • Dots don’t show up when scanning same negatives on flatbed
  • dots appear on both 120 and 35 film
  • only apparent on light toned, simple areas of photos

Anyone have any ideas of what could be causing this?


Looks like dust on the sensor to me, also because your circles are approx. in the same place in your examples. In order to make sure, take a shot of a bright featureless light with aperture closed as much as possible. Then, process the image with high contrast settings. Changing the haze, clarity and structure sliders can help too.

Using NLP revealed something on the sensor of my camera that had not shown in ordinary shots:

Note: The obvious fibres were on the negative, the less visible “elbow”-shaped item was on the sensor.

I’m also having this problem with the skier. It seems to me like their plastic has inconsistencies and holds on to dust easily. try taking a blank image on the skier, if you have another macro lens try using that and clean your camera sensor as well to take the image, to see if it gives you the same specs.

Hi, thanks for responding!
I tried what you suggested but it doesn’t reproduce the dots.
It is odd that they are usually in the same place. Could it be some kind of reflection off the film onto the lens?

I did give it a nice cleaning which didn’t help. Unfortunately I don’t have another lens to try. I will try cleaning my sensor although the dots only appear when I use the Skier.

Are your dots very uniform and in the same positions? Were you able to solve it with your suggestions?
Thanks for your input!

Reflections change when you change geometry. Take a shot with a slight tilt. Lift one edge of the filmholder to tilt the film and take a shot, then tilt the box and take a shot. If you have a polarizer, try it too.

Another test you can make: shine a strong light at a wall and use it as a backlight.

It looks like sensor dust that tends to show up more on flat similar colour toned areas such as skies, it can hide or blend in unseen in other areas. It’s just being in the same place is a dead giveaway for sensor dust. Do what Digitizer said about taking a blank shot, this will show dust.

It’s amazing how hard it is to remove, but try very carefully cleaning your sensor which a proper cleaning kit.

Have you checked the negative to see if the dots are noticeable, being white they should appear as black, have a look on a light table with a loupe. If they are there then your sensor is ok, it’s on the neg, so you’d then need to check the film camera and lens.

Final thought is if it is water staining from when the film dried, if a lab developed them then this shouldn’t occur, if you did them, there is a chance it will, but again these would show on the negative.

Yep, you all were right, it’s on the sensor. The easiest way to tell was to point the camera at my light box, and when I moved the lightbox, the dots stayed still. Moved the camera, the dots moved. Same thing on 2 lenses.

I did clean the sensor with a cleaning kit but it didn’t really have any affect. Is it possible that it’s something other than dust? (I’m pretty sure the actual dust in the photo is on the light table?).

Perhaps I need to take it to a professional at this point?

Appreciate all the advice!

Those look like oil spots. If it doesn’t come off with sensor cleaning fluid, best to have it pro done. Problem is one needs to shoot at an aperture for macro work that will show up sensor spots.

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Hey, wanted to know. How good is the 7artisans macro lens? Any draw backs? Would it be better to get a vintage macro?

Hi, I use the 7Artisans macro strictly for DSLR scanning, and for that I’m very happy with it. The only drawback for me is that when used with my Sony A6300 it doesn’t autofocus.
To be clear, I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to the technical details or nuances of lenses. But it works great for what I’m using it for.

Hope this helps!


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Thanks for your reply, thats good enough for me!