Anyone going BACK to film? Just bought 1N...

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by jason hinds - columbus, oh, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. So, like many other people around here, I started shooting digital a few years
    ago. It seems like I'm constantly "upgrading" to new equipment, and I've had
    to teach myself to get used to the smaller FOV (and less-pleasing bokeh) on the
    crop-sensor bodies. Well, I've been picking up some old film bodies here and
    there to play around with, and I happened upon a mint 1N with booster for next
    to nothing. This thing is a tank! It makes me yearn for the 1Ds, but my bank
    account keeps telling me no :)

    I've shot a few rolls with this thing already, and the results were fabulous.
    It has me seriously thinking about adding film back into my arsenal for paying
    jobs. So my question is, for all you folks that have been shooting digital,
    have you thought about going back to film (even partially), or have you already
    done this?

    Hopefully I don't get hooked on this stuff just as film becomes totally
  2. I shoot digital in only two situations: when it's required, and that's usually when the people I am shooting for have tight turnarounds; or when I'm short on cash and can't afford film processing. That said, I absolutely love shooting with my EOS 3 and my Mamiya RB. Recently I've picked up a Yashica GSN and am having fun with my first rangefinder.
    And with film equipment prices dropping like crazy, now is a great time to buy into it. On top of that, the EOS 3, 1N and 1V are dirt cheap bodies compared to weather sealed DSLR bodies!
  3. Film will never be obsolete in our or our grandchldren's lifetime.

    Yes, film bodies are cheap right now. But, as manufacturers reduce the number of film bodies available, look for used film cameras prices to level out and for the pro bodies to actually rebound a bit.

    The enormous number of film bodies extant in the world eliminates the possibility for film's demise. The choices will change, but the demand will always be sufficient for film to remain available.
  4. Never left...<p><img src =><p>EOS 1n, 50/1.8
  5. Even though i have the fantastic 5D, i've recently added a Nikon F100, Contax G2, and i'm
    trying to use the Hassy and Rolleiflex more often. I never 'left' film, but i did think i would be
    shooting primarily digital. But, now i think it's going to be the opposite.
  6. I have lately. I've fallen in love with Medium Format and I've been on a buying spree for
    cameras. I've mostly been using a Holga which I've gotten some really good results with
    it's just a $20+ camera. I also picked up a Yashica Electro 35 GSN as well, Patrick. Can't
    to develop my first roll! My most current purchase is a Lomo LC-A+ and a Yashica Mat
    G. I love film and I wouldn't say I hate digital, but it's just not as fun for me right now. I
    like the imperfect results I get from the Holga most of all.
    Here's a couple photos I've taken with the Holga which I think turned out well.
    Holga120GFN | Kodak Tri-X 320:
    <img src=>
    Holga 120GFN | Kodak Tri-X 400
    <img src=>
    Holga 120GFN | Kodak T-MAX 400
    <img src=>
  7. I never left film. I've had briefly an EOS Rebel, then for a year an XT, and later an XTi. I sold them all and remain using film. I just can't leave film since that is the workflow Im used to and I know what to expect shooting it.
  8. Hi

    yes, I've rationalised my system, although I'm not giving up on digital, nor did I actually ever leave using film (I use 4x5 too). I did sell my 20D though. My reasoning was that for the money I'd lose on keeping it, I would be able to buy shitloads of film and a better scanner than I have now. Also, I can not use my 430EZ flash with the 20D in a meaningful way.

    I found a few things that brought me back to owning a 10D.

    Rarely I find myself doing something which is action / sports and a 300mm lens. The ability of the DSLRs (like 10D / 20D) to work at 400 and give good images is astounding. I was asked to photograph an indoor kart racing day and found that I missed the digital.

    Then I did an indoor part of a funeral service. The colour balancing of my negative on scans proved more annoying than I'd expected (fluro lights and ambient light prefered)

    If you don't take many pictures per year, its cheaper to just keep the film body going (its not worth much to sell) and let the others take the hits on DSLR depreciation.
  9. Not me, I switched for good. Personally, I see no reason to use film for my work.
  10. Never left either. I use digital most of the time for its convenience and the superior results I get (before anyone retorts yes I am sure that some of you get better results out of film than digital, but I don't). But film is fun, and there is a kind of pemanancy about hearing it wind through the camera with each shot.

    Over the last few months I have picked up three pentax bodies and some manual lenses cheap on e-bay which are great fun. I am also looking to pick up a Elan 7n in good condition to replace my EOS 300, which is now long in the tooth.
  11. Never tried it, Cause i'm young enough not to own a film camera , be it P&S os slr, BUt I might try it someday.
  12. I got given a yashicamat 124 G and two pentax SLRs with lenses recently (thanks!) but I'm struggling to find the motivation to use them...

    Any words of wisdom?
  13. I first started out with a 20D and although I was happy with it, I couldn't get the FOV wide enough without shelling out for a majorly expensive lens. I was also concerned that many of the fantastic images were taken with a 16MP 1DS2 or the like. There's no way I could afford that so I decided that my next upgrade would be to a 1V (which I think is basically the 1D for film. I can scan the negs to far greater than 16MP so I count myself at an advantage.

    Shooting film also FORCES me to think more about my shots, rather than shooting off a load and hoping for a decent shot or two out of it.

    I took the camera on a recent trip to Ecuador using Velvia 50 and the results blew me away!

    Only problem is that neither my 18-55 Kit lens or the 55-200 Sigma lens I got for the 20D would fit - Both EF-S (or equivalent) so I just invested in a 17-40L and 70-200L4IS which are simply excellent.

    I still use my 20D to check on the composition and lighting angles of my shots but for the money shots I always use the 1V.

  14. I never left films (mainly B&W, which is, IMHO, far away better than digital)

    I agree with Guy that you have to think more about your shot when shooting films.
    I found that my pictures are better when I use film for that reason.
  15. Just playing devils advocate here.

    What do you think you can do with film that you cant do with digital?

    I see a lot have a lower spec canon, I'm not sure you should be comparing a film camera to
    a low spec Dslr. They are so different you may as well compare to a point and click.

    Also, just because you have digital doesnt mean you have to be phlegmatic with your
    shooting style, or at least I dont have too.

    With a little time and patience needed to learn the new way to take photo's you will be
    turning in the same results. Thats the point though, you do need to re-learn a lot of

    Of cause if your talking going back to medium format thats a different ball game but
    again, I cant see why you would think about replacing file medium format with digital
  16. >>There's no way I could afford that so I decided that my next upgrade would be to a 1V (which I think is basically the 1D for film. I can scan the negs to far greater than 16MP so I count myself at an advantage.<<

    If cost is a concern a 5D will give you excellent results.
  17. "What do you think you can do with film that you cant do with digital?"

    I like to spend time printing in the darkroom. It's relaxing and fun. I shoot digital, too, but I don't enjoy computer time as much as darkroom time.
  18. The biggest advantage is instant acress to color pictures.

    Monochrome is easily developed. Color is a pain to mix in very small quantities and then to develope at high temp. The other choice is to drive somewhere, leave the flim, go back for it, or wait. Not fun either.

    If you travel by air, digital will save a lot of problems.

    I get nice prints from either and love my KM 5400 scanner.
  19. I'm another "filmie". I spend my entire day in front of a computer, so in my spare time computers are the last thing I want to see. For me, nothing beats agitating the tray and seeing the image gradually appear in front of my eyes.<br>
    Besides, no computer monitor or inkjet print will ever come close to a perfectly exposed and projected slide.
  20. I'm going back, at least for now: my 1DsII is off to Canon for its second shutter replacement. Fortunately, I still have a Contax 139, Zeiss primes, and, in the freezer, several rolls of Reala, NPH, and Ilford XP2. It should be fun, but I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't have to. I prefer the complete control digital gives me.
  21. Mostly film. Large Format Velvia landscapes, 645 Velvia landscapes, and 35mm E100VS....landscapes. I did pick up an XTi to play around with digital or for the time the images aint worth spending 4x5 chromes on. Kinda a fun toy.

    But when the light is right-it's 4x5 time.
  22. I am re-introducing film to my photographic workflow. I still have a hefty supply of Tri-X and some other films. I replenished all my photo chemistry over the weekend. I am buying a film scanner. I got tired of having my film cameras sit unused. Last week I was in Ocean City, Maryland, on vacation and shot color negative film only. I didn't miss digital (I have a 10D). I like digital, but I didn't miss it like I missed shooting my 1N and MP.

    I'm not a journalist. I'm not on a deadline. I like shooting film.

    Michael J Hoffman
  23. "But when the light is right-it's 4x5 time" . . . ray locke

    "and shot color negative film only. I didn't miss digital . . . Michael.

    Amen, Hear, Hear.

    Yes I just bought a 5d and a couple of pieces of glass. I think the digitoy is a pacifier for me when I can't get away for serious multi-day landscape trips with the 4 x 5.

    A total digital workflow is not a substitute for my large format work. I acquired it for a different type of shooting.
  24. "digitoy?" 5D?
  25. SCL


    Never completely gave up film...just kept thinking "the right tools for the right job".
  26. O.K. I'll take a contrary position in the current lovefest for film, here. I have lots of film
    cameras, including 4x5, medium format and 35. I've been shooting seriously since I was 10,
    and that was in 1960. I've spent YEARS in a darkroom (I'm also a newspaper photographer).
    While I still occassionally shoot with film, digital simply blows film away. It is sharper, cleaner
    and has better resolution than scanned film could ever hope to have (And, I have a Nikon
    5000ed film scanner). It's more versatile with far less hassle. Whether I'm shooting an XTi,
    30D or 1DS Mk. 2 (I have each), film simply can't compare, IMHO.
    <p>O.K. At least I've added some balance :)
  27. I am, first of all, a filmmaker (i.e. movies.)

    However, in the past year my interest in photography has been rekindled. I guess partly because movies have such long pre-production, require such a collaborative effort, and take a great deal of time and money to share with an audience. Photography offered the ability to capture striking images, work on them alone, and share them with an audience quite quickly. So, now I count photography as a (serious) hobby. I had shot lots of 35mm film growing up, mostly on old beater cameras with no innate understanding of lenses, exposure, etc. That I learned from motion picture photography.

    I am not afraid of digital technology, because I grew up with it too. However, I didn't want to invest in an expensive DSLR right away. So I inherited a Canon TL-QL with 50/1.8, and bought a nice clean Yashica 12 (predecessor to the 124G). I loved the results I got in both 35mm and medium format. They were different from each other, but both were beautiful.

    I wondered what I was missing, not having a modern camera -- modern metering, autofocus, modern zoom lenses, etc. So I bought a nice Nikon F80 kit, flash, grip, Tamron 28-300, etc. Immediately the quality of my photography fell. To be honest, the shots looked like bad photos from a point-and-shoot digital camera. I couldn't afford really good Nikon glass, and the slow speeds of most zooms (3.5-5.6) really impacted both the DOF and crispness of my shots (I like shallow DOF and high shutter speeds, to apply selective focus and capture sharp handheld shots.) I also found that relying on the Matrix metering and autofocus were a detriment. Unforuntately, I didn't find the F80 particularly convenient for manual focus with such slow (dark) lenses, and no ground glass.

    I have since sold the F80 kit, and used the money to buy a Pentax *ist DL. My Dad gave me his stash of old pentax M42 and K-mount lenses, including a 55mm/1.8, 28mm/2.8 and a really lovely 135mm/2.8.

    I am perfectly happy with the new *ist DL. I conveniently meter and focus manually. The camera will mount (and meter, and focus-indicate) with 40 year-old lenses -- unlike Nikon. The DL has proved to me that the most important part of any camera is the lens. I prefer the look of the older glass, and the look of faster lenses wide open. I have shot the 135mm on both the *ist DL and the Canon TL-QL (with adapter) and it is gorgeous on both. The only difference is that the DL doesn't have any grain at 200ASA.

    So now, I happily shoot both digital and film. I recently returned from vacation where I shot with the DL for 80% of the time. When I could take my time and be very methodical, I brought out my Yashica and shot another couple rolls of Ilford Delta 100. I will also continue to enjoy shooting Kodak E100VS and Fuji Superia in the Canon TL-QL. The key is those old lenses.
  28. I've wanted a black Canonet QL17 GIII 40mm f/1.7 for a looong time, but never found the right deal (and the battery issue is a problem too)... now I see that a used 1n can be had from KEH for $200-$400 -- probably cheaper in a private deal... But i've not shot more than a handful of frames of film since I got a 30D & S3 IS last summer... Film costs me ~CAD$0.85 per slide (about half that for print) and I'm not to keen on going back to shelling $$ for film.

  29. Boy you are a brave guy asking that question on this forum Jason. I guess you miss the good old days of compressed air-cans, lousy lab-clerks that allways ruin your film, expensive film, Super expensive Pro-Labs, shoe-boxes to put all your 4X6 prints, paranoia at the airport, noisy film winders, and worst of all, running out film in the middle of a shoot.

    I kept all my film cameras and still use them occassionally. If I tried to seel them I would probably get peanuts for them anyway. I have been using my MF film camera allot these days, not because of the amount of pixels I can squeeze out the film, but because I like the look of the pictures, especially in B&W.

    When I'm about to retire, I'll be ready for my Large Format film Camera, if they are still around.
  30. This post just reminded me...I have 5 rolls of film to send in for processing on a recent trip. My son took 4 times the number of photos I did with his xti, 'processed them' in Lightroom and created a program. Here I am wishing my photos were digital as well and it will cost me much more to have 5 rolls processed (print film) than I spent on buying my son an extra memory card. With what I have spent on processing in the past three years, I could have purchased an xti body. At least me me, I think it is time to switch!
  31. I am just starting to re-use my film camera because I've noticed differences in my results. With film, I spend more time on composition, lighting, depth-of-field, etc. With digital, the extra time I spend on frequently changing white balance, ISO, image size & type, etc., takes away from my creative side. I have had a far higher percentage of keepers with film. For me, it is better for landscape, architecture, & portraits. OTOH, I shoot far more exposures with digital than I would with film. There are far less keepers, but I do happen on shots that I wouldn't otherwise have gotten. I prefer digital for sports and low-light photos. I also prefer digital when I need or intend to shoot less than 3/4 of a roll & when I only need a digital record. I prefer film when I need prints. I don't think there is one best answer, but it depends on the application. The result: I'm starting to use film again and also.
  32. While I never sold the old film gear (Minolta and Oly rigs) I did stop using them for a while and went completely digital. Now I'm going back to film, but with medium format. Looking at prices in film gear, it's a buyer's market right now; my old 35mm film gear isn't worth selling while it's costing me pennies on the dollar for that old MF gear. I'm having a ball with it & getting back to basics. There's a place for film and a place for digital, both live happily side-by-side in my bag.
  33. Nope. I will never go back to film. Since switching to a DSLR, I'm actually finding I'm doing a lot less post-processing on my computer. I actually have more free time to go out and shoot, now that I don't have to sit and stare at a monitor correcting various problems. Aside from the obvious instant feedback, zero-cost shooting:

    First, the histogram. I'm nailing exposure in the field exactly how I want it. No guesswork, no relying on rules of thumb or a light meter that gives a single averaging reading. Shoot based on light meter->is it clipped?->if yes, delete the previous one and adjust exposure to taste. Boom, done. I'm sure some will say that their extensive experience with exposure means they don't have to worry, but I've only been shooting for 5 years while fitting it in around a day job. I don't have that experience.

    Second, no scanning. No only does it save me a hell of a lot of time, but I don't have to worry about touching up dust. My idea of a fun photography afternoon is being out shooting, not feeding negatives into a scanner. Now I just stick the card into the reader and wait a few minutes.

    Third, black-and-white. Shooting in raw means that I can decide what kind of film and filters I want to use after taking the picture, and I don't have to buy and carry dozens of filters and rolls of film with me in the first place. I can experiment when "developing" the raw files all I like spending only a few pennies on electricity. I don't have to spend anything on chemistry or paper, I don't spend hours agitating and drying and sleeving and scanning negatives and breathing in smelly chemicals.

    Fourth, I challenge anyone to show me color 1600 film that looks as good as 1600 on my lowly 350D. I like shooting available light, as I imagine quite a few others do as well.
  34. Yup sold my 20d (for slightly more than I paid) mainly because I never stopped using film and enjoy my film bodies more than I did the digital. When I do use digital its a simple P&S.
  35. I got tired of Canon's crappy WA lenses on full frame sensors so sold everything and bought
    an Arca Swiss F field camera (4x5) with some simply outstanding German glass. Perspective
    control and huge chromes leave digital in the dust. No more time wasted compositing
    images in PS to achieve maximum DOF-now I do it right in the field with tilt and swing. After
    experiencing LF, I'll never go back to digital phooey.
  36. Well, my two cents, zwei Pfennig, whatever...

    "Going BACK to film..." as if almost permanently? I think that is nuts. Using film, still shooting 35mm film, no problem. Bu a properly exposed and shot 6MP image from a Canon DSLR is better than the 'equivalent shot from film.' Shoot at 10MP or higher and film now becomes a Holga equivalent in comparison.

    Two different media and both fun except film requires many extra steps and more time. Film will be around for future wonderment and strange uses just five years from now. It's nearly totally dead for pro reasons now. (this is an SLR forum so I am only rappin' 'bout 135 format)
  37. Go back to film? Serious question?

    Like Jim (the other pro-digital person above), I've been a photography junkie my entire life -- since the 1960's also. I might not have quite his experience, since I spent much of my life trying to carve out a career in the sciences, but I'm still pretty seasoned. I've been a professional photographer both during the film era and recently with with digital. I've burned up countless miles of film and huge stacks of CDs and DVDs. I've learned and invented countless methods for film and for digital alike. So I think I have a few credentials too.

    In my experience, film doesn't even come close to the capabilities of digital imaging, whether for reasons of resolution, noise/grain, purity of color, consistency of contrast, dynamic range (huge difference), or especially creative potential. It's like comparing a slide rule to a pocket calculator.

    I hope none of this is taken the wrong way, and I know I will probably be offending some people here, but I find that the most vociferous opponents of digital photography (present company excluded) are the ones who know the least of how to use it. When those who are proficient in digital photography and photoediting perform what film photographers deem feats of sorcery and wizardry, we are labeled almost as heretics and denounced for the supposed inferiority of our medium. Sometimes I feel lucky not to be dunked, with camera, to see if either of us floats!

    We are often criticized because our medium is considered "too easy." I can assure everyone that digital photography is much, much harder for the *serious* professional than film photography. There is so much more to know/learn and so much more to do. It's all very technical, and it's not for the faint of heart or the technically inept. I can of course zap a zit in a portrait much more easily than a film photographer can. However, there is so much else I can do. I do so many things that film photographers only wish they could do. In the end, I put in a lot more work, and I generate orders of magnitude more sophisticated results. In the end, it is not uncommon for me to work on a photo for a day or two, compared to the couple of hours I might have invested with a film image. The difference? With film, there's only so much I can do. With digital, the sky seems to be the limit. There is no comparison in the creative potential of the two media.

    Finally, there are lots of cost and equipment-related arguments concerning digital vs. film. Most of these arguments are some variant of, "Gee, I can't use any of the great glass I've collected over the years on these new, digital cameras." Either that, or, "Golly, digital bodies are so much more expensive, and they quickly go obsolete," meaning that there is soon another model that leaves film even further in the dust. These aren't legitimate arguments, and for a professional, the end goal should be quality of imagery anyway. The serious professional should be willing to buy the full frame digital body AND buy the best available glass to go with it. There is very little difference between "digital-ready" glass and normal glass, except that the rear element is better coated on the "digital" lens.

    The only advantage I can see to film over digital is that some people find a "zen" sort of calm when shooting it and doing darkroom work. Nobody understands this "zen" feeling more than I do, and I admit I miss the darkroom. However I also get a "zen" feeling when I become one with my monitor and let my creativity run wild. If it's any consolation, I do like to do it in a semidarkened room, with music going -- almost like I did it back in the darkroom days.

    Having said all this, I do still shoot film, but I only do this with my antique cameras -- and only just for fun. (I'm an avid collector.)

    Yours in heresy,
  38. When I first started Photography I worked with a Nikon FM2n with slide film (Velvia) for about two years. It had a good set of prime lenses and I got acceptable results, but the fact of the matter is I am NEVER touching a film camera again. It is obsolete technology, simple as that.

    I sure as heck don't miss the cost of processing slides, having the lab ruin my film, or dealing with the nightmarish process of having a slide turned into a print. Even when I did shoot ISO 100 print film, the quality just pales next to my 300D (which is only "only" 6 mp) with the 17-55 IS. As for the darkroom black and white, I hate it. I never enjoyed hanging out in a small dark room with smelly chemicals.

    Like Sarah said, I find the people that enjoy bashing digital the most and stick with film are the those that have limited technical competence with computers. Digital is unforgiving to those that are not willing to spend the time to make a good workflow. So what is my answer? Adios film.
  39. Never, I sold all my film bodies at a low low price and that tells me how much film bodies people want. Some may argue film is better, yes, depends on how large of the prints. Like wall size print, film is better. On a 8x10 or even 12x24, digital image is as good as film. In some extreme situation, film has the advantage. For the rest 99% application, probably not. There are other advantage of digital like turn around time, preview, how much time and work you save for processing, scanning? Also, you can email customers or have them go online to look at the images. Another choice for film is to mail them or have them come in to your shop and look at it. What about those out of focus, bad pics, for digital images cost none. Film is costly. Digital has too much advantage over film for most application. Check ebay if you want to get film and MF lenses, you will be surprise how low the selling price is for those gears. Don't think about the resale value of those gears:) Again, is your choice.
  40. For several reasons I never said goodbye to film, such as :
    Going to places for weeks where there's no electrical power, I'm very happy to have film and 2 batteries that give me power for a year.
    Going to places where I expect to have rapidly / frequently substantial changes in light level, I'm happy with digital and ISO whatever I need.

    Now I'm looking for a solution when going to places where ..... ;-)
  41. "In my experience, film doesn't even come close to the capabilities of digital imaging, whether for reasons of resolution, noise/grain, purity of color, consistency of contrast, dynamic range (huge difference), or especially creative potential. It's like comparing a slide rule to a pocket calculator"

    Seems to me that National Geographic Magazine photos have not changed that much in 20 years, not as much as you claim anyway. I don't want to start any wars but who cares about all that stuff you mentioned. A good picture is a good picture whether it was taken on film or digital.
  42. Hi Harry,

    I'm not embarrassed to use whatever I have at hand. I remember once when I saw the perfect photo, just begging to be taken (two little girls, all dressed in pink, sporting their pink parasols while sitting very daintily overlooking the shoreline), and all I had at hand was a disposable camera a friend of mine was carrying. I got the shot.

    The grain was awful. The chromatic aberration was even worse. There was even a strange smear of color in the corner of the frame from some mysterious source I was never able to identify (light leakage through the case?). But I got the shot. I spent a large amount of time trying to save the shot through editing and eventually decided the only thing I could do with it was to "brush stroke" it (which worked, since it really had an impressionist feel to it anyway). That was the only time I ever used a pre-canned gimmick on any of my images. But it worked, and I got the shot, despite unfavorable conditions:

    My point is that we have to deal with limitations in our equipment and media all the time, not to mention adverse conditions in our shooting environments, uncooperative subjects, etc., etc. The more limitations we can free ourselves of, the better our chances of getting a good shot. I can think of at least a few images I've taken that would not have been possible with film. For instance:

    I can think of many more that could not have been accomplished without digital photoediting. For instance:

    My only point is that digital photography gives me many more photographic opportunities than are available with film. Yes, there are shots that could be achieved with either. However, there are countless shots that can only be achieved with digital, and none I've ever experienced that could only be achieved with film and conventional darkroom techniques. Moreover, digital methods give me the advantage of instant verification of my shots ON SITE, when I still have the opportunity to re-shoot. The importance of that, obviously, is fewer botched opportunities. (Yes, I know I'm supposed to be skilled enough to take perfect shots every time, but let's be honest with ourselves.)

    So it's a question of having freedom and reliability, vs. wearing shackles. I choose the freedom and reliability. I get more usable shots that way.

  43. "My only point is that digital photography gives me many more photographic opportunities than are available with film."

    No problem Sarah, I took a look at your web site after I posted my rude reply and I have to agree with you, Digital has surpased film in every category, but just recently. Great photo's by the way. These days I'm comfortable enough to say, I rather use my digital camera for this project, but this was not allways the case.

    For example, I don't consider myself a pro by any means, but for the past seven years, I have been shooting Youth Sports, (Little League) on weekends .

    On the average I shoot about 300 individual portraits which is about 30 teams each weekend. The equipment we use: Pentax K1000, Kodak 100 Gold, Norman lights. So far, not a single parent has complained about switching over to digital. The company that I work for has been doing this for 30 years and sees no reason to change, although we do use Digital for action Sports.

    I think what the original poster meant was that there is nothing wrong with using film, depending on the situation. I use both, but for critical assignments such as weddings where you only got one shot, then I prefer to use Digital.

    I work behind a computer during the day 40 hours a week. To come home and be shackled to a computer is not my idea of a good time. Sometimes I like to relax in my darkroom if you dont mind my saying so.

    It's funny at my day job, vendors come in and out trying to get us hooked on some new fancy technological upgrade to the existing software, but the old software is working already, so why fix it ? Only if it provides our clients with superior service.
  44. I can certainly think of ways in which Sarah's images could have been produced in the days before Photoshop and digital photography, involving a mix of darkroom technique (including for some colour altered images) and hand colouring/painting. The methods and skills are now largely lost in the modern world, but were actually quite common decades ago, and were used in everything from portraiture to advertising. In addition to requiring considerable skills and special materials (e.g. the making of lith masks) they were much more time consuming than using a computer.
  45. I use my 20D for most shooting, except that I've begun shooting an awful lot with older film cameras lately and enjoy it immensely. Digital does provide a lot of conveniences that film doesn't, the obvious ones being instant feedback and the ability to change the ISO for each situation, and it gives me control over my shots--I'm not at all experienced in the darkroom. That being said, I will never give up film or my AF film bodies. I thoroughly love using my 1vHS and seeing the pictures that I can create using it. And even though this is probably purely psychological, I love the feeling of permanency that I get from film images, and as weird as it may seem, I love the anticipation of getting my film shots back from the lab to 'see how I did'.
    Enjoy your 1N--I absolutely love my 1v and sometimes (frequently!) shoot it just to experience the joy of using such a nice camera. I've never left film, and despite the assertion on my part a couple of years ago that I don't need to use film anymore, I find myself using it more now than ever, and enjoying it more than ever. I will probably always use both. Digital is "better" in many ways, but sometimes film just makes me feel better in ways I'm not sure I can explain, or even feel the need to.
  46. "Digital is "better" in many ways, but sometimes film just makes me feel better in ways I'm not sure I can explain, or even feel the need to."

    ... like my trusty 1970's era Gossen Luna Pro CDS, which I prefer over my fancy, new, digital Sekonic. I understand completely. And as I said before, this *IS* a very valid reason to use whatever you use -- that it makes you feel good about what you're doing. I've had very good shooting days and very bad shooting days, and the difference usually lies not in the conditions around me, the equipment I'm using, or the luck of how everything "aligns." The difference is usually the enthusiasm I have at the time. There are some days I can tell you I'm not going to get a good shot, almost no matter what, because I happen to be in a funk about something at the time.

    My wish for all you film enthusiasts is that you can learn to love digital the way I do, because it's opened up a whole new world of creative potential to me. And yes, there is AMPLE room for light meters and zone metering and pushing and pulling and dodging and burning and creative filter use and and and... in digital photography. In fact I contend that Ansel Adams himself would have shot digital if it were available -- using one of those medium format film backs that mere mortals cannot afford! All the things you know and love about film can be done with digital. They're just done differently. But I do understand why you love film. I love film too. I just love digital more.

    But if the two camps never merge, I would really just like to see peace between us. There is a place for both, and I really get upset when film photographers scare away my clients and customers by misinforming them (preaching at them) how inferior my medium is. I am almost forced to return fire to keep what clients and customers I have. In the end, what difference does it make whether a wedding is photographed with digital or film? Wedding photography is generally not all that "experimental" and is done under pretty well controlled conditions, so it can be accomplished very well with either. And what difference should it make how a work of art was shot/obtained/created? Isn't it the artwork itself that is important? We should not be having this argument (especially in public), as our customers get confused and discouraged, and we both lose. In the end, the differences between us are much smaller than what we share in common.

  47. This thread is a similar comparison between CD/DVD vs black vinyl. less than 1% people still argue black vinyl sounds better. For the rest 99%, don't really care or the price difference is too much to justify to buy/keep the equipments. If you can convience your customers that film is better, go for it. To me, the cost, work load is too much for film shootings. my2cents.
  48. "What do you think you can do with film that you cant do with digital?"

    Contact printing.

    8 hour start trail exposures.

    Use the film canisters for salt and pepper shakers and small storage containers.

    Use outdated film. (are there outdated CF cards?)

    Cross process film.

    Do it ALL without any electricity in the process.(with the old Deardorff 8x10, pt/pd prints and a bit of patience)

    Pixelography is good for a lot of things but there are some things it doesn't do well yet. The biggest drawback I can see is that so many use it for the same old crap. They don't explore its capabilities and push any boundaries. It is just one more way to kill time doing the same old stuff with new technology. Those who are pushing things can turn out excellent work and finding a lot that their pixelrecorders can do that film cannot.

    If it works, use it.
  49. Mark U,

    I didn't see your comments when I posted my last reponse to this thread. (Sorry.) I perhaps should have explained *why* those photos could not have been done with film, but I'll do so here:

    The picture with the mountains and flowers outside of Sedona, AZ: This was taken at sunset. The foreground was very dark and shaded (by a mountain over my left shoulder). The mountains in the background were very bright. I needed every bit (speaking "digital" bits here) of gray scale depth I had in order to capture the image. The foreground was represented in the least significant bits and the background in the most significant. The dynamic range required to capture the image far exceeded the available dynamic range of any film ever made. In the end, I combined two differently contrasted layers to create the final image. This whole approach was Ansel Adams' zone system, gone nuclear. The film alternative might have been one of the following:

    (1) Capture the image with two different exposures and somehow go through some elaborate blending process in the darkroom. Of course frame alignment might have been difficult, as I didn't have a tripod with me (airplane travel -- too bulky). Also, I would have had to use ASA 3200 film (or pushed 1600, I guess), owing to the dark foreground. But because high ASA film has golfball grain and poor color definition, I probably would have said, "Wish I had my tripod, but no thanks on this one."

    (2) Use a graded neutral density filter, high speed film (again, with huge grain) and not worry that the exposure gradation didn't really fit the frame. I'd have passed.

    (3) Set up some extroardinarily elaborate lighting in the several acres of foreground to balance the exposure. This would have been the best approach. It would have taken numerous trunks full of lighting equipment and days to set up. But of course I don't own that much lighting, and the TSA probably wouldn't let me bring it on a plane anyway! But I admit, in theory, using lighting of epic and heroic proportions, the picture COULD have been taken with film -- just not by me, and not by any of you. We're talking about the sort of photography that comes out of Hollywood.

    As for the others...

    The quail picture: Similar problem: Quail in one direction, sunset in the other. Two frames had to be combined. Getting the critter to line up with the sun when/where I needed it would have been impossible. Possible in the darkroom? Maybe, but the results wouldn't be very good.

    The queen anne's lace photo: I exploited the lens' bokeh and a 100% contrast enhancement (with R, G, and B either at 255 or 0) to create a brush stroke effect in the background. Not possible with film, except perhaps with separate color filters (R, G, and B) recording separate color channels on Kodalith Ortho film -- and then the recombination of those colors in the darkroom. But I don't think it would work very well. Yes, I could paint it too, but wouldn't I rather just break out the oils?

    Gods of the Harvest (the 12' high hay bails): This is a parody of the stone gods on Easter Island, inspired by some huge hay bails (with faces!) that I saw in Amish country in northeastern Ohio. I had to colorize the hay, add saturation to the grass, edit out a row of trees (not present on Easter Island, 'cuz they cut them all down for farmland), and substitute a pretty coastal Virginia sky overhead -- extra saturated, of course. Any of you film photographers want to take that on with traditional methods? I won't say it can't be done, but I think anyone who can do it should probably be worshipped as a deity!

    I've mastered many rather sophistic film and darkroom techniques, and I even did some hand painting and retouching work back in the day. But these photos would have been over my head or impossible for me... or I suspect for anyone else.

    The most important thing that digital imaging gives me (from the camera's perspective) is dynamic range. I get shadow detail in my frames that you film folks will never know was there. There is so much dynamic range that it cannot all be represented on paper or on a monitor, so I have the luxury of picking and choosing what information I want to preserve and what I can discard. In the film world, you have to take what you get, and you can't apply fancy contrast curves to compress anything in the middle.

    The most important thing that digital photoediting gives me is flexibility and precision. Yes, one can retouch a negative and paint on a print, but copying, overlaying, blending, cloning, and so many other critical methods are difficult, if not impossible, to pull off convincingly using traditional methods.

    I hope that clarifies!

  50. Never left. I like the look of film, developing my own BW, 35 to 4x5. I just took a lunch time walk, and took 4-5 pics with my Eos3 (b&W). I can't imagine not being able to spend time printing in the darkroom. I use digital also, esp color printing. I also like being connected to the past a bit, can't explain it, but I like hand tools and single shot guns, etc. The only downside is the amount of film equipment I've purchased in the last few years, I will never use it all! I would like to say "thank you" to all the people who panicked 2005-present and put their mint equipment on ebay. A special thanks to the people who put mint film equipment on ebay in the wrong category, and posted really crappy digital product pics. Tom in Seattle.
  51. I guess I would consider myself a photography enthusiast rather than a film or digital enthusiast. While I mentioned and ranted about the film cameras that I still love and enjoy using, I didn't mention the little Canon Powershot A710IS digital I got a couple of weeks ago. I've had more fun playing with it than just about anything in recent memory, and all of the features it has on it have been the source of hours of photographic exploration and entertainment. It also takes incredibly good pictures (you should get one if you can--it's an amazingly full-featured camera at a very good price!). For me the bottom line is that I love photography and everything about it, and I love using just about any kind of camera I can get my hands on and the challenge of creating the image I want with each one I use. Film and digital will probably always coexist in my camera bag; film will always have a special attraction for me, but digital will give me increasingly more control and the tools I want/need to make the images I envision. Sarah makes very good points with excellent examples of the strengths of both. I don't think that there needs to be two camps though, just one: Photographers, regardless of whether they use film, digital, or whatever. All this to say, Jason, enjoy your 1N and don't worry about film becoming obsolete anytime soon.
  52. Sold my digital gear( Nikon D200 and kept a lowly Nikon D50) - I use my Contax G2 with
    Zeiss glass.

    The richness and organic lushness I get with e100vs and RVP 100 is gorgeous - it's the
    film combined with glass - and I'll still be using it in many years time when my D50 is on
    the scrap heap. (Multinationals want your money, hence the constant upgrading which'll
    always go on - which im tired with)

    Sure, high end DSLR's get you crisp grainless quality unmatched by 35mm film, and you
    can toss around the iso or white balance and shoot trillions of frames - but they! the
    characteristics! The BW images! Sod that! I LOVE grain! I was fed
    up of adding it in photoshop!

    clinical digital images dont do it for me I'm afraid - theyre boring - and need to be
    with electronically to get me what I want - and then not even close to what I want!
    Film always has and will have its own 'beauty', Velvia will be Velvia, and cannot be matched
    at what it is by velviavision or any other action!
    Being a pragmatic man, one day a digital camera will arrive with a sensor which takes
    photos which are identical to film - then I'll switch!
  53. sarah, those images look....Digital. sorry, can do the same thing with Silverfast HDR scanning
    of slides
  54. It's nice to know I'm not alone in dropping back to film. I started SLR photography last year on a 350D, bought a 5D b/c I wanted to see a 50mm act like a 50mm, and sold it all for a 1V and Tachihara 4x5 with Velvia 100. I hated sorting pics and pixel peeping on the monitor. I stare at the monitor for so long at work, I don't want to look at it so intensely for my fun time.

    I used digital to learn how to work an SLR, and moved back to film because I like the challenge and get huge satisfaction from a perfectly exposed slide. Granted, I miss a lot of shots that would have been great on digital (esp at ISO 400), but I can live without those. I'm not trying to make money off my photos. I just need to keep going outside and making the most of what I have.

    Moving back to film shouldn't label one as "afraid" of computers or too "backwards" to embrace the digital workflow. The point of photography to us non-professionals is to have fun, and everyone has fun in different ways. My fun is viewing my slides on a lightbox and scanning the good stuff on the V700. Others get their jollies from grain free digital pictures.
  55. but why? horses for courses and all that! its all relative, personal preferance.
  56. Sarah,

    You claimed a scientific carrier, you also claimed that digital beats film in dynamic range among other things. Can you elaborate please? Perhaps you meant MF and larger digital?

    Disclaimer: I shoot both and there is peace here between digital and film.

    Best, Y
  57. same here, I started photography with digital, after early digicams (apple Quicktake
    anyone?) being a graphic designer Ive been using computers (Macs) since 89 for DTP and
    Des, so I'm pretty savvy in regards to computers!

    I got into SLR photography eventually, and was 'told' (in other words) to 'upgrade' as my
    Minolta Dimage A2 had a 'small sensor' and was fixed lens thus limited - I 'upgraded' to a
    Dynax 5d then sold it and bought the better 7d, but it didn't have enough MegaPixels and
    its 'dynamic range' wasnt as good as Nikons etc etc. So i got myself a D200, with some
    fine lenses....

    and guess what? I saw Tom Mackies 'Photos with Impact' and the lush look of FILM!
    And nothing I'd ever seen with digital could touch the look of it, sure, we all know about
    grainfree images and all that, so please!

    So all the upgrading eventually came to an end! Sold the lot, and even though I'm no Tom
    Mackie or Charlie Waite or Jo Cornish or Steve McCurry, and I aint ever used MF or LF, I did
    discover Ansel Adams Mr CB and BW photography and the beauty of GRAIN (in BW anyway)
    along with the JOY of photography etc.

    So if you want to use digital, feel free, and it has many advantages, but pray dont say its
  58. This war will go on and on. One thing for sure is, if you have customer willing to pay you "enough" to do the job at a certain requirments that only film can do the job, then use film. However, if digital can do the job and customer is happy, there is no reason to spend extra time and money on film (cost effective). If it's your hobby, not a business, then do what you want....only you can tell if film or digi is "better".
  59. Baby got film...

    I like Transparency film and I cannot lie.

    All you others brothers cannot deny,

    that when you see a slide on a projected place,

    you've got a round smile on your face..

    Well I cant rap, but I shoot about 70% Digital and do love film. Quality wise, there still is
    nothing to compare with a Cibachrome print.
    However I have invested in a 5D and a Epson R800, which produce simply stunning results
    at a fraction of the price of anything that film can do.

    But truth be told, to me a bottle of wine, 100 slides and my Projector kissing images of
    Demi my schnookies (little pooch) projected 4x lifesize just does it for me.

  60. Ibraar:

    "sarah, those images look....Digital. sorry, can do the same thing with Silverfast HDR scanning of slides"

    Are you implying that tonal depth can be created from nothing by doing a high depth scan of a lower depth medium? This would be similar to blowing a native 6 MP image up to 24 MP and expecting to somehow have twice the detail. It only works that way in the movies. Besides that, scanning film images doesn't even START to do what I did. It's not the digital format that's important. (Who cares?!) It's what you can do with it that matters.

    I would be curious to see something similar to what I have done (e.g. layering of images) using traditional methods. I am very sincere when I say this. Can anyone post a link to an expertly done image of that sort for me? In particular, I would love to see sample blowups of the transitions between image layers. If someone would do this, I would be happy to upload a few detail snippets from some of my images, showing the transitions between image layers. An honest comparison would be edifying.


    Yuri, I would be glad to explain the dynamic range comments, but you can probably find much more detailed explanations (perhaps a different theoretical approach used, as well) at I'll throw out a few approximate numbers that could well be wrong, so please, anyone, feel free to suggest revisions!

    Photographic prints typically have a 100:1 contrast ratio, representing about 6.6 stops. More extreme printed contrast ratios can get as high as 300:1, as I understand it. That would be about 8.2 stops.

    A good B&W film can achieve densities that yield as much as a 250:1 contrast ratio (nearly 8 stops).

    In the case of both film and paper, the extreme low density and extreme high density ends of the contrast curves are in "tail regions" where the contrast is not too great. However, we'll give film and paper the benefit of the doubt that they somehow can faithfully represent contrast differences throughout all 8 stops of their range (which they can't). We won't discuss color, because it doesn't do as well.

    By contrast, good dSLRs have native tonal depths of 12-14 bits, representing a total contrast ratio of 4096:1 to 16,384:1, or 12-14 stops, respectively. This tonal depth is preserved in RAW and 48 bit TIFF files, and any digital photographer who knows what she's doing shoots and archives in RAW. However, even an amateur cranking out 256 level JPG files probably benefits from oversampling, and even the 8-bit-depth data represent a broad dynamic range, albeit with considerably less resolution. (I have to be a bit fuzzy here, because the camera manufacturers are closed-lipped about their algorithms.)

    Assuming you shoot RAW like a pro, you've got an extra 4 - 6 stops of information to play with. With so much image information, you will have to throw some of it out in order to put the image in print or on a conventional monitor. You can do whatever you want with this surplus information:

    (1) You can compress the contrast of the entire image to fit those 12-14 bits of resolution into an 8 bit range (meaning that you throw out resolution). Note that 256 luminance levels are more than the eye can differentiate without light/dark adaptation.

    (2) You can pick what tonal ranges in your image you are interested in, and you can max out the remainder -- either with blown out highlights or maxed out blacks.

    (3) You can apply custom contrast curves that compress contrast in some tonal ranges, expand contrast in other ranges, and/or some combination. In fact you can duplicate the contrast curves of your favorite film if you like. Maybe youve got a really contrasty scene, with bright sky, bright highlights, and very dark, shadowy regions (like in my mountain example). You can fit it all together to make it work.

    (4) You can say, "Gee, a red filter would be great in that shot, converted to B&W" and you can make it happen. (I know this sounds like a different issue, but it reduces dynamic range.)

    You can do all this, and more, without losing detail -- if you know what you're doing, of course.

    And if you want to lose information, that's fine too. Do you love that ol' Tri-X grain look? Fine. Put it there. Do you want that cross-processing look? Fine. Do it. (Or experiment with botching up color profiles -- much the same effect.) Do anything you like.

    The only things that MUST be done during the shoot, if necessary, are polarization and split diopter filter use, and relative color balancing of light sources. Everything else can be done in the computer. Color filters are optional but will yield greater dynamic range in the end, if you KNOW you want a given filter anyway (but see the question I'll be writing in another thread in the digital forum). They have to be GOOD filters, though, or they will decrease overall shadow detail because of lens flair.

    All of what I said presumes that the photographer has excellent optics. Excellent flair reduction (excellent coatings and squeaky clean lenses) are of paramount importance. No cheapie kit lenses allowed! ;-)

    Hope that helps...


  61. What a wonderful thread! Getting back to Jason's original question: "Anyone going BACK to film?" -- my sheepish (amateur) answer is "Yes, because when I pulled my 1985 Hasselblad out of its bag for the first time in almost a year, it was still LOADED!"

    And every time I open the fridge I see a box of 120 Portra on the shelf. I haven't had the strength of character to actually check the date on it.

    Worse yet, co-workers gave me a roll of 35mm ISO 100 Kodak Gold as a gag gift at last year's office Christmas party. True, the battery in my 1972 Canon F1 is toast, but I have a hand-held meter, so that's no excuse. Actually, I'm not certain about that battery, because the F1 hasn't been out of its bag in, well ...

    Anyway, "Thank you" to all the posters for an enteraining and informative read. And "Thank you VERY MUCH!" to Canon, Adobe, SanDisk, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, et al for the Brave New World. I've been in love with photography since age 14 (ca. 1960). The affair waxed and waned over the years, but since going digital I'm taking more pictures, and getting more really good ones, than ever before.

    Sure I'll go back every now and then, like I go back home to visit family every now and then. Such visits are emotionally satisfying. One of these days I'll take the 'Blad and the tripod out for a nostalgic walk. And I will sincerely enjoy the planning (note: buy fresh film), the pace, the seductive image on the grid-ruled ground glass, the focusing, the judging of exposure, the Christmas-morning wait to see the chromes or prints, the whole thing.

    In some ways the pictures will be truly different to those I take with my 30D. They'll even be 'better' in the way some things about home are 'better' than anyplace I've lived since I left home. I just don't live in film anymore.

    -- John Hancock, Sydney Australia
  63. Sarah Fox, Jun 29, 2007; 07:49 p.m.

    Are you implying that tonal depth can be created from nothing by doing a high depth scan
    of a lower depth medium?


    I'm implying that HDR images are created using programmes such as Photomatix by
    combining several bracketed frames, and Silverfast can do the same thing, by scanning
    ONE slide several times - and yes tonal depth IS created. Thus one is able to gain a higher
    dynamic range using scanned slides - higher than in the slide itself - assuming this is
    what one wishes for off course.

    But this is straying from the topic, 'Anyone going back to film'?
    Yep, many are, and for valid reasons, not simply because of 'nostalgia' or any such.

  64. Sarah,

    I am aware of the need to match the range of several media and I fully agree that in theory it can be done. (What is inside that range how [non]linear it is a whole different dissertation). I also enjoy both and learned to treat limitations as artistic means. But the question was: Do you really state that the dynamic range of linear 12-bit 35[?]mm digital cameras of today exceeds the dynamic range of the film? That's just one variable out of many.

    Science begins, observed one Mr Thomson better known as Lord Kelvin, "when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers."

    We are getting there, don't we?

    Best, Yuri

    P.S. Selling D200 for the Contax G2 was an elegant move
  65. I have never left film in the first place. I have learned photography shooting slide film, I have saved hard to buy a EOS 1V a few years ago. I have no reason to spend thousands of dollars getting a full-frame DSLR.

    Once you buy a DSLR, then you will probably have to replace it every 2-3 years or so. You can hardly get "comfortable" and settle with a DSLR if you only keep it for 2 years, and you will spend much more time in front of the computer, just upgrading firmwares and what not. For a semi-pro like me, it is not worth the hassle, and the expense.
  66. Sara

    back a few years ago I did an experiment with a Fuji 100 iso black and white film called neopan. I 'wasted' a roll with taking shots starting at metered exposure of a white wall (to get my cameras mid grey) and took started from recall getting 4 stops below and 5 stops over the mid that I could discern. I'm not sure what I got on my contact print.

    I think you're under estimating the capacity of black and white film.

    BTW presently using 3 digitals 35mm and 4x5 here
  67. Here is my problem with going back to film. I no longer have a darkroom so I would have to rely on a local processor to produce prints. I would again feel the frustrations that I did with weddings because I had to pay for someone else to do my proofs because of workflow considerations. I also printed TMax for the newspaper I worked for which was a lot of work. The outside processors were sometimes terrible and I had to force the developer to reprint with the correct color balance. I don't have to rely on outside processors at my current work flow and I have control over my product from start to finish. I just don't want to lose that control. Having said that, I just unpacked a group of 11x14s that I used to market weddings. They were done with MF and they are nice pictures. I wish I could do MF again if it were not for outside processing and printing costs and my lack of control. So, even though I would really like to do some film work I don't it is practical for me.
  68. Ibraar,

    Multiple scans of the same negative will NEVER add dynamic range. Information cannot be created from a vacuum, period. I do agree that one can combine the information from bracketed frames to expand dynamic range. Of course this is done digitally.


    Mark U,

    Very interesting page. Thanks! However, if this is the best that the traditional methods camp can achieve, I think it falls short. In the self portrait picture, there is a ghost image of the right easel leg, and the back wall is visible through the subject's hat. In the Stalin photo, there is some conspicuous hand-retouching (a fuzzy, light diagonal line) where Stalin's and Yehzov's arms are/were in close proximity. I can't see the defects very well in the Oswald photo, but the article talks of a line in the photo where Oswald's face was stitched into the photo.

    I promised to reciprocate with examples of my own photoediting work. I forgot I already had a page up on this subject:

    I don't claim to be the very best in the business, but I do claim to be pretty good -- better than the guys at the KGB with their traditional methods, even without the added motivation of a gun to my head! ;-)



    You're probably right. I had a "well duh" moment this morning, and I'm surprised none of you filmies caught it! (As someone who has studied Adams' methods, I should have known better. Yes, it's possible to expand the dynamic range of film -- by pulling it. However, this begs an interesting point that I hadn't considered (and neither did any of you): A lens would have to pass 99.5%+ contrast to the focal plane (at least at low spatial frequencies) to transmit 8 stops of information. Even the best lenses can't do this. So all this dynamic range may admittedly be a moot point.

    What I do contend, though, is that digital media maintain response linearity over a much larger dynamic range than film. The greatest importance of this is in color photography, where color purity is lost in the upper and lower tails of film response. In digital photography, highlights actually have color! ;-)


    This has been a very interesting thread for me, and I have learned a few things from it. What's more, I even got a few new ideas to try out. :)

    I'll leave y'all with one parting thought, though. I resent being called a "pixelographer" by one person on this list. This is the sort of disrespect I was referring to in an earlier post. There's no place for it in our profession.

  69. I'm quite sure that photographic technique has come on a long way since 1890, the date of the self portrait. The examples from the link were chosen by the compiler of the page to illustrate the history of "false" imaging, rather than the finer points of technique - I just happened upon the link while I was searching for something else, and thought it at least provided some examples.

    I would argue that so long as the rolloff of response is even across the colours, you will often get a more faithful representation of colour using film than when a digital capture suffers from clipping in one channel ahead of the others - so highlights do indeed have colour - the wrong one.

    I suspect that your consideration of contrast in lenses may betray some confusion between loss of contrast due to flare, and the overall proportion of light transmitted by the lens. A moment's thought will tell you that using a 1 stop ND filter doesn't in principle alter the contrast range captured: it merely doubles the required exposure. In careful work, t-stops are used rather than f-stops.

    The measurement of the dynamic range of film depends on the criteria used to measure it as well as on the emulsion you choose to measure, and the development and exposure technique employed. Actually, similar considerations apply to measuring digital dynamic range. The answers are rather less absolute than you might imagine in both cases, despite the attempts of many different investigators to portray their results as incontrovertible. Linearity is not necessarily of itself the optimal property: the eye's response is logarithmic in normal vision. As you yourself pointed out earlier in the thread, in any event the real limitation is in practice the medium in which the photograph is produced for viewing.
  70. Mark,

    Either I've offended you, or you seem to assume I don't know much about photography (or pixelography). If it's the former, I apologize. That was not my intent

    I'm also sorry I misunderstood the intent of your link. I'll offer a link in return -- a page I have rough-drafted on this very subject, not otherwise available (yet) on my web page. Constructive criticism would be welcome and appreciated:

    Your comment about clipping doesn't apply to digital imaging any more than it applies to film, as a rolloff is applied to the top 1/2 stop or so. However, linearity is preserved throughout much more of the dynamic range. I will sometimes blow out the highlights, but I only do so in postprocessing, NEVER in the exposure. In fact I meticulously avoid that top 1/2 stop region (or more) wherever possible, so as to preserve saturation. (I don't like washed out skies and such.)

    I assure you I am not the least bit confused about MTF functions, contrast ratios, lens flare, and such. I also assure I've devoted considerably more than a "moment's thought" to these issues, even touching on some of it in during some of my postgraduate studies. I referred to CONTRAST, not LIGHT TRANSMISSION. Please re-read what I wrote with that in mind, before suggesting that I am "confused."

    I am fully aware of the difficulties of comparing dynamic range between film and digital, as I have previously indicated, and yes, I am acutely aware of the less-than-absolute nature of quantitative comparisons.

    Linearity of sensor response IS important and is the foundation for a logarithmic transform that reflects a constant exponent (gamma). In the digital format, each doubling of luminous flux should result in a set increment in pixel value. In the film world, each doubling of luminous flux should result in the halving of light transmission through the developed negative. Any departures from these relationships denote nonlinearities. As most people use the term "nonlinear," they are referring to disproportionate responses, not the mathematical difference between linear and exponential functions! "Nonlinear" would describe a relationship whereby information is not faithfully reproduced, due to imperfections in the system.

    Do I need to make any other disclaimers?!

    But I suspect this thread will never end without my making certain concessions under duress:

    (1) Film photography is far superior to pixelography, the inferior medium in which I devote my amateurish efforts.

    (2) Pixelography will never measure up to film photography, a medium that will be around for thousands of years after the last digitals have been tossed in the garbage.

    (3) Although I might have once known what I was doing (as an avid professional film photographer), I have apparently lost my mind and have become confused by pixelographic heretics who have filled my head with nonsense.

    Shall I continue?

    Nay, VICTORY IS YOURS ! ! ! ! In fact victory has been yours for a very long time. I have a hard time convincing clients that digital photography is not a worthy (if not vastly superior) medium because of all these "I love the feel" arguments and traditional-speak. Enjoy your victory. Enjoy my professional difficulties. Enjoy it while you can -- while your disappearing medium fades like the vinyl LP, the carburetor, oil portraiture, and dye-based prints and negatives.

    Meanwhile, this is becoming a rat hole into which I continue to pour sand, unproductively. I'll continue dabbling in pixelography, because I enjoy it -- even though it is unartistic, unappealing, and unworthy.

    Sarah Fox, Ph.D. (sensory physiologist sans research funding -- because scientific research is also apparently wasteful, unworthy, and evil -- and owner of Graphic Fusion)

    PS Sorry for the raw nerves -- sincerely.
  71. Sarah

    I didn't realise that so many were 'hounding' you. I'm sorry to have seemed to have contributed to that. I almost hardly use film these days except for large format and some 35mm colour for wide angles. Thats mainly for the reasons of not being able to afford wide lenses for my 10D. Personally I normally get hounded over my preference for using a 2/3 compact digital (a Nikon CP5000) as my prefered hiking camera. Using it to capture NEF is nearly as good as my 10D is, and certainly wider angles than the 24mm on the 10D.

    On your point about colour, certainly I can never get the colours in my scans that I get on the film and with my digitals. For this reason I almost never go wandering with my film cameras anymore.

  72. I humbly offer my apologies to one and all. My outburst was uncalled for. Please understand it was provoked by the unfortunate synthesis of comments from this thread and situations far removed from the forum. In particular, Chris, please know that nothing you said contributed in any way to any "hounding" feeling on my part. Your comment was well taken.

    My sober reality is that, for whatever reasons, illegitimate or legitimate, real or imagined, rational or irrational, many people maintain a very strong attachment to and preference for film and traditional practices. This includes customers who I might not be adequately serving by not offering film as an alternative medium -- at least for the "service" photography I offer. (I still enjoy the digital format for my artwork, which is mostly for my enjoyment anyway.) I'll probably be doing some sort of side-by-side page at some point -- carrying around a digital and a film body for a day and photographing the same things, to show customers/clients what they can expect from either. Then it can be their choice, not mine. If they feel strongly about it, then I will shoot film for them, although I won't be setting my darkroom back up. If they want something edited, they'll just have to settle for my digital methods. If they strongly want traditional retouching work, there's a woman in town who does that (and vilifies all things and people digital).

    It may surprise some people here that I do indeed own an EOS film body -- not a great one, but one that serves its purpose -- an Elan 7n. I rarely use it though. I bought it to have full frame capabilities, but with the 5D that's a moot point. I'll hang on to it, though, for clients who prefer film.

    Finally, thank you all for your input on this subject. I HAVE learned something from it. I hope also that we can ALL (myself included) recognize prejudice and arrogance within ourselves with regard to media we choose not to use. This exercise in raw nerves has actually made me acutely aware that I am being too critical of the film community. In the end, as some have pointed out, you do whatever works for you. Digital works for me; film works for you. When the client/customer looks at the final product, it should make little difference how it was produced. No? I will be rethinking how I discuss digital vs. film with prospective clients, and I hope those inclined towards "pixelography"-like comments will do the same. I think we all arrive here for the same reason: We are passionate about photography, and we try to excel at what we do. We are all worthy of respect for that.

    Peace to all,
  73. Here is a shot from 1983 - a very worthy prizewinner IMHO, which relies on extensive darkroom work to achieve the end result:

    Jay Hector, the photographer, is a Photonet member.
  74. Sarah, calm down!

    Ultimately who CARES what anyone else uses? film, digital, whatever. Its your choice and
    its about the end result!

    I wasn't concieved by film nor is my dads name film, nor am I related to anyone called
    Its a tool, a medium, apart from that I've no special attachment to it - it's something I use,
    and something I happen to like using, something whose results I PREFER to 'digital' results
    - as I explained above.

    All these stats and numbers and rolling off HDR pixel counts and all that youve been
    coming out with just goes straight over my head, doesnt mean anything to me! I dont
    CARE about how many resolutions or pixels or bits or whatever a sensor or pixelography
    or dynamic range or whatnot (see it's all making me tongue tied! ;) - I'm interested in
    LOOKING at a photograph - so the reasons I explained above hold true a. So I use film,
    and certain film cannot be matched by digital, as far as I am concerned!

    photography is an art, ok some people take photographs to show clients and sell them,
    but others photograph for their own pleasure, I happen to be one of the latter! I view
    photographs as viewing beautifully made photographs gives me pleasure - and as
    explained above, 'certain' film cannot be matched by clean clinical digital images.

    You cannot compare the film vs digital to Vinyl vs CD, to do so is simply foolish and
    narrow, that argument is like comparing CARS from the 1970ies to ones today, or
    comparing Golf Clubs in the 80ies to titanium aerodynamic golf clubs of today - ie. a
    bollocks argument!

    - comparing film to digital is like comparing CINEMA FILM (ie the look of film on cinema -
    now and in the past) to HD TV, or similar Television. Sure HD TV is sharper, cleaner - but
    is it BETTER? does it LOOK BETTER? The answer is a great big resounding N O .

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