Quote Originally Posted by DannL. View Post
I am referring to inspecting the glass of the lens, front, back and internally with a magnifying glass. But, even dust within the lens might not be so obvious at first. A test that you might try sometime . . . for each frame exposed, make a duplicate exposure on the next frame with the camera inverted (upside down). If in the first frame the smudges end up in the sky as usual, and in the subsequent frame (inverted frame) they end up elsewhere; ie; 180 degrees out, then my guess is still that it's something on the glass of the lens internally or externally. I think you have already proven this by your example above, the exposure that was made in portrait (vertical). Notice how the "C" shaped smudge moved when the camera was rotated. It moved with regards to the real horizon, but stayed in the same place with regard to the camera's frame.
Yeah, I didn't see anything as I was inspecting, but I've been using a cheap plastic magnifying glass as I don't have anything better at the moment. But Pen S' 50mm lens idea might work, so I'll try that and I may find something.

I think if I did your idea of having the camera inverted, the same spots likely wouldn't occur in the sky as it would now be in the lower half of the frame. If there is something with sufficient tonal range (which is nearly anything that isn't a single, deep shade like a blue sky), the top half will show no evidence. To better give you guys an idea of what I'm talking about, take this image for example. I didn't digitally remove anything other than the usual dust marks and shows no evidence of the smudges because it appears to be blocked by the different shades. Here's another one, which actually has somewhat even-toned skies and again no smudges because the sky is too bright (I'm assuming). Back to the camera inversion technique, I may end up finding completely different smudge marks if the sky was somehow at the "bottom" of a frame because that is usually covered up by something else. But that just goes to show that regardless of positioning, the smudges will occur on the same parts of the negative.

Quote Originally Posted by Peltigera View Post
What sort of scanner are you using? If it is one of those that uses a CMOS sensor (so essentially a digital camera) it could be dust on the scanner sensor. My first thought was that they look like dust bunnies on a digital picture. Clean the scanner.
Epson V600. I know the marks your talking about and have had them on scans in the past (particularly curly 120 negs) and I originally thought it may be the scanner but nope, they do show up on the negatives unfortunately.

Quote Originally Posted by pen s View Post
That's just weird. But I think Peltigera might have a handle on it. To see, check the negs with a 5X loupe, a 50mm lens from a SLR makes a good 5X loupe if you don't have one handy. Look for any sign on the negs of the smudges. If there is nothing on the negs then the problem is somewhere else in the image chain.
Thanks, I'd been using the only magnifying glass I had, a cheap plastic thing but the 50mm lens idea is a good one as I haven't got anything better. Any particular way to handle it?

Oh and as for the negs,

So I decided to closely inspect the negatives by hand and of course, I saw the smudges very clearly in the same spots as I see them as a positive when scanned. So that rules out the scanner.
It is definitely on the negatives.