Dirt Spots on Scanned Slides
I checked some positive film images in this site and in another, but I never saw positive film scan images as horrible as mine. They are very clear and sharp images. I also checked images that I shot with a Kodakcx4300 3.2mp digital camera - more clear then my 23mp scanned image ... how can it be? I would be very glad if someone offers me some advice.
First of all, when you enlarge ANY scanned image that dramatically, you will see some dirt and/or foreign material. That's a given fact. This will indeed be relevant if you are planning on making enlargements from the scanned image. For normal Web use you look OK. (The specs are hardly noticeable on the original.)
That point aside ... your enlarged example looks to me like your Velvia slide may have been laying around a while before it was scanned. Dust and contaminants tend to accumulate rather quickly ... as I've learned when I leave my slides lying around too long before storing them.
You mentioned that your slide was scanned in a lab on a Nikon 5000 ED. Does your lab clean slides before scanning? (If not, I think they should.)
If they don't, you can do it yourself with a simple Q-Tip and a can of compressed air. Brush the slide gently in one direction toward the darkest side of the image ... then give each side a good blast with the compressed air to remove whatever residual cotton hairs the brushing action may have left.
I've given this advice in the past to many slide and film users who regularly scan their photos because it works.
After this initial cleaning, examine the slide carefully on a light table with a good loupe.(An inverted 50mm lens works great as an alternative to the loupe if you don't have one.)
If you can still see a few specs after cleaning, try again ... or apply a digital clean-up program such as Digital ICE to remove the stubborn ones.
(Note: Digital ICE comes with the standard software package included with Nikon Coolscan 4000 and 5000 scanners if you own one. If you don't, your lab may charge extra for this service.)
In the attached examples you will see the difference between the same slide ... before and after a little clean-up.
|Dan P. Brodt||
I had the same problem and invested in a dedicated film negative/slide scanner. I have a beautiful warrenteed Nikon CoolScan 4000. Try Cameta Camera or other dealers for info. I recommend Nikon, even though I am a firm Canon user, because of the lenses and ICE technology.
Look at Minolta's $500 range film scanner, also. My slides are very dirty, the best of them having been projected, which attracts crud and cigarette smoke particles. The physical cleaning as outlined above will help. The digital cleaning methods will work, but NOT on Kodachrome, as the dye leyers are different from E6 process films.
For all these film scanners, folks, keep them dust free by covering them when not in use and keeping film holders clean. Film scanners are very susceptible to crud accumulation.
James B. Hewin
I just purchased a DiMAGE slide and film scanner and found that most of my slides and negatives had severe dust and scratch problems (especially the slides) despite my attempts to protect them over the years. The scanner program has a built in dust removal setting but I have found that it doesn’t work very well. However, the software bundle also came with a plug-in for Photoshop or other art programs called DiMAGE Auto Dust Brush Plug-in which works incredibly well. I find it removes almost all of the offensive stuff if not all, without reducing image quality, which is pretty amazing if you think about it.
Here is one further trick: Assuming you use PhotoShop or Elements, the Band-Aid tool can work wonders for cleaning dust and dirt. Just select an area with little or no dust similar in texture to the one with the dust and then touch up the bad area. Make sure to avoid edges as you do this. If you have dust or scratches on an edge you will have to use the Clone tool to eliminate that.
Hope this helps,
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