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Thread: Curious as to how much dust is a problem

  1. #1
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Curious as to how much dust is a problem

    For those who scan negatives or even old school print making. I have pretty elaborate routine and soon to add a table top clean room. Even so, there are some negatives that just have a lot of dust, while most others are minimal. It only takes me an hour at most to clean a neg in PS SO not all that bad.

    Has anyone used the IR cleaning on Vuescan/Silver Fast or another program when just making a raw file? If so, how well did it Work? Color neg that is.
    Last edited by Steven Ruttenberg; 11-Jan-2019 at 08:35.

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    Re: Curious as to how much dust is a problem

    I think it takes more like 5 minuites to clean most negs in PS and I'm really fussy - yes, there is the occasional nightmare that got dropped on the floor or sat on by the cat. but easily 90% of the time it's a few minutes. After cleaning a few hundred it gets faster I guess

  3. #3
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Curious as to how much dust is a problem

    It's better today than 15 years ago. The tools really sucked in photoshop then. I deal with 4x5 at 6000 dpi so it picks up more dust and at 100% that is a lot of real estate to cover. So I am happy with an hour or less.

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    Re: Curious as to how much dust is a problem

    Steve,

    I make traditional wet prints, so I can't really speak to what extra problems with dust might arise with scanning. That said, I'm a real stickler and clean-freak. I find that keeping the negatives clean and giving them a thorough going-over for dust before printing does the job for me 99% of the time. I've got a darkroom with filtered air so I can keep things pretty clean from start to finish.

    I guess what I'm suggesting is to clean your negatives well before scanning so you don't have to spend time in PS cleaning up dust... It should be doable.

    Best,

    Doremus

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    Re: Curious as to how much dust is a problem

    My darkroom is also the laundry room. We have two dogs that sometimes hang out in it. I do what I can to keep surfaces clean, but the air is likely laden with dust. That said, I usually have no more than one or two dust spots on prints made in the darkroom (and none most of the time). Scanning, however, usually gives me enough dust that it takes 5-15 minutes to clean up (usually less than 10 minutes per neg). Of course, my scanner is also 15 years old and the inside has never been cleaned.
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  6. #6
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Curious as to how much dust is a problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    Steve,

    I make traditional wet prints, so I can't really speak to what extra problems with dust might arise with scanning. That said, I'm a real stickler and clean-freak. I find that keeping the negatives clean and giving them a thorough going-over for dust before printing does the job for me 99% of the time. I've got a darkroom with filtered air so I can keep things pretty clean from start to finish.

    I guess what I'm suggesting is to clean your negatives well before scanning so you don't have to spend time in PS cleaning up dust... It should be doable.

    Best,

    Doremus
    My process is pretty involved as I use an grounded anti static mat, ground wrist strap, brush, anti-static clothes, air, ionized air ground the glass mounts to eliminate static electricity, etc. Most of the time I can cleep them pretty clean, just every now and then I get a negative or two that want to be difficult children.

    One thing for sure, living in AZ the dust is horrendous. At night you would swear, even thru a loupe that your negative after fluid mounted is spotless. But after scanning at 6000dpi it can be a wreck, but fixable. During the day with the sunlight coming in the window, it is obvious why the dust is such an issue. It is why I am getting a hepa filtered vertical air table top clean room to put my scanner, and mounting station inside. It will be a positive pressure so nothing can get in past the air curtain. Short of a filtered full size clean room, this should do the job.

  7. #7
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Curious as to how much dust is a problem

    I don't do anything special. Generally I have maybe 5-10 dust specs or fibers on a negative. Occasionally I'll have a week or two of just real bad negatives but then it clears up. Maybe once or twice a year.

    No filtered air, no humidifier, no anything like that. It is naturally fairly humid here though, except in the winter. This goes for both wet printing and scanning.

    I do have to keep my ANR plexi clean in/on the scanner.
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  8. #8
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Curious as to how much dust is a problem

    What dpi do you scan at? I suspect the amount of dust actually image is directly related to the resolution of the scan. The higher the resolution the more dust particles you will end up imaging, the lower the resolution, the less dust you will image.

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    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Curious as to how much dust is a problem

    I have never seen any indication of that. I have a very different scanner than you though. I scan between 3000 and 6000 depending and see no difference in dust issues.
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    Re: Curious as to how much dust is a problem

    My primary darkroom is a bedroom. It comes complete with a carpeted floor and a hairy cat. Dust is a nightmare. Still, I don't use the IR automatic dust removal. I've tried it a few times, but it seems to decrease the sharpness of the image. It's fine if you're just going to post photos online or make small prints, I suppose. But usually if I scan a negative, I'll scan it at full resolution so I won't ever have to scan/rework it again. So I try to do it right the first time.

    Even so, I don't find dust to be a huge issue with scanning. I just make sure to keep the negatives exposed to the air for as short of a time as possible, and blow them clean with a blower multiple times throughout the process. If they're really dirty, I'll drop them in a washing tray and redry them in my bathroom which has a lot less dust to contend with. For most scans, I can remove the dust of the prior scan in the time that it takes to scan the next one. I'm pretty fast with Photoshop, and it gives me something to do while I'm waiting for the next scan to complete.

    My issue is more dire with wet printing than scanning. With wet prints, it's quite a bit more difficult since I don't have the saving grace of Photoshop. Sometimes I'll move everything over to that bathroom to make prints, as it's much easier to control dust in there and has a running water supply. That's where I develop film for those reasons. But it's a small bathroom, and I can't fit me, my Beseler 45MX, plus three 16x20 trays in there all at once. But it's okay for my 23XL and three 8x10 trays.

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