Can "you" distinguish "digital B&W" and film?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by johnnycake_.|1, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. I acknowledge that "this" posting is not a scientific investigation.

    I will further stipulate that I think any result should not be taken too seriously.

    [I don't want a fight.]

    Full disclose: I own both Leicas and Nikons (digital & film) and a couple of other brandnames, too.

    I will, of course, reveal the answer regardless of participation.

    Any other "examples" are encouraged!

    So, is the image B&W film or digital? What's your best guess?
     
  2. [Internet problems today] Here's the photo:
    00ITlm-33030084.jpg
     
  3. Digital. Otherwise I wouldn't see it.
     
  4. Send me a print and I will be able to tell you. Otherwise, anything posted on the internet is by
    necessity digital, whether direct digital capture or scanning a negative or print. Sort of a
    nonsensical challenge, IMO.
     
  5. As far as I can tell the histogram looks well, all 256 values of grey scale are present. This is a lot but film should hold more than these (but p.net probably doesn't allow their presentation), so I can't tell what the source of these pixels might be. The black spot looks a bit like speck on a sensor. I don't know what the larger dot might be. Did it occur during film drying? - I'm confused. As long as 8 bit publishing is concerned the source of BW probably doesn't matter. I wish there were good BW digicams as cheap as color versions.
     
  6. 101

    101

    It looks like film with the grain texture
     
  7. this is digital
     
  8. http://www.exif.org/


    --

    Don E
     
  9. Don E , oct 18, 2006; 12:39 p.m.
    http://www.exif.org/
    --

    Don E

    Bluff?

    Or honorable?

    A "tip" of my hat.
     
  10. I'll play, film...
     
  11. ...I think not :)
     
  12. f i l m
     
  13. Craig Cooper , oct 18, 2006; 12:49 p.m.
    I'll play, film...
    Craig Cooper , oct 18, 2006; 01:01 p.m.
    ...I think not :)

    I envy your...

    sense of fun.
     
  14. m_.

    m_.

    i can, but not on a screen.
     
  15. mpo

    mpo

    I'd say it's digital, shot at 8:43AM on Oct 18 with your NIKON D2X and then grain was added using Adobe Photoshop CS2 in your Macintosh computer.
     
  16. I think that the oriignal image was digital capture based on the behavior of the highlights
    on the stair edge. I suppose that the "grain" was added after orignal capture.
     
  17. film, but contrast was added in PS to make it look like digital.
     
  18. Neither! It's a sheet of fixed out and washed photo paper, with the image added by hand stippling India ink with a 6/0 spotting brush for a period of slightly over four hours...
     
  19. Wow!

    The world has done well!

    The answer at the end of the day (6PM EST, USA; ehhh, that's around dinner in these parts...)
     
  20. Let's see what file info in Photoshop CS2 says...
    00ITt6-33034184.jpg
     
  21. Johnnycake,

    The problem, as others have noted, is the output format which is digital, no matter the origin of the capture.

    Have you made a b&w optical print from a digital capture? I've not heard of anyone doing that via, say, a 35mm film recorder.


    --

    Don E
     
  22. Al Kaplan - Miami, FL , oct 18, 2006; 01:41 p.m.
    Neither! It's a sheet of fixed out and washed photo paper, with the image added by hand
    stippling India ink with a 6/0 spotting brush for a period of slightly over four hours...

    Al...

    Very, very creative... but wrong!

    WADR, breathe deeply...

    (smile)
     
  23. Ellis Vener , oct 18, 2006; 01:47 p.m.
    Let's see what file info in Photoshop CS2 says...

    BUSTED!

    The image is Nikon digital and it was manipulated in PS/CS2.

    The world did OK.

    So, what to think: analog photography doesn't want to emulate digital BUT.... digital
    wants to achieve analog.

    Go figure.
     
  24. Nissan or Toyota?
    00ITul-33034384.jpg
     
  25. Travis . , oct 18, 2006; 02:09 p.m.
    Nissan or Toyota?

    I own 2 Toyotas and 1 Nissan. All are terrific cars.

    Do you mean to imply that Leicas and Nikons are equal?

    ...I agree, for the most part.
     
  26. Film and digital are equally capable of making bad B&W images.
     
  27. As the one person has already said, it's probably more difficult to distinguish between a digital black and white photo that came from a film camera and a digital black and white photo that came from a digital capture. Plus a small photo looks a lot different from a full sized one.

    It's useful I think to maybe show a photograph taken with both digital and film and then show blow ups of some part of the picture to demonstrate how close it is, but to really make this test work, I think you'd have to have a silver print made by a good darkroom technician next to a good inkjet print made by a good digital guy.

    Even different films have different sensitivity and contrast curves, right? So wouldn't we expect digital to have the same? In fact hasn't dynamic range been a problem in digital? Even the (very good) latest digital cameras are only now starting to get close to the dynamic range of black and white film. Is the best digital capture up to doing the Zone system? My understanding is that the best cameras are getting close.
     
  28. absolutely yes. Unless the digis have been heavily worked over in PS.
     
  29. This past weekend I attended a lecture by Gregory Heisler. This is actually the third time I've heard him speaking in 23 years. The guy is an alsolute genius and a real craftsman.

    He resisted digital for the longest time and in the last few years has jumped headlong into the technology. He's sold on it for his work, both in B&W and color.

    I make Black Only prints and I've noticed that I don't like the B&W images from digital files as much as those from film images. With BO prints you can see some dots if you look closely. With the prints from digital I seem to notice the dots more, as if their uniformity becomes more apparent. Maybe the randomness of grain makes for a more pleasing print with black only.
     
  30. "So, what to think: analog photography doesn't want to emulate digital BUT.... digital wants to achieve analog.

    Go figure."

    I have never understood this. In thirty-five years of darkroom I have never tried to make one film look like another. I was taught to see what each film/developer could do on its own.

    When I tried some B&W digital imaging I did the same thing. It looks different but so what. I don't think I would never add grain to a digital image. It is like adding grain to a medium format shot.
     
  31. Actually, when side-by-side comparisons come up, the experts all run out to dinner and are loathe to try to pick the Summicron from the Jupiter. The line of defense is the film, developer, tungsten light, clouds, paper, scanner, monitor calibration, and zen.
     
  32. If someone can show me black and white tones like this on monitor from a DSLR and tell me how they did it, I'll consider dumping my Leica...
    [​IMG]
     
  33. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    So, what to think: analog photography doesn't want to emulate digital BUT.... digital wants to achieve analog.
    Apparently you haven't seen all the various threads on how to get "grainless" prints or which film has the finest grain.
     
  34. "If someone can show me black and white tones like this on monitor from a DSLR and tell me how they did it, I'll consider dumping my Leica..." This has pretty good b/w tones- I could show you a ton of examples- I just picked this one . . .
    00IUNs-33043784.jpg
     
  35. I'd be interested in seeing and comparing three B&W prints of the same subject hanging on a wall side-by-side. The first would be made by digital capture, manipulation and output. The second would be a traditional B&W film negative, scanned, manipulated in PS and then output on the same printer. The third would be the same B&W negative printed in the darkroom by traditional methods. The three prints would be produced by the same photographer, equally skilled in each of the three methods, and striving to achieve similar "B&W qualities" in each print (whatever that is).

    Then we could all argue endlessly about the various attributes of each print and whether digital processes can compare with traditional methods. In the end, I don't think we would agree on anything.
     
  36. >>>same photographer, equally skilled in each of the three methods<<<

    That might be a difficult person to find.
     
  37. Nice pic Randy...
     
  38. ....way too much sharpening....
     
  39. Good one Randy nice and sharp with pleasing tonality.
     
  40. Thank You BTW- 0% Sharpening on that image. Maybe it's the size reduction/jpeg thing that's creating a look of sharpening. I do occasionally, depending on what I want with an image, use various blending modes with layers to create texture, but not on that one. I just picked a sailboat photo to show dynamic range, White sails, bright sun ect. Here are a few more that are a bit different, lots of tonal range, and I shot these I think a while back with a Canon 20d, what I guess is now "obsolete" according to people who think that way.
    00IUet-33047584.jpg
     
  41. Randy,

    Ray's statement remains...

    "If someone can show me black and white tones like this on monitor from a DSLR and tell me how they did it..."

    While your images are nice, they're very unlike film. I'm with Ray, I've yet to see any DSLR image that looks anything like Ray's shot.
     
  42. When you say black and white tones, what exactly do you mean? Do you mean a tonal range? Do you mean smoothness between what a zone photographer might call the various zones? Could you show those tones on a histogram? Or is that beside the point.

    Is it all subjective, or is there an objective definition we could use to look into this?
     
  43. [​IMG]digital
     
  44. <Is it all subjective, or is there an objective definition we could use to look into this?>

    Ruling in an obscenity case, the late US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said of hard-core pornography, "I know it when I see it."

    That's the way I feel, more or less, about film tonality. Maybe I can't define it objectively, but that's a limitation of my descriptive powers, not my ability to see. I can see the tonality, even if I don't quite have the concepts and vocabulary to describe it.

    Maybe it's the presence of gentle transitions in both the shadows and the highlights. Maybe the shoulder and toe of the analog process compress tones in the way our eye/brain system does when observing an actual scene. Maybe it's the difference between the MTFs of film and digital. I don't know for sure.

    I could understand if someone said he prefers the tonality of digital; or that the difference doesn't matter to him; or that, for him, the difference is outweighed by the advantages of the digital workflow. I also acknowledge there are some combinations of subject and lighting that minimize the difference between film and digital.

    But when I look at a picture like Ray's, even in the digital form presented here, I see a beautiful tonality that immediately identifies the taking medium as film.
     
  45. Ray took that with film? Ray?
     
  46. I'm only a learner but in does look like digi. If it is there are going to be a few with custard pie over their face.

    From my photographic studies of more importance than process is content,light and backroom skills. Film or digital takes a back seat.
     
  47. Sometimes custard pie tastes good. If that's digital, I'll buy one!
     
  48. Ray, this good enough?
    Travis . , oct 19, 2006; 08:07 p.m.

    Huh? No. IMHO. OTOH, I admit that I don't know MAFRME.

    :)
     
  49. "Randy Santos"

    IMHO,

    The Best you have submitted.

    Regards.
     
  50. "Randy Santos"

    To clarify,

    "film," or "originally digital?"

    Whichever?

    ?
     

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