Exessive Grain --- Why?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Robert1947, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. Robert1947

    Robert1947 TPF Noob!

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    Hi guys, I've been using Black's brand color negative ISO200 ever since I began working for Black's. It's made by Fuji and I like it but my most recent roll looked as grainy as ISO400. Any input you guys might have as to why this occurred and how it can be prevented in the future would be appreciated. I get my processing done at work and we still do up to 5 rolls of color neg per day.

    If it turns out that the chemistry is at fault I'll never get the lab guy to admit to that but there is another Black's lab at a different store who get a lot more film to process than my store. Perhaps they keep a better maintainance schedule.

    Thanks
    Robert
     
  2. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    Excessive grain is usually caused by underexposure.

    I know this sounds strange, but when I used to develop my own color negs, they always came out darker than when I had them done by a lab. The lab's negs were usually easier to print, but mine had way less grain, and I do mean way less.
     
  3. Robert1947

    Robert1947 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the input but it leads me to another question. How is developing your own negs for greater density connected to underexposure? I'm sorry if I have this confused but I think you are saying that in addition to underexposure causing excess grain, development also affects it?

    Thanks
    Robert
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Is there excessive grain on the negatives, or just the prints/digital files.

    Grain can often become more noticeable when corrections are made, usually when an underexposed shot is made brighter. For example, if your shots are underexposed, they will likely be lightened, in an attempt to improve them.
     
  5. jbylake

    jbylake Dodging the Men in Black Supporting Member

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    I'm a little confused on this issue also, as I've never found ISO 400 to be "overly" grainy. (reference your comparison of ISO 200 to ISO 400) If you are blowing them up to poster size, I could see a grain problem. Maybe just shift to ISO 60 or ISO 100? I think bigmike is onto the problem, but it might also be a chemistry problem? Send it to another lab, and see for yourself, whether the results are the same.

    I shoot a lot of black and white, do have some "blown up", and it's film, so I expect grain. It's part of the equation, much like "noise" can be a problem for digital shooters.

    Just out of curiosity, let us know what you find out..:thumbup:

    Someone, somewhere here might learn from your experience.

    J.:mrgreen:
     
  6. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    I was under the impression that over development also led to higher grain, but I may be thinking of B&W. Sorry if I was mistaken...if I was. Incidentally, I always gave my color negs 1/3 stop more exposure, so that may have helped me grain wise somewhat.

    jbylake may also be on to something when he suggested it might be a chemical problem. If underexposure causes high grain, spent chemicals may also.
     
  7. Robert1947

    Robert1947 TPF Noob!

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    Mike, the 4x6 prints off the negs really show grain in the smoother areas like sky and cloud and that's what has me puzzled, because the negs don't look thin (underexposed). There is good shadow detail and the highlights are not blown out. I always start each roll with a calibration shot of an 18% gray card and a color scale. That neg and it's print looks perfect. I scanned the offending negs and they are grainy :grumpy:.

    I've always had great results from this film (Fuji Superia) but I'm going to increase my exposure 1/3 EV by setting my meter at ASA160 instead of 200 and I'll take the film to another lab that runs more film on a regular basis (assuming they do more regular maintainence and replenishment).

    Really appreciate it
    Robert
     
  8. Robert1947

    Robert1947 TPF Noob!

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    Well, I think the problem had a lot to do with neg development. The meter in my camera is bang on and the negs in question don't look underexposed. But I have shot a few rolls since then, changed nothing on the camera and took them to a bussier lab for processing. They look great and I can scan them at 300dpi for 13x19 inch and they print beautifully. I have to conclude that the chemistry was at fault for the excess grain in that one roll that I had processed here at work.

    Thanks so much
    Robert
     

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