Does anybody know what causes this?

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pardesi

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Maybe somebody can tell by just looking at the picture, but here's the whole story . . .

I've shot either digital or medium and large format for the past 20 years. For no good reason I felt the urge to give 35mm a shot again. I dusted off the Contax/Yashicas that had been in my "collection" for the better part of two decades. I chose to work first with a Contax 139Q and a Sonnar medium to long zoom. I shot a roll of Tmax 3200 and developed it in Rodinal. (1:25 6. minutes and change, 70 degrees). The result was awful. I gave it a good long think and reasoned that it was the lens. I had bought it when prices were super low but had never actually shot with it. The exposure meter on the camera checked out, and the shutter sounded about right. I am pretty sure of my processing routine, and the printed letters on the edge of the film were perfect. So I decided to run a test roll of TX400 using 3 different lenses, at both the film box speed and half the speed. I mixed a new batch of chemicals. This time the results were acceptable, with no problems I couldn't understand. I concluded it was indeed the lens.

So I decided to shoot a roll of color using one of the lens that had produced acceptable results. What you see is the result, which is the same problem I had with the first roll of B&W although not nearly as bad. At this point, the only things that the color and B&W rolls have in common are the camera body, me, and my scanner. I eliminate the body as the problem, first because I can't see how it could possibly cause this type of problem and because it had already produced a decent roll. But then, so had my scanner and me.

Any and all help will be enthusiastically welcome.

P
 

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runswithsizzers

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[...]The result was awful. [...] What you see is the result, which is the same problem I had with the first roll of B&W although not nearly as bad.[...]

Can you be more specific? What, exactly, is it that you are not happy with?

If it is the graininess and lack of sharpness, then the first step is to prove that the scan is an accurate representation of the negative. How are you getting from the negative to the image you have posted? Have you scanned any negatives which produced results more to your liking?

As always, we are probably going to need to see a good photograph of a negative on a lightsource to rule out the possibility of artifacts introduced during the scanning process,
 
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Sirius Glass

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I could not tell what the problem is.
 

koraks

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What, exactly, is it that you are not happy with?

That's the question indeed.

Also, are we looking at a full frame or a crop? How much of a negative are we looking at?

What I see is a poorly focused image with considerable grain; might be a smaller crop from a 35mm frame that was scanned ok-ish, but with a focus problem during image taking.
 

Don Heisz

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Your 139 might be suffering from mirror slippage. The adhesive they used to stick the mirror on these cameras (and basically all their cameras at the time) is pretty unreliable. If the camera got warm, the mirror could have slid down and even caused focus (particularly close focus at open apertures) to be off.

If that's the case, you can fix it by heating the mirror with a hair drier and gently pushing the mirror back where it's supposed to be. It will eventually slide back down, though. Store the camera on its back.

I have a 137 (like a 139 but with a motor) that had the mirror slide badly enough it got stuck against the back of the Tessar lens that was on the camera. That lens sticks in a bit more than other lenses, so I hadn't noticed the slippage until I was running film through. Focus was definitely off.

If the mirror is overhanging the support by more than 1/2 mm, it has slipped down.

There may also be oil on the aperture blades of your lenses, preventing them from properly stopping down as the photo is taken.
 
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pardesi

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Thanks to everybody for their responses and suggestions. The problem is what I would call the digital "noise" throughout the photo. The first attached photo is a more pronounced example. Look at the hair -- various shades of purple and brown instead of what should be uniformly black. I don't think it's grain. More like what you get with a digital camera in very low light situations. The second is a digital photo taken at the same time for comparison.

The more I think of it, the more I'm convinced it's a scanning issue. A focusing problem would cause a photo to be out of focus, but that's not the problem here. The information about the mirrors on these cameras is very helpful, however, and I will keep it in mind.
 

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MattKing

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Please post a backlit digital photo of the negatives themselves - not an inverted scan - showing the film rebate including the letters and numbers and the space between the frames. Don't crop it exactly to the film - we need to see a small bit outside the film.
I ask because the scanning problem could be related to poor exposure and/or poor development.
 

Donald Qualls

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That kind of graininess in a scan is something I associate with the scanning software trying to rescue an underexposed frame. It's often accompanied by a green cast in the dark areas, in that case.
 

Huss

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First pic is out of focus. Close up pic of the hair is underexposure and/or the scanner's default settings trying to lift the dark area into the avg grey tone area.
 

koraks

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various shades of purple and brown instead of what should be uniformly black

1: color grain is NOT monochromatic. By definition it's C, M and Y!
2: grossly underexposed or underdeveloped areas tend to contain mostly cyan dye clouds on C41 film (at least all I tried this far...) Hence if you try and recover detail from such areas the "purple and brown" analog noise pops up, sometimes badly.
3: if you take very dense areas in a negative, graininess is often apparently more significant. It can become extreme if density is also extreme.

Evidently, digital artifacts can also play a role. But the possibility that the negatives are in some way(s) compromised cannot be excluded at this point.
 
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pardesi

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Please post a backlit digital photo of the negatives themselves - not an inverted scan - showing the film rebate including the letters and numbers and the space between the frames. Don't crop it exactly to the film - we need to see a small bit outside the film.
I ask because the scanning problem could be related to poor exposure and/or poor development.

That makes sense. Does this work?
 

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Huss

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Converting your tiny screen cap (which is why it is so pixelated) suggests your conversion method is at fault.
 

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pardesi

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Not a screen cap. I took a photo of the negative against a light source. But anyway, here's a larger file I made from the raw file. By conversion method, you're referring to the scanner I assume?
 

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Don Heisz

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Not a screen cap

Huss meant he was dealing with the screen capture, when he inverted it.

In the event of unexpected results, check the mirror, check the aperture blades for oil, check the shutter with the back open. There's not much else to check.
 

MattKing

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That negative looks okay to me.
 

momus

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It looked OK to me too. But when I inverted it in PS, it looked way underexposed. Unless I'm doing something wrong w/ it in PS. I don't normally open neg files w/ it. Anything scanned is automatically turned into a positive w/ my little $60 scanner.

B4M6D63.png
 

MattKing

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It looked OK to me too. But when I inverted it in PS, it looked way underexposed. Unless I'm doing something wrong w/ it in PS. I don't normally open neg files w/ it. Anything scanned is automatically turned into a positive w/ my little $60 scanner.

Before inverting, you need to deal with the fact that a film negative is designed to be printed using tungsten light sent through an orange mask.
 

koraks

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It looked OK to me too. But when I inverted it in PS, it looked way underexposed

Definitely, depending a bit on intentions perhaps. There's no detail in the hair, barely any density in the legs and part of the background. So these will have to come out as (near) black in the print for lack of any meaningful image information. Trying to boost those areas will give trouble; see my previous post.
 

foc

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I think this might be a better view of the OP's negative. The original looked very dense.

2022-06-22 19.24 (2).jpg

My first reaction is that it looks a little underdeveloped, the edge markings should be more defined and lack density.

Maybe I missed it, but was the colour film fresh (in date) and was it home or lab developed?
 
OP
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pardesi

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I think this might be a better view of the OP's negative. The original looked very dense.

View attachment 308736

My first reaction is that it looks a little underdeveloped, the edge markings should be more defined and lack density.

Maybe I missed it, but was the colour film fresh (in date) and was it home or lab developed?

Film was outdated, home processed.
 

koraks

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It's Fuji Superia, isn't it? Anyway, I find that old Superia sometimes needs to be downrated by a stop or so to give good shadow detail.

You might also regise your C41 development since I agree the edge markings don't look right insofar I can judge by online pictures. There are plenty of examples of attempts to cut corners (lower temperature, reusing developer etc) that give problems.
 
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pardesi

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It's Fuji Superia, isn't it? Anyway, I find that old Superia sometimes needs to be downrated by a stop or so to give good shadow detail.

You might also regise your C41 development since I agree the edge markings don't look right insofar I can judge by online pictures. There are plenty of examples of attempts to cut corners (lower temperature, reusing developer etc) that give problems.

Superia, yes. No cut corners on processing.
 

foc

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Film was outdated, home processed.

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.

Just to ask a few more questions, please.

What was the expiry date of the film?
What was your C41 processing routine and temperatures?

The reason for asking is that out of date & home developed C41 film can have a variety of deviations from standard C41 developing. There are a lot of variables involved.
 
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