digital camera with a film look.

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by dirk_dom|1, Aug 21, 2015.

  1. Hi!
    After three years of shooting digital with an Olympus PEN I got fed up with the color noise and I switched back to film. That was a very rewarding experience.
    Yet I'd love to have a digital camera with a film look. By film look I mean beautiful grain which has the same color as the image part it is in, and rich pastel colors. the grain won't happen, I know, but the rich pastel colors might.
    My good friend Ivo has a Leica M240 and it has this film look, but at the moment I can't afford it.
    the Film sales person at my photo shop says, that, indeed, Canon and Nikon are much too hard to have a film look.
    My Olympus PEN is very close to the Leica M240, but has lots of color noise and I hate that.
    I read the Sony A7S has no noise at all and as such should provide the ultimate film like images. But what I'd like to know is if it's just as hard as Canon and Nikon. It's only 12 megapix but I couldn't care less about that.
    I guess I have three options:
    Continue shooting film.
    Buy a used Leica M240 when the next model becomes available.
    somehow rent a Sony A7S for awhile and check out if it has a film look.
    Do any of you have experience about all this and can provide me with useful information? Maybe post some shots?
    Hope I don't start a film/digital thing.
    Thank you,
  2. I've owned two cameras I would compare favorably to the "film" look, a Leica M-9 and a new Sony A7Rii. Both exhibit rich
    green and yellow shades, similar to scanned Fuji negative film. Different cameras, lenses and films have their
    characteristic look, and post processing changes everything. But OOC, I like these two the best. The only things i don't
    miss are grain and the lack of resolution.
  3. I'd say your best bet is one of the many digital "film emulator" software packages and post exposure processing. Getting that "film look" straight out of the camera won't be easy unless the camera has some sort of "film emulation" modes built into it. To get film like grain you have to digitally create it.
    I really don't know what a "rich pastel" color is. The terms "rich" and "pastel" would seem to be mutually exclusive. Wikipedia defines pastel as "soft", "near neutral", "milky", "washed out", "desaturated", "lacking strong chromatic content". By that definition its hard to have "rich" and "pastel" together. However, again, color is a creation of the software. The camera only knows red, green and blue, so getting the color you want is again a function of post exposure processing, either in or out of the camera.
    Most cameras allow you to adjust in-camera color in terms of color balance, contrast and saturation. Canon and DPP allow you to use a number of "picture styles" and even create your own "picture style" where you have very fine control over how colors look and you can set the look of specific color ranges to whatever you want, so you can have greens set differently to reds.
    The answer looks like either fork out the $6000 for an M240 if you like it, or spend some time setting up the exact look you want in software and apply that setting to all your images.
  4. The issue here is colour, not film vs digital.
    In my opinion, the most effective way to get colour like you're used to with, for example, Fuji film, is not to buy any specific digital camera, but to use, as Bob suggests, a software solution.
    One you could look at is DxO FilmPack. There's a free trial, and if you like the results, buying the software is a hell of a lot cheaper than buying a Leica camera just for its in-camera JPEG engine.
  5. Have you checked out any of the Fuji cameras? (X-E1, X-E2, X-Pro1, X-T10, X-T1)
    I have always wanted a reliable "film" look from a digital camera, and my Fuji X-E1 delivered it. The Fuji's have different selectable modes, to give different film-like looks to the JPEGs coming out of the camera. I particularly like the Astia/Soft look, and the Black and White (with Yellow filter or Red filter.) These are very film-like.
    To me, it's a look that has plenty of detail and sharpness (the Fuji doesn't have an anti-alias filter, so that helps.) But it isn't overly "sharpened" (like video) and has plenty of latitude. I find the Fuji X-Trans sensor delivers those things. Adding the characteristic curves of different "film looks" to the JPEG output, and the Fuji is really the ultimate choice for getting a film-ish result.
    Some will say you can do the same in software -- but I'd rather not spend all my time on the computer. The JPEGs look great right out of the camera. And if I worry about making changes later, I can just shoot Raw+JPG or Raw.
  6. Dirk, digital cameras have made strides in the last five years since you bought the PEN. Both in sensor technology and camera processing. I have heard less and less about annoying noise in certain fields of images at nominal ISO speeds. Of course it all depends on your expectations. Manufacturers are working on reducing electronic noise all the time. I think we are getting there. But I am not too persnickety. I have used Kodachrome. And even 120 Kodachrome. We have some way to go to get to that grail.
  7. Found this review of the Leica M240 with incamera jpeg samples and EXIF data outlining exposure and incamera process settings...
    Do those image samples represent what you consider the film look? I see Kodachrome blue shadows with brownish orange pastel highlights in sunlit dirt as in the graffiti shot.
    This shot...
    ...has very good control of peak saturation while cranking up contrast which most digital cameras have trouble doing. I do like the cool neutrals of mortar and brick in the background. The samples do exhibit a slight Kodachrome look. But under expose digital camera capturing any similar scene to where shadows plunge to near black and you'll get that look.
    Here's a Kodachrome reference which I see similarities...
    I couldn't see anything as film like in your posted sample of the cathedral interior.
  8. I agree with two of the above commentators, get a Sony A7 series camera for the best FF image quality and throw on some nice digital film simulation plug-ins for not only your favorite brands, but to go further and provide a level of control and adjustability no film can match. While I don't care for look of all digital effects, film simulations are generally well done.
  9. Hi!
    Good answers here, I appreciate them a lot; Thanks!!
  10. back in film days- and I was there-
    each film mostly color slide films had there own characteristics
    I ues the original Kodachrome asa 10.
    it was not true color. it wass very slow and exposure was critical.
    what colors it had were vivid and as said not accurate.
    still I loved it. I also used some of the asa 25 and 64 film.
    the 64 often seemed a little :eek:range:
    but not excessivly sop.
    before the faster kodachome., I som,etimes used ektachrome. it tended to be blue in the shadows.
    My electonic flash was weak and I needede the added speed.
    some dyed clothing actualkly shifted colors.
    I used a little agfachome and it was said to have softer "uropean style" colors.
    I never used much fujichrome.
    I did use anscochrome and if processed by ansco was a pleasinmg film.
    with digital many restrictions are removed.
    and colors can be fine tuned.
    I do miss kodachome 10 and ansco. however.
  11. The film look or the digital look or the look of a certain camera are all their imperfections that give them their own look. So I accept that fact of the media when I am using it but never try to imitate the look of other media.
  12. As a current film shooter, I wouldn't say there is such a thing as a single "film look." If you want to emulate a particular look from digital, then the software mentioned earlier is likely your best bet. Or just keep shooting film.
  13. Another vote for the Dx0 film pack here
  14. DxO Film Pack is indeed an easy way to get things done, likewise there are many recipes for Lightroom or CaptureOne. I'd prefer a more allround package like one of those too, and learn it properly - it may be more of a learning curve, but it also offers more creative freedom in the long run. I think it is worth investing time into that, rather than one-click-recipes.
    I think your complaints with regards to colour noise, grain and the colour rendition is more a matter of "settling" for the default output of your camera. Digital has a nice advantage in this respect: you can make the colour rendering look like any film (as I'd dispute there is a "film look" - emulsions are different enough, Velvia quite obviously doesn't look like Provia). Also for colour noise and grain - with good post processing, you can get rid of one, and get the other. I use CaptureOne, and its built-in grain simulation is actually surprisingly decent. More for B&W, but it works with colour too. Use the advantages of raw, work a bit on your files, and I think you'll find your reservations about digital might be a lot less.
    At the same time, there is also time and place for that digital look - I shoot and like both film and digital, but appreciate both for what they do and cannot do. But you have to work on your images, and take some time to get them look their best. Digital may seem to have the convenience of being instant-ready, but then you do tend to settle for less than a camera is capable off.
    And so, it's not about the camera having a film look or not, it's about processing files such that they get the look you want. I wouldn't make the "default rendering" of a camera part of the decision which camera to get. Things like handling, lens selection and budget are way more important than that.
  15. Slide film would not be a good model for a "film look", unless you cranked up the saturation and contrast. The dynamic range (of capture) is shallow, although the density of dark areas on the slide can be very high. A backlit subject is either washed out in the light, or obscured in shadow. Negative film, either color or black and white, exhibits the nuance of light and shadow (and color) to a much greater extent.
    In the following examples, film tends to exaggerate colors compared to digital. A lot, of course, depends on the scanner and settings. The digital image is much more subdued, but shows more subtlety in shades of green and red. The final landscape, in digital, is more representative of the M9's ability to distinguish shades of green, light and shadow.

    Film (Ektar, Leica M3)
    Digital (Leica M-9)
    Digital (Leica M9)
  16. "the Film sales person at my photo shop says, that, indeed, Canon and Nikon are much too hard to have a film look." Would be a fun guy to talk to!
  17. Agree with the others. You best bet is to use software emulation: Alien Skin, DxO come to mind.
  18. Erwin Puts in his "Leica Practium" stated that for B&W the Leica M digital was equal to the film camera.
    As for me I have no opinion, just wanted to add that small item for those who do not have the "Practium."
  19. I was a 100% film shooter as I loved the film look I got, but that was down to the film being good in the first place. I'm sorry, but I find most of the current colour negative offerings a weak shadow of what was just 3 years ago. The Kodak Ektar which is a current 'premium' film has to me, horrible colour with a pervasive green tinge. This is sad to me as when I used Fuji Reala I knew what the result would be as I pressed the shutter - what would and what wouldn't work (almost like a preview in my mind). I still use film, but don't get the pleasure I once did from it as I know that the end photos will be average at best whatever care I put into the taking of the image.
    So where does that leave me? Well, I use Nikon digital and to be honest, with a little care, I can get the image how I like them - but digital works a bit different to film. This photo has what I would call a film look, but the film that gives this look has gone. So no point in just pining for what was - it won't come back. Often when people say they like the look of film they mean they currently find grainy lo-fi images with off colour different enough to interest them. That isn't the film look to me - its more like junk processing in old chemicals.
  20. You can add noise in PP if you like the film look.
  21. IMO, the M240 does not produce anything as nice as film. The M9 is the closest. The film look plugins look exactly like film look plugins: fake. Or perhaps the people who use them don't know that there are settings between on and off. I'll have to investigate for myself.
    Harry, are you saying that all film is grainy? Tut, tut.

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