Why Digital ICE Is Going To Save Your Life

Scanning negatives is a pain. Seriously. And for long I’ve been jealous of foreign photographers for getting brilliant clean scans when I could really never manage to fight the dust. So once the negative was scanned, I’d spend about 15 minutes just cleaning it out. Until I discovered Digital ICE.

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Is this a terrible example? Maybe! Actually I did mess up the focus setting on this roll with the LC-A+ a lot. Result, lots of out of focus images.

Anyway, the top image is a raw scan. If you notice you see specs, thread like marks on it. Now if you use a blower, you can reduce them but not remove them fully. The image on the bottom uses Digital ICE. And voila! All specs and dust gone! Digital ICE is a hardware function of the scanner, that means it needs to be built into the scanner and can’t be added in later.

What Digital ICE really does use a infrared bulb to map out all the dust / specs on the negative and removes them in the final digital image. Note that the process doesn’t work on Black And White negatives as the scanner can’t differentiate between silver halide in the film in comparison to the dust. Also, you need to know that using the process will increase scanning time by two to three times but its totally worth the effort as the time taken to manually clean the negative is a lot longer and more painful.

And to top it all now, some images I found from a tiny Zeb & Hania concert along with Swanand Kirkire which I happen to find last night when cleaning up my film archive. Thought I’d lost these negatives. If you haven’t heard them sing, here are two beautiful songs which they sung live at the event : Paimona & Bawra Mann.

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And please forgive the soft focus, I should get used to the LC-A+ more 😦

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