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04-16-2013, 06:49 PM   #1
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LX causing noise?

I recently picked up an LX, and I've run 4 rolls of film through it, and currently on the 5th. The first two were Kodak Portra 160, the other two are Kodak Extar 100, and now I'm using an Extar 400.

I'm getting tons of noise, not in all photos, but enough that I'm wondering what is going on. I've used this film before in my MZ-6, MX, K1000, and in my 645 in the 120 format, and never have I seen developed exposures like this. After the first two rolls of Extar and Portra came back from one lab, I sent the next pairing to a different shop and got back similar results.

I find the slower shutters and wider apertures are producing cleaner images. But if I max it out @ f16-20 & 1/2000 I think thats where I'm getting the noise more often... is this right? I've run my MZ6 faster than 1/2000 and haven't had an issue, even stopped down. It also been very grey and wintery outside, and the images that are affected are very blue in color. This isn't a hard rule though, as some slower exposures still give me the noise. Only lens I've used on the LX has been my FA 77mm

Here is an example, both photos had similar exposure settings, with the picture of the fan being maxed out. The bench photo was still a high shutter, but was around f8 or so







04-16-2013, 07:10 PM   #2
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I'm going to go out on a limb and say it must be the film.

Presumably you've used the same lens on both cameras (so it can be ruled out)



I can't really fathom how a camera can induce grain/noise into film? if the lens and film are ruled out.

The shutter simply opens and closes, if it's not doing that correctly I could understand parts of the frame being over/under exposed, but not excess grain?




I presume you're exposing the film at the box rated speed? it's fresh and stored properly?
04-16-2013, 07:16 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by hks_kansei Quote
I'm going to go out on a limb and say it must be the film.

Presumably you've used the same lens on both cameras (so it can be ruled out)



I can't really fathom how a camera can induce grain/noise into film? if the lens and film are ruled out.

The shutter simply opens and closes, if it's not doing that correctly I could understand parts of the frame being over/under exposed, but not excess grain?




I presume you're exposing the film at the box rated speed? it's fresh and stored properly?
I've used the same film in all cameras, Portra 160 being my favorite film to use to date. I've used the 77 on all cameras with this film as well, but never have had this noise issue. Portra is usually know for having a tight film grain too. This is why I'm trying to figure out if it's the LX.

I use the box speed, and I keep the film in the fridge before and after exposure/before development. Only time it stays in the car is if its in my bag, and the bags in the trunk. It's also been over the winter here, so the film has stayed relatively cool. I usually bring the camera in and leave it in my desk when not in use, so nothing freezes up.

its very odd, and makes no sense to me. I realize that the camera and lens should not be able to introduce noise...hence the confusion
04-16-2013, 08:37 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wired Quote
I recently picked up an LX, and I've run 4 rolls of film through it, and currently on the 5th. The first two were Kodak Portra 160, the other two are Kodak Extar 100, and now I'm using an Extar 400.

I'm getting tons of noise, not in all photos, but enough that I'm wondering what is going on. I've used this film before in my MZ-6, MX, K1000, and in my 645 in the 120 format, and never have I seen developed exposures like this. After the first two rolls of Extar and Portra came back from one lab, I sent the next pairing to a different shop and got back similar results.

I find the slower shutters and wider apertures are producing cleaner images. But if I max it out @ f16-20 & 1/2000 I think thats where I'm getting the noise more often... is this right? I've run my MZ6 faster than 1/2000 and haven't had an issue, even stopped down. It also been very grey and wintery outside, and the images that are affected are very blue in color. This isn't a hard rule though, as some slower exposures still give me the noise. Only lens I've used on the LX has been my FA 77mm

Here is an example, both photos had similar exposure settings, with the picture of the fan being maxed out. The bench photo was still a high shutter, but was around f8 or so





Hi, I have seen the Portra 160 (NC) produce noise and blue shift like that before on underexposed photos. Do you have some samples of strictly correct exposed film? Regards

04-16-2013, 08:45 PM   #5
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Is your LX meter working correctly? Try to compare it with another cameras or handheld meter. Regards
04-16-2013, 08:47 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jt_cph_dk Quote
Hi, I have seen the Portra 160 (NC) produce noise and blue shift like that before on underexposed photos. Do you have some samples of strictly correct exposed film? Regards
the meter in the LX showed as this being a perfect exposure before I took it. It's obviously too dark....


hummm... maybe i'll grab a light meter next month.
04-16-2013, 08:53 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wired Quote
hummm... maybe i'll grab a light meter next month.

Just compare it to a couple of the other cameras.

Set all of them to the same aperture and ASA.

if the MZ6 and MX show the same recommended shutter speed, but the LX shows a different speed, you can be fairly confident the LX meter is out.


It's not 100% accurate, but it's pretty unlikely that all 3 cameras would have metering issues to exactly the same degree.

Also means not having to spend money on a meter if you don't particularly need it.
04-16-2013, 08:54 PM   #8
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Another possibility is , that the scanning is producing it. How are the films scanned? If itīs a batch scan from a shop, then some photos could stand out from the rest like that. Regards

Note: When you add light (levels, curves, contrast) in the scanning on an underexposed (dark) negative itīs likely to produce noise


Last edited by jt_cph_dk; 04-16-2013 at 09:00 PM.
04-16-2013, 09:17 PM   #9
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How does the negative look? Is it very thin (light like the film base) or thick (dark). Thin negatives indicate underexposure.

The LX has an off-the-film/shutter curtain metering system the is used during the exposure. There is a separate TTL metering system that is used to determine the exposure settings in the viewfinder. The TTL system may be still be accurate but the IDM (Integrated Direct Metering) may be off. Or the shutter may be off in some speed ranges. Or the pattern on the shutter curtain is degraded or the film reflects light in a manner that is outside what the system was designed for.

What happens if you shoot in manual (power off) mode?
04-16-2013, 09:20 PM   #10
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Here is a sample of an underexposed negative, that I tried to lighten in the scanning. It is taken on Kodak Portra 160 NC on a Pentax 6X7. I had the rolls developed locally in Delhi, India in a lab and Iīm not so happy with the result, which is quite grainy in general. The result is similar to yours.

Sample with enhanced light levels/curves done in scanning producing more noise:


Correct exposed. Perhaps bad developer?
04-16-2013, 10:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wired Quote
I recently picked up an LX, and I've run 4 rolls of film through it, and currently on the 5th. The first two were Kodak Portra 160, the other two are Kodak Extar 100, and now I'm using an Extar 400.

I'm getting tons of noise, not in all photos, but enough that I'm wondering what is going on. I've used this film before in my MZ-6, MX, K1000, and in my 645 in the 120 format, and never have I seen developed exposures like this. After the first two rolls of Extar and Portra came back from one lab, I sent the next pairing to a different shop and got back similar results.

I find the slower shutters and wider apertures are producing cleaner images. But if I max it out @ f16-20 & 1/2000 I think thats where I'm getting the noise more often... is this right? I've run my MZ6 faster than 1/2000 and haven't had an issue, even stopped down. It also been very grey and wintery outside, and the images that are affected are very blue in color. This isn't a hard rule though, as some slower exposures still give me the noise. Only lens I've used on the LX has been my FA 77mm

Here is an example, both photos had similar exposure settings, with the picture of the fan being maxed out. The bench photo was still a high shutter, but was around f8 or so





Your second picture is badly underexposed. Are your sure you are metering properly?

If I understand your message correctly, you seem to be doing some shots at f/16 with a shutter speed of of 1/2000. That would produce underexposure even in bright sunlight with ISO 400 film. The correct exposure in bright sun for ISO 400 would be more like 1/500 at f/16. The old sunny 16 rule.

The "noise" that you see is film grain, which becomes more apparent in underexposed negatives, particularly when they are scanned.

Either the camera is malfunctioning or you're not using the meter properly. Check to make sure that you have the ISO set correctly.

An LX in good working order is very reliable in terms of exposure. Aperture priority auto usually works well. If you are working in manual mode, you may be misinterpreting the meter.
04-16-2013, 11:15 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Poirier Quote
The "noise" that you see is film grain, which becomes more apparent in underexposed negatives, particularly when they are scanned.
This is correct. And I find the grain large for a 160 ASA film. It looks more like a 400 ASA would. Portra is supposed to be quite fine grained. Regards
04-17-2013, 01:00 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hks_kansei Quote
I'm going to go out on a limb and say it must be the film.
+1 on that, at least we can rule out it's not a FF sensor issue.
04-17-2013, 04:31 AM   #14
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I'd agree it is an exposure issue. Any film badly underexposed would show similar characteristics. Such underexposure could be either meter or shutter related: meter giving an incorrect reading or shutter "misfiring" and closing too soon. When was the LX last serviced?
04-17-2013, 05:15 AM   #15
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In the second one "Benched" - it was underexposed. Maybe the meter was fooled by the bright snow, and you should have increased the exposure by a stop or so. Then, the scan is badly done on it. If it were scanned "straight" with no attempt to level the average exposure, it would be dark, but look somewhat normal. Try it in post-processing (Photoshop, Lightroom, whatever) and you will see what I mean. Much of the noise will go away. Properly scanned to begin with, it might still be a useable image.

Been there, done that! Ha!

-Joe-
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