I am scanning several rolls of B/W film and have noticed that a small number of shots have some sort of strange sharpening/edge detection behaviour which looks awful. The example below is from Ilford HP5 pushed 2 stops to iso 1600, scanned with an Epson V550 scanner, shown at 100%.

Settings are: B&W negative film, 16bit grayscale, 4800 dpi, unsharp mask set to medium (default), digital ICE on.

Note that this occurs on 1-2 shots per roll - most of the shots look great. I have tried adjusting/disabling the sharpness setting but the effect remains. What is causing this? Sharpening of a relatively large amount of grain at a relatively high resolution?

100% crop from scan


1 Answer 1


It seems that the problem is caused by having Digital ICE turned on for B&W photos. See example here.

It's worth noting that the preview must be made again if the Digital ICE checkbox is changed.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry to answer my own question - it was a genuine case of Murphy's law that I found the answer just after posting the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – RoG
    May 12, 2016 at 20:25
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Answering your own question is absolutely fine! No need to apologize. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    May 12, 2016 at 22:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've also caught myself getting frustrated because I changed a setting when scanning prints, negatives, or slides and forgot to rescan to get a fresh preview. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    May 13, 2016 at 0:08

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