DSLR with 35mm image depth?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by james_tye|1, May 13, 2009.

  1. There are a lot of posts on the relative technical differences between the D200, D300, D3, D3x - frame rates, battery life, sensor size etc. I've read many of them but none of them seem to cover the image quality regarding picture depth.. Eg: my D200 gives me good shots but they look digital, flat, not with the depth I was able to get with 35mm. My question is do any of the later Nikon DSLRs improve on image quality in this regard?
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    my D200 gives me good shots but they look digital, flat, not with the depth I was able to get with 35mm.​
    Could you post some image samples to demonstrate your point? I have a D200 and my images with it does not look flat at all to me.
  3. Learn to adjust your camera to your preferences. This means taking sample shots at various settings until you know enough to set it the way you want. None of my images from the D200 look flat. You can give them as much contrast, brightness, saturation, ets as you wish.
  4. What is "depth"? Do you mean color? Did you try different picture modes or shooting raw and upping the colors in post? Or do you mean depth of field? You need good fast lenses to compress the depth of field and get nice bokeh.
    All those cameras have differences in their color reproduction, of course.
  5. at first i thought that by image depth you were referring to how optics behave on 35mm format vs the d200, and if that's the case, you could try/loan/rent a d700 and see if you came closer to your preferred result. use the same lenses you did/do with 35mm, do a comparison if you like.
    not sure if that was in fact what you meant by image depth, color reproduction is another chapter, and you said nothing of which film(s) you favored...
  6. The play of light and shadow determine "image depth" on whatever image making device you have, doesn't matter if it is digitital capture or film capture.
  7. If you're talking about tonal depth, the D3/D700 are very good in this respect. If it is something that the grain and "character" of film creates, this would be difficult to imitate. But for color I tend to think digital capture in the FX format is better almost in every way than 35mm film. I felt when I was using DX that the images are a bit "thin"; I'm not really able to detail what creates this feeling. It's something to do with the lack of robustness of detail (due to >half of the image area being not recorded) and not so good tonality (because of small pixels which can't record clean tones as well). I think 6x7 film has even better depth but it's expensive to use and the equipment is comparatively cranky.
  8. When I look at my scanned Leica shots I see the debth you speak of. Nikon up to D700/D3 does not give the same even when I adjust settings to match. It can be close, but not the same even if I do the same subject at the same time.
    My tests with a M8 and Nikon give the nod to Leica digi, so it is not just digi vs film. I only go a film Nikon a while ago so someday I will run a test.
    Digital is so convenient though.
  9. pge


    Hi James
    Obviously depth is not a quality that can be measured and will be perceived differently by different people. I believe that the D1 (Shun don't shoot me) had a certain quality to the images, for lack of a better way to describe it, more 3d than other dslr's I have either owned or had a chance to use. Clearly dslr's have advanced significantly since the D1 but there was something very particular about those images that might be called depth.
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Phil, I'll give you the same challenge as I gave James. Could you post some D1 images or provide some link to them to demonstrate your point? Otherwise, it is merely empty talk.
  11. The good news is it's likely not your DSLR's fault.
    The bad news is that there are an almost infinite number of variables that can potentially be interacting here to produce images that, as you state, lack "depth". If you mean that "3D look", read on.
    It could be the way you have contrast set on your DSLR, the way you're viewing your images (on screen or prints), the way you're printing today versus back then, the local contrast and dynamic curve of the film you were using versus the default on your DSLR.
    Or, it could be optics. If you shot with Zeiss glass on film and now you're shooting with Sigma glass, or something like that, you could have different "depth". Or, if you're shooting with a protective filter, that might do it.
    Also, as a general rule, the larger the "film" format, the better the "depth" is. You can't compare medium format to DX and expect the same "look".
    Is your monitor calibrated?
    Do you shoot raw?
    Do you post process or expect automatically brilliant images with none?
    I'm sure you'll figure this problem out sooner rather than later.
  12. This thread is pointless without examples, as others have already mentioned.
  13. my D200 gives me good shots but they look digital, flat, not with the depth I was able to get with 35mm.
    The logical term for this phenomena is "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" - a logical falacy wherein you incorrectly assign the cause of an event. In short, digital images are "flat...without depth" because you imagine they should be (e.g., based on what you've read), assuming you aren't completely inept when you view or print them.
    If you can provide an example, perhaps someone can show you how to do better, assuming there is actually a problem.
  14. Is this what you mean by "depth?" A perception of spatial depth in a two-dimensional image?
  15. I guess we are all trying to take a stab at what the poster means. It's probably hard to descibe, but easier to see.
    Here is my try:
    I don't yet shoot digital. However, when I threw in a roll of slide film, for the first time, I was really amazed at the brighter colors and an over all sharpness that I saw. Most likely, it was better developing at a pro level business vs a 1 hour super market machine, more than anything. But, there is some evidence that slides do have more "pop" than prints. I suspect that the OP is feeling or seeing this sort of visual comparision. Digital, from what I have read requires more out of the shooter, in post production, to be it's best. If you shoot jpegs and do little too it, it may indeed not have the "pop" that film can have, right from a good shop.
    Here's a question: When was the last time anyone , in this thread, has shot 35mm film ? I ask because if there IS any difference, if you haven't used film in years, you may have forgotten something about how it looks. I don't know if this is true, but we can all get used to something, after we do it long enough.
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Do you feel the depth in this image?
  17. This image was taken with a D200 and 12-24mm DX lens. I feel it has plenty of "depth" to the scene - I focused on the rock (circled in red) in centre foreground @f/9.
    I now shoot with a D700 (and totally different set of lenses) and don't believe the D700 body would add more depth to the image apart from maybe exposing some more detail in the shadow cast areas, but certainly no significant jump in "depth"
  18. To John: There is indeed a difference between chromes and prints, as it is between a print made in different papers. The contrast ratio has influence on this. Is not the same to look at a chrome on a good, temperature calibrated light table or with a tungsten bulb under the ceiling. The stronger the light the higher contrast. The whites on the print depend of the reflection power and color of the pape base and the light source as well. Do you remember that RC vs barita paper discussions from the past?
    About pop: usually "pop" refer to shallow DoF areas (amongst others). If so, it only depends on the lens, focal lenght, sensor size and print size. I`d say is not a digital vs film issue. It`s more about photog skills who knows how to take the pic to give a 3-D illusion with the gear used.
    To Tobey: different lenses have different bokeh characteristics, some Leica lenses, or Pentax, or Nikon have different out of focus rendition, flare, glare, contrast... some are more pleasant than others. Or, are you refering to that Leica issues like "glow", or that famous "threedimensionality of Leica lenses"... ?
    Whan does or what James want to mean with "depth"? Color depth? Depth of field? Dynamic range? 3D illusion?
  19. I think the roundness and 3d effect from the D1/D1h come from the lack of megapixels. When I look through an album of A4 size prints the D1h images look somewhat different to the D80. The D1h does not record fine details like my D80 can. I think it is the lack of fine details such as fabric texture together with sharp features such as eyelashes that make the images look different.
  20. Here's a question: When was the last time anyone , in this thread, has shot 35mm film ? I ask because if there IS any difference, if you haven't used film in years, you may have forgotten something about how it looks. I don't know if this is true, but we can all get used to something, after we do it long enough.​
    Fortunately I do, and I understand that sup-tail but still such hard to explain difference. To see it you need not only to take pictures on film but develop and make prints using analog NOT digital photo printer or use you one manual-analog light emitted printer.
    You will see that film emulsion do have tickles, and that some silver crystals are focused exposed and aligned in 3d. You will also realize that there is film grain that is not colorized and uniform but unique.
    But I you really want to see difference try roll 120 6x6cm or lager formats on slides.
  21. I for one have never shot with 35mm film but have used both the original poster's D200 model and a "later Nikon DSLR" I have read much subjective material here and elsewhere as to the qualities of 35mm film images as is opposed to digital sensor reproduction.
    I'm still waiting for the original poster to either quantify with examples "picture depth" and it's inherent lack of said "picture depth"in his D200 images or at least explain with more descriptors the concept he is attempting to relate in this thread. I don't mean to be confrontational, just curious as to the meaning of "35mm image depth" and what it might mean to different people.
  22. Its an interesting subject, this. I still shoot film but with mainly prime lenses which are better than the DX zooms I use in digital. My first digital was a Canon G7. The images from it look like the depth of field has been compressed somewhat, compared to the ones from my D300. I will say though, that I like the way the Canon renders the colours. This difference can be found in reviews of the higher end Canon and Nikons.
    Perhaps its because of a combination of the lens quality, DOF, sensor and in camera software. The rendition can never be the same as film, simply because the components of a digital image are little square pixels, whereas film emulsion is quite different, just like the difference between a chrome 25 slide image and a TRX print.
    I guess it boils down to taste and what one's eye sees.
  23. I think he refers to dynamic range of an image. To get full tone mapping, you have to shoot in raw and, for example, highlight darker areas with D-lighting. This maps a bigger DR (like 14 bits) onto the DR available from a typical monitor (8 bits). And, D200 has about 11.5 stops, D300, D700 and D3 about 12 stops, and D3X is close to 14 stops. Do, for more film like results in that respect, pick the D3X (or a Fuji S5), or take two shots from a tripode (with some 5 stops difference) and merge them later.
  24. James could you define "image depth" for us please.
    It seems that everybody who has any idea has a different idea what this is. I personally have no idea whatsoever.
  25. i think i know what James refers to. i get images that seem to have more depth, almost three dimensional with my film cameras, and i don't get this with my digital cameras. i am not sure what causes this. is it the film vs digital, or is it the different lenses that i use.
  26. " ... D3 about 12 stops, and D3X is close to 14 stops.."

    The "information" that the dynamic range of a D3x is larger than that of a D3 is spreading like a plague :). The advantage of the D3x over the D3 seems to grow on a daily basis^^. Now the D3x is almost 2 stops better? Is there any proof, especially for the very general statement?
  27. My walls are filled with 8"x10" to 20"x30" photographs from 35mm, medium format, and 4x5 film and several Canon DSLRs. One of my favorite games is to ask people (usually photo geeks, because no one else cares) to pick which is from which. No one has ever gotten it 100% right. I have one print from 35mm Royal Gold 25 (optically printed 2 decades ago) that is consistently chosen as digital. Once as a joke I added the Hassy V-marks to the border of a square cropped shot from a 5D. No photo-geek has failed to identify that one as "from film" yet. :)
  28. Walter, I think this myth was started by the DxO site and their tests. I believe they rated the D3X at about 13.7 stops. They are of course, the only testers that have this figure. Looking at other sites, no one else has achieved a figure anywhere near that. I think DxO uses a different method of testing. Is it accurate.....I doubt it. Everyone else rates the D3 as having a higher DR.
  29. Walter - Yes, I simply took the data from the list of http://www.dxomark.com. I only can affirm that the S5 is ahead of D700 in terms of DR because of my experience...if you gave me D200, D300, D3X I could evaluate the image files and measure dynamic range ;-)
    Tom - I think (because of your photograph) its indeed a matter of DR, as your image is "illuminated" up to the darkest corners. For this reason D-lighting may have received its name ("DEPTH"-Lighting)
    Dave - I think it isn't much of a myth but it has its logic (see also the 24MP Sony flagship), because smaller pixels are less sensitive to light, hence you have an advantage in terms of highlights. Apart, you have a bigger spatial resolution, making the regions with blown out pixels smaller (however, by definition, this leaves DR untouched). Of course, if few light is available, this advantage gets relative - for this I love my D700.
  30. Lots of replies! I posted that last night and went to bed, not really expecting any answers especially as my question was quite vague, hence why slow to respond. As a few people have mentioned 'image depth' is a subjective term and hard to define (I'm not referring to DOF or colour range but something less quantifiable and perhaps only really noticable in a print). Ilkka mentioned the word 'thin', perhaps equally vague but seems to fit. Perhaps, aslo, it's to do with the fringing that all digi images seem to have, especially on high-contrast areas. I'll upload an image here, shot on the D200, which I feel lacks depth and you can see if you agree, or if there's some way I could improve on it at the processing stage. All my images are shot on RAW and processed in Lightroom (I confess I am not an expert in LR). I'm afraid I don't have a 35mm image handy to comapare it to but I would say that Tom's image of the guy with his dogs is a good example (now prove me wrong tell me that that is shot digitally!).... I remember a ex-tutor of mine, a purist printmaker, would tell me that digital images made her feel sick to look at! That's perhaps a bit of an overreaction but even with my less sensitive eye I can't help feeling that digital images lack something..
  31. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    James, I hope you don't mind me giving you a direct answer. The problem with your bull fight image is the composition: the two subjects are both in the center of the frame. There are no lines to lead from front to back, giving you the perception of depth. The lighting also lacks contrast. A larger aperture that gives you shallower depth of field to blur out the background would also have helped.
    You could have taken that same picture with a 35mm film SLR, a 6x7 film rangefinder, a digital point and shoot, a D200, a D3X or a Hasselblad medium-format digital back .... It'll have the same problems.
    Tom Mickan's image of the man and dog has a much shallower depth of field. Even it is a small JPEG, you can see that the background is clearly out of focus. The contrast on it seems to have been enhanced also.

    Now some poeple will tell us that the DX format gives us deeper depth of field because of the shorter lenses we use.
  32. The bull fight shot seems underexposed, but finally a shot from the bulls point of view! I've had problems trying to lift underexposed photos in LightRoom. It does give you flexiblity but if you have to adjust 2 or more fstops in exposure you'll lose shadow detail and get some flattening out of tones in the shadow areas. I've had to adjust exposure about +1 fstop on my camera to compensate. I prefer digital, because I like the crisp detail, my negative photos when viewed closely or with a loupe, look too soft for my taste.
  33. ... contrast is probably the most important issue in Tom Mickan`s image. Simply change the color of the shirt to a darker one, lower that lateral highlight and the 3-D effect will be lost.
    Think on a white circle over a black square: the circle "pops"; in the opposite, a black circle into a white square turns a hole. The effect is even more pronounced if soft borders are added (like out of focus blur).
    This kind of effect can be easily obtained with almost any kind of camera, I think.
  34. I think some of us are confusing, perceived depth into the frame, as opposed to what I understand the poster is interested in, which is the perceived roundness of each element of the photograph. That is, how deep does each element of the photograph seem within the image. I took the poster's image, and using Gimp added brightness (about 60%), contrast (about 50 %) and then sharpened a bit (1.4, 0.39, 1). Does each element then seem a bit deeper than the original?
  35. Also what seems like a lack of "depth" in many digital cameras I believe comes from the use of zoom lenses on them. Every digital Ive had, had a zoom lens. Thus we are using a "telephoto" lens which compresses depth.
    Angles or composition and contrast also has a LOT to do with depth. Many are using automatic settings on camera's, which tend to make all pictures of the same type of subjects look similar. On film cameras when I began in the 30's there was no such thing as auto exposure and auto focus, so each image varied.
    Subject matter also has a lot to do with it, like the photo of the man with the dogs, people tend to focus on that subject, but to me there is still depth in the image as I can see the distance to the background. So in addition to the subject, it also depends on "what" the observer focuses on in the shot or what they SEE. As I look at everything, I may SEE more depth in many images than other observers.
    Those who like slide film, have you ever tried using the "Direct Positive" preset in Lightroom for some of your shots? It does not work well with all of them, but works very well with many.
  36. James, I perfectly understand what you mean. This is the reason I primarily shoot film, although from time to time use the advantages of a digital camera. The best approach is to enjoy from both technologies. Two different flavors indeed.
  37. With regards to the bull photo, the lighting looks very flat to me, a different camera is not going to change that.
    You can punch up the photo some with post processing, this will not be nearly as good as taking the photo in better light, but it can add some small "depth" to the photo.
    Would you mind if people took a shot at adjusting your photo and re-posting it here?
  38. Ok, perhaps not the best photo to illustrate my point. Shun's right, the composition isn't helping and yes, a smaller DOF would have separated the subject from the background, but still it has a digital/acidy/crunchy/lightweight feel to it (I'm struggling for adjectives to make my point, Luis back me up here!) that if I'd shot it on film, it wouldn't have had. Thanks Carey for having a go but your version seems to accentuate the digital-ness of it! The fringing is more obvious, this is a jpg saved for web but close up even on a hi-res, digi print in eg The Photographers Gallery (London) I could still notice the unnaturally abrupt edges where light areas meet dark and an overall flatness. Maybe Luis is right, I should just chill out.
  39. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I've read many of them but none of them seem to cover the image quality regarding picture depth.​
    James, the simple answer to your original question is that DSLR reviews do not discuss this "picture depth" issue because it just does not exist. If anybody's image lacks this "depth," the problem is neither inside the camera (sensor, medium type) nor in front of it (lens); the problem is behind it.
  40. I see. Sounds like you just need some anti-aliasing. There is a low-pass filter available for my camera that addresses the issue, though, so far I have not needed it. You may also find you have a problem with morrie patterns on fabric. I'm not familiar with Cannon cameras, but I would check into the options, if they have a similar low-pass filter or some camera option for reducing the effect.
  41. Obviously the digital look is diferent from the film look for many reasons, like colors could be matter of taste, and thankfully digital cameras can be easily set to our preferences. Perhaps many times the problem is a correct or lack of customization rather than digital media problems.
    Abrupt borders, light areas meet dark, obvious fringing, digital-ness... Are you refering to this?:
    (non post-processed RAW converted to JPEG in NX2)
  42. for lack of a better way to describe it, more 3d than other dslr's I have either owned or had a chance to use​
    Making your images look "3D" is more about the lighting than which camera you own.

    The caveat is, that it is much easier to make images look flat with the newest biggest sensor camera than it is to make an image look "3D" with any camera. There is a lot of technique involved and I don't care how many auto settings a new camera has, its up to the photographer in this regard.
  43. James, this is apples and oranges. No digital camera on Earth can achieve this:
    And we are speaking here about watching it from a computer monitor. Enlarged at 40x50cm, this image has such a soul that looks almost 3D.
    Digital cameras offer a different workflow, a different timing and a different attitude towards photography. Cameras and sensors (either film or CCD devices) are only tools that gather photons in a different way, producing different interpretations of this world. Only choose the mood you feel in a given day.
    By the way, I'm one of the editors of the Spanish magazine "Film und Foto", a publication enterely dedicated to film photography. Yes, we know we are mad, but the number of subscriptors is growing steadely :)
  44. Camera's are essentially a dumb box. As if this entire thread forgets why we buy certain lenses. Which is why I've converted some of my FD lens to EOS mounts. However, that said, we know that some films are better than others, and so it is with a digital camera, in regards to film, that you are utimately stuck with the one sensor, and unlike film, cannot swap it out.
    Now I have taken both my Mam 645 loaded with Portra 160VC and a 40D, and shot the same scene. In the cases were the 40 images look flat verses with film, that is, looking at the film shot, it's like being there 3D look. It's an issue in resolving details, and density. Where I've solved the issue by shooting pan and stitch, with brackets, with a sharp lens of good contrast, thereby creating a 30meg density shot. Much improved. However, who shoots like that all day?
  45. Here are two examples taken with the same camera .

    This image appears very flat to me. The light that day was actually very diffuse (ignore the blue sky) because the sun was behind clouds. The lens used was a Nikon 300 f/4 ED-IF, which is very sharp, however I had a tele on it which degraded the image quality. But the most important factor here wasn't the equipment, it was the diffuse light which made the image look soft and flat.
    This image of my dog appears to be much more "3D". A wider aperture was used and I was closer to the subject, but more importantly it was taken in very direct/contrasty sunlight. The lens used here was the Nikon 50 1.4 afs, stopped down. But the fact is that the light it was made the image look the way it is. I would have gotten a very similar image with a D1 and 18-55 kit lens.
    Both images taken with the same camera (D200). One looks like crap and is very flat (eagle) the other looks much better and more 3D looking (my dog). Perceived sharpness is also a factor of the quality of light. Diffuse light tends to make things looks soft, whereas contrasty light gives that sharp look.

    I hope this illustrates my point that getting that 3D look is more about the quality of light and the technique used than what camera you are holding.
  46. You know you're treading on thin ice when you start trying to explain differences between film and digital in terms that are completely subjective and vague. Notions like "soul" and "depth" are problematic when describing images because they don't have any intrinsic meaning.
    For the record, I don't dispute that there may be quantifiable differences in the resulting images produced by film versus digital. It is entirely reasonable and possible that such a difference exists. However, to date I have yet to see anybody accurately, consistently, and objectively quantify such a difference. All we ever hear is "look you can't do this with digital" or "this is just so much richer," to the point where such claims become more anecdotal truth than reality. I submit that the burden of responsibility to prove that there exists a difference lies with those who believe that there is, not with those who believe there is not.
    But as someone who likes precision in thought and communication, I honestly do get tired of hearing and reading about people who use completely vague and meaningless terms to describe how film has some kind of "look" that digital does not. A photographer--especially one that carries some prestige--should be able to quantify that difference and express it in language that is at the bare minimum more precise than words like "depth."
  47. The first shot of the bull fighter does look underexposed. I think that has a lot to do with it. The modified image, though the highlights blew out on the horns, has more punch. Also, there is not a lot of color except for the little bit of the red cape. The combination of flat and soft light and little color work against you. I should say that I consider flat light to mean "the same everywhere" like high noon on a sunny or cloudy day, while soft light means "diffuse". So light can be either flat or soft or both at the same time.
    Flat or soft light does not always make an image look flat. I have found flat light if soft often accentuates contrast between colors, though obviously not between light and shadow. For example, a pink or red flower against a green background will look good in bright overcast due to the pleasant color contrast. Also, soft light makes dynamic range more manageable.
    Your complaint is a common one regarding digital. It is hard to quantify; it's just a certain "something", and it seems to me that certain subjects do better with it than others. The quality of images many famous photographers are getting with digital is very high. I suspect they have learned how to optimize their results, just as they did with different films.
    That certain "something" also existed before digital. Some lenses are highly regarded for it, Leica lenses being the obvious example. Some like the rendition of Pentax's screw mount lenses more than the later K-mount ones. And that certain "something" certainly exists with regard to film.
    I prefer film. There's just something about that I like better. The only thing I can really point specifically to is highlight rendition, especially in high-key situations.
    And films tend to look different from each other. Some films have that certain "something", and it will be different films for different people. I prefer Kodachrome. It is very sharp; that is, it has high acuity, and a naturalness to its color. It has, to my eye, a 3-D quality compared to others. I don't like Velvia, except its fine grain, but many others do, and prefer its color rendition. While it has a lot of pop, which can give a "3-D" effect, I find the effect superficial. I don't think it has the same sense of physical depth as Kodachrome. One problem I have with heavily saturated films is the loss of fine gradations of color. To me those fine differences, which get overwhelmed by heavy saturation, give a sense of dimension and detail. I wonder if the "digital look" has something to do with gradation.
    An important thing to remember is that numbers never tell the whole story. Audiophiles are well aware of that, as they have seen technical specifications that looked good but didn't sound good.
  48. Images look flat due to processing or lack of it, not due to lighting.
    In the darkroom we would not print every shot with the same contrast paper.
    Why process every shot exactly the same way?
    In the above examples post processing could make the shot of the eagle look like it has more depth by adding contrast and selective sharpness. In the one of the dog, it could be made to look flatter in processing. It is entirely the decision of the photographer to make, according to what we personally like, we just need to learn how.
    In the shot of the eagle it appears the camera was focused on the tree limb in front. If focused on the eagle that would also increase the sharpness, and give the "appearance" of more depth.
    Artists in other fields like oil paintings would vary contrast, colors, perspective, etc to increase the illusion of "depth" in a painting. The difference in film or digital in my opinion has nothing to do with the Camera, but the "illusion" the Artist creates using it.
    A camera as one said, is "just a box" it is what you learn to do with that box, when you learn its fullest capabilities that results in the best images, no matter how you describe them. Many keep going out and upgrading camera's or lenses looking for a mechanical way of producing better images.
    Learn HOW to use the camera you have and to process the end result, will produce better images. Ansel Adams once said, "80% of photography is what you do, AFTER you snap the shutter." (paraphrased) It is still true, it does not matter if it is digital or film. The most expensive camera made, can produce the worst shots, in the hands of a person who does not know how to use it. Learn to do the 85% of the work required after creating an image, film or digital, and you will be more satisfied with either.
  49. I have a friend who sold all of her film gear to buy a D70 at the suggestion of her brother. She was disappointed that the images were lifeless, compared to shots taken with Velvia.
    I did mention post processing, but she said that even with that there was something lacking in the digital images compared to film.
  50. Depth is an illusion created by processing.
    In Photoshop, I captured the Bulls head and horms,
    added color and contrast to make it appear closer.
    Sharpened and added contrast to the Bullfighter.
    Captured the stands, used the blur tool to blur them to push them further away.
    In layers, selective color, neutral, darkened the ground a bit to give it depth.
  51. Most of the people blaming the camera for a bad images, instead to blame themselves, for a lack of technical and artistic knowledge. Seeing the posted image of the imitated bull fighting, your image would be the same with a Hasselblad or Leica, loaded with Velvia, in this lighting situation and composition. Photography is capturing a light, paint with light, and flat light producing flat images.
  52. but I would say that Tom's image of the guy with his dogs is a good example (now prove me wrong tell me that that is shot digitally!)....​
    James, no this was shot with Sensia 400 tranny film and used a Lecia 2/35mm ASPH Summicron lens. Shun, absolutely no post processing was done on this image apart from a levels adjustment. Can't be bothered messing about in photoshop.
  53. Here's another that shows what I think is image depth.
  54. Images look flat due to processing or lack of it, not due to lighting.

    Depth is an illusion created by processing.​
    Sorry, I completely disagree. Unless you want to spend hours and hours painting shadows/highlights onto things in Photoshop with the burn and dodge tools, it is all about lighting to get that 3D look. Lighting also affects perceived sharpness almost as much as your equipment.

    I'm not sure if your comment is a troll, or you are really serious, Robert. Either way your comment is incorrect. Its all about the light. Processing won't fix a bad photo. Sorry dude.
    In the shot of the eagle it appears the camera was focused on the tree limb in front. If focused on the eagle that would also increase the sharpness, and give the "appearance" of more depth.​
    The Eagle is in focus. He looks flat due to the diffuse light which has softened the image, but if you look close you will still see quite a bit of detail on the eagle. I have more examples from that day, I'll put a couple up later once I get home. They all look flat, because it was overcast, I have very sharp photos with the same lens, but on better lighting days. The blue section of sky in that photo was only there for a moment, and it only fills the frame because of the compression from the telephoto lens (which was equivelent of 900mm on my DX camera) this is why I said to ignore the blue section, it makes it look like the day was sunny, which it wasn't. I will find an example w/o the teleconverter (which I did note degrades the image).
  55. Shun,
    James is not talking about perception depth. i call it color texture, but in any case here is what he means, i think. and i does't seem to me at least that digital can do this yet. i say in 10-15 years. and you can see similar result in my gallery here http://kostyanakazny.com/Peru_Rural/peru_rural.htm . it was taken on Reala 100 and superia 400.
  56. Sometimes this stuff shows up better (in terms of conversation) on more pedestrian photographs (where nobody is trying so hard). A simple, casual after-dinner shot of two friends, as below. The lighting (a single off-camera strobe, held at arm's length and bounced off of a nearby wall) is an important part of why they don't look like cardboard cutouts. It's not about whether there's anything extraordinary going on, here, but whether or not there would be more "depth" or something more or less textural if this were on Velvia instead of the D200 that I happened to use. Those factors are nothing compared to the fact that the light isn't flat.
  57. I am not an expert, but would like to put some new light on the subject. If you compare the pixel histograms (meaning levels) from films and digital pics you'll see an interesting thing. Film generally shows a smooth transitions either up or down, whilest digits are quite busy with peaks, somehow looking like a filtered bandwith of tonal range with missing gaps. Looking at the films levels you'll see the smoothness, however busy one. I know, sounds a bit scientiffic. In other words, the histograms show clearly organic, linear feel of silver chemistry and stochastic cristals in comparison with a super organised pixel array of digital sensors.
    Pictures of the man with dogs and the bull are good for trying, but I might be wrong...
  58. For cyring out loud!
    The whole lot of you are talking about these nebulous concepts like "depth" as if it's so completely obvious what it means, but NOT A SINGLE ONE OF YOU has explained just what this mysterious yet apparently self-evident thing is. I challenge you:
    What is "depth?"
    Explain using concepts that clearly apply to the resulting image. For example, what kind of color saturation is involved? Contrast characteristics? Perspective? Lighting? Sharpness? What objective properties do you SEE in the actual image that tells you it is "deep?" Because if you can't describe it in ways that are measurable and concrete, you are just spewing nonsense. Consequently, you're all having a discussion about completely different things. It's absolutely pointless.
    And if you think that I'm being unfair because the purpose of the photographer is to simply take the shot and present it to the viewer to make their own decisions, then I should point out then that it's facetious to make such a claim and then state that "film is better than digital." Better HOW? Or that something has "depth."
    Seriously. This is just the most inane, laughable discussion I've seen. Utterly useless.
  59. Well, Peter, there have been several calls (see above) for the OP to do just that: to articulate, in useful terms, what it is he actually means. And he pretty much comes right out and says that he can't describe it. I think (if you dig through the weeds), you see it described here and there in this thread, though. Choice of focal length, aperture and composition that all contribute to separate the subject from the background. Light that demonstrates, rather than destroys the subject's three dimensionality. Media (film or digital) that has (or can have processed from it) a response curve flattering to the subject matter. And of course, a photographer that chooses to shoot something that's interesting enough to someone to make all of this hair splitting worth talking about.
  60. I think you've got a loaded question there, James :)
  61. It`s all about the light... like Matt says. Of course camera matters, but IMHO nothing to do with perceptions and optical illusions. Three-dimensionality (if that`s the topic, it`s not clear yet) is an illusion. Perhaps the media could have a little influence, but I believe that is almost negligible. I`m thinking on Escher`s drawings, 3-D effect is obtained with geometry, light and shadows.
    I see on this one from the wed pics a bit of "pop" effect, similar to Michael`s one (sorry for the repost):
    D700 with a classic 105/2.5AiS. It`s all about light and DoF.
  62. When 35mm cameras started to become more popular the people who shot with medium format and large format equipment noticed the increased amount of depth of field shown in photos taken with standard and wide angle lenses made 35m images look flat. By comparison with the larger formats, photos from 35mm film taken with these lenses looked pretty sharp all over. This was especialy true in bright light. If I look at photos taken with my Minolta 16 or with my Pentax Auto 110 the taking lenses are so short, everything is in focus. This was also true of disc photos but those had a lot more grain so overall image quality suffered. Over time people got used to the look of photos taken with 35mm cameras. Lenses for the DX sensor digital cameras are so short compared to those used with 35mm film cameras that there a lot of depth of field. If you are using a kit lens where the maximum aperture is f/3.5 you will be hard put to show a selective focus effect. The 20-60 IX Nikkor I use with my Pronea SLR cameras has tremendous depth of field at the 20mm setting. That can sometimes make things look a little flat. I consider the 20-60 to be an excellent lens where sharpness and contrast are concerned. I think the depth of field issue is partly what makes the 50/1.8 AF Nikkor popular with Nikon DX DSLR users.
  63. This one with a 24-70 at 24mm. Do you feel the depth and proximity?
    (Jeff, my post is not an answer to yours. I think you`re right.)
  64. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I think Jose Angel's latest image is providing a subliminal message about this thread, echoing Peter Wang's complaint. :)
  65. As promised, here is a better (or worse depending how you want to put it) example of the Eagle, and being a flat image due to cloudy lighting.

    Shot with Nikon D200, 300 f/4. No teleconverter this time, but cropped from 3872x2592 to 1445x967 before resizing to 700 wide. Aside from the lighting being diffused and not making much for shadows, there are no other cues to give that 3D feel.

    The only post this image got was the brightness scale being turned down (I exposed the image to the right to being with) and cropping. I don't think a different camera or any type of post processing would have given this image more "depth". A longer lens might have helped by allowing me to frame the subject more, but I still feel it would have come out flat.
  66. LOL, Shun, don`t believe it! I`m a huge naive... :D
  67. As others have said lighting in very important if you want photos that have depth.
    Below is roughly the same photo taken in very flat light close to noon and in fairly good light taken late in the day.
    Of course other things matter as well, the subject, the FOV, contrast, saturation etc.
    But if you don't have decent light there is not much you can do, IMO
  68. James, the simple answer to your original question is that DSLR reviews do not discuss this "picture depth" issue because it just does not exist.​
    And yet here you are Shun, still discussing it..
    I can see this will run and run, boy what a passionate bunch you are! Film vs Digital, art vs technology, it's fascinating. I'm not sure we're any nearer to defining the indefinable (interesting though about the smooth transitions and peaks you mentioned Peter Sowa, and for someone who's 'not an expert' you seem to know quite a bit!) but it's been fun trying.
    Thanks to all the contributors so far, and for the whiners thanks for giving up your valuable time for a discussion you don't believe worthwhile.
    I look forward to the next installment!
  69. Another "subliminal" photo with depth...
    I started on film and have used 35mm & MF 6x4.5 as well. When I made an investment into digital I never noticed the depth difference.
  70. I enjoyed this discussion immensely, I was not at all bothered by the subjective nature of it, and indeed how else do we experience this visual medium except subjectively.
  71. R. Johnston said:
    > Images look flat due to processing or lack of it, not due to lighting.
    > Depth is an illusion created by processing.
    So you're saying lighting doesn't matter?
    Or composition?
    Then R.J. said:
    > Why process every shot the same way?
    Well, back in ye olde days of shooting transparencies, we didn't have much choice, especially with Kodachrome. Its processing is very complex and requires a high degree of precision and repeatability.
    Everything was done in-camera. The lighting, composition and exposure had to be right at the moment the shutter was released. Then the film was processed and the finished product came back.
    I can put 30 year old Kodachromes on a light box and look at them through a loupe, and my god, it's like being there. I can see into the slide. To me it's particularly pronounced with Kodachrome. I'm not just looking at the image, I'm looking into it. Projecting the slide looks almost as good. Prints from those slides can't match either. In printing the goal was not to enhance the image on the slide, the goal was to get as close as possible to its quality.
    Ansel Adams was referring to B+W prints from negatives. He didn't relate well to color, and the few Kodachromes he took show it. No criticism from me there; he saw in the idiom of B+W, and did so magnificently. Mr. Adams said "The negative is the score, and the print is the performance".
    With transparency film, the finished transparency is both score and performance.
    I shoot slides by preference. I'm used to creating a complete image in-camera. I only have a small number printed, and there's no doubt that digital post processing is a handy tool for attempting to replicate all that is in the slide.
    I do shoot digital casually, and find I don't like having to mess with each shot. Digital processing is a fantastic tool, but it still holds that the more you do before the moment of exposure, the less you have to do after.
    To Peter Wang: I know what you're saying; however:
    Some things defy simple quantification or explanation. I used the example of audiophiles. For years they tried to explain to manufacturers that no matter how closely their RMS graphs of total harmonic distortion approached perfection, their products just didn't sound as good as old tube machines with funky graphs. Sort of like the megapixel wars. And as with megapixels, informed users stopped putting so much stock in numbers. Gradually, the dynamics of hearing perception have become better understood, and the manufacturers stopped waving around numbers so much.
    I know what the OP is getting at. I don't think digital is the reason the example shown was deficient, at least not primarily. But I know what he means. It's in the way digital renders. Before digital existed, it was in the way different films render. And lenses. And different formats.
    I think as digital improves, criticisms will diminish.The images from digital already are really good and will continue to improve, and as time goes on the dynamics of rendering will be better understood. Even now, some prefer the images from one or another machine, even from the same manufacturer.
  72. For the last time, it's not the subjective nature of the medium that I find problematic. Art is subjective. It must be subjective.
    What I find problematic is having a discussion in which people arrive at sweeping conclusions based on a set of criteria that nobody has agreed upon because they behave as if those criteria are self-evident when they are not!
    The audiophile analogy is perhaps more fitting than you realize. A lot of audiophiles speak of the sounds they hear in equally vague terms. But who has ever done a double-blind study on these self-proclaimed lovers of sound? Who has done such a study on photographers who say they can spot the difference between film and digital, or Leica versus Canon? You won't see this happen because the egos--and wallets--involved are too great. If something in a printed image is not quantifiable--that is to say, it is purely subjective--then how is it reasonable to expect that everyone ought be able to see it? That defies the very notion of subjectivity. Again, I don't claim that photographs cannot or do not elicit a subjective response from people. But if "depth" is subjective, then one is logically forced to conclude that not everyone will see it, much less see and interpret it in the same way as everyone else.
    Consequently, if depth is subjective, then one must also allow that the equipment used to generate the image cannot be an absolute determinant of whether the image can or cannot have depth, or else you have now indirectly quantified the notion of depth via the equipment used. It would be akin to saying that you cannot express the concept of jealousy by using watercolor as opposed to oils.
    And although I have no concrete evidence, I think the whole debate, much like the Leica versus Canon/Nikon/Pentax/pretty much anything non-Leica, has a lot more to do with the perception of elite status, and when challenged to demonstrate the difference, the only thing such people can do is gesticulate to the picture and say "isn't it obvious? It's subjective, you can't possibly explain it in words, it's art...." This talk about "depth" is mostly about ego. It's about "my eyes are more refined than yours."
    It's not that I can't see what you see; nor is it that I must be inferior if I can't see what you see. It's that I don't want to see what you, the photographer, or anybody else sees. I want to see what I see in the image. I want to make up my own mind about it. And that's why the whole discussion of "depth" and "which equipment is better," blah, blah, blah.... is just so...high school. There are far more eloquent ways to discuss the subjective nature of photographs.
  73. As this conversation really doesn't have a lot to do with Nikon specifically. I'm moving it to the Casual Photo Conversations forum where more people will have the chance to see it and argue discuss.
  74. Argue is right for this weird thread. Someone states that his digital camera produces flat pictures without the depth of film and then posts, sorry, a bad digital picture to "prove" it; and then a whole bunch of people rend their vestments — I haven't read every single post — to determine how many angels can stand on the head of a pin, in what seem to be the reactions elicited by a troll: who else would speak of "whiners" as the OP does?
    And Luis — I can't resist this although it is a cheap target indeed — your picture of the Rolls Royce (not cheap) could have been produced with the same "ugly" bokeh (yes, a subjective view), and the same blown highlights, if you had used a digital camera.
  75. Man. Some of oyu take this WAY to personally. Why get angry about it ? There are lots of things in the world of art that are hard to nail down and describe. There may indeed be differences, and unless you are losing money because of some people's perception, I fail to see the reason for being defiant about it.
    Besides, all we can do here, is look at a digital reproduction of any image. Doesn't that bias what ever we see in the forum ?
    Stop being so defensive, guys.
  76. There are far more eloquent ways to discuss the subjective nature of photographs.​
    Peter, I have read nothing eloquent from you in this thread. There is no rule on Photonet that states you need to post in every thread. Your attitude in both posts is hostile and unnecessary. James' o.p. was a reasonable question and it has been addressed by various members offering their own examples or opinions. And here you are talking about ego's, Lecia elitism, and audiophiles with 'golden ears'! I am sure nothing written in this thread will become the definitive answer on 'image depth'. Let us try to discuss this in a more civilised fashion.
  77. I am wondering what is exactly meant by lack of picture depth. Maybe it's just another way of describing latitude of the recording medium. The greater the latitude captured, the greater the tonal and color range recorded. We refer to the range of light intensity that a medium can reproduce as latitude. I shot 35mm exclusively until a year and a half ago. I still do a great deal of shooting in 35mm film, andI miss the Ektar 25 film. The biggest thing I had to come to terms with is the difference in latitude between film and digital capture. Latitude (tonal and color range) should not be confused with saturation and contrast. A digital image can be tweaked with levels, saturation & incresed contrast to make images pop out. However by increasing sat. & contrast you actually cut down on the tonal steps and range of the image. By creating more absolute colors, you give the illusion of depth by having fewer colors and starker images, which can be confused with good picture depth. I view depth not as how vibrant an image is, or if the image goes from pure black to pure white. Instead I view picture depth as an image with full range of tones. If one medium captures pure black to pure white in 12 tonal steps as compared to another medium which captures the same image in 100 tonal steps, the image with more tonal capture has more picture depth. I feel this way because there is more information gathered, while still representing the entire color range. The latitude of the human eye is 50,000 (the brightest light we can perceive is 50,000 times brighter than the dimmest light we can perceive. B&W film has a latitude of 512 times or 9 stops. Color Negative film has a latitude of 32 times or 5 stops, Color reversal and Digital has the narrowest lattitude of 6 times or 2 1/2 stops (roughly). The lack of latitude, is one of the primary reason's HDRI (High Dynamic Range Imaging) is gaining popularity. The idea of HDRI is to try to capture the same amount of tonal information as that of B&W film. THis is done by taking multiple exposures (many times up to 9 images 1 stop apart) in digital and merging the exposures into one final image. This one image will have more information and range to work with. Though initially it appears flat. With Photoshop burn and dodge you can create a full image with more information that rivals B&W. The more tones represented, the greater the picture depth. This is why whenever we take a picture, the image never matches what we see. The medium is not sensitive enough to match the human eye. For the same reason, digital or film reversal can not match the information gathered by color negative or B&W. I feel this is why DSLR pictures may seem to lack depth (it does not mean it lacks punch). I don't believe it has anything to do with merely getting light and dark values in a print. So if you want to improve the picture with depth....try using HDRI capture techniques. This is my opinion based on my experience with both 35mm film and digital capture. I thought it worth mentioning, as I did not see it brought up earlier. Of course, I don't expect everyone to embrace the idea, but I just ask that we keep an open mind to the idea of latitude and it's effect on picture depth.
  78. There are at least two kinds of depth and probably more. One is the kind you get when you use a wide angle lens. This kind of depth is not real depth and relies on visual cues to suggest depth-receding lines, scale, etc. Real depth in a two dimensional image is one of those images that "pop". This has to do with focal length just as much as the first kind of depth, but depends on longer focal lengths. It's easy to see. Just compare medium format to 35mm.
    But it isn't so cut and dried. My D300 generates better depth characteristics than my D80. I haven't decided just why yet.
  79. Okay, so I came across a lot more shrill than I intended. My apologies.
    My basic question, however, remains the same. What exactly is it that people are trying to talk about here? Because people can post hundreds, thousands of photos and still not really describe it. And that's the point. If everybody has such a different notion of what "depth" is, then why take something so varied and then make such specific a claim that a particular technology is not capable of achieving it?
    Is that not the issue?
  80. Peter I am not 100% sure what James meant but the image that I posted was an assumption on my part that the look in that image was what James was referring to. James' response confirmed that it was what he had in mind. It is that 'pop' that I see in my image and a couple of other images posted here that were captured in both film and digital formats. I think there may be several factors involved in acheiving that look and I don't know exactly what it is. Certainly not all of my images look like that and if I set out to reproduce that look, I couldn't guarantee the result. I think it is a combination of focal length, apeture, of course, light.
  81. Brian,
    Five stops for color neg film? Two and a half for chromes? I think you better check how you measure as you'd quickly find out how ridiculously low and incorrect those figures are. I obtain about 6.5 stops from Astia.....about 11 stops from Pro160S, and about 12 on average from HP5.
    I have never seen anyone quote such a low figure for chromes.....which leads me to believe you've never used a chrome.
    Now to OP, it appears that images with a bit of snap to the contrast are being perceived as having more depth and realism.
  82. Peter Wang said,
    > What exactly is it that people are trying to talk about here?
    That's what we seem to be grappling with on this thread
    I understand you to be saying "If we are to discuss it, show me what you mean!"
    It makes sense if someone says it's there, they should be able to point it out.
    It's kind of like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's pronouncement regarding pornography: That it was difficult to completely define but, "I know it when I see it".
    I'm not sure everyone will "see it". That's not a criticism, as perception differs between people. I don't see the differences between pictures from different makes of digital cameras that some do.
    I think the word "depth" is problematic as it can be used to refer to several different characteristics of an image including DOF and composition, and seems to have led to some confusion. I think though, somewhat vague terms are inescapable. Words like "rich", "rounded," "natural", etc., mean much to one and little to another. Most people, if asked to describe what they mean precisely tend to say "I don't know, it's just something", or words to that effect, admitting that they are at a loss to describe it in exact terms. I'm not sure if a picture over the web on a monitor screen can show it anyway. As stated earlier, I don't think the problems with the image were due to its being digital.
    While there are those who claim to perceive differences in order to imply some some kind of superiority or justify a choice of medium or equipment, when enough claim to see a difference I will accept that there probably is one, even if I don't really get it. The "Leica glow" comes to mind.
    I said it is a matter of how the image is rendered. I know, clear as mud. But I do not know the reason the difference exists, just that it exists. Highly magnified film and pixel-peeped digital images show definite differences in the way they are rendered, but those differences don't explain it to me. I suspect it has something to do with gradation or the random nature of grain.
    What audiophiles were saying for years about tubes vs. transistors, or vinyl vs. CD, was "I don't know why, but I know which sounds better." Without getting into detail, subsequent studies have started to shed light on how hearing perception can make less "perfect" output actually sound better. Manufacturers are learning how to make transistors sound more "tube-like."
    Whether photo or sound, we are attempting to capture and then reproduce something intangible which we perceive with our senses. Each part of the process affects how the final product is rendered. The most important part of how we sense is not eardrum or retina. It's the brain. Perhaps because the reproduction is artificial, the brain perceives it in a different way than the original.
    Peter Sowa made a very interesting observation regarding the histograms. Maybe that has something to do with it.
  83. Regarding the images of the eagle: they look overall bluish. The yellow beak and feet look undersaturated, and the white feathers are not a clean white. The pictures just as a whole seem to be veiled with blue. Removing the bluish cast should help a lot.
    I hope it's not just my monitor.
  84. I agree with Jeff, that Peter Sowa's observation about the histogram is very interesting and it could perhaps be used as objective criteria, if it holds true. By that token, if you look at the histogram for MS Keil's image it has an even distribution and that image comes close to my subjective understanding of what well rounded elements in an image would look like...
  85. Dave,
    I've shot Ekta-chrome and Koda-Chrome before when I played with multi exposure studio still life images. My idea of the latitude of chrome was shared by other photographers at the studio I use to work in. Now maybe in time latitude for chromes might have changed, as film technology has advanced. We all know that film has come a long way over the years and capabilities changed for the better. I haven't shot chrome in many years, but when I did it was very low. When I shot chrome if I was off by 1 stop, many times the highlights would get blown out. Since we are on the subject anyway, since you were able to get 12 stops or a latitude of 4096 on the Ilford, what is your feeling on the latitude on Tri-X. It was the Tri-X B&W that I stated the 512 lat. or 9 stops. I will def. have to revisit and get a couple of test rolls of Astia and HP5 to do a stop by stop test until I lose shadow and highlight detail. But for the characteristics of Astia & HP5 which side does the film favor, and how should I adjust the settings to get maximum exposure latitude in a high contrast situation (always good to know to keep in my files should I use that particular film in the future). I'll let you know how it comes out. I'm glad to hear from someone who thinks in terms of latitude and stops as well.
  86. Regarding the images of the eagle: they look overall bluish. The yellow beak and feet look undersaturated, and the white feathers are not a clean white. The pictures just as a whole seem to be veiled with blue. Removing the bluish cast should help a lot.
    I hope it's not just my monitor.​
    I'm not really seeing a bluish tint at home on either monitor. I have two at home and I can tell you they aren't calibrated the same! Also not seeing much blue on my monitor at work....

    The reason that everything looks undersaturated in the eagle pics is....you guessed it....because the light was very diffuse because it was overcast! This is what happens on overcast days, the light is soft and you images end up being soft. I'll even dig up a few quotes from a John Shaw or Tom Hogan about overcast days if I have too....
  87. Agreed Brian. K25 and K64 had a much lower range than the current films like Provia and Astia for example. However, don’t mix up blown highlights and latitude with total dynamic range. Chromes are very unforgiving for overexposure. But if you do a step wedge test with K64, I know you’ll get more than 2.5 stops range. That much is for certain as all the old shots of mine on K64 from the 70’s and 80’s hold more range than 2.5 stops.

    As to Tri-X, I use HP5 far more often. The best I’ve obtained from both Tri-X and HP5 is about 14 to 15 stops using PMK Pyro, heavily diluted, and stand processing. I’d say in normal processing, 10-11 stops is about right….and typically more than sufficient for scanning purposes.
  88. I think the landscape shot by Matthew is a good example of digital flatness. First of all, it's a wonderful shot. Nice composition and sharp as a tack. Good colors. But it looks flat as a pancake to me. My digital P&S (the only digital camera that I now own) has a similar look.
    This is a very interesting subject, as I never considered that digital would have an appearance of less depth. I know that the lens that you use, the chosen aperture, and the way that you compose your shot determine your implied depth, but whether it's a digital vs film thing is a good question. Could be.
    I think James is noticing something that has always bothered me about digital images as well. When you look at a city scene, for instance, you will see that the lighting on the far distance objects such as buildings and people is the same as on the objects in the foreground. That's unrealistic, and film does a better job of rendering the scene more true to life. I can't explain it any better than that, and it's very obvious to me, but I think some people either don't see it or aren't bothered by it. Nearly all of my images that came from my Nikon D50 had that characteristic and it finally brought me back over to film to fix the problem. Not that there's anything wrong w/ digital. It definitely has it's charms. But for me the look wasn't what I wanted.
    On the first shot here I have an example of that unrealistic and flat lighting. It doesn't help that digital has a way of smoothing things out either. Notice that the B of A sign and the two young people in the background w/ white t shirts are as brightly lit and as well defined as the horse and buggy. They look on the same film plane as the foreground objects. The people in the buggy, and the buggy and horse look flat and 2-dimensional as well. There's no sense of depth. Continuing on back w/ the buildings on the left all the way back to the cranes on the waterfront (which are a LONG way away) everything seems lit the same and there's no sense of going into the picture. This is not very easy to see w/ such a small photo, but at normal viewing size it's pretty obvious. The second shot shows that if you use a long lens and a wide aperture you can get a sense of depth just like a film camera. It's when you stop down the differences present themselves.
  89. Flower w/ D50
  90. It seems to me that there are a number that no matter how good a digital image may look the very fact that is it digit will make them see problems in it. There is really nothing that I can say to or show these people that will change their minds.
    On the other hand there are people who truly seeing differences between what they get from digital and film cameras, for these people there is hope. Digital cameras, particularly higher end ones, tend to shoot with neutral contrast and saturation, meaning they capture the scene close to the light level hitting the sensor. Many films on the other hand boost both the contrast and saturation of a photo, and a photo with more contrast and saturation will almost always look like it has more depth.
    I have known people who started out with a P&S and were at first disappointed at the images they got from a DSLR, because the P&S had both the contrast and saturation turned up higher. Of course it is very easy to turn up the contrast and saturation on a digital.
    But in the end it is not really the camera that gives an image a feeling of depth, it is the lighting, the subject and the framing much more then the camera. I shot film for 20 years, if I had flat lighting I got a flat looking image, if I had good lighting I got an image with depth, this has not changed one bit since I switched to digital.
  91. Steve M: But why shouldn't the buildings in the background appear to have the same light on them as the people in the foreground? It's a bright, sunny day. The same sun is lighting that whole side of the planet, man. There's no way that the recording media (film or digital) can know if two equally brightly lit objects are at different distances. Anything that would differentiate the foreground from the background in that shot would be due to optics, not media/sensor.
  92. Actually recording media (film or digital) shows objects are at different distances.
    Color fades in the distance, and objects do not show as much detail, due to atmospheric haze from moisture and dust. So it would be recorded by the media/sensor accordingly. For the same reasons artists painting a scene use haze, etc to show dept, distance, perspective. Even bigger buildings many times further away are portrayed smaller than smaller ones close int he painting.
  93. "Jeff Livacich , May 14, 2009; 09:29 p.m.
    R. Johnston said:
    > Images look flat due to processing or lack of it, not due to lighting.
    > Depth is an illusion created by processing.
    So you're saying lighting doesn't matter?
    Or composition?"
    GO back and look at the image of the Bull and Matador that I uploaded.
    It is the same Bull, Matador, and lighting. But the impression of depth or illusion of depth has been increased by processing
    Then R.J. said:
    > Why process every shot the same way?
    "Well, back in ye olde days of shooting transparencies, we didn't have much choice, especially with Kodachrome. Its processing is very complex and requires a high degree of precision and repeatability."
    In "ye olde days" I was shooting and processing film and paper after graduating from NYI of Photography in the 40's. We did not use "Kodachrome" for the majority of photography, but color film we processed ourselves so we had " a great deal of control and repeatablility." Processed my first film in 1937, and after attending Seminars with Adams and Weston, never processed film or paper "the same way for every shot."
    We are talking about a "specific" image, not all photos and why it lacks depth.
  94. Robert: of course a foggy or hazy day is going to decrease detail with distance. But that's happening in front of the lens, not behind it. I'm responding to his assertion that it's the digital camera that's causing the distant building to be lit similarly to the foreground. A hard contrast boost might cause that to seem that way, which could happen with film or with digital, depending on how the photographer works, how the image/media is chosen and handled after the fact, etc. But there's nothing about a digital sensor that's causing a distant building to become brighter than the foreground, per se. Clumsy post production and curve tweeking, sure. Just like choosing a film or souping technique that alters the response curve would.
  95. "Ansel Adams was referring to B+W prints from negatives. He didn't relate well to color, and the few Kodachromes he took show it. No criticism from me there; he saw in the idiom of B+W, and did so magnificently. Mr. Adams said "The negative is the score, and the print is the performance"."
    Well I'm with Ansel, I do not relate well to color and generally do not like it. BW is my choice every time for important images and prints. Color in general is not very accurate in its rendition. Especially chromes, though I had to shoot them and demonstrate proficiency at NYI, I preferred color film where I at least had some control in film and printing.
    "With transparency film, the finished transparency is both score and performance.
    I shoot slides by preference."
    If classical musicians were as limited in music as chromes are, the majority of the best in music would not exist today. Fortunately we can also shoot BW with digital, and have extensive control in the camera and processing. Photoshop is the "Electronic Darkroom" and gives us even more control over the finished product than a darkroom.
  96. Here we go again. I'm coming back to my histograms. Thankfuly I have similar shots done with a slr and dslr. There are three photos for comparison. Digital without any adjustments, digital with slight levels pop out and finaly neg (with absolute no corrections done whatsoever). EV exposure are very close in both cases: FL around 80mm, f4, 1/60s, ISO 400. Light was roughly the same. SLR shot on Kodak 400 cheap film and digital done with K20D with 18-55 kit lens (if it matters). My opinion would be: although I shoot with DSLR now I still believe that films give something more sensible and bring more emotions. If it's called the deph or latitude... still something organic does pop ot from films. Very interested in your opinions and thoughts... Please don't look at the saturation of the film as a matter of bad process in probably week chemistry.
  97. ok I messed up with attachments ...
    I'll try again
  98. ok I messed up with attachments ...
    I'll try again
  99. ok I messed up with attachments ...
    I'll try again
  100. what a mess I've done...
    I guess, file 2 is missing
  101. File 3 Pic form negative
  102. It is the same Bull, Matador, and lighting. But the impression of depth or illusion of depth has been increased by processing
    You're right. Why even bother with lighting when you can just post process. Why even try to get it right in camera when Photoshop can obviously fix everything. Thanks for the information.
  103. "It is the same Bull, Matador , and lighting. But the impression of depth or
    illusion of depth has been increased by processing

    "You're right. Why even bother with lighting when you can just post process. Why
    even try to get it right in camera when Photoshop can obviously fix everything.
    Thanks for the information."
    A Ridiculous statement and you know that of course. Not every picture can be captured under "perfect" lighting conditions, you have to do what you can do with what you have, when there. It is much better to "get the shot" than always wait for the time when you have _perfect_ lighting or conditions.
    I'll always capture an excellent shot under any conditions with any film. One of my images was in Life Magazine taken under less than desireable conditions in Korea. A Rabbi holding a 15 year old boy in his arms with tears flowing down his face. The Department of the Army discovered he used a false birth certificate to enlist. He was on his way home for discharge, when a mortar round hit the jeep and killed him.
    Ive been stating in many messages for decades about how much better it is to know your equipment and media, instead of buying bigger and better camera's or lenses in attempts to get better pictures. Ive taught Boy Scout troops Merit Badge classes for decades showing them HOW to get excellent results with fixed lens cameras or inexpensive used cameras under adverse conditions instead of putting them down because of what they had been getting. When you can do that, you can do better work in the long run, than anyone who waits for perfect lighting or conditions.
    Why throw the Baby out with the bath water, in spite of undesirable results. If you know anything, you know that the range of exposure in Digital and FILM is much greater than can be put onto a print. Both have a much greater range than many realize who have little experience. Why not teach them what is possible, with films other than the Chromes and digital. Teach them HOW to pull that range into the visible spectrum in both prints and for viewing on a monitor. Most images I see are losing a LOT of detail actually available in shadows and highlights and color...
    Just because Chromes do not have the range BW, Color Film and Digital have is no excuse for tossing images that can be salvaged, tossing potentially something that is much better than the run of the mill photo from a drugstore.
    Too many for decades have been "accepting" prints from the corner drug store or even some commercial processors who attempt to print only what will fit into their processing methods. Instead of letting your _ego_ about what you can do with Chromes, get in the way of helping others, use some of your knowledge to benefit them.
    Its no "big deal" to talk a good bit about what you can do, anyone can talk.
    Show them something you can do or how to do it.
    Maybe you could learn a thing or to yourself to improve your own images.
    Chromes are not the end all in Photography, most of the Pulitzer Prize winners or nominees were never taken on slides, I'd put any of them up against slides. Have never been nominated, but had many of my News Photos published in the Boston Globe, Herald, Record, NY Times, etc starting when I was a PRO when only 12 years old. They did not judge me for my age, but on my photography. Fortunately I had an aunt who began teaching me photography at six, instead of criticizing.
  104. in looking at the levels adjusted image and the film image, I do get a better sense of the contour of the baby's head in the film image vs the digital. As a consequence, I get a better sense of distance between the left side of the baby's head and the pllows. True, in the film image the pillows are farther away. But in the digital image it is harder to separate the head from the pillows.
    The histogram is not a slam dunk, they are not the same, but the film histogram has found much more middle tones than the digital, although, the upper right of the film image is much darker than the digital, I would have expected the pixel count to have increased on the lower end of the film histogram.
    Returning to contrast again, although James Tye was congerned about the object edges, I wonder if adding contrast to the adjusted digital image, so it matched the near blown out nature of the pillow and baby's lower right face, and a darker left side of the face, would help that sense of separation between background pillows and baby's face.
  105. There is so much going on that is different between film and digital. I also think it is partly to do with the tonal curve. I have recently (through necessity of retaining highlights) found a good application to selectively boost the midtowns and change the mid tone contrast in PS Elements. I did the same to some extent in levels with my old Photoshop, but this tool had helped me identify (some) of the differences in the way digital sees things.
    Obviously massive depth of field increase with most digital cameras changes our feeling compared to film. But putting that aside these is also the colour, which could be perceived to add more depth to an image. I.e. richer colours seem to have more depth.
    And because film produces a (relatively) smooth tonal curve objects will appear more rounded or perhaps fuller?
    Also the softness will make a difference; dark areas tend to fade more smoothly with film, where as to me digital tends to pick out the small differences in the levels more. I.e. If we perceive detail across the whole image it could seem flatter than an image that has more areas of softness. In this way it may be an advantage that there is much less absolute pixel sharpness in film. It can give an image a very solid look not to have peaks, if you know what I mean :) . To me its like film is painted with some kind of lacquer that is just not there with digital. Is that not actual truth?
    If you perceive film to have more depth (for whatever reason) then it does, I guess that’s all that matters. Though this thread has helped me to quantify some of the other ways we might perceive it.
  106. This is just an example of one possible viewpiont.
    It may be interesting to note that though the saturation is very different the work was all done in levels. To me the first picture is more film like. And has a certain kind of depth the other does not. But you will never get exactly the qualities of one medium in another.
  107. Ishmael, do you have the resultant histograms for each of these?

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