Film versus digital

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by oar, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. oar

    oar

    Until recently I thought that a 20 megapixel digital camera would equal all 35mm film but then came across this comparison on ken rockwell's site:
    http://kenrockwell.com/nikon/d3x/sharpness-comparison.htm
    where he shows crops from a Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D3X and Nikon D700 as well as a 2400 dpi (!) scan from Fuji Velvia 50.
    I was shocked to see that the 2400 dpi Vevia scan shows more detail than the digital exposures. For example the tree in the foreground has no (Canon) or almost no (Nikon D3X) leaves in the digital exposures while it is clearly seen to be full of leaves in the film scan. Likewise the grass/leaves under the trees in the background show much more detail in the film scan.
    Is this an aberration or are there other such examples?
    You can get a scanner with Silverlight software capable of 3300 dpi effective scans for 289 Euros.
     
  2. I see the can of worms opening.
     
  3. oar

    oar

    Seriously I don't want to open a can of worms. I don't shoot film at all but still have old Minolta equipment (XGM body, pretty good MD-mount lenses). Now thinking about reviving this equipment.
     
  4. I'm shocked that you where shocked. Frankly the digital gigapixels talk was frankly all hopple speak. No one understood the point was really about Dynamic range not the pixels.
    Can opened and frankly while it's agreed, it's overdone, it's a genuine discussion as long as it's civil. Esp now with so many going back to film.
     
  5. That's not a good test. The 2400 DPI scan is from 6x4.5 camera (not a 35mm camera) and the scans are not particularly good, they were done by a minilab and look like they've been processed very poorly.
    Anyway. This topic has been argued pretty much to death already.
     
  6. What you didn't realize is that this crap is coming from Ken Rockwell! I wouldn't believe anything this guy publishes on his website. All he wants is to direct eye balls to his site, so he can make more money - that's why he loves to provoke with statements and comparisons, like the above.
     
  7. o_O Ken Rockwell and The Holy War in one post...
    My advice is to go out with both your digital and film cameras one day and take the same pictures with each. Make prints from both and scan the film. Choose the one that best fits you in terms of results, use, and processing and take pictures with it.
     
  8. When I got my first dslr, an ~8 megapixel Canon 20D, I tried replicating a tripod-mounted shot I'd previously taken with TMax100, and scanned with the Minolta Scan Elite 5400 (at 5400 dpi). The subject was a sewing machine, with lots of fine detail, machining, etc.
    Comparing results, I found the two outputs fairly close. The TMax scan hinted at further detail, ie: when looking at it's detail there were more subtle variations, but it was very close. Also, the scan drove home just what a pita it was scanning: grainy, dust specks, difficulties getting corner-to-corner focus.
    With todays high megapixel levels, I think it's no contest, apart from ongoing dynamic range issues.
     
  9. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    I may have to give up on film myself. On a recent trip to Hawaii I took along my Minolta XG-9 film camera with 45mm f/2 lens and Canon A570 IS compact digital camera. I had the film developed at a pro lab but the negatives all look a bit thin. That must have been a problem with the developer. How can you get thin negatives when shooting Fuji 400H at 1/250 sec @ f/11 under the Hawaiian sun? I had to do a lot of corrections on the film photos and almost none on the digital photos. I would stick to film for serious work that I develop and print myself but for general shooting I will stick to digital.
     
  10. Mike you can relax. From my experience with my Canon 5D mk1, detail from this camera is close to a good scan from 6x4.5 film. I do shoot 6x9 film when I need a little more detail and more dynamic range (I shoot color negative film).
    A 20mp DSLR will have generally better image quality than a scan of a 35mm slide, no contest.
    So, sure, shoot your old film camera to achieve the "look" of film, but it won't out resolve a hi-res DSLR...
     
  11. This subject is mute to me only because I love both formats and have no qualms with either. As for Ken Rockwell, like all critiques, I take them with a grain of salt and make my own decisions on the collective opinions rather than the one. He does make quite a few points that I agree with and but not some others.
     
  12. A very old question: How many megapixels does it take to equal the quality of a 35mm film image? The answers range from 6 to 40 depending on your assumptions. I could design a picture comparison to illustrate both ends of this spectrum. These numbers are not very helpful. It is the images that are worth considering. When I went over to the dark side I found that a D200 could provide consistently better images compared to what I was getting on 35 mm film. They are not as good as MF and LF which I shoot on occasion. I also shoot some Kodachrome because I'm convinced that a box of 35mm slides will outlive my collection of digital image files. I also enjoy the unique pallet of Kodachrome.
    This is more words than this topic deserves. The only advice I would give is to try some of each format and see for yourself. My opinion on your pictures doesn't matter.
     
  13. By my reckoning, lossy desktop scanned 35mm film clearly outresolves today's DLSR's by a fair bit . .
    Ditto.. and I don't need any charts or techy details, I simply use my analog eye.
     
  14. Actually I still prefer to shoot slide film and scan it.I just love the look especially on a light board through a good loupe.Something I've yet to match with anything digital.
    As for K Rockwell.He kind of lost me recently when he started to justify spending $9000 on a Leica R9 digital body (without lens).For a while there he had me fooled into thinking he was really a film kind of guy at heart.
     
  15. 1) Ken Rockwell is a crazy person.
    2) Why does this debate keep coming up? I am honestly curious.
     
  16. For example the tree in the foreground has no (Canon) or almost no (Nikon D3X) leaves in the digital exposures while it is clearly seen to be full of leaves in the film scan.​
    Haha, I think the pictures were not taken on the same day. Otherwise, I would only shoot film to show scenery and subjects as it "should" ideally be, not as it is.
    Seriously, just shoot whatever you've got. If you don't have anything yet, just buy whatever you can afford. If you can afford anything you want, then what's all the discussion about? Just get one of everything.
     
  17. 1) Ken Rockwell is a crazy person.
    LOL! I don't think he's crazy, I think he likes controversy because it drives traffic to his site.
    Here are links to the opinions of two well respected industry scientists on the issue if you really feel like reading up. But you're probably better off spending your time photographing something.
    http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF7.html
    http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/index.html
    Incidentally, I wouldn't rely on black and white line charts too much. Film resolution is strongly correlated with detail contrast, where digital resolution is not. At a contrast ratio of 100:1 or better B&W charts are not representative of the average contrast of fine details in photography, and are therefore not accurate predictors of performance. For that you would need a gray 2:1 chart. Film's performance on said chart will be 1/2 to 1/3rd what it is on the B&W version. (See Basic Photographic Materials and Processes Third Edition, Chapter 7.)
     
  18. eh...that Ken Rockwell guy is weird. I'm thinking he has some kind of split personality disorder or something. He contradicts himself. I use film almost exclusively for all my pictures, because I just prefer using film. For me, it's more challenging and it's just a lot more fun. I pretty much only use digital for casual snapshots when I'm hanging out with my friends. Or to take pictures of my vintage film cameras :) I had seen parts of Ken Rockwell's website before, and at first I really liked him because it did seem like he was a film guy.
    But then I read where he made a statement saying "only old-timers use manual exposure." What a freaking idiot. I'm only 31, and I use ENTIRELY manual exposure. That's all I use. In fact, the whole reason why I got seriously into photography to begin with is because I wanted to learn how to use vintage cameras with completely manual exposure control. And now, that's all I use. The only auto exposure camera I have is my little digital P&S camera. Otherwise, I prefer completely manual exposure control.
    I mean really, you HAVE to use manual exposure for real photographic techniques.
    After I read what he said, I pretty much totally lost respect for him.
     
  19. These discussions are always a bit of a laugh (sorry). The question should not be about which medium falls apart when I blow a door knob up to the size of a barn? Instead, it should be about which is better for you and the type and size of images you create. For me, I was a medium format guy and loved the results it was getting from my beloved Delta 100. I made the switch a couple of years ago and I don't think I will ever go back. Does my digital B&W work match the delta? Not to my eye (but its very close), but my clients can't tell the difference. Color work is every bit as good as film. The key for me however was the control that I have in the finished product and of course digital retouching is a dream. As someone who shoots portraits, its a no brainer. Other opinions will differ and of course those differing opinions are completely valid for those individuals.
    If you are going to make these comparisons, then do yourself a favor and first print your film images as God intended using the chemical process. Evaluate this first. Then (if you must) scan the image so you can see any degradation caused by the scanner. The scanner used is ALWAYS the great equalizer in these comparisons. This is why you simply must view a quality print via the chemical process. Otherwise, you are comparing a digital master image vs. a second generation digital image created via a scanner and what you are trying to do is compare digital against film.
    Mel
     
  20. You can use manual exposure with digital and auto exposure with film. The exposure has to be 'correct' regardless of the method...you still need to use your head. KR uses his to get 'this stuff' started. You can use a light meter with digital. A sensor is nothing more than reusable film.
    Now that the film question is resloved...on to audio...everybody knows LP's are better than CD's. Any more questions? :)
     
  21. How many megapixels per square inch is like shoes per woman; lures per fisherman; lenses per photographer; horsepower per cubic inch. It is a fuzzy number. With film it is a 2 decade old debate now; we got our first slide scanner 20 years ago. Folks want "justification". Any blur with misfocus; or motion nullifys the granite test bed results. Alot of actual clients scans contain little info compared to best case figures. Most folks do not use a tripod; or use a low iso; or shoot at F8 either.
     
  22. It's kind of ridiculous to confuse photography with counting pixels. Why should I care?
    Film is fine. Digital is also good. If there was yet another alternative I'd use that, too.
     
  23. These comparisons aren't absolute. You need to look at the pictures with the workflow that you intend to use.
    People can talk all that they like about the advantages of drum scanning 6x7 film but if you haven't got a drum scanner and can't afford the money or time to send them out then it doesn't make any difference.
    Shoot some film stocks that you are considering using and some digital. Scan the film using the scanner that you are thinking about buying and compare the results.
    You will probably just find that they are different. I find that they both have different (and overlapping in places) uses.
    Enjoy your photography :)
     
  24. It's all about resolution as in "The film vs digital debate has no resolution"
     
  25. I have a simple test for you. Shoot with your digital gear and shoot with your film gear. Make prints. Hang them on the wall. Live with them for a while. Now which looks better to you? That's a much better test than pixel peeping someone else's results. It might not tell you which has better resolution, but it should give you an idea as to which works better for you.
     
  26. I finally did do a direct comparison a couple of weeks ago shooting a very detailed subject - a hillside covered with trees. I used a D700 and an F6 with an 80-200mm f2.8 set at infinity at F8. The D700 was set at its base ISO 200 and produced a NEF processed in NX2 and the film was Provia 100F scanned through my Coolscan 9000 using NikonScan.
    The results were that film, on close inspection, yielded rather better resolution. Fine details in leaves came out much better and individual leaves were more separated from each other. The D700 couldn't match that and I tried to sharpen the pic using a variety of techniques. I printed both at the same size and judged the output from those.
    There was more grain with the film of course but I don't mind that at all. The D700 brought out more subtlety in the colours (faint reds and yellows) whereas the Provia was a much greener rendition that was obvious from the slide even before scanning.
    My conclusion from this experience was that you'll need something upward of 20MP to match film that is scanned decently well if all you care about is resolution.
     
  27. Mike,
    It's really an apples and oranges thing. I finally realized that if I shot color digital is fine. Even my P&S digital takes great photos. But w/ digital you have to address other issues besides resolution. Crop factor, sensor noise, etc all need to be dealt with. And w/ film you have a lot of different looks you can get depending on your choice of emulsions. Pure resolultion is just one factor, and unless you're doing very large prints it's not that important in my view. On the other hand, my Leica 35mm camera has a lens that images better than my little P&S, so if I want to shoot color I take them both and nearly always prefer the Leica photos. If I shot a lot of color I would invest in a Pentax DSLR and get the Leitax Leica lens adapter and some wide angle Leica R lenses and be very happy indeed.
    If you shoot B&W, or want large prints (16x20 and up), forget digital. Nothing is as good in B&W as a film print. It isn't even close, unless you like that smoothed over, narrow dynamic range look. Can be quite nice for portraits, but you'll not have a negative and have to inkjet your prints. Not acceptable in my opinion for B&W. And a MF or LF camera can have their negs blown up to very large sizes w/o any loss of sharpness. If you shoot 5x7 or larger cameras you also have the option to contact print your negatives, which opens the door to Platinum, Palladium, and a host of other beautiful styles of printing.
    These resolution tests are a snipe hunt. Who looks at little zoomed in crops of an image? You can only see which look you like best by viewing the entire enlarged print.
    James, you might want to invest in a shutter tester. That's the only way to know at what speed your camera is actually firing at. I suspect you may have an inaccurate shutter. Wise to bracket the important shots too.
     
  28. The only way to do this is with blind comparisons. The few that I have seen do not suggest that film is chosen as "better" more often than randomly. In short, they global IQ in blind tests comparing good film and good digital images is about the same.
     
  29. If you shoot B&W, or want large prints (16x20 and up), forget digital. Nothing is as good in B&W as a film print. It isn't even close, unless you like that smoothed over, narrow dynamic range look. Can be quite nice for portraits, but you'll not have a negative and have to inkjet your prints. Not acceptable in my opinion for B&W. And a MF or LF camera can have their negs blown up to very large sizes w/o any loss of sharpness. If you shoot 5x7 or larger cameras you also have the option to contact print your negatives, which opens the door to Platinum, Palladium, and a host of other beautiful styles of printing.​
    Right you are John. I find that for the color work I do for weddings, a DSLR is just fine....all you could ever want. I'm enjoying the low noise, good color and tonality, and the resolution from my 7D. For B&W though, I'll stick with MF and 4x5.
     
  30. Anthony Zipple wrote: "The only way to do this is with blind comparisons."
    I recently took several prints to a meeting with a gallery owner. The origin of the prints was not identified in any way (a mix of Nikon and Leica, several film types and the Leica DMR). The gallery owner made a big fuss over the color and detail of the larger prints from the DMR. At the end of our meeting he chose several prints for display in the gallery, all (without his knowledge) made with the DMR. YMMV.
     
  31. One of the posters wrote "........if all you care about is resolution."
    In matters of perception, which this debate is, it is rarely about just one aspect of perception. Therefore, the opinion of another is rarely applicable.
    Everyone should run their own tests, get the best scan made from the film, and have great prints made. Decide for yourself. Expecting to get a valid answer from a forum is like getting an answer to what is the best wine, or what is the best perfume. The answer is going to come down to personal perception.
    of the
     
  32. I'm also a film shooter but not because I think film is better. I really don't care. Besides, the human eye cannot even come close to resolving detail as much as camera lenses, sensors and films are able to. So one can make the point all they want but in the end, most people won't be able to tell the difference. I also disagree with the notion that film is to be used for more important things and digital for less. Every shot you take should be important enough to make sure nothing is overlooked. Every time one takes a photograph, they are making a statement. They are saying "I think this is worthy of a photograph". Why not make all the effort necessary to ensure that the results are the best they can be?
     
  33. WElcome to the future when pics resolution, color, performance become so perfect, so flawless, so noise free. Instead of photographers we will have Image Perfectographers were digital holographic 3D tablet prints with zone crops of x1000 pixels will be the standard work output for professionals. With Microscopic zone crops not too far off.
    Meanwhile the odd folks, used to be called Photographers, with their primitive "film" boxes try to sell their "abstract" grainy prints.
     
  34. I'm firmly in both camps.
    I have a Nikon D3x that I use for most of my aerial work because it lets me shoot fast (helicopter time is expensive!) and get the quite respectable results to my clients very quickly.
    I have a medium format camera that I use in the studio and for most of my architectural work. I have a 22 megapixel digital back for it, but I also often use it to shoot film. I scan the film with a Nikon CS 9000. That gives me a 49 megapixel image which I sometimes need for very large prints.
    If the client absolutely insists, I shoot 4X5. I then do "proof" scans on an Epson 750 and have the final selection(s) scanned on a drum scanner. Makes great wall-sized prints.
    And I agree with a previous poster, that the real image quality issue is dynamic range, not megapixels.
    So I boldly say "Both!"
     
  35. I am not at all surprised.
    Digital has come a long way in the last 10 years but in my opinion, film still reigns supreme. I shoot a lot of black and white, in both 35mm and 120, using Ansel Adam's Zone System. I don't care how good the matrix metering system is in your camera, or how good you are at Photoshop, you will never be able to achieve with digital what you can with black and white film and top notch paper like Oriental Seagull, which although it is expensive, is all I use.
     
  36. Which one would win on Celebrity Deathmatch?
     
  37. Greg Peterson [​IMG], Oct 13, 2009; 12:05 p.m.
    And I agree with a previous poster, that the real image quality issue is dynamic range, not megapixels.​
    While for the most part I agree, the problem I found was that while some people go on and on about the dynamic range of film vs digital, when you ask what film they are using, you find out it is Velva or Astia, or something along that line.....films with DR that was surpassed a long time ago with DSLRs. Heck, even my old Canon 10D beats what you can get in terms of DR from Velvia. That said, I'd take the Velvia scan any day over the 10D ;-)
     
  38. That can of worms has never been closed actually. But, not to say one is better then another, I suggest to consider these numbers:
    Largest file size top DSLR can produce is less then 50Mb
    Largest file Imacon scaner makes from one good 35mm frame is about 600Mb
    Largest file Heidelberg drum scaner makes from one good 35mm frame is more then 1000Mb
     
  39. Ignoring the source of the original poster's question (the blogger in question is an irritating publicity hound who garnered many new searchable mentions of his name in this very thread, which I'm sure was his goal), I think this will remain a theoretical question of some interest until we definitively answer it. To this point, I suspect if the camera companies have answered it (and I suspect they have), they aren't making the answers known publicly.

    But the question remains, how much detail can the finest grain 35 mm film capture, and how many megapixels would you need to equal or surpass it? The manual of photography seems to suggest that 35 mm film is good for anywhere between 17 and 170 MP, if I'm reading it right, but they present no basis for their claim (as they fail to do often in that poorly written book). Meanwhile, the Koren reference given above suggests that 11+ MP "clearly outperforms 35 mm" using an end result assessment of print quality. For my part I find it very difficult to believe that 11 MP figure simply based on the much smaller size of photo sites in film (grain size?) vs digital.

    My own sense, a vague one at best based on no hard data at all, is that somewhere well north of 20 MP, perhaps above 40 MP, we may actually completely defeat the best that 35 mm could ever offer. But on a related note, I think we must plateau fairly soon. The 2.6 MP D1 from 99 was increased to 24.5 in the D3x after only 9 years, a 9.4-fold increase. On that curve, we would arrive in the neighborhood of 230 MP in the D6x in 2017. I'm no engineer, but I doubt that even a century from now the 35 mm sized sensor will be capable of that, so if we make it to 30 or 40 MP in the 35 mm size, that may be all we ever get, eh?
     
  40. I seem to recall looking at that comparison sometime back. If it's the one that I'm thinking of, it was a photo of the countryside where objects were at a number of different distances from the camera.
    At the time I though that this wasn't an accurate test, because you couldn't tell where the exact plane of focus was in each photo. Therefore, areas of the frame that were being compared may not have been at the exact focal point. If you compare a section of two photos, you should compare them at the plane of focus. If the section from one photo exhibits lens blur (a function of depth-of-field), then that photo will seem inferior based on only this test.
    The way to test this properly is:
    (1) Compare a flat surface (e.g. a wall)
    (2) Make sure that the wall is exactly on the plane of focus.
    (3) Make sure that the wall is lit from the side or the top in order to show contrast on the surface (no "front lighting")
    (4) Use two cameras with sensors of exactly the same size (e.g., a 35mm film camera and one with a full-frame digital sensor)
    (5) Use the SAME LENS on both cameras.
    (6) Use mirror lock-up on both cameras. Both cameras mounted on the same tripod.
    (7) Use SAME aperture on both cameras.
    (8) Set the digital camera to its optimum ISO setting.
    (9) Both cameras must use the same auto-focus settings, and the auto-focus system of each should be verified in advance.
    (10) If manual focus is used, multiple shots should be taken at slight variations, and the sharpest one for each camera should be the one used in the comparison.
    If someone wants to set up a more scientific test, I'll be glad to consider it. Anecdotal experiments aren't going to deliver a convincing verdict.
     
  41. People want Ken Rockwell to be on one side of the film vs digital debate, when I believe he truly sees the value and virtue in both.
    I've been going to his website for several years now and I honestly don't see him as being contradictory, two-faced, or any other negative comment that readers want to call him.
    If he bashes Nikon for something, the Canon shooters rejoice.
    If he talks up Velvia in medium format, the film shooters consider his words to be law.
    But when he "switches sides" (ie mentions something positive about the "other guy") then he is a traitor, doesn't know what he's talking about, and is simply addicted to attention.
    Come on now.
    People grow and modify their opinions all the time. Ken offers his knowledge to a wide range of people, and I think all in all, he provides a good service.
     
  42. The worm is turning....I'm glad to see that the discussion has been technical. The other thing to remember is that ken has the gear to do extreme pixel peeping, we don't.
    From a photographers point of view, the top end offerings of Canon and Nikon are superb. They are both starting to reveal that some so called pro lenses are not that good after all.
    However, one has to be very very good, with the best lens on the most expensive pro digital body to come close to the resolution of a low ISO film like Velvia.
     
  43. I really hope this stupid MP race is over soon. All it's done is to further this stupid film vs. digital war. It's been a huge waste of $$$ for the companies and the consumers that should have been spent on something meaningful... like getting digital sensors to do things that film absolutely CANT do. There is a little bit of work being done in this realm, such as the HDR or bracketing button that snaps off three different exposures at full FPS. How about better tonal range so that color images and color images converted to B&W don't look like muddy mush? How about programmable color spaces so the camera can record a wider range of middle tones for portraits or subtle differences in bright colors for flower photos... (like choosing between Kodak NC and VC films!). How about UV mode? How about better solutions for long exposures/high ISO than just in camera or out of camera post processing? How about recording distance information as part of the image file so any photograph can be used to generate a 3D map for doing computated focus correction? Any one of these would be a bigger leap that the difference between 10MP and 12MP.
     
  44. Here's my story... People are getting amazing 4x6 prints from their digicams. Since buying a D70, I've been blown away by the image quality.
    Then, threads here showed more resolution in film.
    I did my own test. I took comparable not-exotic equipment out for a shoot of stationary objects. My test rigs: Nikon FG with 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor lens, Fuji 200 color negative film, scanned on a Coolscan V at 4000 ppi, producing a 20MPx file. Nikon D100 with 35mm f/2 Nikkor lens, shooting at ISO 100, 6MPx. Nothing exotic. Nikon primes of comparable quality.
    Results:
    a) Film has more resolution, you can see it.
    b) The D100 has much less noise.
    c) In some areas, the D100 had better rendition, of the surface textures, better feel (e.g., textured granite in grazing sunlight). In these areas, it was the film noise that wiped out the texture, leaving digital the winner.
    d) Looking at 8x12 prints, they were very comparable. Both excellent image quality, in my judgment. Viewers preferred the digital saying it was "sharper." I'm sure this because I used pretty strong sharpening (thanks, Bruce Fraser!) on the print from digital and almost none on the print from film scan.
    e) There is a subtle difference in feel of the light in the images. I can't say either is better or worse, just different. This should not be a surprise. Films, lenses, and sensors impart a feel to their images.
    f) The scanned film probably had 10-12Mpx of information (the file size is larger, of course); the D100 only 6Mpx period. Yet the images are very comparable. The megapixel-count isn't everything. Resolution isn't everything in image quality. My film scan has more resolution than the digital, but the prints are comparable. I summarize it this way: In my experience, Digital pixels are better than scanned-film pixels. Maybe by 2:1.
    Caveats:
    - I used nothing exotic. You can get better film images with better film, better scan, maybe(?) with a better lens, certainly with MF or LF. But, you can also get a lot better digital camera today than the D100.
    - All my tests were in sufficient light. Things are probably different in low light.
    Corollary: If you are thinking about MF film for better image quality, it will take a really good scan of MF to beat today's DSLRs.
    Images to follow.
     
  45. Here's the comparison... Actual pixels. I think film shows more resolution in the writing on the blackboard. I think the texture of the granite in the red box is better with digital. Notice the noise in the film scan. Notice how clean is the digital image.
    [​IMG]
     
  46. Here's the scanned film in Screen resolution:
    [​IMG]
    Scanned film: Fujicolor 200, Nikon FG, 50mm f/1.8, Coolscan V
     
  47. Here's the D100 capture in screen resolution. Even at this resolution, people have noticed the difference in the granite texture. And, the light has a slightly different feel, even though the images were taken within minutes (Note shadow positions are nearly the same.)
    [​IMG]
    Nikon D100, 35mm f/2.0 Nikkor lens
     
  48. Quality is subjective. Detail not so much.
    This topic is so long lasting because the answer largely depends on technique and experience .
    35mm BW film can resolve 35+ megapixels of detail (It would take a 50MP+ DSLR after bayer pt, etc to approximate that).
    35 mm color film like Velvia can resolve about 24MP (It would take a 35MP DSLR to approximate it in high contrast detail).
    That is what film can do. The rest is up to the individual's equipment and their ability.
    35mm print film captures slightly more detail than the top end DSLRs today.
    Yet:
    Some people post they can only get detail comparable to a 10 or 12 megapixel camera, or that they cannot get more detail out of medium format film as they can with their DSLR. Some say their ability to use film yields no better detail than a 6MP camera. For some others it is 3MP. They are convinced of this because IT IS TRUE - yet the confusion is that they think it is a limitation of the film, not their technique-experience-lens-scanner-development skills, etc.
     
  49. If anyone wants to play with the full-res images, let me know and I'll post links.
     
  50. Richard, can you upsize your D100 to match the size of the iso 200 film and post the crop where it says carrot cake for both to compare?
     
  51. Mauro, I enjoyed your thread a while back... The one about "Maybe it's poor scans..."
    In my case, I wanted to see what could be obtained easily, with stuff right on my shelf. I came away feeling that 35mm film could produce results comparable to 6Mpx digitals. And, I came away interested in shooting film again.
     
  52. Hi,
    I've modfied the size of the digital shot to match the size of the film shot. Result speak by itself.Less noise than film, but less detail.
    00Ujs9-180163584.jpg
     
  53. Hi,
    I've modfied the size of the digital shot to match the size of the film shot. Result speak by itself.Less noise than film, but less detail.
     
  54. It makes me glad to hear that. Interestingly, all but one of my photographer friends have re-adopted film over the last year or so. No one predicted that. The majority of them have fully switched to film completely for their personal work.
     
  55. Miguel has the comparison. I just made an upsized comparison and it's just like his. In my view, the film has resolved a little more: The lettering is clearer, the second R and the final E in carrot cake are more distinct. I can read "chicken" on the left; it's "charon" on the right. On the other hand, I can see the granite texture in the two blocks just above the blue sign in the digital. I cannot see it in the film scan.
     
  56. Richard, this is the same comparison, but running noise filter on the 200 negative film the same as the digital camera does. If I had a less compressed jpeg the results would be better:
    00Ujt0-180169584.jpg
     
  57. it can't hurt us any to keep film around. hate the idea of all that beautiful, perfectly serviceable equipment not able to be used anymore.
    if i have serious money to invest in equipment in the future, more interested in maintaining the 35mm and MF cameras i already have [or selectively divesting/acquiring others] rather than buying a lot of new digital equipment that will be obsolete in a matter of months. that's the part that bugs me the most.
    i do have one digital camera. a panasonic DMC-LX2. i love it and bring it everyplace. but its purpose in life is different than the best film cameras i have. i don't know if anything digital could ever take the place of the mamiya 7 or rolleiflex.
     
  58. Here are full-res files... I invite anyone to print the two JPEGs at 8x12 and judge for yourself. I think they are very comparable. If anyone wants to play with these, I'm interested in suggestions for noise reduction to the scan so that it can be sharpened like the digital capture. Sharpening does a lot for perceived image quality.
    Scanned Film: --- JPEG prepared for 8x12 print (2MB, not sharpened) ---
    D100 dSLR: --- Original NEF (5MB) --- JPEG Prepared for 8x12 print (2.6MB, sharpened) ---
     
  59. Yep. People often ask what is the purpose behind this comparisons.
    A significant part of it is to help people avoid mistakes that are irreparable. There are photographers in this thread that gave up film completely when they purchased their 3mp or 6mp cameras.
    They did because of misinformation. Then years later the landscapes at 5:00 in the morning in a remote cold location they took cannot ever be retaken. Then they either justify their decision to themselves and other people or deeply regret it.
     
  60. Richard, the film shot have a small amount of motion in it or it is just the lens' characteristics?
     
  61. Maruo, I wondered about that too. Don't know. The film is an unsharpened scan; the digital files are what they are.
    The digital was shot at 125th at f/11 ISO 200; the film is the same. Both are hand-held. Both manually focused. Focus is on the black wrought-iron fencing which is about 18" closer than the chalkboard. DOF at f/11 should certainly cover that.
     
  62. For the really adventurous, the original 130MB 16bit 4000 ppi Coolscan V scan is here.
     
  63. Mauro, the noise reduction you ran... What settings? What software?
     
  64. Really I'm of the "they both have their place" crowd. There's some stuff I've taken with digital that I would have never even tried with film because of the lack of instant turnaround and the ability to happily "waste" frames. On the other hand, despite taking probably a greater quantity of shots per outing with digital, I still look back on my film images and frankly like them better.
    Anyway I shoot digital mostly out of convenience, but also carry around MF with Velvia loaded for those cases where the Velvia touch is warranted. No amount of PP of digital quite captures its look I find.
    Unfortunately even having pretty good scanners (a DiMage 5400 II for 35mm for example), the scans just don't quite do justice. In some cases it isn't horribly obvious, but in many they "look" scanned to me. I think part of the problem is one is screen and the other is transparency - that transparent magic just doesn't come through.
    Finally, I also really miss Ciba Chrome (Hmmm... I have an unopened kit, I wonder if it would still work...?). Have yet to see that glistening magic Melanex look repeated with digital prints...
     
  65. Cibachrome still exists. It's called Ilfochrome.
     
  66. I agree....seems to be motion blur on the tif file. Probably affected both.
     
  67. Richard,
    I use neatimage. I lower reduction amount from 60 to 40. I check sharpening Y and conservative and lower the level to 60.
     
  68. OMG! Does it really matter at this point? Everything depends on whatever an individual is happy with or used to. I switch from day to day, doing film, doing digital. I have not one preference, just how I feel on a given day, in the end though, the images end up on the 'puter.
     
  69. I don't use any noise reduction for my files or prints. I just show it as an example of what digital cameras do.
     
  70. Hi,
    This is probably a silly suggestion - but is it possible he took the two photographs in different seasons of the year, and so there actually are leaves on the tree in one of the shots, and there actually aren't leaves on the tree in the other?
    I've seen the pictures you're talking about, and to be honest, yes the film result looks better, but I don't think its because of resolution so much as because of the richness of colour and tonal range. I shoot film and digital, and I love my film shots. But being relatively inexperienced, I find that the number of good shots I get is higher from digital because I get a chance to adjust and re-shoot: an expensive proposition in Film. I'm sure that as I get more experienced, the quality of shots I get from film and digital will begin to equal out.
    By "quality" and "good shots" I mean my impression of the whole image - not what I might see from gazing at a pixel-to-pixel crop of a corner of the image.
    :)
    Vineet
     
  71. I applaud Richard for his thorough analysis and for posting IMAGES to back up his conclusions. My only concerns lie in the selection of gear and film for the tests.
    On the digital side, I think we can all agree that sensors have come a LONG WAY since the venerable D100. Try testing a modern 12 MP sensor supported with the high-powered image-crunching chips that come in, say, a D300 or D700. Then try it with a 21 to 24 MP sensor. (Then, just for fun, try it with a 60 MP Phase One back.)
    On the film side, ISO 200 print film is by no means the holy grail of media. How about testing Velvia 100, Velvia 50, or Kodachrome 100VS?
    Last, but not least, lenses. I'd like to see the same test shot with something ultra-sharp like Nikon's 200mm f/2 of the next generation 70-200mm VR II. Then we'd have a clearer idea of what's possible TODAY.
     
  72. 35mm BW film can resolve 35+ megapixels of detail (It would take a 50MP+ DSLR after bayer pt, etc to approximate that).​
    I'd love to see these conclusions backed up with real test results. Forgive me if I take them with a grain of salt, because it all sounds just a tad optimistic.
    My scanned 35mm chromes make beautiful prints up to about 16 x 24 inches. Beyond that, the grain becomes rather distracting. I've seen amazing 40-inch prints from images captured with 16-24 MP DSLR's. Being a large-format film enthusiast, I didn't want to believe it, but the evidence was right there in front of my eyes. I've seen the same high-resolution detail in prints by different photographers at different galleries, all shot with full-frame DSLR's, so it's not a fluke.
    If the proof is in the print, these modern DSLR's do an amazing job.
     
  73. Les Sarile said:
    Film has every bit the control as shooting digital and then some. You may have to learn the characteristics of film particularly it's ability to control highlights as shown below. Might help you next time you try high key.​
    Les, you mis-interpreted what I was saying. I am referring to post production. I never developed my own film, and was therefore at the mercy of the pro labs that I used. I got fed up with lab techs fiddling with my contrast and colors even when I told them not too. When I went digital, I went all the way including the printing process. So, NOW I am in total control of the entire process from composition and the click of the shutter all the way to the finished print. Now if I'm not happy with the results, I yell at the guy in the mirror.
    Of course, those who print their own film have the same control. But most of those are printing BW prints and not color. In either case, I wasn't doing it. I relied on the lab.
    Mel
     
  74. Dan, slide film is not a great comparison; it has lots of contrast, but it's actually not spectacular at resolving fine detail. If you really want fine detail, you probably need to use something like Fuji Acros 100. But then, the reality is that most of us just don't need to optimise for fine detail at all cost. Other aspects of the image are more important.
     
  75. Dan, no problem. You can email me you address and I can mail you some film.
    Also a 40" print of a 16-24mp dslr can look ok. None questions that. Same as a 20" print of a 4-6mp dslr though.
     
  76. It really doesn't matter any more. Great results are achievable with either system so long as you are prepared to learn how to do it properly. What does matter is how you personally feel about working. If (like me) you hate sitting at computers all the time then don't do it. If you like post processing with a computer then fine, do that.
    As for resolution, both film and digital are subject to the laws of physics. From what I have seen, for the same format/sensor size, things are now more or less equal.
    i.e. a full frame sensor is about equal to a 35mm frame of good film, etc. It's all down to magnification and I think advances in sensor design have probably reached their physical limits so any future advance would have to be an actual increase in area rather than trying to pack more pixels into the same area.
     
  77. The argument distilled to this, and everyone has had it to the back teeth with arguments about it.
    If we grant that its a dead heat in the hands of the pros, this is my take on it after a lifetime with film:
    Film is gorgeous, messy, difficult to develop on your own and time consuming.
    Digital is immediate, technically very challenging and very expensive if you add in computers, software and if you want Velvia-challenging image resolution etc.
    Theoretically I can get a better image of a landscape using Velvia in a $200, 30 year old camera. But its a pain. What bugs me is that we are being taken for a ride on price with digital cameras. And the depreciation and obsolescence is disturbing.
     
  78. agree Stephen, although I do find the developing and scanning stage enjoyable and serenity is priceless. when I don't have time, i get the lab to do it.
     
  79. I am more or less resigned to the ascendancy of digital, but it still bugs me to have to charge the battery rather than just pick up the camera and dart out the door. Digital forces one to plan ahead, and, with my job, I just shoot when I can squeeze it in. In August I found myself in the extreme northwestern corner of NC with two FF Canons, a 24-70 on one and a 70-200 on the other, batteries charged in both cams, trying to keep things simple with two zooms--and then discovered that I had brought one card now to be shared between the two, so I spent the remains of the day swapping cards rather than lenses. Managed to bring back a couple of keepers in spite of the madness, but I wonder how many I might have gotten with film. My old AE-1 could sit on the shelf for months and still be ready to go in an instant. What happened to simplicity? I have six cards full of something (going back over a year) to be downloaded here. Need to backup another external HD. Gets crazy sometimes. . . .
    Guess you could say that I have not exactly learned to manage the digital workflow.
    --Lannie
     
  80. I wonder how many I might have gotten with film. My old AE-1 could sit on the shelf for months and still be ready to go in an instant. What happened to simplicity? I have six cards full of something (going back over a year) to be downloaded here. Need to backup another external HD. Gets crazy sometimes. . . .
    Guess you could say that I have not exactly learned to manage the digital workflow.​
    Then why not pick up that AE-1 and try film again? No one is forcing you to go down the digital route.
     
  81. As Gag Halfrunt (Zaphod Beeblebrox's brain care specialist in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) would put it: "Vell, Ken's just zis guy, you know?"
     
  82. Going back to the motion blur.....I had a chance to play a bit with the tif image last night. There definitely is some motion blur. 1/125 simply isn't enough. The problem with this is tha where one would expect film to win is in the high frequency detail.....and that gets washed away with the slightest amount of motion. I've done comparisons showing that problem occurs even out to 1/1000 when handheld, when compared to tripod mounting.
    In the end though, the D100 is identical to the old Canon 10D....which I still have. While the 200 neg film from Kodal is truly horrible, going to a normal film like Reala 100 would reduce grain to 1/4 of what is seen here. That said, if I was shooting for the ultimate quality, a good 24mp DSLR will provide for better output than even a scan of Velvia in 35mm. While the true rez may be the same, the DSLR does it with a lack of noise.
    If I wanted to beat the DLSR, I'd be using medium format.....keeping in mind that at 16x20, you'll see little to no difference between a 24mp DSLR and scanned MF film....you'll need bigger prints to truly see the difference.
     
  83. In the discussion of digital vs film, don't forget that for those who loved slow slide film (Kodachrome 25 or Velvia 50) a roll a day cost almost $5,000 per year. I don't really want to argue whether those old film shots were better or not than my current work with a D90, I just can't afford film. Plus the convenience of digital further obviates things for me.
     
  84. Steve's point on parallels between film and digital for the same sensor and film size is probably the most long lasting.
    This is not only because digital is reaching resolution levels comparable to film for the same format, but because of the dynamics of shooting a particular format is bound by the lens availability, perspective control, depth of field, diffraction, etc, that rule film and digitally simillarly.
    Dynamic range, color interpolation, fringing etc will also be bettered on digital cameras to a point where ultimately the choice of format will be bounding.
    Things that will remain are (in my opinion) are related to the structure (random-film vs square pixels-digital) and the personal choice of workflow and tonal characteristics. Film will provide a choice of structure and tonal capture.
    As probably the majority of us do. When I shoot B&W I do it for the structure, tones and dynamic range and never think I am resolution limited. When I shoot Velvia I do it for the colors and never think I am resolution limited.
    With film and digital I pick the composition and aperture that fits my vision. I more seldom shoot only at f4 - 5.6 just because I want to exploit more resolution.
     
  85. Ted, that is another valid point. For applications that you need to shoot hundreds of pictures a week, every week, digital gives you and advantage.
     
  86. As much as digital is actractive when mass production is needed, film seems to be attractive when people have the alternative to pace themselves.
    How many in this forum use both digital and film, and when shooting landscapes decide to use their DSLR? It'd be interesting to know.
    How many use more film today than a year ago?
    Among the photographers that surround me who use both mediums, none of them shoots landscapes with their DSLRs (including me). Why? I don't know. That is for them to answer.
     
  87. Dave Luttmann , Oct 14, 2009; 08:36 a.m.
    Going back to the motion blur.....I had a chance to play a bit with the tif image last night. There definitely is some motion blur. 1/125 simply isn't enough.​
    Dave, thanks for looking at that. This test was deliberately non-exotic; I was impressed that I could get sufficiently sharp prints at 8x12 from both film and digital. Yes, it's a good point that 125th is not enough to get to most out of film, even Fuji 200 consumer film.
    I'll try to do another with Ektar 100, a tripod, and I'll upgrade the digital to D200 (10MPx), and maybe throw in a MF capture as well.
     
  88. Dan South, Oct 14, 2009; 01:01 a.m.
    ... Try testing a modern 12 MP sensor supported with the high-powered image-crunching chips that come in, say, a D300 or D700. Then try it with a 21 to 24 MP sensor. (Then, just for fun, try it with a 60 MP Phase One back.)
    ... How about testing Velvia 100, Velvia 50, or Kodachrome 100VS?
    Last, but not least, lenses. I'd like to see the same test shot with something ultra-sharp like Nikon's 200mm f/2 of the next generation 70-200mm VR II. Then we'd have a clearer idea of what's possible TODAY.​
    I found it really instructive to do a serious side-by-side comparison, same time, same light, comparable equipment. I invite others to try it with their equipment. I'd like to see the side by side results. I don't have the lenses you mention, but better film is a easy re-do.
    I'm personally interested in the alternatives actually available on my shelf, not in what's ultimately possible. So... I'm thinking about my next test... Does this sound like a test of comparables:
    - Digital: Nikon D200, Nikkor 35mm f/2 prime, tripod, Adobe Camera Raw converter
    - Film: Nikon F2, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 prime, Ektar 100, tripod, Coolscan V at 4000 ppi, Noise Ninja
     
  89. Dave Luttman:
    ...going to a normal film like Reala 100 would reduce grain to 1/4 of what is seen here​
    Thinking about this and Mauro's impressive noise reduction...
    I think you may have a point here that would change my conclusions. The grain and noise limits the quality I got in the film shot. With smaller grain (1/4?) and noise reduction, then I can sharpen the film image for printing, which we know affects the perceived sharpness. If the change is significant, then perhaps I'll see a significant image quality advantage with film, something I did not see in my first test.
    I'll do the above test, and post results in a week or so.
     
  90. Look forward to the results Richard. Thank you for sharing your results. It'd be interesting if you can throw in some Velvia as well.
     
  91. I'll look forward to that as well. Reala and Ektar have grain RMS figures of 3....compared to 5 or 6 from Kodak 200. To be honest though, at print sizes of 16x24 and larger, I don't consider 35mm to be up to the task....not just in resolution, but in tonality and grain as well. Those sizes are more for MF and above. While I've done scans at 6300ppi from Fuji Astia, and made prints at 16x24 and 20x30 that look quite good, you're btter off using MF and 4x5 for those sizes for image quality
     
  92. Digital is for: Anything using a flash, sports, snapshots, autofocus(yesI know some film cameras have autofocus, but they are nowhere near as fast as the comparative digital models. And yes, I know it's not the film's fault, but that doesn't change the fact that autofocus on digital models is faster).
    Film is for: Everything else
     
  93. The grain and noise limits the quality I got in the film shot. With smaller grain (1/4?) and noise reduction, then I can sharpen the film image for printing, which we know affects the perceived sharpness.​
    Scroll down to the beach scene in this link . This was a casual weekend snap done on the previous generation Kodak Gold 100. It was a very grainy emulsion (that I loved for other reasons.) In any case, it is obvious that scanned film images are quite amenable to the digital post techniques that are now prevalent.
     
  94. Wow Robert,
    Those Kodak 100 scans are SHARP!
     
  95. > The Olympus Epic is the finest snapshooter
    don't forget to always set to +1 (or what the correct correction?) if using velvia 50 (the old one) because this film effectively has only 40 ASA.
    additionally from the tests I made I found that the 35/2.8 lens of the Mju-II (as the Epic is called in Europe) can't match a quality lens like leica summicron 35/2 asph. I know, a few years ago ken rockwell recommended the Epic as the cheapest 10Mpix camera (film&scan).
    So I bought a new Mju-ii to check it out. Shortly after I sold it. Maybe it works better with negative film but I use velvia 50 only. (one note: the lens in the old Mju-i is probably better. I later also tried a Konica big-mini as p&s. I liked it more than Mju-II, but also abandoned it as second camera. For 35mm film I use M6 only. before and after the p&s adventure.)
     
  96. I like to shoot film whenever possible because I'm getting old. After I'm toes up, it's at least conceivable that some future someone might look at my transparencies. But I'm pretty sure that my elaborately backed-up digital files will pass on with me. (Digital can live on forever in theory, but it requires nurturing. My wife wouldn't know how. My son would, but he will probably have better things to do.)
    Guess I'd better make some prints. Ah, vanity!
     
  97. It is a relative measure as shown by my res test above - Fuji Velvia (RVP50), scans are higher resolving then the finest color negatives. Finer b&w of course scan even higher res.​
    And to my eyes, Velvia 100 is a tad sharper than RVP50, albeit less saturated. Velvia is MUCH sharper than Astia.
    I shoot slide film because (1) I like the look, (2) I like the contrast, and (3) I hate dealing with negatives.
    Also, to Mauro: I have plenty of film to examine, but thanks for the offer.
     
  98. "...some film cameras have autofocus, but they are nowhere near as fast as the comparative digital models."
    The autofocus on my 1vHS is frighteningly fast, perhaps not quite as fast as the 1dmkIII (the 1dmkIII has much newer processors) but still definitely in the same ballpark and still most impressive. At the very least, it's too fast for me to notice a difference (I don't own a 1dIII but I have used one). In response to Mauro's question about the number of us who use more film today than a year ago, I'm definitely in that category as I use far more film than digital. We'll see how that holds up in the upcoming weeks as my 7D is due to arrive next week. In all likelihood though, I'll still be shooting more film as I simply enjoy using film and my film cameras, particularly my 1vHS (a phenomenal camera!) and my old manual Minoltas and Nikons.
    As an aside, I've enjoyed this particular thread about this subject far more than any other as I feel that most everyone has been open to the true merits of both media and not taking such defensive stances as is typically the case with this topic. It's also nice to see some digital users freely discuss their 'return' to film and how they incorporate both film and digital into their workflow or 'hobbyflow'.
     
  99. Andy, I have given the Minoltas some travel time lately as well sing they are more compact and have sharper standard primes than my Canons.
     
  100. s.d. woods:
    "Digital is for: Anything using a flash, sports, snapshots, autofocus(yesI know some film cameras have autofocus, but they are nowhere near as fast as the comparative digital models. And yes, I know it's not the film's fault, but that doesn't change the fact that autofocus on digital models is faster).
    Film is for: Everything else"​
    i don't know... simpler controls [ability to zone focus, adjust lens opening on the fly, etc.]; a shutter that fires with absolutely no lag time... don't film cameras have it all over digital in this way, or have DSLRs improved a lot?
     
  101. Mauro, I have also been really impressed with my Minolta primes, especially when mounted on my XD-11. What a great compact slr, with superb metering and handling, in spite of its small size.
     
  102. No lag in my D90 (or perhaps I'm just old and can't tell). I think Digital is for everything. Film is an anachronism. Debating image quality without consideration of cost, convenience, work flow is a fool's errand. Years go for some photographers thought the only acceptable resolution was 8x10 sheet film, for others Tri-X pushed three times on 35mm got them memorable images.
    At $15/roll of slides developed for high end color, 10 rolls or one 8gb memory card. $150.00 or reusable. The money factor for me is trump. I also find the resolution I got with Kodachrome 25 or Velvia 50 did not contribute to greater enjoyment of my results versus my meagre 12 MP D90. Now if someone wanted to give me a trust fund and a great scanner... I'd love to use my old Contax G2s again.
     
  103. On the other hand you can forever chase more. If 35mm film is better, then medium format is better yet, etc, etc. Even within this forum, no one is comparing film to larger format digital systems. If you shoot much, digital - even the Leica S2 at $22K become cost effective quickly, that's less than 1500 rolls of Velvia processed, but not scanned.
     
  104. Andy, I have 8 XD11's Silver and Black. It is a fabulous camera. Nothing short of an addiction.
     
  105. Mauro, that's an addiction I could fall into quite easily. 8! Wow, that's awesome. It's the camera I've been using the most lately, with a 58/1.4 attached much of the time.
     
  106. i'm not too sure about ted's cost comparison.
    sure, you don't have the expense of film and developing. but you also aren't left with a readymade archive, like a sleeved sheet of negatives or slides -- you have to manage the electronic files in the long term, somehow. in 20 years we've gone through several types of floppy disks, tape drives, CDs and DVDs, web-based offsite storage by others, etc. -- none of it seems as simple, permanent and foolproof as film.
    high- and medium-end film cameras, that have practically been given away the last few years have been in service for decades -- while that DSLR will be lucky to make it a single decade before the sensor or something else doesn't function and/or the camera is completely obsolete.
    depending on what you're doing exactly, film still seems to have its good points, and there's a reason it has faded very slowly.
     
  107. mizore

    mizore A Gringa in Nicaragua

    Both. The comparison is somewhat like downhill skiing vs. cross-country. The best skiers find that doing both improves both. Digital teaches faster; film has the pleasure of falling into the details: composing, developing, and looking at the finished products.
    Pity about digital 35mm equivalents is that they can't be upgraded by swapping out sensors.
     
  108. If I looked at my D90 in the same way I looked at my F3HP, I would be extremely disappointed in the D90. The F3HP is as great a camera now as when I bought it - and that's over thirty years ago at a cost of approximately $1,000. Within two years my D90 will probably not even be in Nikon's catalog. But, at today's prices a D90 body ($814 recently) costs the equivalent of 55 rolls of processed slide film (at $15.00 per roll). I do have every intention of using my D90 for several years at least. I do not look at digital storage cost as being particularly high, and believe in redundancy for my storage needs. It's also easier for me to maintain digital files in two locations. My massive boxes of slides and negatives are in a single location. For the cost of film, I'll just swap out camera bodies every few years. The biggest investment is in lenses and lights and tripods and all that other stuff. How long can you make 55 rolls last? 2000 exposures? After that the D90 is "paid for" and any additional uses (98,000 exposures more?) are a bonus.
     
  109. Meh. This is a hobby; as long as I'm within what I'm prepared to pay, cost is not a factor. My enjoyment is a factor, however, and I'm enjoying film (especially MF film) more than I do digital nowadays. As an aside, I seem to actually spend less money using film than digital in practice.
    Just use whichever you find the more rewarding, and stop worrying about what other people think.
     
  110. Mauro: 8 XD11's?! Wow, you've got me beat.
    For me liking to shoot film is at least as much about the equipment as the film. I took a few shots today with my XD11 (brown Andy Lynn signature edition - isn't cameraleather.com wonderful?) and Vivitar S1 28-90. I just can't get stuff that good in digital. BTW, that 58/1.4 is great.
     
  111. I love digital. It's made for some really fun debates. I like to see the frenzy of posts and it's fun to see how quick a post like this will crack 100, kind of like watching the DOW go over 10,000 (again) today. But mostly I like being able to get a Pentax 645/ 55mm lens for about $350. I really like the scans I am getting from Northcoast Photographic Services in Carlsbad (kudos to Ken Rockwell for pointing out their enhanced scans). For me this is just for fun, and although a 5D or Alpha 900 might be nice, at my rate of about 2 rolls of 120 a month it would take 5 years to pay for just one of those bodies, let alone lenses. Here's a sample scan from Northcoast Photo just for fun. Not the greatest shot, but I liked the 21.5 Mb JPEG scan (reduced to 4MB here, so a bit more JPEGGY).
    00UkWv-180487584.jpg
     
  112. I love both film and digital. But for the purposes of entering the fray I offer the following...
    Assuming effective technique, quality equipment, and the fact that many of us digitize our film for editing/printing:
    To maximize the resolution of digital cameras, one needs to take a picture on the largest file setting, ie RAW. Thus, a 21
    MP camera will give you a roughly 21MP digital image.
    To maximize the resolution of larger film, one needs to pay for expensive drum scans, or buy extremely expensive drum
    scanners. So while a large format negative may hold the equivelant of hundreds of MPs, only a drum scanner will give you
    all/most of that resolution as a digital image.

    From everything I've read and experienced, consumer scanners severely limit the common man's ability to take full
    advantage of much of the larger size films. Using these scanners would be like taking a 21 MP digital and shooting it at
    small jpeg quality. You are not taking full advantage of that camera or system's resolution capabilities.
    So does film capture more resolution than digital? In the cases of medium to large format, the answer seems
    unquestionably to be 'yes.'. Can most of us take routine advantage of all of that resolution in the same way that we can with our digital cameras? For many of us, the answer is probably 'no.' All that being said, I love both mediums and the fact that we are free to work with both whenever we like.
     
  113. at my rate of about 2 rolls of 120 a month it would take 5 years to pay for just one of those bodies, let alone lenses.​
    No. You're not doing your maths right. The digi users say that they can take up to 1000 shots per day and then work out how much that would cost them if they were still using film!
     
  114. Why would any one take a 1000 shots per day, other then maybe a photographer covering news on a daily basis even have reason to do a 1000 shots a day? I like both film and digital, while I have a Canon 1V to use with my EOS lens, I bought a T70 and fd lens for less then $300 that I now carry with me rather then my G9 which my wife now carries.
     
  115. In my humble opinion, it's in principle (philosophically, let's say) flawed the comparison between scanned film and digital capture.
    Scanned film, in fact, is nothing else that the digital capture of a film image of the real scene. Why should it be better than a straight digital capture of the real scene, even if film had infinite resolution? Only because the scanner, with much less constraint on size, available light performances, and with application limited to static subjects, will be easier and cheaper to build than a camera system of the same performances.
    But that become a comparison between two different digital captures, not between film and digital (and with fast improvement in digital technology, for any given year on camera capture will be as good as one year older scanner image, probably).
    A fair and more significant comparison would be between prints, assuming a fully analogic printing process on the film side. Or even better, it's just up to you if you like the best a digital print or a slide projection...
     
  116. Guilio,
    It's better because of lack of Bayer filter, true 16 bit file tonality, lack of AA filter....etc, etc, etc. Indeed, if this is a question you're asking, then it's obvious you've never made direct comparisons between good scans and DSLR and back capture.
     
  117. Know why a post like "Film vs Digital" always gets so many hits? It's THE hot topic that everyone wants resolution to. Alot of people have already taken a side, and it's not practical for them to dabble in both mediums. The argument is particularly virulent because digital is being touted as a "replacement" for film, the same way digital broadcast TV must replace analog and DVDs replaced VHS. This is why, after someone makes a simple and well-reasoned argument for one particular medium, you get reactions like:
    No. You're not doing your [math] right.
    [It's] obvious you've never made direct comparisons...
    I'd love to see these conclusions backed up with real test results.
    No grain of salt needed as I showed you...​
    The fallacy is the belief that when a company introduces a replacement that the old version is automatically obsolete. No way. It's obsolete when the users finally give it up. Consumers are pressured into obsoleting their old things when they go to the store to buy a replacement and find that it is no longer available. Ta-da! You've been forced into obsolescence. We've seen this a thousand times with every product ever made. As soon as a company starts making something so good that everyone has one and it rarely needs replaced (like a can opener or a mousetrap), the company stops making it and tries to introduce something new to convince people to re-buy something they already have.
    So today you have people who needed a new camera and simply bought a digital one because that's what was available. There are also people who haven't bought a new camera in 20 years, because the old ones still work fine. They go to the store one day to buy a replacement and discover that you can't find a film camera anywhere anymore. This is particularly difficult to understand, because there was obviously nothing wrong with film. It was the Mousetrap of photography. When the Japanese started trying to reinvent something similar to film on a digital platform, they had to start from scratch, and they are still playing catch-up to try and obtain the same level of simplicity, quality, reliability, and desirability that they had 15 years ago with film cameras.
    When you compare a Kodachrome film scan with a Nikon D3X, remember that Kodachrome has been available since 1936, can go in ANY camera, and only cost $10 to make 36 pictures which withstand the test of time. The Nikon D3X just came out in 2009, costs $8000 up front, and is only subjectively better to some people. Other people will look at the results from the D3X and say, "It's not that great. My Kodachrome looks better." On top of that, digital now presents an archival problem. You can't just stick a hard drive in a manila envelope in a drawer and expect it to work in 20 years, can you?
    You can love your digital if you want, and especially if you can afford it. But please don't belittle people who just can't see the reason in re-buying every piece of photographic equipment they've ever had just to see the same results again on a new medium.
     
  118. The question of cost.... Here there is no need of a theoretical exercise. There are 10 years worth of experience of photographers how have use both digital and film side by side.
    One can pile up how many digi pocket and DSLRs where bought in that period and compare to the cost of film and their film camera.
    The question of a scanner:
    One can buy a Coolscan 9000 and an RZ67 plus lenses, together for less than the cost of a DSLR body.
    It comes to choice.
     
  119. Forgot to mention in my earlier post that the "enhanced scans" from Northcoast Photographic Services work out to about 80 cents each since they scan the entire roll at the time of processing for just under $12. The scans are around 2200 dpi which for 645 yields a 17 megapixel very fine JPEG with a file size around 21.5 Mb each. This was all done thru the mail (granted I am only about 100 miles from this service) and I had my sleeved slides back with CD in less than one week.
     
  120. Know why a post like "Film vs Digital" always gets so many hits? It's THE hot topic that everyone wants resolution to.
    No, most photographers have already resolved the issue of what works better for them (or what's better for certain uses). If you look at the "film vs. digital" threads, you'll see a lot of the same names over and over again. It's a pet issue for relatively few photographers, but they have a real fervor for discussing it.
     
  121. Mike: seriously, my new pet peeve is when people start a post with someone else's quote and then the first word is "No". You and I are really in agreement, you just don't see it because you didn't get past my opening sentence.
    What I meant was that people want resolution, as in to have it resolved, finished, over, end of story. Those who shoot digital want film to just die already. Those who shoot film want the digital lackeys to just lay off and leave them alone. (Of course, I am completely excluding those who really don't care, are comfortable with it either way, use both, or are smart enough to not enter the discussion).
    It's just not going to happen. Not yet. Film is here, for the time being. But I hope, for my own sake and my growing store of film equipment, that the final blow against film is still in the distant future. I need it to stick around. It's already getting more difficult and expensive than ever before to shoot film, but I still can't afford to shoot all digital. I already have to order ALL my film online at least 1 week in advance of when I need it, and I have to send my E-6 film by mail to another city to get it developed. They've just discontinued Kodachrome now that I'm finally really interested in trying it out, and even Wal-Mart has shut down their 1-hour services. If the pace picks up much faster, there won't even be a discussion anymore. It will just be,
    "Remember what photography was like before digital?"
    "Before?"
    "Yeah, you know. Back when photos were taken on film."
    "You mean it changed?"
    "Yeah, pictures were on paper instead of computer screens."
    "You mean like a painting?"
    "Not really. You still used a camera, but there was no computer. The picture just went straight from film to paper."
    "Don't be stupid. You can't use a camera without a computer."
     
  122. mtk

    mtk

    I have a question in all of this...years ago when most of us "older" amatuers had only 35mm cameras, and could only dream of mf equipment, the most we would dare "blow-up" a neg to 8x10, let alone an 11x14...we were told that anymore than that would make a really poor photo...Yet now we keep hearing about all the pixels that 35mm are supposed to be equal to and that if the same digital count in mps I should be able to make wall size murals out of an "FX" sensor. If essentially a true 35mm frame is the same as an FX sensor......what am I missing here or am I simply confused?
    Thanks for explaining this to me!
    Mark
     
  123. I have a question in all of this...years ago when most of us "older" amatuers had only 35mm cameras, and could only dream of mf equipment, the most we would dare "blow-up" a neg to 8x10, let alone an 11x14...we were told that anymore than that would make a really poor photo...Yet now we keep hearing about all the pixels that 35mm are supposed to be equal to and that if the same digital count in mps I should be able to make wall size murals out of an "FX" sensor. If essentially a true 35mm frame is the same as an FX sensor......what am I missing here or am I simply confused?
    Thanks for explaining this to me!
    Mark​
    Good questions, Mark.
    The first thing to consider is that not all film is the same. Some fine-grained films capture more detail and can be enlarged more than other types of film, even if the negatives/positives are all the same size. Further, different enlargement techniques have different looks and limitations. And of course the quality of the enlargement equipment will affect the final output, too.
    There is similar variation in full-frame digital sensors. Some have more pixels than others. Some sensors put more "noise" into the image. Some sensors have filters attached, while others don't.
    When someone makes a broad statement about film versus digital capture, that statement is not going to be very accurate unless each of these details is considered carefully.
    Finally, because film images and digital images are created with radically different technologies, they never quite look the same even when they are printed. It's like comparing a really good cut of beef versus a really good filet of fish. They're both great for dinner, but can you REALLY claim that one is inherently better than the other?
     
  124. "Don't be stupid. You can't use a camera without a computer."
    Hal: I get it, and I love the future conversation bit.
     
  125. mark kittleson , Oct 15, 2009; 02:10 p.m.
    I have a question in all of this...years ago when most of us "older" amatuers had only 35mm cameras, and could only dream of mf equipment, the most we would dare "blow-up" a neg to 8x10, let alone an 11x14...we were told that anymore than that would make a really poor photo...Yet now we keep hearing about all the pixels that 35mm are supposed to be equal to and that if the same digital count in mps I should be able to make wall size murals out of an "FX" sensor. If essentially a true 35mm frame is the same as an FX sensor......what am I missing here or am I simply confused?
    Thanks for explaining this to me!
    Mark​
    Things have changed a great deal over the years. Film grain has been reduced a great deal. Negative and positive films today have 1/4 to 1/8 the grain they used. High resolution scanning and printing pulls details out and maintains acutance better than optical prints did years ago.
    Thus, 35mm today is capable of producing results that only medium format achieved 20 years ago. the nice things, these film improvements have worked for MF and LF films as well. That is why many of used had a good laugh at articles claiming 3mp matched 35mm scans....and that 11mp matched medium format. Over the years, people comparing directly have proven these false. It hasn't stopped some from continuously quoting those web pages though.
     
  126. As Hal and others have mentioned, digital capture has hidden costs.
    The first is storage. DVD-ROMs can't be trusted to last more than a few years, so you'll have to keep re-burning them. As technology changes, you'll need burners that can still read the old format.
    You can save images on hard drives, too, but they don't last forever either, and their replacement cost is not trivial. For full future compatibility, RAW files are worthless. That means storing a 16-bit TIFF of every photo that you might want to reference in the future. Typically for my D700, those files are 65M in size. For a D3X, a 5DmkII, or a Sony A900, the files would be twice that size. For these high-res cameras, plan for 8 images to a Gigabyte of storage, and that's for the basic file only, not a Photoshoped files that contains layers.
    The next cost is software. For my slides I have a tiny light box and a loupe. For digital files I have at least a half dozen programs, most of them not free. And every year or two I have to purchase an upgrade.
    If you want to expand to higher-resolution medium format systems your wallet may have a stroke. In the film world, you can buy a medium or large-format system for a few grand. Even before the digital revolution, I bought my Pentax 67 II with a metering pentaprism and two lenses for less than five grand. A MF body and sensor, is TEN TIMES that much before you buy any lenses. My P67II still takes great photos that scan beautifully. They may not be as sharp as the latest Phase One system, but think about the folks who paid big bucks for a 22 or 30 or 39 MP system a few years ago and had to pay even more for the latest and greatest. And of course, that progression isn't going to stop soon. I can give my Pentax to my grandchildren someday, and it will still work wonderfully as long as there's someone around to still develop chromes.
    Regarding why anyone would take 1000 photos a day, my typical count for a sporting event is between 500 and 1000. And here the tables turn; I woudn't shoot like that with film. Digital lets me capture a lot more of the action. I can throw away the shots that I don't want. My poor shutter takes a bit of wear and tear, but for the moment I haven't paid any price for all of those exposures.
    On the other side of the spectrum, when touring with my 4x5 I might expose only a handful of sheets in a day. Sometimes, I don't expose a single image. Shoot a lot, or shoot a little: both approaches have their place. Digital capture helps keep down the initial cost of sampling and experimentation, even if the long-term storage costs are higher than with film. It's an interesting balance.
     
  127. You are all fooled by the industry. :) They just rob you off your money and give you *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* in exchange. Its the industry who give you this as they couldn't sell any cameras any longer as a 100 years old cameras still out there and work very well. Their choice were to die or find a new gadget for the amatours. And they find you!
    Now the amatours will use digital as they don't know anything about photography and now they think they can kick the ball. Those who do pics in color have easy to give up film as they leaved the job to the lab to do that anyway.
    We who work with photography in the different way like creating art specially who works with B&W are people who gonna be the last one to give up film. Like we are not clicking we are planning and carefully composing our images.
    I wonder sometimes if you people never got tired of your *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* talking and if your finger still feels after so much clicking. Anyway its not even photography as its just a kind of poster that you do as final it's not even a fine art print by the author its a mashine made crap. We others won't compete with the printing industry.
     
  128. Please don't say "industry"...
     
  129. And what did you prefer me to say instead?
     
  130. Research: here and here. If you still don't get it, don't bother responding.
     
  131. Dan, I never really thought about the future, or lack of, when considering RAW files, although it's an obvious concern now that you've mentioned it. All of the space used to create and store a file that may not be readable in a few short years...and of course that's my preferred format for shooting digital. That's really concerning.
     
  132. I don't mean to be a RAW spoilsport, but I have already resigned myself not to archive using RAW or TIFF. I know that government libraries and museams have already declared that uncompressed TIFF is to be the de facto standard of digital archiving, but I just don't see it as a commercially viable possibility. Plain and simple: I can't afford 1 GB of storage for every 8 photographs.
    I have to consider that the only way I can keep up with my growing collection of photographs which must be preserved, and must continually be transferred from one medium to the next as technology progresses and my old hardware expires, is to use a compressed format. I use JPG "Best", or "10" or whatever you want to call it. I get that same file down to 4MB instead of 65MB. That gives me 16 times the storage on the same hard drives, or to look at it another way cuts my storage COSTS by 94%.
    Uncompressed TIFFs are 16 times bigger, but are they 16 times better? No way. Maybe they are 2% better, and that is a subjective measurement. You will never see the decrease in print. That's not worth 16 times the cost for my archives, which are already out of control.
     
  133. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    "The picture just went straight from film to paper."

    Those of us who did our own darkroom work know this isn't true.

    "Don't be stupid. You can't use a camera without a computer."

    I shot some photos with a digital camera on my last vacation. I didn't look at them on any computer. I just dropped the media card off at the lab and the next day picked up my 4 x 6 inch prints. Same as I would do with film. One might as well say, "You can't use a camera without a wet darkroom."
     
  134. To Hal
    well, I'm gonna bother as I dont even understand what you talking about. "Here and here" ?????? If the heat gets too much from profesional photographers that consider photograpy as an art I think its time to step aside and let the real photograpers do the real thing for the real people...... real value for the society.
    If its not the industry than digi must grow in the trees dont they?
     
  135. The sheer volume of mis/dis information in this thread is mind-boggling. Possibly the best and most accurate response has been from Dan South:
    "When someone makes a broad statement about film versus digital capture, that statement is not going to be very accurate unless each of these details is considered carefully"
     
  136. Image quality has nothing to do with it for me. The process of shooting digital with instant feedback gives me an enhanced ability to make creative decisions fast in environments where a quick decision is critical. I've shot everything from 8X10 down in professional commercial studios, and the one thing i have learned is that there is a correct tool for the job. Its the job requirements that determine the tool. Sure high resolution is nice for good prints, but if you can't lug the camera around fast enough to get the shot, then you compromise. Shooting digital in commercial environments is so fast, that you can do things that you could never do before.
     
  137. As many have said, it depends upon your needs. Laugh and call me a luddite, but I’m wondering why nobody every mentions my reason for loving film.
    First of all, my photography is centered on taking pictures of my family and the places we go. As we often do, last night my family gathered in the basement to look at the last few rolls of slides that were developed.
    I hear oos, aahs, and wows that I never get when I show pictures on a computer screen. The family atmosphere, the movie theatre feel, the cher-chunk of the projector, seeing the detail of wall-sized pictures – this is what makes photography fun for me.
    I don't spend time in front of a computer. I don't worry about storing and backing up data. I have slides that my parents took and still look great. I take good pictures. I drop the film in the mail. Slides come back in the mail and go into a little storage box. It's easy.
    How does digital offer an advantage for how I want to view my pictures?
     
  138. "Is this an aberration or are there other such examples?"
    YES -- you are the first ever to notice and post such a smart question. You schooled us all.
    "The one thing i have learned is that there is a correct tool for the job. Its the job requirements that determine the tool..."
    WELL SAID. Word.
     
  139. Archiving is the looming elephant in the room, as are file formats. Negative will last forever...you don't need a computer.
    Look at whats happening to poor old GIF. I just tried to open a GIF file in an image processing program...not recognised. I'm not saying all don't, but its a trend. And what about BMP?
    Uncompressed TIFF has been chosen because it does not lose ANY artifacts. Its also the standard used by the commercial scanning companies who are archiving books, maps, pictures, plans, aerial photographs etc etc. The photographic industry is not the driver in this game.
    So long term....TIFF is the winner. Its read by everything. The argument that storage is too expensive is rot. My daughter just bought a 1Tb external drive for her Mac for $150! When I was selling mainframes in the 90s, and 1Tb array would have cost to $800,000.
     
  140. The argument that storage is too expensive is rot. My daughter just bought a 1Tb external drive for her Mac for $150! When I was selling mainframes in the 90s, and 1Tb array would have cost to $800,000.​
    Really? Convert your D3X or 5DmkII images to 16-bit TIFF files, and that probably translates to about 125 M to 150 M per image. Optimistically, that's 7 or 8 images per gigabyte, or 7,000 to 8,000 images per terrabyte.
    A busy wedding or sports shooter might create that many images in a couple of weeks, so multiply that by 25 for their annual output. That's 25 TB of TIFF files for one year's work.
    You can't keep just one copy. What if the drive fails? Now you need 50 TB. And how about offsite, disaster recovery storage in case your home or business burns to the ground? Another 25 TB. (Maybe Aunt Millie in Iowa has some extra space in her garage.)
    So that's 75 TB for one year's images. Most of us won't shoot nearly that many images, but for a pro sports shooter, that's actually a conservative number. You don't want to throw anything out. That obscure shot of a AA left-fielder might be worth a lot if he ends up pitching a no-hitter in the ALCS.
    75 1-TB drives times 150 bucks = $11,250 in hard drives per year
    How many years can you afford to archive at that rate? Storage isn't cheap.
    P.S. to Douglas: Thank you for the kind words.
     
  141. 8000 images on film means over 200 film rolls. That is, in a year 25*200 = 5000 rolls, i.e. something between 25.000 and 50.000$, I suppose. Not that cheap, too...
    Having said this, I agree that at high volume digital storage still has a cost and require maintenance.
     
  142. Isn't the workflow with film just a bit different? Translating what you can do with digital directly to film is non-sense. So by the same thought you bring around twenty five 1TB (or 150 15gig cards) drives with you for your couple weeks of shooting trip. I'd rather have a suitcase filled with film.
     
  143. well, I'm gonna bother as I dont even understand what you talking about. "Here and here" ?​
    Frank, you've got some cool photos, and I really don't want to disrespect you as a photographer. I was just trying to be funny. Click the links and you will see what I meant by "here" and "here". If the links aren't registering on your computer, here are the URL's for your benefit:
    http://www.independent-magazine.org/node/208
    http://dontsayindustry.tumblr.com/
    Also, I don't know how familiar you are with English, but $hit is usually considered rude language, regardless of what you are trying to say.
     
  144. (Of course, I am completely excluding those who really don't care, are comfortable with it either way, use both, or are smart enough to not enter the discussion).
    Hal (not "No"!), my point is that the people you're excluding make up the vast majority of photographers. "Film vs. digital" is the hot topic among relatively very few photographers.
     
  145. "Film vs. digital" is the hot topic among relatively very few photographers.​
    Mike: Good enough for me. I agree.
     
  146. How does digital offer an advantage for how I want to view my pictures?​
    It doesn't. Not for you or me. But it can still have advantages for others.
     
  147. To Hal
    Yes I know its rude and I ment to be just that. Seeing friends going back to film as they had been loosing a lots of money spending high figures to uppdate their equipment and still dissapointed of the results. Thats money to the dump, and no way you can defend anything about that. With a little more raff definition it could be called stealing too.
    Reading statements in this thread like the digital is good because than you can directly see if you got your pick is just revilling your lock of knowledge about photography. I dont had to see it! I have seen my image when I took it, sure about that I have it and I just got to develope the film and thats it. Statement like this only used by amatours and show that they are very unsecure of themselfs. Learn about exposing than you don't need a digi and you have your negs for a couple of years. Could say it may outlive you well over. (Of course it would cost you to develope but dont had to spend your life on the front of the PC and makes you think before you expose a frame) The images you got you can scan and show on your PC if that what you want. The screen of the PC wouldn't show high quality anyway.
    Further there is an ethical side of this and also a mashine made manipulation of the reality. I thought photography is to show the reality and not anything else. I personally don't see any reason to manipulate any images at all. But there is wannabies who not even just want to be a photographer but even manipulating images to a close look of the oil painting too.
    I use digi too when selling my car get me some pics fast for the advertising and stuff like it but wouldn't use it for serious work or art and on many other accasions either for that matter. Further in the commercial world its got its place as its fast and the 300 dpi requires for the printing on paper even the cell phone works well. :)
     
  148. @ Frank
    Before I purchased my digital camera I would get friends telling me the problem with film is that you only get one or two good shots per roll. I would say YOU may only get that many good shots but I am happy with my success rate thanks.
    I consider myself a beginner at best as my weakness is in composition I find it difficult at times go get the image I see in front of me captured in my camera, I am sure that is half the enjoyment for me knowing my next walkabout will be better than the previous.
     
  149. Hello Eric
    It deepens what you are thinking of the "good shuts" got two meanings. One Is the right exposed film the other one is what the image wants to transmit to the viewer.
    Well, anyway we all been there, meaning at the beginners status. Dont you think for a second that I was born with the camera in my hand. But, learning how a filmcamera works how to expose and why this and that it's never wrong! You will see that the end of the day your succefull shuts will encrease dramaticaly.
    By the way I do a lots of walk thinking before I shut, I'm selctive too, expose right and not many of my images made it to my exhibitions. :) I'm gonna be a happy photographer if the end of my life I'm gonna have altogether some 50 photographs which I really like. :)
     
  150. I am finding as I learn, shots I liked in the past are not as interesting as shots I passed over when taken.
     
  151. By the way Eric there is many good books about composition you can learn from. Just do a visit in the nerest library. I think you gonna find it interesting.
     
  152. I have today ordered a book for painters covering composition :) , looking forward to its arrival.
     
  153. How does digital offer an advantage for how I want to view my pictures?​
    Just time. This is why PJs adopted digital so quickly.

    Otherwise, any film/print/slide can be scanned and essentially turned into a digital file.

    I love shooting my F100 and wish I had more time to get my images scanned. I just got a ton of free Velvia 100 from an old fellow who completely switched to digital. But there are still enough occasions where I need digital. One example is a couple of events that I shoot for a local club. First, if I shot film it would cost me an arm and leg in processing and a lot of time in scanning. Second, I wouldn't be able to get their photos to them in under a week like I do with digital.
    Film and digital both have thier advantages. Which is better is completely in the eye of the beholder. I couldn't imagine shooting sports with film. Professional Photographer Magazine just had an article with portraits done by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, all in color, with 11x14 and 8x10 view cameras...and they are amazing...
    You can get a scanner with Silverlight software capable of 3300 dpi effective scans for 289 Euros.​
    I do a lot of my own scanning with an inexpensive Canoscan 4400. It works great, but it can be a real pain in the butt sometimes. Dust is always an issue, and getting quality scans is time consuming, especially consider I can only scan five frames of 35mm at a time. There is also a big time lag when I have to send E-6 film out to be processed.
     
  154. I do a lot of my own scanning with an inexpensive Canoscan 4400. It works great, but it can be a real pain in the butt sometimes. Dust is always an issue, and getting quality scans is time consuming, especially consider I can only scan five frames of 35mm at a time. There is also a big time lag when I have to send E-6 film out to be processed.​
    I find the same. While I do use a Minolta Scan Dual IV for higher quality scanning of 35mm, I find that having 24 frames done at a time on my Epson V700, with Digital ICE, to be very convenient. Yes, it's not as good as the Minolta, or a Nikon Scanner, but it gives me the same rez as about 7mp DSLR, but without the Bayer filter or AA mush.
    The only volume shooting I do with film is for B&W. And slapping on 24 fames at a time is nice as the Minolta just does 6.
     
  155. True, it takes time to scan, but that isn't a problem for me. I cut a 36-exposure roll of 35mm into six strips of six frames each and place two strips (so 12 frames) into the carrier for my scanner. I scan at 4800dpi with all the options "off." While the negs are being scanned I go do something else, then return to swap out two more negative strips, etc., until the job is done. It doesn't matter to me how long it takes, except that I don't start the project if I'm about to leave the house, LOL.
     
  156. I cut a 36-exposure roll of 35mm into six strips of six frames each and place two strips (so 12 frames) into the carrier for my scanner.​
    Look into a Nikon 5000. A DIY modification to the strip film feeder will let it scan up to 40 frames at once. The bundled Nikonscan software will produce excellent results with everything on autopilot.
    135 format scanning is now quite painless: feed the strip in and come back in an hour to 36+ 4000dpi 16bit deep frames on the disk drive. As an added bonus, long term storage of Xtol stock solution is no longer a concern :)
     
  157. jeez​
    Most likely.
     
  158. By the way Eric there is many good books about composition you can learn from.​
    Really? Are there any titles that you'd recommend? The ones that I've seen have been rather disappointing. (Of course, they're not as bad as the laughable advice that hoards of self-proclaimed "experts" publish on their personal websites.)
    There's an alternate approach to learning photographic composition: review lots of photographs and figure out why the good ones work and the rest don't.
     
  159. To Dan
    Yes I have its just this, they are all writen in Swedish by Swedish authors and used in the institution of art and photographic education and hardly translated to english. I would suggest that you visiting some well sorted library in your town and look into what they got first and also ask the personal there which is the best one you can get. they probobly know as they educated of those subjects. I assume you living in the states and I would be very supprised if you won't find a very good book about the subject there.
    Good luck to you.
     
  160. I'll keep looking! I wish that I could have found a good book on composition when I was starting out. I'm sure that it would have helped me a lot.
    There were some great books on exposure, on general photographic technique, and on shooting in various situations, but I could never find one on composition that went beyond vague generalities such as "feature your subject" and "eliminate distracting elements." Those are excellent fundamental concepts, but most books don't have enough clear examples showing how to put these ideals into practice (and why they're important).
     
  161. How To Compose Better Photos by HPBooks, 1981
    Admittedly it's a little basic, but I think it's all the introduction a person might need to get started thinking about composition correctly. I picked this up at a thrift store for $.50, but it looks like you can get a used copy shipped online for about $7. I doubt you'll find anything this good printed in the last 10 years.
     
  162. [/lurk]
    ARRRRRGH! I CAN'T STAND IT!
    OK, I did a search for "wind" and "blow" on this page. I didn't find either. Without taking a year to read through the entire thread, I think everyone's missed the most obvious problem with Rockwell's analysis. Addressing the OP's question directly...
    IT'S ALL BOGUS!
    Look carefully at the blur in the images. Doesn't it look kinda swooshy? Do the rollovers, and look at the branches of the trees. Some of the photos were taken in close enough proximity that it's not just the shadows. There's WIND. There's a WHOLE LOT of wind, and those branches are a'swingin' back and forth. Rockwell is shooting at around 1/150s. Sure, the images are going to be OK-sharp, but they're not going to be TACK sharp -- not with that wind at that shutter speed.
    You can't draw any useful conclusions from his images with regard to sharpness. I also question whether there's any useful info with regard to any other aspects of the cameras' performance, as lighting conditions seem to have varied between batches of tests, settings are very different, exposure levels are different, and so forth. It's all bogus -- all for naught -- useless, like much of the content of his site.
    If this observation of mine has saved you the price of switching over to whatever camera you might have thought won this analysis, please PayPal me at least 10% of your savings.
    [lurk]
     
  163. Hey, nobody ever accused Ken of being a photographer...
     
  164. Here's why I'm shooting film these days.
    I was one of the first to get the Nikon D300, my first DSLR - after shooting 35mm Nikons for years. Enjoyed the D300 for sure, but to be honest since I'm in the I.T. industry and already spend way too much time in front of computers, I was tiring of the computer work. In addition, I found that digital had made me lazy - I stopped actually working out exposure and contrast in my head while shooting, instead "letting the camera figure it out" or doing the 'ol "click/view, click/view, click/view" - which was starting to bug me. So I finally got tired of all that and started longing for the simplicity of shooting transparencies again - along with the required discipline.
    When Nikon announced the D700 I thought now there's a sweet idea - better quality, decent price, works fine w/ older lenses and since I figured it will all end up FF eventually and with the rumors of the D300 being replaced and its resale value likely declining I decided to sell the D300.
    Took advantage of fabulous deals on recent-vintage pro-level Nikon film bodies, found a good deal on film/processing, and started back in earnest with the film work. I love the fact I can "just go out and shoot", without having to deal with all the computer-time. I love the "look" of the slides, seeing them on a (color-corrected) light table, or projected - that stuff just has a real timeless appeal to me. And I'm starting to get my "photographer's chops" back, being forced to not to be as lazy as I had gotten with digital.
    Now I will probably eventually get a D700 or perhaps something even newer, but I'm not in the rush I once was. I'm enjoying my own "film renaissance" for now.
     
  165. Dan South wrote -
    Are there any titles that you'd recommend?​
    In addition to the title already mentioned by Hal, there's:
    Photographic Composition , 1990, by Grill and Scanlon
    Learning to See Creatively , 2003, by Bryan Peterson
    Like, How to Compose Better Photos , both also provide a good introduction to the subject of composition.
    However, after that, the much more useful:
    Perception and Imaging , 3rd Ed., 2007, by Richard Zakia
    In my opinion, the last provides a real education in the subject and requires a couple of reads through and a lot of application to really grasp what it is saying.
    Regards,
    Peter
     
  166. Which is "better," chocolate or vanilla? I'm optimistic that we'll be able to have a firm answer to that question very soon. I like it when we can draw firm conclusions about personal preferences, it makes me very happy.
    Canon or Nikon?
    Catholic or Protestant?
    Soft or Firm?
    Fast or Slow?
     
  167. Clearly as the onset of DIGITAL PAINTING made acrylic, dry pastel, enamel paint, encaustic, fresco, gouache, ink, light, oil pastel, spray paint, tempera, and watercolor obsolete? are we seeing these medias disappear?
    Film will exist as long as it is treated as an arts and craft mode of expression. Sadly PROFIT is what drives everything nowadays and this blocks new possibilities and further development of great film emulsions (hence further development will occur at a slower pace privately) Digital fits perfectly into consumerism state of mind. Digital this digital that.
    In my opinion Digital technology should help CREATE new types of photographic films, papers,enlargers, chemicals not displace the whole media.
     
  168. Sadly PROFIT is what drives everything nowadays and this blocks new possibilities and further development of great film emulsions (hence further development will occur at a slower pace privately)​
    So why did Kodak recently introduce Ektar 100 then offer it in 120 by popular demand?
     
  169. jbm

    jbm

    I use both and love taking pictures regardless of the media. Film makes me slow down and the percentage of keepers is higher as I shoot less as the film format gets bigger.
    With BW film of moderately low speed (TMax 100) there is a lot of detail. With a Nikon scanner and an appropriate subject, well exposed and shot with one of my Leica lenses, I am happy with the look of 20x30 inch prints I have made. This is one such shot:
    http://www.photo.net/photo/8380967&size=lg
    I have tried the same shot in the same light with my D300 and either I blow out the highlights or can't recover the shadowed bricks without excessive noise. Film works well for this.
    In my studio, digi reigns supreme...and when everything is perfect I shoot a couple of shots with a Mamiya 645 or RZII which look great, also.
    New TMAX 400, by the way, can be scanned and printed nicely to 11x17. Tri-X I find less amenable to scan to large sizes as the grain is much more apparent and I stick to 8x12.
    Now, did somebody say they were giving away an S2?
     
  170. Without taking a year to read through the entire thread
    (snip)
    You can't draw any useful conclusions from his images with regard to sharpness.​
    Sarah, that was my conclusion, too, because there's no way to tell where the actual focal plane is in the photos. He may be comparing areas that are softened by bokeh effects. There, I saved you some reading.
    Hal and Peter, thanks for the book recommendations. I'll head over to Borders or B&N and check them out. There's always more to learn!
     
  171. Rather than reading through everything...
    In most cases, digital is superior in terms of resolution, there are few cases of it not (discontinued films and the modern Adox CMS 20.. but then you need a scanner for it, or a good enough enlarger for optical prints anyway) on a 1:1 comparison, ie: 35mm digital vs 35mm film and grain vs noise.
    Motion picture film wins for grain size, as its designed for extremely fine granularity so it doesnt look like sand paper after its been through 3 or 4 generations of film to film then a final release print.
    Then you have negative films with their great dynamic range with their ability to hold highlights extremely well before blowing out - comparable to the Fuji S3 and S5 etc.
    You also have development techniques to compress contrast, ie: develop shadows faster than highlights so you dont blow out higihlights - which can be applied to colour (particularly colour reversal with the b&w first dev) if youre really into it.
    There are certain looks such as tonal response curves of certain films that are particularly lovely, one of my favourites is really expired Ektachrome.
    "Richard Karash " that's a poor comparison imho as its misleading, the digital sensor is smaller than the film area, if you wanted a real comparison the same lens on both, then centre crop the film size to an APS-C frame and examine it, plus there are more updated sensors than that.
     
  172. Rather than reading through everything...
    Without taking a year to read through the entire thread, I think everyone's missed the most obvious problem​
    Why bother leaving a comment at all if you aren't going to read through the thread? It's possible that someone else has already addressed whatever comment you are about to make. More people should read through threads and decide if their input can really bring anything to the forum that hasn't already be discussed, before just spouting off the first thought that pops into their head.
    Along that same line, you should search for answers to your questions before posting a new question in the first place that's already been discussed a hundred times, like "Film vs Digital"
     
  173. Dan Lee , Oct 19, 2009; 05:39 a.m.
    Rather than reading through everything...
    ...
    "Richard Karash " that's a poor comparison imho as its misleading, the digital sensor is smaller than the film​
    Dan
    you provide nothing and yet you decide that its misleading. Many people are using sensors which are that size, and have you compared them yourself?
    I happen to think its a good comparison and certainly shows that the two are close. Perhaps if you have a Full Frame digital it will exceed it ... by giving you all the parameters he allowed the reader to make a comparison and use their judgment on how that may apply to their equipment. If you have less than 10Mpixel full frame I'm sure that it remains a valid comparison
    could you please produce some better comparison?
     
  174. I made a promise to myself not to contribute to yet another debate on film vs digital. Doh!.......I just broke my promise :)
     
  175. I might start a thread of my own, but I'll just start here. I just got back 36 slides of Velvia 100 back, and it has me wondering all over again. A friend gave me his Nikon F3 (he had 2), and I researched the best lens I could afford, the 28mm f2.8 prime Nikkor from the 80s, and bought it used for $275. (rockwell's review of this lens agreed with others on its great quality and value). I've got a B+W polarizer on it. Bottom line, this setup DESTROYED my digital results. I was floored looking at these slides. Deeper dark colors, huge contrast, sharp vegetation, and most importantly to me, seeming 3-dimensionality, foreground to background. Landmarks that seem shaped, as opposed to flat.
    It seems with my digital shots, I'm getting 20% good, and with the film, I'm getting 80%. Of course, I'm lazier with the digital, but not to this degree. Overcast pictures in digital always look like trash. WIth film, most are good. In situations that are half cloudy and half sunny, it seems like film brings together the disparities, and digital screw up part of them .Film actually seems far more tolerant of disorder in natural lighting. I wish I could quantify it, but I can't. Maybe this is the first decent glass I've owned, and it will work great on a D700, which I don't own. Of course, I prefer the lower cost (not of cameras) of digital, and the freedom. Still, why do the pictures look so much more worthless when shot on digital? Why isn't there a standard explanation out there? It has little to do with resolution, it has to do with the overall look.
     
  176. Also, people diss Rockwell more than is necessary. He seems like a good photog, and his website has been a valuable resource to me on many occasions. I hadn't seen this comparison, but it confirms what I've been thinking. People always said Velvia was a pleasant exaggeration of reality. Well, digital is an unpleasant video-ized washing out of reality. Some of the blurring in these examples is horrifying.
     
  177. Mark,
    In this case, it has little to do with the resolution...as you said. What it has to do with is the fact that Velvia comes out fully processed the way you like....Punchy colors, high contrast, etc. The digital Raw file is neutral. In other words, you must process it to have that Velvia look if you want. The problem is, the digital file starts off with far more dynamic range than a velvia photo ever will. Therefore, the Raw file must have the contrast increased, and the DR reduced....saturation bumped to match the response curve of the film, etc, etc. It can be done, and quite easily.
    That said, I love film, and will use it as long as it's available.
     
  178. I shoot both film (medium format, 35mm) and digital myself. I scan my 6x7 medium format film on a ccd scanner at around 4600 dpi which gives me about 125 Megapixel files. At 300 dpi these can technically be printed up to around 42 inches long with excellent detail. Depending on what film is used I wouldn't go that big, but certainly no problem with 100 speed film, slide or negative. With digital its not possible to print nearly that big with good detail. Medium format lenses, on the other hand, aren't as sharp as 35mm optics so a small print from 35mm may actually look better than a medium format one. It all depends on the subject. Medium format film has fantastic tonality so its very good for landscape photography, while 35mm, digital or film, is better suited for things like action and bird photography, whenever you need to be quick and capture the moment.

    Here are some of my scanned film where you can have a look for comparison. If you're after high dynamic range then I can recommend you to shoot color negative film. It's such a pleasure to use and very rarely do you get blocked shadows or blown highlights. Digital, on the other hand, has better acutance than scanned film. At iso 100 digital will look cleaner than scanned film when enlarged. Will this show in prints? It depends on the format, type of film, the enlargement factor.
    Comparing 35mm film to digital is not very interesting. It's the outcome that is interesting whether it be digital or film. Both can create interesting and beautiful images. Digital is certainly more convenient to work with but it can also be a burden for the same reason - you end up taking so many photos that you spend days at the computer just organizing and finding out which images you are going to edit.
    Go out and shoot and enjoy life and don't worry too much!
     
  179. "Richard Karash " that's a poor comparison imho as its misleading, the digital sensor is smaller than the film area, if you wanted a real comparison the same lens on both, then centre crop the film size to an APS-C frame and examine it, plus there are more updated sensors than that.​
    Hi Dan -- This wasn't a technology test, it was a practical use test. I've got both digital and film cameras on my shelf. What can I expect if I pick one up, shoot, and follow reasonably normal workflow steps? You might be interested in a different question, but that's the question I wanted to research.
     
  180. Yoshio Tanaka :
    It's misleading because it's not a real film vs digital comparison, variables other than being film or digital have not been removed.
    It's more of a image plane size and lens comparison.
    Same lens, same f-stop, same image plane size is a comparison of x sensor vs y film.
    Otherwise, the way to do it would be APS-C sensor, same lens, shooting from the same distance via tripod and cropping the film to the same fov.
    To make an objective film vs digital comparison you have to compare them on a 1:1 scale to show performance of each at the same level, otherwise you are merely testing which specific system can you get more from within certain constraints for the same application (and thus same fov from the same shooting distance - different lenses), like a budget, outdated APS-C vs inexpensive consumer 35mm film.
    If you think this really does not matter, then lets stick the shoe on the other foot and test Pen F or half frame against a 5D, 5D Mk II, D3x, and call this a film vs digital comparison, and say that digital is ridiculously better than film can ever be.
    Or 35mm film vs the Phase One 65+ medium format digital back, and call that just "film vs digital", no.
    Tests of any nature need to performed objectively and fairly, otherwise all you are doing is testing a specific case study scenario .
    Mauro Franic
    Your numbers are off - and your assumptions are incorrect.
    A bayer sensor can resolve 100% detail per pixel - this has been shown enough times with specific lens tests, you cannot have more resolution than that, any difference you are seeing in apparent sharpness is apparent and is due to contrast.
    And to achieve that much detail, you need a lens with a resolution much higher than that, you cannot achieve a lens' full resolution - that is unless you have a film that outresolves the lens a few times over.
     
  181. I love it when people whinge about diffraction limit and having too many MP's in digital cameras - its not like they cant pull the resolution back down to a number they want or buy a different camera - more pixels is beneficial to extracting more detail from a lens, if the lens resolution and sensor resolution (just like on film) is the same, you will not achieve the full resolution of either in the recorded image - one must be higher than the other by a fair bit for that.
    These same kind of people will go on about the resolution of film ad nauseum, its ridiculously ironic.
    They all talk about 'film' possessing select qualities of different stocks together, they seem to all have access to this magical film that has the fine grain of slow speed motion picture film, the dynamic range of reala, and the resolving power of kodak gold 25, and the colours of velvia.
    I really love film, and mix my own chemicals and do E6 processing, but there is nothing I hate more than anti-digital film snobbery elitism.
     
  182. Dan,
    What numbers and assumptions are you questioning? Can you please clarify? ....I am not sure what you are referring to.
     
  183. Dave,
    Thanks for your input. I'm pretty competent in photoshop, and I've yet to turn a digital image into Velvia. It's more than saturation and contrast, it's dimensionality. Velvia may exagerrate, but digital seems not real either. It washes out.
    Photography is by definition 2D and flat, but digital seems to make it more so. Also, forget about shooting with the sun/disc in the frame in digital. I would just say that film is more forgiving of variable light situations, and digital only renders well in the best (and controlled) light.
    Of course, digital is great for convenience and utility. I'm not saying I know why. It's just that landscapes come up short in digital. As far as film snobbery goes, I'm the biggest anti-purist out there when it comes to style and photography in general. However, you don't want your base quality going backwards, and digital often gives that impression, and that's just in shooting. The printing side of the equation has serious troubles of its own, including preposterous toner costs. I would not mind having my Cibachrome back.
     
  184. Mark
    - why can't you shoot with the sun in the frame with digital?
    i do it quite a lot. (and with film too)
    what is the problem?
     
  185. Dan,
    "Your numbers are off - and your assumptions are incorrect."
    I never saw your response to clarify what you were questioning. You can email me directly if you wish.
     
  186. "I would not mind having my Cibachrome back."

    As someone else mentioned above, it apparently is back, with a new name: Ilfochrome.
    I haven't tried it myself in its recent incarnation yet, but I also loved my old Cibachrome prints.
     
  187. I looked at this whole question very recently and concluded that there was still life in film, even though the majority of digital images were better IMHO.
    Took 28 subjects with both digital and 35mm film and had the film scanned at 7200x4800 pixels.
    You can see the results and make your own judgement here :-
    http://web.millican.info/digital-vs-35mm
     
  188. syd

    syd

    What a great thread, kudos to all for making this a thoroughly engaging discussion. Though I am late to this, I want to add my comments from another thread I started here ---> http://www.photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00WhwO <---- where I was asking for help deciding which Digital DSLR to buy ... it was to be my first foray into Digital. By the end of the discussion, and through my own further research, I came to the following conclusion. ( I should add, I am a Landscape Photographer )
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    Robert, Lad and Manuel ... thank you all!
    Whether you guys know it or not, you have actually helped me in making a decision to stick with film for now and in this company I know that choice may be a little controversial. Having read through the article at Luminous Landscape It served only to reinforce the principals of photography that tend to ring loudest. I have come to realize all the more that while we can enlarge sections of images and study resolution and noise, it is the sum total - dare i say the big picture - that really matters most. Here is where I am going with this.
    # - Without doubt, I can look at Digital images and say that in many cases they present a sharper and cleaner image than some film images - but usually only visible differences when the images are cropped and enlarged for comparison.
    # - When viewing the full image between digital and film I am usually more drawn to the film image because of the inherent flaws ... the sharpness and softness in film is less uniform in film and therefore more organic and believable to my eyes. Nature is not perfect and nor is it uniform and I feel that film tends to reflect that better than digital, which seems to be so uniform that it become surreal and some how hyper real to my eyes.
    # - I went into this with an honestly open mind, I have no dog in the film vs digital fight at all - if suitably blown away, I was quite prepared to dump most of my film gear and shift over into the Digital world. I am now even more convinced that I prefer film for all the reasons given above. I now know I don't care if a cropped section of a film image has grain, if when I'm looking at the entire picture I can't see it and the overall image is pleasing. I guess it's very much like Impressionism ... if you stand up close enough to a Van Gogh, you could pick apart all the sloppy strokes of yellow and blue paint ... but what is important is the big picture when you stand back from it and take it as a whole.
    # - The workflow aspect of digital is another reason I would rather work with film ... the idea of having to do a lot of in camera processing and tweaking of modes and parameters is really the antithesis of my style. Thank you Manuel for making this clear to me!
    # - When looking at an image I generally want it to reflect the subject as accurately as possible, but there is another side to all this and that is one of what looks natural and pleasing to the eye. I am wondering when did photography take such a big left turn down this one way street that is in some part obsessed in the pursuit of minimal noise and max resolution? I really believe that there is a place in imaging for noise and variations in resolution - some of the greatest images of the past 100 years were grainy as hell ... they are still legendary images.
    # - I suppose this comes down to an issue of aesthetics for me, as well as work flow and desired outcomes. I have come to understand that the flaws in film are the very things that I love most and that in removing them from the image, for me anyway, removes much of the heart and soul of what I love about photography. Again, the almost perfect, hyper sharp and clean digital images produced tend to leave me cold - I am moved by the beauty of many of them but something is usually missing ... a human element?
    I guess what I am trying to say is that for me, Film retains a human element, a flaw that is in synch with nature ... perhaps the look of Digital is a bit too industrial for me but there we have it. I am extremely grateful to everybody who has contributed here as you have all helped me come to this realization with firmer resolve than ever before. Perhaps in the future when Digital backs are available for my Mamiya at reasonable prices I'll make the move, but for now I think I'll go buy more Velvia and a good Film Scanner and call it done.
    These are my own conclusions obviously, I am not trying to convince anybody of my views, but I felt for all the effort put into this thread I owed people an explanation as to my decision not to go Digital at this time.
    Best, Simon.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I have just bought a Nikon Coolscan V-LS50 ... and have every intention of sticking with film for all my future work.
    Simon.
     

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