35mm film vs 5DII - Low light performance

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by mauro_franic, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. Here are the results of low light shooting.
    All film shots are straight from the scan without any processing. The only exception is the EI3200 Tmax that has a the curves pinched up in photoshop.
    The 5DII file was converted with DPP with sharpness set to 4 and all the other setting to neutral.
    Focus was on the front cheek so the eye is a little out of focus.
    Observations:
    General: All film and digital shots are excellent in all areas.
    Detail: B&W film has the best detail, followed by color negative. The 5DII comes last.
    Dynamic range: Color film was the best. The 5DII and B&W pushed film probably tied in second place.
    Grain (film only): B&W film was slightly more attractive and smoother than color negative. Both very nice.
    Noise (5DII only): Minimal for the speed.
    Contrast: B&W film has the highest (for good or bad), followed by color negative. The 5DII comes last.
    Enjoy. Technical questions welcomed.
    Here is the link to see the crops at 100%.
    http://shutterclick.smugmug.com/Photography/Portra-400-and-TMAX-400-G/15789423_WvenE#1188038015_zxSvM-O-LB
    00YDpr-332589584.jpg
     
  2. Interesting! However, there's a problem. With the film shots it looks like they were shot using flash while the digital shot looks like it was natural lighting. From experience, flash shots look sharper than non-flash, because it stops all motion while the shutter speeds with natural light are usually slower and get more blur from a moving subject.
    Personally I like the grain from the T-Max 400 more than the others. However, you just can't beat the smooth colors and grain/noise on the section of the guitar at 25% with the 5Dll.
    One thing to remember that I found out not too long ago, just because digital has a neutral setting doesn't mean that's what should be used to get the most natural looking shot. Remember film, if you wanted high contrast and high saturation you should choose velvia. If you want more dynamic range, try sensia or something similar. The same with the digital camera, neutral doesn't mean normal...by no means. In a situation like this with low light, I would turn down the contrast quite a bit but keep the sharpness high and the saturation medium-low.
    I remember a while back I was shooting Fujichrome Velvia 100F and needed some high iso's for animals in the early morning. I cranked the iso dial up to 1600 and shot a whole roll in the early morning just when the sun was coming up. When I got it processed, the contrast was higher, grain was higher and the saturation was way higher! However, the sharpness kind of smoothed off and wasn't as sharp as normal Velvia.

    Great comparison and interesting to finally see film compared with digital under low light.
    -Jon
     
  3. Thank you Jon.
    There aren't any good low light comparisons at EI 1600/3200 of live events.
    My preference is TMAX as well. The detail and clarity is stunning compared to the 5DII. Portra is great too - though TMAX really hits the note.
    To your note on the colors and flash; the angle of the shots was different and the 5DII benefited from an overhead strobe (which created a bit of a highlight problem on the temple) where as the film cameras had a diffuse bounced flash on the side. This gives the 5DII nicer stage colors and a tad lower contrast.
     
  4. The 5DII was set to 3200 while Portra was at 1600. Surely not fair?
    BTW that NR in the 5DII shot is awful. Can you turn it off? Surely you can... there is no way Canon shooters would recommend their cameras if this is the best they can do. It's dreadful and I would not tolerate it.
     
  5. Karim, the NR was the standard for the 5DII. I will still check it and turn it off.
     
  6. Karim, the 5DII is an excellent camera and can be recommended confidently. Your current evaluation is relative because you have film next to it but in absolute terms it is fantastic camera. I will try to post the 5DII with NR off tonight for you. Also remember that most digital shooters don't use film and digital in low light alongside of each other so the relative POV almost doesn't exist.
     
  7. I think that this serves to show that with modern films, both film and digital can be used with confidence....though they look different and I often prefer the film.
     
  8. I guess the most accurate comparison would be images shot of still-life low-light subjects with the lighting the same for each, and I would shoot the digital shots in RAW.
    Before acquiring a digital camera, I shot film for years and loved it. When the digital came along the colors weren't as smooth or something, it just didn't look right. After upgrading to a Fx from Nikon, the colors fixed themselves and all of a sudden the pictures looked normal again. I guess what I'm saying is I just don't see a huge difference from film to digital if the comparison is both in the same format (24x36 digital, 24x36 film). I do miss the grain of film sometimes, but for sharpness, contrast and color, those elements are all adjustable.(I use Adobe Camera Raw to process the .Nef files(which I convert to .dng) and I remove the default settings and turn down the contrast to where it looks almost terrible. Then in photoshop, I apply a setting that increases the contrast while retaining the dynamic range and sharpens the picture enough for printing and then depending on the shot, turns the saturation up or down.)
    Believe it or not, I still keep a manual film body in my bag for backup with a roll of T-Max 400 and a roll of Fujichrome Velvia 100F! For some reason I have to keep buying film to replace my backup rolls!
    Jon
     
  9. Interesting, and thanks for posting. If this was in the Nikon forum, the thread would be closed by now<g>.
     
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Testing needs to be controlled and scientific, with identical lighting and subject. Otherwise, the test results are meaningless.
     
  11. Nice one Mauro. Just the kind of thing I have wanted to see for a long time.
     
  12. Real life is rarely scientific. Three out of the 5 shots are very close in composition. Lighting is different. I think the point is that all the original images would produce a great print. Yes, the DSLR will have less noise, but the film can look great as well.
     
  13. I'm pretty sure Mauro's post is not a controlled scientific test judging from his comment mentioning comparison's of low light capability of live events, I am a professional photographer for a national music magazine and there is no way you can match a scene with identical lighting and subject. This is a great post for me and from the results Mauro got I will for sure be loading up my Black Rapid straps with my Nikon F100 and a Canon 7NE with some TMAX 400 and possibly the portra film as well to accompany my 5DMII. This will save me a lot of money not having to buy another 5DMII for my wide angle shots! Thank you Mauro for the comparison
     
  14. Testing needs to be controlled and scientific, with identical lighting and subject. Otherwise, the test results are meaningless.​
    Not true, even in science. Of course the goal is to refine experiments and results, but Pareto's law works quite nicely.
    EDIT: Mauro, thanks for your response.
     
  15. While I think we can all agree that it was great that Mauro did this test and it's a good jumping off point, I have to agree with Jeff - it is not an apples-to-apples comparison, and as such it's not overly useful. The response that 'real life isn't scientific' is moot, since the intention was to produce objective, repeatable results. Unless you test objectively (which Mauro did not) then the test did not accomplish the objective. Here's why:
    Most of us know that film retains detail and tonal value better in highlights than digital does, but worse in the shadows. Since Mauro used flash on the film shots only, any hot spots caused by the flash are more likely to retain detail rather than wash out. Similarly using a faster shutter speed with the flash means that the background areas, which would normally be underexposed on film, are instead black, so we can't see the lower tonal range. In a way, using flash on the film shots only enhances film's benefits, while minimzing its disadvantages.
    Were we to see flash on the digital image only, we might conclude that the 5DII overexposes in low light, and we wouldn't see its truest low-light advantage, which is capturing shadow detail. Furthermore, the use of certain developers for black and white film will make low-light images develop better or worse. Using a 'correct' high-speed developer would yield slightly better results than this, and using something like Perceptol, which is made for low-speed films, would make the results much, much worse.
    So no, this is not an objective, scientific, or even fair test. But I'm glad you did it Mauro, and I've very glad to see that there are people that are actively testing both mediums in order to treat them as tools for certain jobs, rather than blindly claiming one to be better than the other, which is what 99.9% of photographers do.
    Even though I disagree with your findings, I still give you huge props.
     
  16. Awesome one Mauro. I've been looking forward to another film vs. digital thread from you for some time!
    I'm a little confused -- did you set the camera to an ISO of 1600 for the Portra 400 film? Did you do any push processing of the film?
    I would also love to see a shot with NR set to 0. I take it you shot RAW, yes? The amount of information you can recover from a RAW file is phenomenal, and I would personally use Lightroom 3 to do the conversion as it's got some pretty advanced demosaicing algorithms. I can take a whack at the RAW conversion if you send me the RAW file. I'm fairly certain the 5DII can do better than what you've initially posted...
    That being said -- great work as always. I'm back to shooting Velvia these days after my 5D shorted due to dismal weather sealing as I was shooting waterfalls in Oregon this past fall... Gotta say, I love Velvia. Just hate the scanning process & I can't afford a Flextight X5 :(
    Cheers,
    Rishi
     
  17. Thank you all for the comments. I'll try to answer one by one.
     
  18. "Testing needs to be controlled and scientific, with identical lighting and subject. Otherwise, the test results are meaningless"
    Jeff, this are real life results from live shooting. When controlled testing is posted, the answer is that they are not real life, and viceversa. You could extract value from analyzing each shot in isolation without worrying about the one next to it for comparison.
     
  19. ...plus you need to factor in how many images would have been lost every time you need to change a 36 or 37 exposure roll of film. With a digital camera, and a fairly large memory card -- you would just keep on shooting.
     
  20. "I guess the most accurate comparison would be images shot of still-life low-light subjects with the lighting the same for each, and I would shoot the digital shots in RAW".
    Thanks for the thanks Jon. Low light still-life would give film too much of an edge because it doesn't accumulate noise on longer exposures. Still an interesting test I may run.
    The 5DII was shot in RAW.
     
  21. Dave and Josh,
    Although I shoot mostly film, your comments are right on. With proper education about film, photographers can understand they are best served by incorporating film and digital to their arsenal. Much to gain and nothing to lose from using both mediums.
     
  22. Michael, funny but true. I was hesitant to post the 5DII shot at all.
     
  23. "Similarly using a faster shutter speed with the flash means that the background areas, which would normally be underexposed on film, are instead black, so we can't see the lower tonal range."
    Zack, flash shots had a slower shutter speed (limited by the synch speed). You may clearly see the tones of the brick wall in the back on the Portra shots. they are just out of focus bcs of the large aperture.
     
  24. Hi Rishi.
    The Portra and TMAX were set at 1,600. The EI 3200 TMAX shot was set at 1,600 EC-1 spot metered and had the exposure raised in PS.
    I will also post the 5DII without NR and Lightroom 3.
     
  25. "..plus you need to factor in how many images would have been lost every time you need to change a 36 or 37 exposure roll of film. With a digital camera, and a fairly large memory card -- you would just keep on shooting."
    Jerry, I shot one roll of Portra and two rolls of TMAX and didn't finish the second roll.
    I did not miss any shots I wanted. It is a camera not a machine gun meant to be used with the eyes closed.
     
  26. Karim, this is the shot with NR off you requested.
    00YECc-332905684.jpg
     
  27. Rishi,
    this is the shot processed in LR3 you requested. It was processed by a colleague to offer the most detail - it includes backlighting and other adjustments.
    00YECm-332911584.jpg
     
  28. As we discuss how to make the 5DII look better, a word of caution when someone considers shooting hundreds of pictures digitally and plans to sort through and edit (via RAW processors and then PS to) this body of work to match the look/detail of film. This is many many hours of work.
    Just remember I spent zero time in on PS modifications on film. B&W development was 30 minutes (both rolls) and color negative zero (drooped off and picked up). Scanning was unattended other than to reload the cartridges with no adjustments either.
     
  29. Mauro Franic , Feb 15, 2011; 08:51 p.m.
    "Similarly using a faster shutter speed with the flash means that the background areas, which would normally be underexposed on film, are instead black, so we can't see the lower tonal range."
    Zack, flash shots had a slower shutter speed (limited by the synch speed). You may clearly see the tones of the brick wall in the back on the Portra shots. they are just out of focus bcs of the large aperture.​
    Okay, so a slower shutter speed. Your speeds aren't listed, so I made an assumption based on the fact that the backgrounds are MUCH darker in the film shots. The exposure still relies on the flash though, which means that, for whatever the reason, the foreground and background are exposed in (essentially) two different ways, while your digital shots are exposed entirely by ambient light. Theoretically, if you rated each shot at the same EI/ISO and used the same camera settings, we would see two similar exposures. Since you did not do this, we can't give a fair comparison. The Portra shot for instance, is HEAVILY reliant on flash, while the 3200 TMAX one is not.
    That brings up another question though ... if the 5DII could take a well-exposed photo at 3200 ISO and f/1.8, why the heck didn't you just use the same settings with your film camera? I could understand if you didn't want to change lenses at a rock show, but since both lenses support that aperture there's no reason that the flash even needed to be on. By shooting at f/4 and using the flash, you're assuring that the film images will be sharper - not only because of the flash itself, but because the 50 1.4 is sharper at f/4 than the 1.2 is at f/1.8.
    Again, I applaud your efforts, but it's not apples to apples. It's an apple to a hybrid that is very much like an apple.
     
  30. The Portra and TMAX were set at 1,600.​
    Wow. Generally, though, the proper philosophy is to overexpose negative film, correct? Typically I set my Portra 160NC to ISO 100 or 80 in my Canon EOS-3.
    Also, that LR3 processed shot looks terrible. Doesn't look like masked sharpening was used...
    While I love your work in general, Mauro, I feel it's a bit unfair to compare the Portra w/ flash vs. the 5DII with ambient lighting. With the 5DII, you're amplifying pixels (on his face) w/ low signal:noise, whereas you probably had a higher signal:noise (on his face) on the Portra shot b/c of the flash. Naturally there'd be more detail on his face with the higher signal:noise.
    So... that doesn't seem fair... does it?
     
  31. "if the 5DII could take a well-exposed photo at 3200 ISO and f/1.8, why the heck didn't you just use the same settings with your film camera?"
    Zack, we experimented with different settings on 3 different cameras to cover the event. We were not trying to replicate the shots for exact comparison.
     
  32. Rishi, you can isolate each shot and evaluate the results independently.
    If you want to match the lighting, judging from the guitars, the TMAX EI 3200 and the 5DII EI 3200 shots were shot with similar lighting conditions. The TMAX EI 1600 and the Portra EI 1600 were similar together as well.
    Next time I can remote trigger all the cameras at the same time for a few shots. I did not anticipate so much detailed interest.
     
  33. Next time I can remote trigger all the cameras at the same time for a few shots. I did not anticipate so much detailed interest.​
    LOL, quit being so modest. Your film vs. digital threads are always epic. You should always anticipate detailed interest :)
     
  34. In my opinion the 5DII did excellent for low light action at ISO 3200 (independently of the results on film). There is no need to put it down.
    Film did fantastic as well (independently of whether the 5DII could have captured the same shots similarly in terms of detail or not).
    The key observations for me are:
    - Film provides super sharp and detailed results at high EI. Especially TMAX although its DR is compacted during push processing.
    - TMZ (not posted here) offers wider DR and tonality than TMY-pushed but produces larger grain.
    - Portra's DR is wicked wide for a fast film.
     
  35. LOL Rishi.
     
  36. Just out of curiosity, Mauro, is there any reason you didn't push the Portra 400?
     
  37. Sorry I missed answering. I did push Portra but not in a controlled environment. I had it developed at Target with special instructions to push process it - develop it as 1600 film. Go figured what actually happen.
    In the end, it needed no adjustments after scanning and I can tell you what confidence what EI it was shot at but that's all. Based on this, they either correctly pushed it two stops or Portra is so generous that can eat two stops for lunch.
     
  38. "Jeff, this are real life results from live shooting. When controlled testing is posted, the answer is that they are not real life, and viceversa"
    This doesn't really excuse anything. Either you should make controlled photos, or not present the results for analysis/discussion.
    Personally, I found the posted example to be too small to discern anything. Also, it would be helpful to know the scanning method.
     
  39. Scott,

    There is no need for excuses and this is not a scientific test. It is just sharing results. If you find no value in this analysis/discussion you can ignore it.

    If you are interested though, you can follow the link and see the shots at 100%.

    To your question, the scans were made with a Coolscan 9000 with all adjustments off (other than auto f&e and ICE for color of course).
     
  40. Scott, you may also look at the results like this if you prefer. Are you able to appreciate the observations about film I made now?
    00YEH7-332981684.jpg
     
  41. Mauro,
    Sorry, I didn't see the link. Interesting, I almost prefer the Tmax @3200 to 1600.
    Scott
     
  42. Mauro, great comparison!
    I'd like to know how you developed the B&W film and what did you scan it with?
     
  43. Sorry but with different lighting, different lens and different ISO in most cases for the 5DII I have to ask if this is a valid comparison. I am by no means championing any particular product but lets have a bit more scientific methodology.
     
  44. No problem Scott.
    The TMAX 3200 looks smoother and more natural (though with a tad more visible grain do to the pick up in PS brightness). The highlights are better controlled too.
    The TMAX 1600 has a gritty look though that makes me my favorite.
     
  45. Tony, this is not a scientific comparison. Light changes by the second in a concert.
    As we discussed in this thread, shots 1 and 4 seem to have caught very similar lighting. Shots 2 and 3 were also similar with each other.
     
  46. I actually have one more question, Mauro: how does the grain in Portra 400 behave if you overexpose? If I had the luxury to indulge, I'd like to see comparisons with Ektar 100 and Portra 400 @ 100. Ektar will probably hold more detail but Portra might have less grain... maybe.
    Next time you shoot Portra 400 for comparisons, I hope you don't push because it's more valuable knowing the native latitude of a film. That way you know if it's safe to change ISO at will on the same roll.
     
  47. Pete,
    TMAX was developed in Xtol 1:1 at 78F for 8 minutes with 8 agitations every 30 seconds (5 inversions and 3 vertical long taps).

    All film was scanned with a Coolscan 9000 with all adjustments turned off using the Nikon Scan software (with the exception of ICE for color).

    No PS processing was done on the film with the exception of adding brightness to the TMAX 400 in PS.
     
  48. "how does the grain in Portra 400 behave if you overexpose?"
    Karim, it does superb at EI 100. Grain will still be larger than Ektar. Dynamic range will be materially wider than Ektar as well.
    It is a very noble film.
    Here is a test similar to what you ask:
    http://figitalrevolution.com/2010/11/17/kodak-new-portra-400-review-part-2-skin-tones/
    http://figitalrevolution.com/2010/11/18/kodak-new-portra-400-review-part-3-usable-ei-range/
     
  49. Related to that,
    TMAX 400 at EI 3200 and TMAX 3200 at EI 3200 are very different:
    TMAX 400 at EI 3200: Sharper with smaller grain at the expense of high contrast and narrow er dynamic range.
    TMAX 3200at EI 3200: Very sharp and detailed too with much larger grain. Midtones and dynamic range are more controlled.
    Both look super nice and very different.
     
  50. I do have lots of past experience shooting TMax 400 and 3200 for a newspaper. I shot it, developed and printed it all with TMax developer. In practical usage the 400 was just fine for newspaper work and if I used flash I used it with 400. We used 3200 for low light situations where we could not use flash and we did not use it unless we had to because it was grainy and the contrast, as I remember, was not great in low light particularly so it did not look great in the paper. I tried it for sports but did not like it. I pushed 400 as a preference to 800 or 1600 if I had to but mostly got by with good lenses. My 5d 3200, IMO, is a hell of a lot better in color than the TMax 3200 in B&W at least in my experience. I just printed a usable 5D 3200 13x19 without flash print of a group and although colors are not as intense as an ISO 400 print they are acceptable and with a little noise reduction in processing the picture is quite good. I never went that big with Tmax 3200. I have to say that newspaper work is highly varied in all sorts of lighting conditions. So while the test is nice there is more to real world usage than just shooting a guitar player. It is hard to tell anything anyway with the low resolution on PN. Comparing flash to non-flash pictures truly distorts the results, IMO. Look, I have made some pretty stunning pictures with TMax 400 with darkroom developing. I used it at weddings and made my own prints just for the B&W I have never had much use for TMax 3200 and used a lot of it several years ago. If I wanted to get seriously back into B&W I would use TMax 100 and would not scan but print with an enlarger. I love the film. I cannot seem to get as good a B&W results with digital, particularly with deep blacks. As a former R&D director Mauro, I would call it a comparison as I don't think it qualifies as valid test. It, however, has shown its usefulness to some of the posters.
     
  51. Dick, "I do have lots of past experience shooting TMax 400 and 3200"
    Very exiting to run into additional experience and not just opinions.
    Would you mind posting a few of your comparisons between TMAX 400 pushed and your DSLR? Please include the EI, development, lens and aperture if at all possible.
     
  52. Sorry Mauro but I have none of those newspaper negatives.. I worked for a local paper shooting at least six or seven rolls of 36 a week and used their darkroom. We printed 5x7s that were used for hand lay up. My wedding negatives are all in storage and I don't use my former customers pictures on PN. These pictures were all done between 1996 and 2003. I closed my darkroom in 2003 and sold my Omega enlarger.etc. I do have a couple of B&W pictures in my PN gallery taken with Tri-x in 1991 or 2 in Russia that were scanned. I have medium format 645 B&W negs but they are of weddings also. . Anyway, it would take some time to dig out what I have so I really can't help very much.
     
  53. Mauro

    An old American Photo article I read - in 06 - comparing a Canon EOS D60 (I think), the latest n greatest Fuji SLR of the day and a 35mm EOS SLR, revealed film (all pics taken at ISO 100 / ASA 100) produced results that were nowhere near as clear as digital. Albeit an unscientific test it did convince me digital was the way to go.
    Years later, however, I'm not so sure. While digital has enabled me to become a better photographer the only shots Ive sold were taken with a Nikon EM and 50 & 75-150 e-series lenses. So I've been thinking about trading my dSLR for an f3 OR f100 or, maybe a rangefinder to keep my G9 company and your post has had some impact on this idea.
     
  54. Russ, that test what obviously incorrect. 100 iso film next a 6 megapixel crop sensor digital camera will do more than well.
    Articles like those were very ill informed and cost several people to transition too early.
    Very exiting you are considering to explore both now!
     
  55. That's ok Dick.
    Without the samples it is hard to understand what went wrong with those negatives or prints.
    I promise you that TMAX 400 delivers fantastic 16x20 from just 35mm. There are dozens of post about TMAX 400 you can research. At EI 800 it doesn't need to be push processed by the way.
     
  56. Dick, also consider that if scanning or printing was done by someonelse at the paper, they could have ruined the output of otherwise good negatives.
    I am glad you contributed to the thread. When you address people with your experience most will take it face value instead of asking about the results or the workflow.
    All photographers I know who use film obtain fantastic results.
    Poor results are usually presented without evidence (there is no offense in my comment) and this still leads to a big bulk of people to assume that film is not capable. And ultimately they pay the price from missing out from film.
    With proper education and an active community, we all can help to keep film R&D alive to the benefit of the trade.
     
  57. Mauro
    I fully understand that this is not a scientific comparison, but my question should maybe have been why did you even include the 5DII and why post as "35mm film vs 5DII " (except maybe to draw attention to the thread) given the differences in lens, exposure etc. etc. ? This cannot be a film vs digital experiment unless the criteria are the same. It is however a very good film "a" vs film "b" thread. I just wish you had not stirred up the old digital vs film debate. Saying that the lighting changes has not stopped you using the same lenses, apertures, ISO and lighting for the film cameras but not the same criteria for the digital! I really think you can do better than this and get a real comparison or just leave digital out and talk about the merits of different films. I am glad to see that most members have taken the film v film aspect to debate and not fallen for the trap.
     
  58. Tony, I don't see this as a debate really. I think it was just interesting to see some comparisons.....scientific or not. I don't think the results here were designed to sway anyone one way or another. If anything, they show that both film and digital can live comfortably together and maybe serve different uses via their inherent different looks.
    For me, it is also about being able to use whatever camera I want. I can easily afford a MF camera with waist level finder when using film....I cannopt with digital gear. I can have my pick of many TLRs with film....I don't have that many choices with digital capture.
    There's more than just the output from the camera.....there's the experience of using equipment you may prefer.
     
  59. Mauro. We did all our own enlarger printing at the paper on 5x7 paper for lay up that was then photographed by the printer. All we did, as I remember was to extend development time a little for TMax 400 when shot at 800, It does have great latitude. Where the pictures got screwed up was at the printer. Digital processing has really improved newspaper pictures. Some of the sports in the Boston Globe blows my mind. We always developed on the light side at the paper because the printer was great at blocking up shadows and making pictures look like mud so we compensated by slightly overexposing either in the enlarger or the film developing. I still don't like TMax 3200. Maybe you are better at developing than we did or the film has been improved since then. The 3200 on my 5D is pretty damn good. I made a lot of 645. wedding prints on TMax 100 and TMax 400 that I sold to my customers so they were at least commercially acceptable. My standard salable print was 11x14. I did not shoot much 35mm B&W except at the paper. Like I said if I were to go back to B&W on film I would do two things: I would get a 645 body and lenses and, because I am familiar with it, I would use TMax: probably 100. I shot some Tri-x in Russia during a food shortage in 1991 during the winter and I really liked the gritty pictures it produced. My general observation having gone from film to digital in 2002 is that for B&W I still think that film may be better or at least better for me because I don't seem to get the same results in photoshop as I got in my darkroom. I think my current color is better than a lot of my color with film but PS processing is so much better than when I did film I think a lot of that is attributable to that. If you go to my PN gallery you will see two pictures of the Portland Head light. One done with MF velvia and the other digital. I think they are about equal although I wouldn't swear to it. I think the film might be a little better. I have blown both up with success. But for me digital is a hell of a lot less work than my old stuffy darkroom or my scanner on film. Lightroom 3 saves me so much time.
     
  60. Just so there is no misunderstanding, if you asked me to go out and shoot B&W at dimly lit wedding or gig I could do it with either film or digital and get an acceptable product. It is just a matter of preference IMO. I did one wedding with chromogenic B&W film mainly because I did not want to process a whole 500 picture B&W wedding in my darkroom. The pictures made the customers happy but me not so much. I got all of the proofs back from the printer in two days. It was a candle light wedding inside an Inn. I could not see a damn thing to clearly hand focus precisely. I set the Bronica and the Flash (vivitar 283) at f16 to get DOF and also tried to rough focus with the lights still on got on a ladder when they went out and fired away. I got a great set of pictures. The Bride and Groom cared not one iota that the pictures were on chromgenic film instead of TMax. But I could tell the difference. I never used that film again, however. Sometimes I think we all worry too much about all these somewhat nit picky details. Beyond the basics its the pictures that count.
     
  61. Very interesting Dick.
    I would like to see the Velvia and digital shots at full size if possible.
    What did you use to scan the film for the comparison?
     
  62. One of my favorite photographers for weddings shoots only with Leica M7 bodies and 3 lenses. He does a mountain of B&W work...a lot of it with 3200 speed in receptions and ceremonies. He has been featured for the second time in Rangefinder Magazine. A lot of us spend too much time worrying about every grain or every pixel, when for most real world use, it simply doesn't matter.
    Check out his Blog at:
    http://www.riccisblog.com/
     
  63. Gratz Mauro and thanks a lot for such an interesting post. Sorry for those "digital barking", but that was to be expected with such a hot subject. And thanks a lot for such great links. Its very refreshing to notice that internet hasn't been yet totaly monopolyzed by Digitography sites and posts. And I have also to give credit to Photo.net for this good posts that arises to surface some times. Keep the good working, shooting and posting.!
     
  64. Ho, as soon as I finnished writting, just saw Dave's response. Thanks Dave, a very interesting Blog too.
     
  65. Yet another biased discussion by people who apparently have no idea how to use digital technology properly. I don't know why you folks even bother. What are you trying to be? The Fox News of photography?
    What have we concluded here? When you underexpose a digital photo, it contains a lot of noise, especially at high ISO settings and with NR disabled. And if you then brutally over-sharpen the image and blow it up to 100 percent it looks bad. Duh!
    Maybe someone over on the Digital Cameras forum should shoot some side-by-side images on digital and film. The digital images would be exposed optimally and processed properly. The film images would be processed by someone who has no clue how to use a darkroom and then "scanned" by photographing the negative with an iPhone. Then sharpen the iPhone pics to death and post them to show how "inferior" film is to digital. That thread would make about as much sense as this one does.
     
  66. That is a very nice article Dave.
    I wonder whether film will me mainstream for event photography at some point in the future.
    Camera companies, understandably, won't support or educate photographers on film to get them out of their golden age of profit of selling a new high ticket cameras to the same photographer every few years.
    It is up to us who shoot film to make the knowledge available to the community.
     
  67. Thank you for the compliments Nuno.
     
  68. Dan, do you have a better comparison you can provide?
    Also, what is your opinion of these results with film?
     
  69. "When you underexpose a digital photo, it contains a lot of noise"
    Dan, the highlight are already blown on the face. Would you have exposed it more?
    "especially at high ISO settings and with NR disabled."
    The results are presented both with NR ON and NR OFF.
    "And if you then brutally over-sharpen the image and blow it up to 100 percent it looks bad"
    The film shots are at 100% as well. Would you like me to post the 5DII with less sharpening?
    Please let me know what would you like and I will try to help you.
     
  70. "Yet another biased discussion by people who apparently have no idea how to use digital technology properly. I don't know why you folks even bother. What are you trying to be? The Fox News of photography?"
    Dan do you have live event shots to compare?
    Mauro I agree with you that any more exposed on the face and it would be too blown out, slightly underexposing is not going to cause too much noise for anything under 11x17 and exposing more will also detract from the mood of the colorful spots and smoke. In live rock show events the musicians are moving around the stage usually at a pretty good pace and to avoid too much blur 3200 is a standard baseline ISO to start with to keep a high enough shutter speed, at least with me and my colleagues that is.
    It looks like the first picture on page 3 with noise reduction off in DPP is not overly sharpened to my eye, the one in Lightroom is very sharpened and probably looks good at 5x7 for magazine print. I don't think any of the 100% comparisons are gonna be used for a 24x36 or larger print Mauro is just showing results and graciously adding further findings as people request.....
     
  71. I don't know why you folks even bother.​
    You obviously thought it worth commenting. Perhaps you can see that this discussion is quite plainly an interesting exercise? Nobody is basing their next gear purchase on this experiment. Well, I'm not. I don't know if you have noticed but Mauro and several of us use both media. Hopefully this is not too difficult for you to digest.
    Mauro, thank you for the additional links.
     
  72. Mauro
    The "Golden Age of profit" was in the late 70s -early 80s when there was only film. I worked in the industry then and cameras were selling at an unbelievable rate. I think your phrase about "those of us who shoot film" educating those who don't maybe shows where you are really coming from.
    Again I say ( to those who think I'm defending digital) that I have no particular bias except that if you are going to start a film vs digital (Mauro's words basically) thread then at least do it from a proper basis.
    There was nothing to stop you using exactly the same methodology for both film and the 5DII so why not be honest and do it properly. I would be much more interested in a true comparison.
     
  73. After reading all the responses, I'm beginning to think that Mauro just shot the concert for the purpose of shooting the concert, and decided later on that he could make a comparison post out of it; as opposed to deciding to do an A/B comparison from the beginning.
    I would most certainly hope this is true, because the alternative is that an experienced, talented photographer with good gear does not understand the difference between an ambient and a flash exposure, or that lenses behave differently wide open and stopped down.
     
  74. Thanks for the enlightening post Dan. Nothing like dropping by and telling everyone in the thread that they're stupid. I wasn't aware you knew all the people here and what their level of digital knowledge was. I've been involved in it professionally for nearly 20 years....digital for over a decade. I would love for you to share with us what we're all doing wrong as apparently you have a secret as to exposure that none of us nor the camera companys are aware of.
    Please share.
     
  75. Thanks Zack. You are correct. After shooting the concert and realizing we had similar takes on different films and the 5DII, it became interesting to share the results.
     
  76. As Dave said, please share.
    Dan, hopefully you will come back, there is no need to bend your position, just have the desire to participate.
    - if you can use the thread to present you analysis of the results, everyone would appreciate it and happily engage.
    - if you can use the discussion to learn, please ask any questions about the shoot and I will try to to answer them to my best.
    - if your experience is different to these results, we are all eager and grateful for you to share your examples as well.
     
  77. It really amuses me how the digital shooters insist on having 'the better system'. Not one single digital top notch DSLR with a full frame sensor is capable to deliver full 16bit per channel off the sensor. But film is. Film doesn't need a Bayer sensor and captures 100% of the light, whereas digital needs to process the 10% it captures to a full 100% internally.
    When I read statements like '6 MP are equal to or better than 35 mm film' I have to laugh about such a BS.
    I've compared the resolution of 35 mm to full frame 35 mm digital here
    And the limited color range of digital compared to film here (bilingual, scroll down for the English version)
    Anything else - as long as you don't talk about MF digital like i.e. the brand new phase one systems - is hot air.
    BTW, I don't even have a digital camera at all. But I do understand that some professionals need fast results, so I don't mind if they use digital systems.
    Would I trade i.e. my Contax G2 systems with titanium bodies and the unmatched ZEISS lenses? Never! Or my 6x9 Fujis for a Hasselbald? Please, no!
    Just my 2 cents.
     
  78. Mauro -- I am interested in your DSLR "CV".
    I.e., how experienced are you with the 5D2 or similar cameras and the post processing involved? Have you shot 10s of thousands of images and are VERY familiar with the post processing -- as expert in Raw Conversion/Photoshop as you are with film darkroom processing?
    Bottom line though -- the proof is in the print, be it a 1000 px wide Web image presentation or an 18x12 inch print.
     
  79. So another thread that has deteriorated to film vs. digital debate. This is a very flawed comparison from which I don't think anyone could draw valid conclusions. I am no longer, in the strict sense of the term, a professional photographer. I have, however, aspired to be professional in my work. What I aspire to is a full knowledge and capability in all aspects of the photographic endeavor. I am still taking on-line classes to try and broaden that knowledge. Earlier in the ninetes I gained knowledge of the use of film, flash, studio lights, etc in my business and in the last eight years I have done my best to gain a professional's knowledge of digital including LR 3, CS-5 and digital printing. I had a film darkroom for a number of years as well as a studio. I also had Bronica 645 equipment to do weddings and I have a fondness for MF prints made from my transparencies made from pictures taken now a decade or more ago. I think arguing and becoming incensed over which is better film or digital is pointless. Each has its attributes and drawbacks. I just think of one or the other as part of the arsenal that I am capable to use to take pictures. There have been some good posts on this thread. Mauro I would not, under any circumstance submit two full res uploads for someone to analyze and compare on this thread as you requested. As was stated earlier, there are too many variables such as what was used to scan the MF image, the scanner resolution, the differences in eqipment i.e. a Bronica 645 vs. an XTi with a 100-400, the time year and time of day they were taken and how they were both processed digitally.. The images(Portland Head Light) look similar in my PN gallery but nothing could be gained by postng them full res size because of these unaccounted for variables not to mention my copyright. Differneces such as these, plus many unsupported assumptions, are what, in my miind, render such comparisons as these virtually useless. So Mauro I don't know what you hoped to accomplish and I wish you well but this thread has become rather circular. I did gain something from the more rational posts on this thread.
     
  80. Ken, i am very familiar with raw processing. For this particular post, as I stated, the dpp conversions were very
    simple. Most settings in neutral, sharpness at 4, NR standard and NR off.

    Now pls answer a question for me. In your experience shooting live concerts in low light, do you?
    A) get better results with bw film than these.
    B) get better results with color film than these.
    C) get better results with the 5dii than these
    D) some of the above.
    E) none of the above
    F) have no experience.
     
  81. Thank you Dick and I understand. I only asked bcs you offered the comparison.

    What is your opinion of the shots I posted individually instead of relative to one another?.
     
  82. Now pls answer a question for me. In your experience shooting live concerts in low light, do you? A) get better results with bw film than these. B) get better results with color film than these. C) get better results with the 5dii than these D) some of the above. E) none of the above F) have no experience.
    I've been shooting live rock concerts since 1975. 35mm film and DSLRs.
    I find a DSLR a much better tool for me. Much better. Esp. for printing large.
     
  83. I think a brand new book smells good. Probably better then a negative actually. I have never smelled a 5D but I know a guy that owns one. I will ask him if it smells real good or if it's stinky. I know he does not like the pictures from his 5D because he wants to upgrade it as soon as possible. But then he owns 100 paris of tennis shoes so it's hard to figure out what the deal is. He was wearing Pink sneaks today. They were really cool.
     
  84. Ken, great.
    Could you please post a 20MP+ DSLR concert picture at ISO 3200 at 100% for comparison?
    This should be better than the one I posted, hopefully, and illustrate a better example of DSLRs low light performance.
     
  85. Ken, I saw your pictures. I love the San Fransisco harbor. Very neat looking.
     
  86. I have only one comment since you asked. I do a great number of swimming competition images in low light with ISO 3200/1600 under weird sodium vapor lights and a variety of lighting mixes including flash, daylight through windows with a 5D not a 5DII. The skin tones are never orange if the photo is corrected to the proper color temp or is properly set in the camera for JPEG. I shoot raw and have to do WB corrections in ACR because the mixtures of color temps. No I won't post a 20MB example. You are either underexposed on the 5DII picture or your white balance is way off or a combination of both. Based upon my experience in low light that picture is a poor example of what could be done. The color temp looks around 3000 in your 5Dii picture. Look at your own film pictures for comparison. Didn't you see the difference? The color temp in your film color pictures looks around 5500 where you used flash. Apparently you did not use flash which gives a color temp of 5500 or so and there is probably some subject moverment as well. It is not IMO an acceptable image.
     
  87. Mauro -- I am not arguing with you at all or calling into deep question your skills. I think this thread is useful and your take on things is valuable and positive. Go for it man! Keep up the good work and the photo coverage of rock music.
    Personally, with any camera, ISOs above 800 start bothering me. ;-)
     
  88. Dick, I understand you question now. The light on the singer was red and white. The color of the picture matches the mood of the performance - it is deliberate.
     
  89. No prob Ken. I am hardened to take edgy discussions s a price to post any test.
     
  90. "You are either underexposed on the 5DII picture or your white balance is way off or a combination of both"
    Dick how do you know the white balance is way off? If you were not at the show and don't know the colored can spotlight setup of the club you cannot possibly criticize Mauro's color processing, lights change frantically from one second to another in the majority of rock concerts.
    Not sure how you can say it is underexposed either, from his flash usage looks like it was a very dimly lit venue with no hot white spots in the front (judging from the pics only) and just dim colored lights and maybe some bright white backlighting.
     
  91. Inasmuch as this thread is titled 35mm film vs. 5DII-low light performance, the film pictures were not taken in low light as flash was used producing obviously adequate exposure at a color temp of around 5500k. The 5D picture was taken using apparently weaker strobes with a color cast that approximates incandescent light or somewhere around 3000k. The skin color in the flash pictures looks near normal while the skin color in the 5D appears an abnormal orange. If you look at the blocked up shadows on the performers arm in the 5D picture compared to the film pictures where you can see into those shadows I do think that that picture is underexposed in comparison with the film pictures. Underexposure produces increased noise at ISO 3200. Regardless of whether Mauro used proper processing or not, what the hell kind of comparison is this. It is, at best, misleading. The only picture, in my mind that was shot in low light was probably the 5DII picture. I have not seen any shutter speeds of which the only one relavent is the non-flash speed. The flash obviously overwhelmed the flashing lights and color cast that influenced the 5d image as you could not see any color cast in the flash pictures.. The only reason I commented on this was that Mauro asked me to. We are comparing apples to oranges (pun intended). Portra was great film when I did weddings.
     
  92. Mauro: thanks so much for your posts, as well as to all who responded. I have missed your comparisons lately and was pleased to see you posting again. You have provided a lot of valuable info about the new portra. I have a D700 and it is an unbelievable capture machine....but it is my Mamiya 645 and F100 that give me the most pleasure and satisfaction. Please continue with any and all comparisons with film. It is greatly appreciated.
     
  93. Thank you very much David for appreciating it.
    Michael Reichmann from the Luminous Landscape just issued a challenge to film versus his new 80 megapixel digital back.
    We are emailing eachother and I am trying to convince him to expand the challenge to 6x7 (instead of 8x10 as he posted). There is a lot of PR risk for him to have a comparison of MF film vs an 80MP back as the results may contradict his previous articles but if he accepts I will let you know.
     
  94. That would be interesting Mauro. He already contradicted himself though. He first stated the old 1Ds beat 6x7. Then later he said that 645 was just a bit better than the 1Ds2. That kind of doesn't work. But despite some of his "warts," I think he's an OK guy.
    I think it will come down to print size. I found a P45 at 39mp can pretty much match 4x5 up to 24x30. So it is possible that 80mp could match 8x10 at 24x30. Yes, the film will maintain more detail, but the acutance of the digital file will hold the edge sharpness better in the lower contrast areas.
    But this much I do know.....my scans of 35mm film hold way more detail than a Canon D30 ;-)
     
  95. Ha.... it seems you track his articles.
    I thought it would be a great opportunity to shoot side by side and compare results. I agree acutance is higher (for better or for worse) and detail will give the edge to film.
    Also true it comes to print sizes. My scans of 6x7 have more detail than my Epson can print at 24x32; so definitely at least 30x40 would be needed to judge diferences on paper.
     
  96. Let us know.
     
  97. I look forward to seeing the results of Reichmann's challenge. I like his site, BTW. But his 1Ds vs Pentax 67 comparison showed that he was partly deluded - the Canon actually did very well, but he was talking about things which were not evident and didn't notice things which were obvious.
    80Mpx sounds like a lot, but is 'only' double the resolution of a D3X. It's approximately the same difference between 645 and 8-perf 135.
     
  98. Michael responded it he tested it already. I responded back that I would really love to have the opportunity to participate in his challenge (where a drum scanned Mamiya 7II will be comfortable against an 80 megapixel bayer sensor).
    Radio silence from his side now. Hope he keeps his challenge open.
     
  99. From his description of the 80Mpx back, I'd probably prefer the 60 and 40 versions, simply due to the 1sec maximum shutter speed. Otherwise it does produce wonderful images overall - most digital cameras do these days. However, 1:1 crop he provided on that page did not look very nice. It looked overly processed and artificial. You wouldn't get that from even a D100!
    But, as vain as it is to speculate, how do you think the 6x7 frame will compare? I've seen many contradictory tests on-line. Some showing that 35mm is exactly on par with a Sony A900. Others showing that a mid-range DSLR is better than 6x4.5. Somebody is full of crap - although it has been demonstrated that Velvia (50) is on-par, per sq.mm, with a high resolution DSLR, although noisier.
    BTW Velvia 100 has a lower RMS number than V50 - it might be worth trying both? And did Reichmann specify that you had to use colour film?
     
  100. Very good questions.
    "However, 1:1 crop he provided on that page did not look very nice. It looked overly processed and artificial."
    Regarding the crop he posted, he clarified he oversharpened, but I agree it looks very plasticy (interpolated color).
    "But, as vain as it is to speculate, how do you think the 6x7 frame will compare? I've seen many contradictory tests on-line."
    6x7 film like TMAX, Velvia, Techpan, etc will clearly outresolve and 80MP Bayer sensor (capture finer detail) although drumscanned at 8,000 dpi some grain will be visible.
     
  101. "Some showing that 35mm is exactly on par with a Sony A900. Others showing that a mid-range DSLR is better than 6x4.5. Somebody is full of crap - although it has been demonstrated that Velvia (50) is on-par, per sq.mm, with a high resolution DSLR, although noisier."
    When people say they cannot match their DSLRs with 645 is probably true. It is their fault. Results with digital are very even across photographers mainly because of the ability to preview and retake an image, and the fact that developing and scanning are not in the equation.
    When someone post examples that even 35mm film outresolves current DSLRs, you will hear responses like "Well.... that doesn't match my experience... I could never get the results I get with my DSLR with my 645 and film". Ok, true - But many other than you can...
     
  102. "BTW Velvia 100 has a lower RMS number than V50 - it might be worth trying both? And did Reichmann specify that you had to use colour film?"
    V50 is sharper than V100. For the test (if he is up to the challenge) I will use both Color and B&W.
    There are discussion comparing the detail of 35mm film (Velvia) and 18-20 megapixel DSLRs where the DSLR shots were processed to try to extract the most detail possible. The conclusion from both film and digital shooters was that 35mm resolved more detail in the high contrast areas but there was a debate on the low contrast areas. Well, 6x7 is almost 5 times larger than 35mm so this would give even a higher advantage to film.
     
  103. To add to that, 6x7 has 80% more area that the 80mp back. Both used on the same camera and lenses, will have the digital back receive a much smaller portion of the information delivered by the lens plus would be diffraction limited much sooner.
    In short, yes I believe 6x7 film would do better but I would love the opportunity to run the test with the Luminous Landscape and present the results together.
     
  104. Hi Mauro: I like your way of putting up actual results of your finding than those who make plenty of 'claims' and never provided any real evidence for their 'claims'. However, I think the way you choose the title for this thread is just, inevitably drawing all the flames from all the digital gearhead... How they would always p- e-e-p into this FILM forum looking for any digital vs film thread and try to discredit/disprove (without evidence)/give you a lecture/insult/bossing about their 1 century worth of experience is really beyond me. They could have state opinions on the test, but what I really don't like is their TONE when expressing on their points. Are all digital diehards behave similarly? Why even bother if they find all the film users or diehard fans are wrong or outright stupid? If it's the case then it's not worth their time then just let it be.
    However, on another note when you choose a title like 'Comparison of lowlight performance of various 35mm films', and post in one of the reply the result of the 5dII would certainly draw less attention, maybe 10 rather than 100+ responses? :)
    PS: Can you share with us what LL has to say in greater detail on the 67 vs 80MP challenge?
     
  105. "Well, 6x7 is almost 5 times larger than 35mm so this would give even a higher advantage to film."

    "To add to that, 6x7 has 80% more area that the 80mp back. Both used on the same camera and lenses, will have the digital back receive a much smaller portion of the information delivered by the lens plus would be diffraction limited much sooner."

    Mauro, I've no experience in extracting the max from 6x7 even though I was very satisfied with my own 6x7 results. The biggest I've done is a 16x24 from an expired roll of Neopan 160 :). I do have a question for the above 2 statements you made. From your experience do you find that 6x7 lenses (Mamiya RB in my case) are the limiting factor for the max quality of this 6x7 workflow? As from the 1st statement above, I don't think any Mamiya RB lenses can resolve as many lp/mm as any good 135 primes. The 5 x advantage is certainly not attainable in my opinion. As for the 2nd statement, assuming the tests are on the same 'system' (ie Hassy) then it cancels out the lens factor so there's nothing wrong except whether the lens in use can get the max out of the film limit. Please share from your experience. Thanks.
     
  106. "From your experience do you find that 6x7 lenses (Mamiya RB in my case) are the limiting factor for the max quality of this 6x7 workflow?"
    I do not know about the RB but I would not think so. I use an RZ and a Mamiya 7II, all my Mamiya lenses outresolve my Canon primes (lp/mm) as well as my scanner (Coolscan 9000). I have tested them all - email me if you want me to send you film test to inspect under the microscope. (although best and easier is a microscope on the fresnel).
    If the lenses were the limiting factor (which they are not), the 80mp digital camer would be in trouble since it uses only a crop of the 6x7 frame.
    "As for the 2nd statement, assuming the tests are on the same 'system' (ie Hassy) then it cancels out the lens factor so there's nothing wrong except whether the lens in use can get the max out of the film limit. Please share from your experience. Thanks."
    If both film and the 80mp back are placed on a 6x7 camera with the same lenses, the 80mp back would only have access to a portion of the information captured by the lens.
     
  107. Thanks for this thread. To my opinion this thread is not digital vs. film. This thread is about the opinion of independent artist vs. highly corrupted photographic media. Truth and knowledge vs. lies and deception Regardless how accurate this test is done (I may admit that it’s not 100% accurate, it‘s not apple-to-apple) but one conclusion can be made clearly: there are not any measurable evidences confirming that the modern $3000 digital camera implementing “technology of the future” is superior to the film implementing technology of last century in terms of image quality. And it’s been scanned on 8 yrs old out of production scanner BTW.
    “With proper education about film, photographers can understand they are best served by incorporating film and digital to their arsenal. Much to gain and nothing to lose from using both mediums.”
    Very nice, Mauro. Cannot agree more. But lets make it clear what is really going on. For almost a decade most of us are being subjected to brainwashing techniques to disrupt the believing that the film can yield same result (in some cases even better) as the newest digital cameras. And this campaign has been organized and financed by digital manufacturers and computer related industries. This is being done not because there’s nothing good to gain from film but simply because the production of digital equipment is incomparable cheaper than the production of film cameras. It doesn’t required tremendously expensive sophisticate mechanical shops, R&D and engineering works. More over, implementing flexible software digital devices are easy to update (i. e. to create another “new digital camera”) and customize that makes many people addictive to them. This mighty industry has shut the bottle tight to make sure that the film won’t get fresh oxygen. I’ve already mentioned that Mauro’s scanner is about 8 yrs old. So is mine (Coolscan V). Won’t we buy anything newer? I definitely will, but nothing’s available. There’s no new film related equipment are coming to the market. Using this approach the digital manufacturers have secured the easy cash flow for decades to come without breaking in sweat. The least their concern is our education. They are even interested we to be deceived. They have money, they have power, and they will rule the game.

    Anyhow Mauro, your enthusiasm and attempt to improve these things is highly appreciated. Thanks for using your expertise and your personal time to share this knowledge with us. Pretty much because of people like you we are still believing that we will keep the film in our photographic arsenal for many years to come.
    -RP
     
  108. Thank you for appreciating the post.

    It is much cheaper to manufacture a DSLR than a coolscan 9000. The DSLR can be sold for more money over and
    over to the same person every few years.

    So can you blame nikon for discontinuing the scanner. No. But consumers can fight back.

    The problem is that consumers are either brainwashed (not to use digital but to ignore film) or become too vested in
    equipment and years of producing digital only pictures that considering that film has benefits unrealized by digital it
    could be a mental blow for the dollars spent and quality loss.

    Hopefully the film engine will rev up and regain momentum. That can only be done by sharing knowledge with those
    who want to learn and share back, we the hope their purchase dollars will have a voice for film in the years to come.
     
  109. Hi Roman: I agree with most of what you said except this statement
    This is being done not because there’s nothing good to gain from film but simply because the production of digital equipment is incomparable cheaper than the production of film cameras. It doesn’t required tremendously expensive sophisticate mechanical shops, R&D and engineering works.
    I always tell those who ask me about the main difference between a full fledge electronic, late 1990s AF FILM SLR and a DSLR is on the 'rear end', ie the recording media part. The 'front' part from lensmount to shutter is essentially the SAME for 20 years. Even the electronics for the AF and metering processing doesn't change much, with maybe a faster CPU. DSLRs got rid of the film chamber and winding motor, by having card slot/s and digital ports and an LCD. There's not that much different any way. As for the sophisticated mechanical shops you mentioned, it is still greatly needed as evidenced by the rocket high price of the EOS 1D and Nikon D3 series. The full frame sensor could be 500% more expensive than that you find in a D300, but that is only maybe 20% of the cost of the whole SLR. But that would only make the EOS 1D or Nikon D3 series 2x as expensive as a D300, not the 4x we see it now. The full aluminium/magnesium alloy die cast body, the ultra precision shutter and the 10 fps mechanical swinging mirror is just as expensive if not more than that you'll find in an EOS-1V or F-5.
     
  110. Huang,
    Apparently you're right. What you said is less or more correct. But as a electro-mechanical engineer and from my experience I can tell you that quite often we are trying to replace (whenever it’s possible) a mechanically controlled unite with electronic one by to major reasons: reliability issue and cost. Also, in many cases it really helps us to save on initial set up/installation, field service and repair. And it’s just a general trend to drive the cost down.
    Mauro,I agree that we cannot blame Nikon or Canon for their desire to make more profits. However as the major companies instead of chasing their giant profitability and fueling up this endless ugly war between film and digital they may contribute something more to preserve fine art for future generation. Vanishing of entire generation of fine art won’t contribute for harmonize developing of our society (may be I’m too idealistic).
    Mauro, a question to you. In your test you’ve used the Portra 400 and cranked up the ISO dial to 1600. I guess I missed you explanation what you did next with this film. Did you make +2 push processing or you process it normally but then made all necessary adjustments during the scanning or PS editing to recover 2 stops? “I spent zero time in on PS modifications on film…” indicates that you pushed it in lab. Am I right? I do a lot of pushing (in lab of course) for E6 (Provia, E200 etc.) but never try to push color negs. How often do you push color negs? Is the result consistent?
     
  111. Hey Mauro,
    I'm allowed to mention it now.....Kodak just released the new Portra 160. Wait till you see the grain off of this stuff. I have a few rolls in 120. #5mm, 4x5 and 8x10 to come.
    Check out the test at:
    http://figitalrevolution.com/2011/02/21/new-kodak-professional-portra-160-film-new-negative-c41-scan-hybri/
     
  112. Just saw your test images. Now, that's one impressive film. It just might be enough to get me back to shooting color in 120.
     
  113. Thanks Dave and Kodak!,
    I'm very excited about the new 160 as well. The new PGI is proportional to Ektar for its speed (whereas Portra 400's is smaller than Ektar relative to its speed). Although the drop in PGI is small on paper, so it was with Portra 400 and the results were clearly outstanding.
    Can't wait. 160 matches my shooting style and lenses better most of the time. (100 ISO would have been even nicer for me to cover the 100-400 spread)
    Print Grain Index (8x10)
    ***** Ektar 100: 38
    ***** New Portra 160: 50
    - Portra 160NC: 54
    - Portra 160VC: 56
    ***** New Portra 400: 59
    - Portra 400NC: 62
    - Portra 400VC: 64
     
  114. Robert, I hope you do give it a try. It is a fantastic film. Plus the more we buy the more Kodak will put in R&D.
     
  115. Dave, NOW I AM GETTING CONCERNED!!!
    WILL FILM BE THE END OF DIGITAL? (to all those not in-the-know, this is a joke)
     
  116. Roman,
    Correct, the cameras were set at ISO 1600. I asked Target to push it 2 stops but since there is no telling what they did, I just judge the negs and they seem spot on.
     
  117. It does seem Portra 400 is significantly sharper.
    00YGXx-334641684.jpg
     
  118. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is not a camera I'd choose for high ISO shooting in the first 5 places: a Nikon D3s or Canon EOS 1D Mark IV would make far better choices. .
     
  119. Now Ellis, no need to make excuses for the digital cameras ;-)
     
  120. "a Nikon D3s or Canon EOS 1D Mark IV would make far better choices"
    Yes Ellis. The D3S would have been top choice.
    My example got misinterpreted though. I did not mean to say the 5DII performance was bad, actually it was extremely good.
    My example was to point out how well both color and B&W 35mm did at high EI. I did not intend to make digital look worse.
     
  121. This is yet another one of Mauro's completely biased, and subsequently irrelevant comparisons. How is an ambient digital low light image supposed to be compared to a flash illuminated film "low light" image? Besides, looking at unworked digital images is like looking at undeveloped films, pointless.
    Farcical at best, deliberately misleading, oh yes.
     
  122. Scott....I think you better reread Mauro's post. It will allow you to understand what he his REAL intent was.....as opposed to what you are insinuating.
     
  123. No Dave,
    I think I got the jist of it right. There are some placating words throughout but basically it is, as has been pointed out by several others, totally biased and no comparison at all.
    So many points that can totally destroy the validity of the images it is silly. But more importantly, Mauro seems to be setting himself up as some type of film crusader, (certainly that is what his posting history shows) very worthy as the lose of film would be a lose to us all, even non film users. But his methodology and the images he chooses to compare are so farcical any digital rebuttal is obvious and just makes his film posts, even when they might have some merit, seem totally biased.
     
  124. Scott, there was no scientific methodology for this comparison. The purpose of the shot had nothing to do with a comparison in mind.
    I thought the results were interesting to share, stating all the specific conditions in which they were taken. I believe they were appreciated of offering value to other people.
    If you ignore the 5DII shots (which there are plenty more samples available in high ISO), what do you take away from observing the negatives (color and B&W) shot at EI 1600 and EI 3200?
     
  125. Scott, regarding the 400 ISO film at EI 1600 or EI 3200 (and/or the 5DII), please post any experience you may have (with samples if possible) that may help the discussion.
    I perceive some frustration in your responses as if your experience/results differ greatly from these examples.
     
  126. I find Mauro's comparisons to pretty much match what I see between my "low light" film shots and my low light digital shots. With film I used a flash and got the same bright foreground with a very dark background, with digital I have been at last getting a good mix between the two.
    I don't believe low light performance is a strong point of film.
     
  127. Mauro,
    I understand when you were shooting the event there was no thought to a comparison, but that is what you have posted! And it is a very poor, heavily biased and totally unfair comparison.
    I do have images shot at concerts, but they are not 1600iso images, I also have digital images underexposed by one stop and exposed at 1600 and push processed to simulate 3200iso images (my camera doesn't go to 3200). None of my images look anything like yours, I'd happily post them, but to what end?
    Your post raises so many questions it is difficult to ask them all and not appear insulting. To say you didn't do it as a comparison, yet title the thread X vs X rather contradicts that, to suggest nobody is influencing their buying decisions on your "findings" also appears off the mark, as Russ even goes so far as to say it has.
    Very disappointing post from somebody who has a true love and ability with film, yet seems to consider digital a very second class citizen. As I said, there are placating, even condescending, comments about the 5D MkII, but really this is another badly presented "film is better" thread.
     
  128. Scott, thanks for responding.
    I do consider digital a second class citizen, just different. Digital is also an extremely convenient tool and provides excellent quality for most applications.

    I make a point to stress that in my posts when possible while still mantaining an honest debate.

    To reiterate, I think the 5DII did great for a live shot at ISO 3200, especially considering you are looking at a 21MP file at 100%.
     
  129. Film did great too which is the reason for my post. There aren't very many examples available of film at EI 1600 and 3200 so most people are not aware how well film performs.
    Moreover, many people are convinced, (without knowing), that film does badly and with unusable grain even at ISO 400 or 800. That is the target missconception I intended to address with this examples.
     
  130. Scott, no there is also no need to post your digital examples unless you think they offer good information for analysis. Digital perform great in low light and that is not in question.
    If you have examples of film at EI 1600, 3200 or higher that provide better results, please post them. They will be a great contribution.
     
  131. No I don't, that is the point, film can't compete with digital in high iso tests. Correctly developed digital images are leagues better than film ones at similar, high, iso's.
     
  132. Film doesn't have to compete, it is a great compliment and a complete different look.
    Could you please expand on why you concluded that your results with film at high ISO are not good?
     
  133. I started using film seriously in 1978, I have never taken an image above 800iso with film (135 format) that I am comfortable printing above 8x10, unless I am looking for a grainy style. I can print my digital 135 images that have been pushed to 3200iso much larger than that, or more practically, crop them much harder.
    Of course film has to compete, unless you are just using it as a niche fancy, if that is the case then there is never any point to X vs X threads unless the two X's are different films.
     
  134. "I have never taken an image above 800iso with film (135 format) that I am comfortable printing above 8x10, unless I am looking for a grainy style."
    Scott, go to my link in this post and retrieve from that folder any of the scans. Then print them larger than 8x10. Then comment on the grain you see on the print.
    I would like your honest opinion.
     
  135. I will late next week when I am back in my office. But why? Do you believe your film images are less grainy than mine? Certainly from the original sized images on screen I see nothing to make me think your images are.
     
  136. I believe that you will conclude that grain is not an issue.
     
  137. Well it always was until I got the current generation of digital 135 format cameras.
    If I have to shoot at 3200iso, and I very rarely do, this is what I want from 100% crops.
    00YGz3-334851584.jpg
     
  138. This is the full image.
    00YGz5-334851684.jpg
     
  139. Looks very good.
     
  140. By the way, anyone in the thread is welcomed to download the full files of the scans at home to test the print quality directly. Just select a picture, click on "Original", and drag it to your desktop or Photoshop.
    http://shutterclick.smugmug.com/Photography/Portra-400-and-TMAX-400-G/15789423_WvenE#1185545623_eRS9a
     
  141. On the prints I made here at native 360 dpi (this is 11x16 instead of just 8x10) on Epson Ultrasmooth and Ilford Fibre Gold grain is not an issue.
    At 16x20 you can see it but it is pleasing. It also can be removed with one click in PS if someone prefers to.
    Look forward to your feedback from the prints Scott.
     
  142. Mauro, what I really wonder is this-- what's better when shooting film at a concert scenario with flash:
    1. ISO 400 film exposed at EI 400 w/ auto flash, then pushed 2 stops during processing
    2. ISO 400 film exposed at EI 1600 w/ auto flash, then pushed 2 stops during processing
    In a concert setting, one desires a good balance between flash-lit foreground & ambient-lit background. Therefore, I will typically set the ISO on my 5D to 800 or 1600, manually select a shutter speed that won't result in offensive blurring given the level of ambient light, select the widest aperture on my lens, then use the white card on my 580EX II aimed at the performer (flash pointed up, perhaps adding some ambient light to the room). Basically, in this scenario, upping the ISO ensures that the flash exposure is low enough that when analog gain (magnitude of which is determined by the ISO setting) is applied to the raw data off the sensor prior to being fed to the A/D converter, you haven't blown out the performer (foreground) exposed by the flash. Furthermore, the higher ISO helps b/c, holding shutter speed/aperture constant, the analog gain increases the raw pixel values of the shadows (well, everything for that matter) which then allows more bits for their representation after A/D conversion (theoretically, if you had infinite bits, there'd be no need for an ISO setting on a digital camera).
    But since negative film has such exposure latitude, one may not have to worry about the push processing blowing highlights on the flash-exposed foreground, no? In which case, one could expose as ISO 400, let the flash fire at higher power, maybe even helping to expose the background some more, which'd help with the film shadows.
    So basically I'd love to see what'd happen at a concert with ISO 400 film shot as EI 400, with E-TTL flash, then pushed 2 stops.
    Which also brings to mind another question I had: does shooting ISO 400 film at EI 400 & then pushing 2 stops lead to more shadow detail than developing it with no push, & then brightening shadows in post? The question really is whether or not push processing helps silver growth for very unexposed grains or only really extends the growth of mid to well-exposed grains. After all, there's a critical threshold below which a grain is considered 'unexposed' & just won't get reduced, right? (Well, I guess it's not the whole grain that gets reduced but sensitivity specks that have large enough clumps of reduced silver from the exposure... ACK. Flashbacks to that epic thread... :)
    Rishi
     
  143. Hilarious post. I wonder how anyone can take this seriously. Titled 35 mm film versus 5D mark II low light comparison, but then Mauro claims when the criticism gets too much that he was not intending it to be a film versus digital comparison.
    Mauro also makes it clear the purpose was not a scientific or controlled test, but then runs to draw conclusions everywhere that would not be supported by a controlled test.
    The conclusions that I draw from this thread is that in low light conditions, carefully developed and porcessed film shot with a flash at 5500k at f4, will look different to digital shot at ISO 3200 and f1.8 with ambient coloured concert light.
     
  144. R.J. Fox, thank you for that link. I didn't realize that Ektar 100 was that good! Based on that simple comparison, it seems that a 6x7 negative might match an 80Mpx MF back for resolution. Maybe. :)
    I wonder if anyone should ever bother pushing negative film. I'll have to do more research on that.
     
  145. Oh come on Geoff, how can you draw that conclusion! You obviously looked at the pictures and methodology! If you're not careful you will be accused of "lies and deceipt" and even "corruption" and agreeing with the evil companies whose only plan is to keep us all in digital and away from film. Then you would have to be endlessly told that it's not a film vs digital debate (you were fooled by the title there weren't you) and that actually digital isn't that bad really but let's get back to the superior world of film. You might claim that you want an unbiased comparison but we all know you're probably a digital user who just wants to claim that you have the best system. Shame on you!
     
  146. While that 5DII vs. Ektar 100 comparison was interesting, I think the Ektar coulda performed much better if he'd used a decent scanner. When I scan Ektar 100 on my Minolta 5400 or Nikon LS-9000/4000, I can definitely see grain. His scan is probably throwing away half the information on that Ektar. Now, whether or not that information is useful is another matter ;)
    Also, the fact that the 1st 5DII shot at 100% looked like it had motion blur but in the nighttime shot comparison the Ektar 100 shot looked like it had motion blur kinda invalidates his test. He shoulda had a more controlled environment: tripod + triggered release.
    Karim -- let us know if you ever figure out the answer to whether or not it's worth pushing negative film. Certainly probably makes a difference for slide, since there you're re-expanding the tonal range of the medium (which is initially small after the exposure) to make a final product for presentation.
    While we're on the subject -- does anyone know if Velvia (or any positive film for that matter) actually captures the same # of stops of dynamic range as negative film in the latent image? But then loses it in the chemistry of making a high-contrast pleasing image for presentation? Might not even be a valid question since it's likely a combination of latent image + development that determines the # of stops recorded... though... I don't know.
     
  147. There seriously seems to be something wrong with the 5DII shots, seems like they were underexposed and then pushed in post or something. I'd expect nearly the kind of ISO3200 performance in the example from my 40D on a properly exposed shot...
     
  148. "I really wonder is this-- what's better when shooting film at a concert scenario with flash:
    1. ISO 400 film exposed at EI 400 w/ auto flash, then pushed 2 stops during processing
    2. ISO 400 film exposed at EI 1600 w/ auto flash, then pushed 2 stops during processing"
    Best is:
    1. BEST: No Flash. ISO 400 film exposed at EI 1600 or 3200 (pushed 2 stops in development), or ISO 3200 film exposed at EI 3200. The former will have more contrast and smaller grain. later will have smoother tonal gradations with larger grain.
    2. ALSO GOOD DEPENDING ON THE LOOK DESIRED: ISO 400 film exposed at EI 1600 or 3200 in manual w flash compensating 1 stop, then pushed 2 stops during development.
    3. BAD: This would be would result in unnecessarily overexposed film-> ISO 400 film exposed at EI 400 w/ auto flash, then pushed 2 stops during development/processing.
     
  149. Dave T, please post a live shot of your 40D at ISO H scaled up to 21MP. It is very helpful when people share their experiences with better results (film or digital).
     
  150. "The conclusions that I draw from this thread is that in low light conditions, carefully developed and porcessed film shot with a flash at 5500k at f4, will look different to digital shot at ISO 3200 and f1.8 with ambient coloured concert light."
    Geoff, the f4 shot you are looking at was shot without flash with film at EI 3200 during the guitar change. Let me know what you think of it.
     
  151. Dave T, please post a live shot of your 40D at ISO H scaled up to 21MP. It is very helpful when people share their experiences with better results (film or digital).​
    It makes no sense to upscale it to 21MP for a sensor vs. sensor comparison if we're looking at pixel noise, but I will be happy to take an ISO3200 shot in low light and post a 100% crop. After some brief experimentation I've already come close to the 5DII examples in the post, which to me, seems ridiculous considering the supposed enormous low light performance advantage that the 5DII has over the 40D.
     
  152. Hi Mauro
    Forgive me if this has been answered but I was curious to know what lenses you were using? I imagine they play a role too when it comes to film vs digital or no?
    Thanks
    Russ
     
  153. I can't believe this ridculous thread is still raging. Anyone who is anyone knows the 5D2 will vastly outstrip 35mm film in just about every possible scenario.
    Do I own the 5D2? Yes.
    Am I biased? No, I am qualified to answer because I have extensive experience of both the 5D2 and 35mm film.
    I love film. I regularly shoot 35mm because I love the grain and the romance of it all. I shoot my Bronica for the fun of it and for the bokeh of 6x6 MF. But for sheer image quality in any given situation I reach for the 5D2 every single time without hesitation.
     
  154. Anyone who is anyone knows the 5D2 will vastly outstrip 35mm film in just about every possible scenario.​
    That is your experience and the experience of many other people. However, there are also people who's experience and way of working means that the reverse is true... for them.
     
  155. That is your experience and the experience of many other people. However, there are also people who's experience and way of working means that the reverse is true... for them.​
    I know that but, seriously, these people are kidding themselves right? It's chalk and cheese.
     
  156. I don't think they are kidding themselves. I think they are getting better results with film. Just because it's not your method, doesn't make them or their opinions wrong.
     
  157. Russ, look at the link on the front page. The lenses are listed at the top of each picture.
     
  158. Jamie, please share your experience with examples. Everyone will appreciate it.
     
  159. I don't think they are kidding themselves. I think they are getting better results with film. Just because it's not your method, doesn't make them or their opinions wrong.​
    No disrespect, but people who think 35mm film can compete with modern DSLRs (especially in low light) either don't know how to use a camera or don't have the experience of both mediums. Shots like this at ISO 12,800 are just run of the mill for cameras like the 5D2 and Nikon D700 etc. No film on earth can match it.
    Jamie, please share your experience with examples. Everyone will appreciate it.​
    Mauro, there are hundreds of thousands of shots taken at ISO 6,400, 12,800, 25,600 and even higher all over the web. The best 35mm film can offer is Delta 3200 or TMAX 3200 pushed through the roof. If you want to talk about colour film photography then film is even less competitive.
     
  160. I was kind of avoiding this thread, but...
    The lighting is dramatically different in terms of intensity, direction, and spectrum between the film shots as a group and the 5D mkII shot. This is not a test of the 5D mkII vs 35mm film at high ISO, and no valid conclusions about their relative performance can be drawn from this comparison.
    I kind of wanted to avoid this thread because I didn't know how to interpret Mauro's actions. Mauro has the technical knowledge to appreciate how dramatically different the lighting is, and therefore how dishonest it is for him to put crops next to each other as a comparison of the underlying technology. Yet there the crops are along with the claims, both explicit and implicit, that what we see is a valid comparison. Was it a momentary lapse in judgement? That's hard to swallow given how obvious the difference in lighting is, and how the film tests as a group share the same much better (from a noise/resolution perspective) lighting.
    With that off my chest...I have found that in a raw test of detail and noise characteristics 35mm film comes closest to a camera like the 5D mkII when using the best films at the lowest ISOs (i.e. Velvia 50) on the best scanners (i.e. Imacon or drum). The DSLR still has the edge, but the differences are relatively small. Move away from the best in terms of emulsion, ISO, or scanner and modern DSLRs quickly pull ahead. By ISO 400 the differences become quite large.
    But people don't normally make 24" prints from ISO 1600-3200 shots. At 8x10 it's entirely possible to make a satisfactory print from high ISO 35mm film, and someone may even prefer said print due to the film's characteristics, such as grain in B&W film.
    Never the less at ISO 3200 a 5D mkII, in a properly controlled test, will easily out resolve comparable 35mm films and yield much less noise.
     
  161. Jamie, most of the time supposed experience with film giving poor performance is hearsay with no examples or the
    result of using a flatbed scanner.

    Please share any film shots at EI1600 or 3200 that have given you bad results.
     
  162. Daniel, please print the samples from my website shot at EI11600 and EI3200 from tmax and portra and let me know
    how large you find them satisfactory.

    To you comments regarding the 5Dii let me clarify that I agree it is an extremely capable camera and there are plenty
    of posts to support it. The goal of the post was to show how well film does because there aren't readily available
    examples posted of tmax and portra at high EI.
     
  163. Jamie, no need to defend digital since it does great. I apologize for the confusion, I was asking to post your own
    results with film (not a 1.5 megapixel downsized digital picture from someone else).
     
  164. To you comments regarding the 5Dii let me clarify that I agree it is an extremely capable camera and there are plenty of posts to support it. The goal of the post was to show how well film does because there aren't readily available examples posted of tmax and portra at high EI.
    The debate stems from the fact that you didn't show how well film can do. You showed how well a flash can do.
     
  165. Look at the shot without flash at EI 3200.
     
  166. Also look at the shot were the stage light is actually hitting the back of the performer.
     
  167. The EI 3200 Tmax 400 shot is without flash? It looks like there's some form of harsh light on the performer, compared to the 5D II shot...
     
  168. It is just stage strobes.
     
  169. Do you have a 5D II shot when a stage strobe illuminated the main performer?
     
  170. Never the less at ISO 3200 a 5D mkII, in a properly controlled test, will easily out resolve comparable 35mm films and yield much less noise.​
    Daniel, you could be right, but if the test done by twinlenslife.com is reliable (5DII and Ektar 100), the difference would be minimal or non-existent.
     
  171. LOL Mauro I think it's time for another one of your epic resolution threads where we look at lp/mm resolved by the different formats... :)
    Actually I'm thinking I'll do a resolution/latitude test myself to corroborate some of your findings (or not :). I rasterized a vector image file of the ISO 12233 chart at ~19in x 30in @360dpi to print on an Epson 7880, but I see some jaggies in the smooth curved lines. Is that to be expected? Is 20x30 a reasonable size to shoot? What did you shoot last time? I may need to experiment, of course, to get an angle of view that does actually test the limits of the film...
    Cheers,
    Rishi
     
  172. Aw, crap, I totally misread your comment, Daniel! Sorry! However, the same web site did that comparison and you'll have to judge for yourself which did better.
     
  173. Quality of light is such a major factor (probably the biggest factor) in how an image looks, that I really am
    a bit confused about the point of this thread.
     
  174. I really am a bit confused about the point of this thread.​

    As usual, it has turned into a digital versus film debate which, as with most of these things, is actually a digital versus scanner debate.
     
  175. Jamie, no need to defend digital since it does great. I apologize for the confusion, I was asking to post your own results with film (not a 1.5 megapixel downsized digital picture from someone else).​
    Mauro, I'm wasting my time here. I could post my own results from film and then all the film fan boys would just criticise my methods and blame film's inferior performance on my own skill and working methods.
    You people need to get real. Stop fantasising about the glory days of film. It's over. Digital is ahead and will keep pulling ahead at a rapid rate of knots. If you haven't realised that by now then you never will.
    Like I said earlier, I love using film. For the past two weeks all I have done is shoot with my EOS 3, Bronica SQ-A, Nikon FM2 and a Fuji GA645. I prefer shooting film because it's great fun, it's romantic, I love developing my own negatives and I love the look of the grain. But saying 35mm film can compete with modern DSLRs in low light is just plain stupid.
     
  176. You people need to get real. Stop fantasising about the glory days of film. It's over.​
    It obviously is over for you but the rest of us are not you.
    My personal view is that film and digital are about equal for the same image size. Nothing to do with technology but more to do with the laws of physics. For me, the advantage that film has is that it is easy to make it in large sizes whereas it is cost prohibitive to make large sensors.
    I will agree with you about digital's advantage in low light but I don't do that myself. Before digital turned up, everyone was happy with ISO 100 and 400. Now, everyone seems to want crystal clear images taken at ISOs in the thousands.
     
  177. My personal view is that film and digital are about equal for the same image size. Nothing to do with technology but more to do with the laws of physics. For me, the advantage that film has is that it is easy to make it in large sizes whereas it is cost prohibitive to make large sensors.​
    So by that statement I can assume you also believe that an APS film camera such as Canon's EOS IX7 can match the image quality of the Canon EOS 7D or Nikon D300s. After all, they're the same image size.
    And I'm sure you also believe that 35mm film blows the Canon EOS 1D MkIV away because the 1D MkIV's sensor is considerably smaller than a frame of 35mm film, regardless of the fact that it can shoot at ISO 102,400.
     
  178. Sorry, incorrect link in my previous post. Should have been this.
     
  179. So Jamie, you're showing us a high ISO comparison of 1dMk IV vs 1dMk IV vs 1dMk IV vs 1dMk IV ? Does that make your 'test' any more valid than Mauro's test? At least in Mauro's test there are photo from 5DII and various films... :) Is this how you unqualified Mauro's test by showing what you can get with 1dMKIV only? This is real puzzling ...
    Also, from your previous statement, is it restricted to what latest dslr can do on HIGH ISO only, or is it applicable to all situations? If it's the latter, then I'm afraid what ever you said 3 posts earlier can be applied to you, with the change of digital to film and vice versa from many other's perspective.
     
  180. So Jamie, you're showing us a high ISO comparison of 1dMk IV vs 1dMk IV vs 1dMk IV vs 1dMk IV ? Does that make your 'test' any more valid than Mauro's test?​
    The link I provided about the MkIV was not a "test" like Mauro's. It is not even my image... it's just the first shot I came across on flickr. There are more examples of how DSLRs perform at high ISO here and here and here and here and here and here and here and just about everywhere you look on the web.
    Low ISO? No problem. Here's a crappy shot of mine. First the full shot:
    [​IMG]
    And now a 100% crop:
    [​IMG]
    Even after these examples I am sure you film fanboys will still no doubt say 35mm film can compete. I even know what's coming next from you... pictures of coloured pencils and crayons taken at different exposures, talk of dynamic range blah blah blah...
    Don't you realise you are all a laughing stock in photographic circles? You're still clinging on to this insane belief after all this time. Sure, 35mm film is better than digital. That's why emulsions are getting dropped all the time and film sales are through the floor compared to 10 years ago.
     
  181. Jamie,you keep posting links to downsized digital images from other people. First, they are not relevant so small, but second and most importantly DIGITAL HIGH ISO PERFORMANCE IS NOT IN QUESTION.
    Your point is that you can't get good results with film correct?
    Please answer a simple question, what scanner do you have and how do you scan your film.
    Also if possible, please post your own shots where you determined that film's low light performance was not good.
    It is almost always the case (with the exception of Daniel and a few others) that people have formed their opinions with film using substandard equipment, or worse, by just listening to other people who were doing the same.
    Look forward to the samples.
     
  182. Jamie, you are the only one who has a belief about film - until you replace it with experience. We have experience and share it for open debate.
     
  183. Here's a simple and economical test anyone can do. Take a roll of Portra 400, shoot it at ISO 1600, develop it for $2 at Target with no prints. Scan it at home. Post the results.
    About as quick as it gets for a test.
     
  184. Jamie,you keep posting links to downsized digital images from other people. First, they are not relevant so small,​
    In among my links are a couple of full size files.
    but second and most importantly DIGITAL HIGH ISO PERFORMANCE IS NOT IN QUESTION. Your point is that you can't get good results with film correct?​
    Wrong, I get great results with film. If I didn't I would have quit photography 2 decades ago. It's just that as far as image quality goes, my digital gear surpasses 35mm film every single time.
    Please answer a simple question, what scanner do you have and how do you scan your film.​
    I have a Canon FS4000US scanner and use Vuescan.
    Also if possible, please post your own shots where you determined that film's low light performance was not good.​
    Sorry, I don't keep below par shots... they go straight in the bin. Besides, when the light level is too low I don't even bother using film as it's a waste of time.
    It is almost always the case (with the exception of Daniel and a few others) that people have formed their opinions with film using substandard equipment, or worse, by just listening to other people who were doing the same.
    Look forward to the samples.​
    My full flickr account is here. My full res shots are never uploaded but there are plenty of film shots in my flickr gallery. I don't use substandard equipment.
    I'm not going to waste hours of my time digging through my archive to try and find shots for you to shoot to pieces. I know the truth, the vast majority of professional photographers know the truth and so do most people on photo.net. It's just the small handful of die-hard film fanboys that will fight to the death for something they know was outdated years ago.
     
  185. "I have a Canon FS4000US scanner and use Vuescan.", "I don't use substandard equipment."
     
  186. "when the light level is too low I don't even bother using film"
    That is why you have no experience with it.
     
  187. I love your self portrait though.
     
  188. Mauro,
    Tell me why the FS4000US is substandard. It's not exactly a drum scanner but it is still one of the very best 35mm film scanners.
    "when the light level is too low I don't even bother using film"
    That is why you have no experience with it.​
    How on earth do you think I know film is no good in low light? From years of experience of course! Sure, if it's a landscape and the camera is tripod mounted film is beautiful. But for handheld shots in dark conditions it doesn't even begin to compare with digital.
    I love your self portrait though.​
    Thank you. That's very kind of you to say so. :)
     
  189. No need to go in circles. If you have a chance give it a shot and run a quick test with Portra 400 at EI 1600. I think having the results in your hand may change your perspective.
    While it is true that you can't match with film the results you can obtain with a DSLR, that is your experience. This is not the same for other people.
     
  190. Sorry Mauro but you keep asking other people to post shots to back their point of view. OK, fair play, why don't you post shots using identical ISO, lens, lighting etc. Just so we can see you prove your point. Apart from your very flawed first examples I have seen nothing to validate your claims here. In fact as an unbiased member I think of the 100% crops I prefer those of the 5DII notwithstanding a slight softness which may be due to DOF (@f1.8) or camera shake. Or even better stop this thread now as it has become the same old pointless nonsense that film vs digital usually becomes, I'm sure that's not what you want really!
     
  191. Sure, 35mm film is better than digital. That's why emulsions are getting dropped all the time and film sales are through the floor compared to 10 years ago.​
    Convenience is the driving force here, not quality.
     
  192. Convenience is the driving force here, not quality.
    I pretty much agree with that -- esp. considering the very high quality of Ektar 100 35mm.
    35mm film is most certainly dead but is kept "alive" by those few of us (maybe 1% now) still shooting a few rolls of film. Just like vinyl records -- that tech. is dead too, but there will always be 0.1% of the market that will keep it "alive."
     
  193. And valves (tubes). I build valve based audio recording equipment with that 'dead' technology.
    http://www.freewebs.com/stevesmithphoto/valve.html
    I pretty much agree with that -- esp. considering the very high quality of Ektar 100 35mm.​
    The same Ektar 100 which originally was only going to be sold in 35mm, then due to demand, was released in 120 and is now available in 5x4 and 10x8.
     
  194. 35mm film is most certainly dead but is kept "alive" by those few of us (maybe 1% now) still shooting a few rolls of film. Just like vinyl records -- that tech. is dead too, but there will always be 0.1% of the market that will keep it "alive."​
    35mm is being kept alive by the movie industry, most of whom still prefer to shoot productions on film. When the moviemakers go fully digital we'll really see if 35mm can survive. I hope it does.
     
  195. Movie production does use a fair amount of film but the vast majority of it is in copies for distribution.
     
  196. "we have seen nothing to validate your claims here".
    Tony, thank you for participating. Please specify which claim you don't feel you can validate and I will try to provide clarification.
     
  197. Now try something like an 8 hour star trail exposure with film and digital.
    Add in winter cold such as 17 below zero like we had last night.
    Manual film cameras still work just fine in the cold and with long exposures.
     
  198. Now try something like an 8 hour star trail exposure with film and digital.
    Add in winter cold such as 17 below zero like we had last night.
    Manual film cameras still work just fine in the cold and with long exposures.​
    I agree entirely. Apart from the danger of film snapping due to the extreme cold I much prefer film for very long exposures. With digital you end up fighting for power and messing around with image stacking etc etc.
     
  199. Jamie, you should give Portra 400 a try. If you have difficulty finding it in stock, email me and I can send you some.
     
  200. Now try something like an 8 hour star trail exposure with film and digital. Add in winter cold such as 17 below zero like we had last night.
    Star trail exposures are a non issue for digital using stacking techniques. The final product is much better than with 35mm film in one straight exposure and gives the tremendous benefit of being able to control for light pollution and foreground exposure. I've done 2 hour star trail stacks of 30s exposures in areas which would wash out 35mm film at the same ISO and aperture in about 5-10 minutes. And there's no reciprocity failure or color shifting of any kind. I've also got 1-2 hour star trail exposures with moon lit foregrounds.
    Sensitivity is also incredible with digital. On the 7D a f/2.8 lens and ISO 800 will yield low noise prints that are literally saturated with stars, more starlight than dark sky. And this is, again, in relatively light polluted conditions.
    My older xxD bodies could do about 90-120 minutes on one fully charged battery. It looks like the 7D can do about 3-4 hours on one fully charged battery, and in freezing conditions. A vertical grip should double that. Falling below 0F would reduce it (my experience is in the 20+F range). An AC adapter plugged into some form of external power source could easily last the full night even at -17F. You would need to protect the electrical connections from any potential condensation of water or ice of course, but this is doable.
    The real problem is keeping the lens and body warm enough that they don't literally freeze over. I underestimated the potential for this last time I did star trails in cold conditions and walked outside after a couple hours to literally find ice all over the equipment. The 7D was still shooting faithfully with more than half a charge left. But with ice over most of the filter on the front of the lens the stack was naturally ruined. Though it did make for a cool effect single frame. I was shooting with a house in the foreground, with some lights on inside, so as ice started forming around the filter edges and moving towards center it produced this weird, glowing vignette.
    For those who are wondering you can deal with the condensation issue using camping hand warmers, I just didn't think it would be an issue that night. And of course that's not a digital/film thing. An old manual camera will ice over just as easily.
     
  201. I know a hard core amatuer astronomer who shoots starts trails, and who enters competitions and has one awards for his work. He uses a helium cooled 20D, not film.
    Professional astronomy went to digital about 25 years ago.
     
  202. "Even after these examples I am sure you film fanboys will still no doubt say 35mm film can compete. I even know what's coming next from you... pictures of coloured pencils and crayons taken at different exposures, talk of dynamic range blah blah blah..."


    "Don't you realise you are all a laughing stock in photographic circles? You're still clinging on to this insane belief after all this time. Sure, 35mm film is better than digital. That's why emulsions are getting dropped all the time and film sales are through the floor compared to 10 years ago."


    " I'm not going to waste hours of my time digging through my archive to try and find shots for you to shoot to pieces. I know the truth, the vast majority of professional photographers know the truth and so do most people on photo.net. It's just the small handful of die-hard film fanboys that will fight to the death for something they know was outdated years ago."
    Now this just prove my earlier point on the 'digital fanboys' having plenty of attitude problem! Sorry I only call you that because you seemed to like this sort of derogatory remark on others. Can't you just save your breath if you really think that we the 'film fanboys' a laughing stock in the photographic circles? Why even bother to participate, if you don't even bother to 'waste your time digging blah blah...' Just to show your superiority (which in any case has yet to be proven AT ALL)? Please, have some sense When you want to disprove a point then show prove it with actual proof.
    You know what, we 'film fanboys' would not even bother to go into any of the digital only forum just to pick a fight like you did because, sorry to say, it is either we behave better, or know better, or in the worst case, we're all silly but stick to ourselves and don't behave like someone who's short of medication.
    Further to that, apart from the convenience factor, the hyperbole of DIGITAL superiority by the margin described by you is the clear fact of blind leading the blind, well sorry to say in the digital fanboys world.
     
  203. Convenience is the driving force here, not quality.
    That's simply not true. To get close to the sharpness and fine detail I see out of my 7D I would have to shoot Velvia 50 and scan it on an Imacon. Those sell used for, what, $5,000? And that combination would limit me to ISO 50, or ISO 100 with Ektar. Understand those combinations would not surpass the 7D, merely come close enough that it shouldn't matter for a 24" print. (I'm not going to get into any long, drawn out arguments over that statement as I've done hours of testing and pixel peeping with results published and critiqued in threads on this site. I know how these items stand in relation to each other.)
    Use different emulsions, especially higher ISOs, and/or more affordable scanners including the CoolScans and the 7D has a significant, print observable edge in IQ. It's really apparent pixel peeping 35mm portrait films. They may have greater DR, but they can't touch current digital sensors in sharpness or fine detail. Some of the portrait and fashion work I see from top tier DSLRs like the 5D mkII or 1D series, and from the 7D as well, looks like high quality MF film portrait and fashion work. I've got an ISO 800 20" 7D portrait print I will set next to any 20" portrait print from 645 using ISO 160 or 400 portrait films.
    That's not to say you can't make excellent prints from 35mm, or that there are no applications where a particular film's properties are desired. But the output from current DSLRs, crop or FF, is excellent.
     
  204. That's simply not true. To get close to the sharpness and fine detail I see out of my 7D I would have to shoot Velvia 50 and scan it on an Imacon.​
    The vast majority of 35mm photography is not high definition artwork needing expensive scans, etc. but is just family snapshots, holiday pictures etc. Where the film was handed in to a minilab and prints were picked up later.
    This has now been replaced by people downloading their memory cards to their computers and sometimes printing them, sometimes not. The perception is that this is more convenient. In reality, it might not be.
     
  205. What is odd is that Mauro was never saying that 35mm is a silver bullet. And yet critics are not targeting their criticism at the right place. Instead they make straw-man arguements about how Mauro is a film 'fanboy' - and by extension, anyone who agrees with him is also a fanboy.
    I have some criticisms for Mauro and he knows that. BTW Mauro, film has to compete with digital without the luxury of drum scans. Most people can't afford having all their good photos drum scanned, let alone every single frame. If film can hold its own with something like an LS-8000 or Plustek, then that's valid. Drum scans will then offer a bit more quality on top of that if needed.
    As it happens, I have only in previous months discovered the capabilities of colour negative film (before digital I only took colour slide film seriously, for obvious reasons). Portra or no Portra, I am amazed that I never investigated negative film properly, even though I've long been into motion photography as well. Now I understand why many people stuck with film.
    Because of all that I have been shooting mostly with digital since about '04. I am hoping to change that, but only if it works for me. I will always shoot both. I guess someone will force me to 'choose', right?!
     
  206. Jamie, you should give Portra 400 a try. If you have difficulty finding it in stock, email me and I can send you some.​
    Mauro, I have 40 rolls of 120 Portra 400 in my fridge. I have also just had to stop typing this post to answer the door to the postman who was delivering 2 sets of negatives. I was out yesterday afternoon shooting on Portra. My 5D2 has been sat in the cupboard for the last 3 weeks because I'm enjoying film so much. But you can be rest assured, if I have an important shoot or I need the utmost quality I will be opening that cupboard again!
    Huang Shao Hui, thanks for the rant. However, I'm not just a digital fanboy who comes into a film forum to cause trouble. If you'd taken the time to read the rest of my posts you'd see that I'm actually a film fanatic who loves shooting the stuff. But I am also a realist. I know which medium is better because I have vast experience of both. Shooting film is more fun but shooting digital almost always yields better results.
     
  207. I know which medium is better because I have vast experience of both. Shooting film is more fun but shooting digital almost always yields better results.​
    I'm sure you know your capabilities of either medium very well and you are probably correct that your digital camera gives you better results than your 35mm film. But this needs to be qualified as your personal experience and not a fact which needs to be applied to everyone else.
    For me, I get my best results with black and white film and optically printing. I have never had good results scanning and printing digital but many other people, presumably including you, get excellent results with an all digital process.
     
  208. Jamie, I hope you get to shoot it at EI 1600 and share your results.
     
  209. Huang,
    I presume you'll be telling me next that cell phone cameras are better than DSLRs as more people use them. Oh, I guess MP3 is better than a CD as sales of CDs have been dropping....must be because MP3 format is of higher quality.
    Spare me that nonsense please.
     
  210. Dave,
    Did you just address the above post to the wrong person, as I think I'm the only 'Huang' in this thread... Which part on which of my post did give you the impression that I'm talking nonsense? The one in italic is what I quoted from Jamie's replies.
    Steve,
    You just said whatever I wanted to say to Jamie's reply.
     
  211. Steve Smith
    The vast majority of 35mm photography is not high definition artwork needing expensive scans, etc. but is just family snapshots, holiday pictures etc. Where the film was handed in to a minilab and prints were picked up later.This has now been replaced by people downloading their memory cards to their computers and sometimes printing them, sometimes not. The perception is that this is more convenient. In reality, it might not be

    I would argue that once you have dropped your film off at a minilab the quality you are going to get back is so low that even a old, low end digital camera can beat it. I get much better prints from scanning my own film and then printing from the digital file then I ever got from a minilab. But scanning is a pain and I am getting far better results from my digital cameras then I ever got from film.
     
  212. Mauro, yet again all I am asking for, with no bias either way, is a fair comparison. This is what annoys me, you may well be right in all you say but until you post samples taken under identical conditions I can only assume that you are in the debate purely to stir things up. All I have ever asked for is a fair and accurate comparison. Why are you not prepared to do that? I am sure that all those involved in this debate would be interested to see that, unless they are afraid (either way) of the truth.
     
  213. Jamie, I hope you get to shoot it at EI 1600 and share your results.​
    I very much doubt that. I shoot for myself, not for the enjoyment of others. Besides, if I need to shoot at ISO 1600 the 5D2 will come out of the cupboard.
     
  214. I would argue that once you have dropped your film off at a minilab the quality you are going to get back is so low that even a old, low end digital camera can beat it. I get much better prints from scanning my own film and then printing from the digital file then I ever got from a minilab. But scanning is a pain and I am getting far better results from my digital cameras then I ever got from film.​
    You are probably right but as I said, most 35mm use in the past was snapshots and holiday shots, not professional or serious amateur stuff. Having said that, most minilab prints I have had done have been fine. The usual reason for poor results from minilabs is the happy snaps three rolls for £5 ISO 400 film which people used to get.
    The snapshot crowd are not so concerned with quality as we are here and in reality, it can't get much simpler than dropping off a film and picking up prints later or the next day.
    The perception is that home printing from a digital camera is easier and more convenient but I think the reality is that many people now don't bother with prints and those who do may struggle with it. Again, I'm not talking about the professionals and hobbyists, just the general public documenting their lives with pictures.
     
  215. Steve, that's a very valid point you make. That's the sad fact about digital. Nobody seems to print any more, myself included. It makes you wonder why we use 21MP DSLRs when, at best, the images get displayed electronically at 1080p (2 megapickles). I suppose those of us that don't print just like living in pixel peeping heaven for self gratification.
    As much as I enjoy all the benefits of digital I would still rather it had never been invented. That way the playing field would still be level and we could all enjoy picking up our latest shots off the doormat.
     
  216. Sorry Huang, I thought the italics were your text. I misread the whole thing. I've had my coffee now so that may help me the rest of the day.
    Cheers.
     
  217. I just sketched a new post "Film vs Digital - Color Rendering".
    It will have a twist with a surprise and a little competition.
     
  218. Mauro, thanks for the informative comparison. I would be looking forward to your next post on color rendering. I haven't seriously use a digital SLR yet but all my friends around me have all the latest DSLR. FF digital camera may or may not have more details and sharpness than 35mm film. However, as long as I can made high quality print of 12x18 from 35mm and 24x30 from 645 film, resolution-wise the film is good enough for me.
    What really attracts me to film though is its color rendering. With my Coolscan 9000 and various film stock (Velvia, Ektar, Portra, etc), I found that I can easily produce images with beautiful colors. Most of the time I just spent a couple of minutes in Photoshop on an image and I am done. While my digital friends sometimes spend hours on color correction of an image (especially for shots under flat light, which is what I love to do) and still end up with an overcooked one, which really scares me away from digital. I have always been interested in whether other film shooters have the same observation or not.
    Hopefully I will see you next post soon!
    00YIAt-335523584.jpg
     
  219. It makes you wonder why we use 21MP DSLRs when, at best, the images get displayed electronically at 1080p (2 megapickles)​
    That is something which I have wondered about too. On another forum, there was a thread asking who actually prints their pictures. Over half of the respondents claimed that they only looked at their pictures on screen or up-loaded them to websites yet they were the same people who were always ready to get the next new camera upgrade with more MP (pixie-megals).
     
  220. That is something which I have wondered about too. On another forum, there was a thread asking who actually prints their pictures. Over half of the respondents claimed that they only looked at their pictures on screen or up-loaded them to websites yet they were the same people who were always ready to get the next new camera upgrade with more MP (pixie-megals).​
    One major benefit of the 5D2 that I intially didn't take into account is the capability to brutally crop away at a shot and still end up with a high res file. That is the only benefit I have found from shooting at 21MP. That is also a reason why, in the future, I would probably consider a camera with an even higher resolution. The ability to brutally crop is such an advantage that it has completely driven away my desire for the expensive 500mm+ lenses. Now I can shoot birds and wildlife with my lightweight 300mm f4, happily crop away at it and get the same final image as I would have got with a 500mm or 600mm lens (albeit at a lower resolution but still more than satisfactory).
    Buying an expensive high res DSLR with no intention of cropping or printing is just money wasted. I think that's why the 12MP Nikon D700 has been so successful. It has adequate resolution and astounding low light performance, a nice happy balance.
     
  221. In my case, most of my prints are large for display and that is the reason fine details are important to me.
     
  222. Charles, I believe the next post will be great for discussion and also fun.
    The quality of color from film is only half the story. The other portion is the predictable response that can be obtained by selecting a specific film with its reaction to different wavelengths that cannot be reproduced with digital unless the film is used along side and the colors match in PS.
    Like I said the new post will be fun. It will just take a little bit to prepare.
     
  223. The next post:
    I have shot Velvia 50, Ektar 100, Portra 160NC, Portra 400, Tmax 100, Tmax 400 and a 40D; alongside each other in different arrays of natural and studio lighting conditions.
    The following post will also serve as a reference for me (and others) on hoe each film reproduces color comparatively.
    There will be a twist and a surprise too.
     
  224. "In my case, most of my prints are large for display and that is the reason fine details are important to me."
    That's precisely why I care about resolution. If I do go to make a print, I enjoy 16x24's of my landscapes.
    Recently I made a 13x19 of a 35mm Velvia 50 scan (on an Imacon, 80MP scan which, yes, is overkill but not entirely unnecessary given Nyquist sampling theorem) & one of a 5D ISO 100 shot (12MP). All input sharpened, then sharpened for content, then print sharpened. While the 5D print looks so clean that from a distance one could confuse it for MF film, up close the details in leaves of faraway trees is lost in the 5D but retained in the 35mm Velvia shot. But, then again, some film grain is retained as well in the latter upon close inspection.
    Additionally, one should remember that Fuji's own rating of Velvia 50 rates it at an equivalent of 22MP at best (highest contrast subject) & 5.5MP at worse (lowest contrast subject). Digital has much less of a drop-off with subject contrast & therefore, combined with its low noise, sometimes shows higher acutance. So often some subjectivity is introduced even into objective tests.
    In the end, both are great prints & completely presentable. A matter of preference, really. Excellent results can be obtained by both mediums when used properly.
    Still, I thoroughly enjoy objective tests b/c they give one an idea of what to expect. Though this particular thread, IMHO, does not represent an objective film vs. digital test, that's not to say Mauro hasn't done some thorough objective testing here & here. I look forward to your next test, Mauro.
    Rishi
     
  225. This was not a test but a test is coming soon....
     
  226. Whetting everyone's appetite with your teaser trailer regarding the forthcoming suspenseful blockbuster in the best Hitchcockian tradition, and also with a twist at the end thrown in? What is the release date and will you also supply the popcorn?
     
  227. Release is tonight....!
     

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