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09-28-2009, 10:30 AM   #1
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Noise on 35mm vs. bigger formats

Since it's film, and I the film is the same no matter the size of the film. This means the noise is the same size as well. So the picture is painted on a bigger area, but the size of the noise stays the same, does this mean that a photograph exposed on a 67 has less visible noise than a photograph exposed on 35mm film when printed/copied to the same size?

When I use ISO 1600 on my K10D I get quite a bit of noise if there are dark areas, but if I resize the image, it's less obvious than in full size, so that's why I'm asking. That, and that I was wondering if it would be usable to use e.g. ISO 800 for star photography, or where does the limit go?

09-28-2009, 10:55 AM   #2
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It's called grain when it's film.
By using a larger piece of it, the magnification to get a print is less, so less grain shows.
09-28-2009, 01:24 PM   #3
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The digital world has "trained" photographers to use higher ISO than you are likely to enjoy in film terms. Where digital shooters don't worry about shooting 800 or even 1600 ISO...with just a few exceptions, film burners tend to stick with 400 and slower.
09-28-2009, 08:06 PM   #4
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Yes, it is called film grain not noise. It is the enlargement factor. 135 film enlarged on a 8x10 print is a much, much larger scale factor than, say, a 4x5 sheet film on a 8x10 print given the same film and speed. Therefore the grain in the 135 shows up more. Now if you enlarge the 135 roll film and the 4x5 sheet film by the same scale factor, you'll see equivalent grain except the 135 will be a smaller print. Similarly with your digital.


Last edited by tuco; 09-28-2009 at 08:11 PM.
09-29-2009, 10:26 AM   #5
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There's also scanner noise, which is 'enlarged' correspondingly when a small 35mm neg is scanned to the same size as a 120 neg.
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