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  1. #1
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    B&W scanning and developing help?

    This shot was taken last summer on Tmax 400, and developed in Tmax developer per their recommendations. It's pretty grainy for 400 - I haven't tried to print it either digitally or in a darkroom, but this is how my negs seem to turn out. Where am I going wrong? I haven't done any darkroom printing yet, just developing.

    I haven't worked much with scanning negs lately (slides, not negs) because I always had bad luck with color negs. I used to shoot alot of Royal Gold 400 and got pretty good large prints but couldn't scan it for anything due to grain and color casts. I did try to scan some T400CN (C41 process B&W) the other day and the results were great.

    My scanner is an Acer 2720S which is probably not the greatest but can't be the biggest problem here. First one is right out of the scanner (adjusted levels though) and the second one is after trying to reduce grain in Photoshop. Any suggestions?
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    Last edited by another view; 02-09-2004 at 06:33 PM.

  2. #2
    Ghost
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    I just wanted to confirm one thing real quick. Is it just the amount of grain that you're complaining about and want to improve? If so, there are software tools built into some scanners that help to remove grain. But these tools also soften the image in the process thus requiring more sharpening later. Does your scanner come with any "grain reduction" modes or tools? Did they make any difference for you?

    If your scanner doesn't have these tools or if you've tried them and they don't help then there's not really much you can do.

    Often, in color images, the grain is mostly found in the blue channel and not the others. Knowing this, you can sometimes clean up the blue channel a little bit and improve the graininess of the image.

    Something else to try might be to scan the image in the highest bit color mode the scanner supports and then convert the image back to black and white through software like photoshop. It's possible that the grain will be less pronounced.

    If all of these methods fail, and any other similar variants you're able to think of, you might want to try switching over to a slower speed film. I had really great results scanning Delta 100 on my Nikon LS-4000 scanner back in the days Really great detail and great grain levels (hardly noticeable).

    I hope this helps put you in a positive direction!

  3. #3
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Thanks, Trevor. I talked to two people I know who do their own processing, and they suggested that I try distilled water. I was using tap water with my chemestry and I know our water isn't the greatest. I showed these images to one of the people who I talked to who has shot alot of this film, and he says it's not too bad. I've heard alot about the Ilford films and will probably try those, but I only want to change one variable at a time so I know what's happening.

    I was surprised at the T400CN that I scanned because it's as good as Provia! My scanner doesn't have any grain reduction, etc but I'll try to scan in color and see if that helps too. I had thought about updating the scanner and maybe I'll still do that - it's on the "list".

  4. #4
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Several factors that affect grain...

    Quote Originally Posted by another view
    Thanks, Trevor. I talked to two people I know who do their own processing, and they suggested that I try distilled water. I was using tap water with my chemestry and I know our water isn't the greatest.
    Steve,

    Ah, you're stirring up fond memories of my film processing days, and I have to admit, it's a nice change of pace from all the digital problems we have to deal with on an almost daily basis now.

    I've only used Tmax a few times, but IMO your pic seems to show more than average grain for that film.

    There are several variables that affect grain in bw film processing. The way you processed your film may have contributed to it without you even realizing it.

    The first is dilution. The higher your development dilution, generally the lower the grain will be. This has a lot to do with developing time, because a higher dilution will require a longer developing time.

    Solution temperature is another factor. Again, a lower temperature solution will mean longer developing times, and therefore less grain.

    The third is agitaion. Longer, more rigorous agitaion will always give you grainier negatives. Shorter, more gentle agitation means less grain.

    So you see, when you combine these factors, it can make a big difference in your results. 1:1 developer at 75 with rigorous agitation and a short development time will be a grainier (and higher contrast) than, oh say 3:1 at 68 with gentle agitation for a longer development time.

    As for your scanner being the culprit, the only way you can truly gauge that is to compare your scanned results with a print made directly from the negative.

    BTW, yes it is a good idea to use distilled water when mixing your development solution. I doubt, however, that contributed to the increased grain...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    -Steve
    Studio & Lighting - Photography As Art Forum Moderator

    Running the Photo Asylum, Asylum Steve's blogged brain pipes...
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  5. #5
    Ghost
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    Me again. After reading yours and Steve's responses I realized I had misread what you were asking for. Sorry about that. It wasn't as obivous to me when I first read the post that you were also asking for developing help......of which I can be no help....

    Hopefully Steve's been able to help you out a bit. I haven't developed B&W film since High School and even then I wasn't paying attention to the details of the process.

  6. #6
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Trevor - actually it was a two part question and you helped with the suggestion about scanning in color, I'll try it.

    Steve - I'll try a little gentler agitation and see what that does. I have a 2-reel tank, and Kodak's diagram shows more of a twisting the wrist action than a slow martini shaker action like I was doing (not quite that bad). I'm a self taught beginner on this so bear with me... Tmax developer is a concentrate and they recommend a 1:4 dilution which I used. Times are per their chart which are pretty fast. To try to learn from this, I'll try less agitation first, distilled water second and then maybe D-76 developer instead.

    I'm giving this a shot (bad pun) - nice to get away from the computer for awhile!

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