What is better, Film or DIgital? (Loctite #STFU applied.)

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by jason_mekeel|2, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Moderator's note: Since folks seem to want to play in the "digital vs. film" sandbox today, I'm not gonna fight the trend. This and a related thread, If you want the look of film, use FILM!, will remain open for three days, then will expire. To quote Miracle Max: "Have fun stormin' da castle!" -- Lex
    Moderator's note (update 9/1/08): These types of discussions are seldom productive and rarely relevant to the scope of the b&w forums, which emphasize techniques for traditional use of b&w film, processing and printing. "Film vs. digital" threads have raged for years without resolution. They are sometimes appropriate to the Casual Conversations or other forums, but not here. I made two exceptions for this and the related thread (see link). After 10 years of reading similar discussions I did not see a single new thought expressed in either thread. For that reason no further "film vs. digital" threads or related topics will be entertained on the b&w forums. Please refer to this and the related thread and read every line before deciding that you have some novel idea on the subject. -- Lex

    I did not ask these questions: what is easier, what is cheaper, what is more convenient?
    I am talking about quality only (out of the camera, not up-sampled in photoshop [because scanned film and be up-sampled in photoshop two, so that technology or advantage applies to both film and digital therefor I am excluding it in this post)
    What I am asking is, what has a higher quality? You can take the best of Film vs. the Best of digital. (in other words, in my limited experience, I might compare the 44MP frame to a 24x36" scanned negative [those are the two best I can think of in one second both worlds have to offer)
    Please leave out the gigi-pixel project for two reasons: #1 it isn't on everyone dinner table #2 it uses film, apparently.)
    Also, I don't want to hear, "Well it isn't fair to compare a 44mp to a L-format film sheet..." Yes it is, one is digital, and one is film, plain and simple. If I had to choose between digital and film, and I wanted the absolutely biggest and best quality print, which one would provide it?
  2. I'll put it another way: Lets say I had to photograph something very important in another country and I only get one chance at it. And I
    need the highest possible quality and the biggest picture ever. AND I ONLY HAD ONE CHANCE. What equipment should I use? (Film or

    Now lets just assume that I have a photographic slave ( oops, assistant) who follows me around and makes sure that my film doesn't get
    exposed to xrays, or visible light or whatever. Just assume that the negative/positive was (or will be) correctly exposed and developed.
  3. If the biggest, best enlargement is your key criterion, you should shoot ultra-large-format film. An 11x14-inch camera should be sufficient.
  4. No, strike that. You want a 16x20-inch camera and film. Make sure your assistant is very strong.
  5. Nooo, not again...
  6. I'll bite. Depends on the camera, digital and film. I'd say medium format digital probably kills 35mm film (resolution
    wise) but 8x10 film kills medium format digital. haha.

    Resolution of 35mm and 'normal' DSLRs are in the same ballpark. Whichever one might have the lead in normal use is
    probably destroyed by the fact that the user isn't using a tripod. So in my mind, its not worth arguing about. The full
    frame DSLRs are a notch above, resolution wise and price wise - for $5k, you should be able to beat a $30 Olympus
    stylus epic and a $3 roll of film. Medium format film seems to me to retain more resolution, depending on the format
    (645 or 6x7? big difference), than 35mm based DSLRs (to me). I've not seen much from medium format digital -
    presumably its on par or a bit better than medium format film. The Betterlight scanning backs for 4x5 have very high
    resolution, but so does 4x5 film. In film, the sky is the limit: 8x10, 11x14, 20x24. Try beating that resolution with digital.

    Of course, there are concerns other than resolution - dynamic range, exposure latitude, grain/noise, color/b&w, comfort
    with a format, comfort with a camera system, the ability to do alt processes, wet printing, etc. I like 35mm film even
    though resolution wise it can be beat. But when you're shooting at 1/15s handheld, resolution isn't a primary concern...

    I have a very nice 18"x24" print made from one of the first scans I did with my scanner off of handheld Tri-X - by no
    means the sharpest combination. To be honest, I'm not sure what else you'd want from a larger print - viewing distance
    goes up as print size goes up, so from anywhere a normal person might stand looking at the print to actually enjoy it, its
    looks sharp sharp sharp.
  7. say I wanted a photographic mural out of it.
  8. SCL


    Medium or large format film unless you have $30k to spend on MF digital.
  9. So you're saying that a $30,000 digital camera will give a higher quality, and larger image, and a 16x20" negative like Mike Dixon
  10. Respectfully, everyone please remember: I didn't ask for the two best options, I asked for the single best option.
  11. @ Jason:
    I don't think anyone said at $30k digital will give a better image quality than 16x20" film.

    As far as I know, the best res solution for digital is a scanning back like the Betterlight systems. I'm sure there are other
    companies that make similar products.

    However, I can't imagine that would beat something like 16x20 or 20x24. I don't know how you make enlargements of
    formats that big though - I assume you can.

    Think of it this way. Even a crummy 300 dpi scan of 20x24 will give you an image 6000x7200 pixels. Drum scanners
    can operate in the 1000's of dpi, like 8000. Again, I don't know what your scanning options are at that size film, but
    certainly 8x10 film is much easier to handle. I think you'd be hard pressed to beat 8x10 and either dark room
    enlargements or scans from an Epson v750 with an all digital system. You'd do it for a lot cheaper too. It might be more
    'hassle' though depending on your outlook.
  12. You just say "quality". But that's many things, and different ones to each one. Once you have given this a thought and properly defined for yourself what you, personally, mean by quality, you'll have your personal answer.
  13. Large Format film. If you don't have experience with large format cameras, then it's digital
  14. Forget about having one strong assistant, have you ever seen a 16x20 camera? It's ridiculously big. You'd need several assistants plus a
    vehicle to move that thing.
  15. Thomas I considered my question pretty narrow.
  16. You need more image, not a finer sampling of a small image; therefore, large format film because it can be made just about
    whatever size you need. Better still would be glass plates for flatness. There are many other issues...
  17. He did ask for the best quality and not "what is easier, what is cheaper, what is more convenient?"

    It sounds like you got your answer. Film. As large as humanly possible.
  18. I am a photographic educator. The question i asked is the #1 question asked in the classroom. So, I thought I would
    post it and let the students read the responses for themselves. I will make the question very explicit, if it isn't explicit
    enough, then don't bother answering, it doesn't help anyone.

    Fact: A camera's primary function is to take a picture. Its primary function is not to be cheap, not to be convenient, not
    to be easy to use.

    Now, with that fact in mind, the question is: What will yield a higher quality print at the largest size? film or digital?

    So in other words, according to the camera's primary function, what is better, film or digital?

    Now I don't know how I can get anymore explicit than that.
  19. When I say, "highest quality," I mean highest sharpness at the biggest size, clarity, detail. (So basically the highest
  20. If you are after the highest detail captured then a stitched digital is the best you can do.

  21. Interesting question. But first, which is better -- apples or concrete blocks?
  22. Jason, since you already have a college degree in photography, and have digital to large format photographs in your photo.net
    portfolio, I don't think you're really looking for an answer. You already have one.

    So ok, what is it? What's the answer?

    It's kind of a dumb question, unless you have some cleaver and entertaining answer.
  23. Well if you notice BG, I haven't answered the question nor do I intend to.
  24. My point was not that your question was not specific enough, my point was that a single answer does not exist.

    You give two prints, and ask what the higher quality is. You would not really expect to get the same answer from everyone. You will get the same set of numbers from optical measurement equipment, but it is still a decision to make about how to transalte those numbers to terms of "quality". If you give the numbers instead of the image, you still would not get the same answers. Is it sharpness? Resolution (which is not the same as sharpness)? Colours, precisely as perceived? Or rather precisely as measured by a pysical instrument in vivo? Intensity range mapped? The DOF behaviour of a LF is widely different from other cameras. This would be considered a handicap for some projects, an asset for others. Is this part of "quality"?

    Your asking for "quality" frankly reminds me of those posts requiring photography to be an "unaltered image of te truth".

    As a university professor in astronomy I understand very well that it is a problem for educational purpose that no single answer exists, but we should be honest to our students and make them think theirselves instead of handing out recipes. Actually, the understanding that there might not be a single answer is a huge step towards mastering the subject (any subject, not restricted to photograpy). Can't be said early enough IMHO.
  25. How is it a dumb question? because you don't like the common answer? If I am in the middle of, say, Africa, and I will
    never return, what is the best equipment I should use? and that is a dumb question?
  26. Ultra-large-format-film trumps any single capture of a digital system.
  27. "Fact: A camera's primary function is to take a picture. Its primary function is not to be cheap, not to be convenient, not
    to be easy to use."

    I've been in situations where my Stylus Epic or crappy digital P&S have gotten a picture where a DSLR or large format
    camera wouldn't have gotten a picture even if I had them on me.

    You're right; a camera's primary function is to get the shot. Resolution does not necessarily factor in - getting the shot
    does. The above mentioned 16x20 might not get the shot. Who cares what the quality might have been? I'd rather
    have an all mechanical film camera on an expedition away from power than a digital camera, even if the quality as you
    define it is less.
  28. Remember: I am not asking for my own sake, I am asking because my students keep asking me and they get tired of my answer so I
    thought you all could answer.. So basically you're calling my students dumb. Thats real nice.
  29. Jason: Tim has it. The largest possible, slowest speed film sheet or plate, shot with the highest quality APO lens at the ideal diffaction limited aperture and well shielded from flare, locked onto a massive support, using the fastest possible shutter speed, or better, high speed open strobe, scanned, by an expert scanner tech, on the best drum scanner at the highest possible resolution.

    That will give you such a massive file that the output device will be the limiting factor and realize that photoshop has file size limitations. Depending on the size of the print, viewing distance must come into the equation. Anyway, for the truly massive image, muliple prints, shot as detail sections, can be optimized for the widest possible output device and pieced together.
  30. I'm closing this thread because I can't babysit it all day. I might re-open it later when I have time to keep an eye on it. Meanwhile, let's organize our thoughts and stick to technical issues.
    Thread re-opened. Have fun.
  31. You can't have it all. If you have a camera that is too big, too complex, it won't let you get the picture you want in every situation. If your criterion is a static landscape, then your argument that the camera is only to take a picture - not be user friendly - is fine, but if you're shooting lions chasing zebras on the Serengeti, you won't have ANY images if the camera can't take the picture. In that case, your perfect camera, whatever it might be, fails to capture an image, and thus, isn't a camera at all. It's a big box. Perhaps you can use it to carry papayas.
  32. I doubt this is what you're looking for but I'll say:

    Whatever tools or techniques that get YOU "the absolutely biggest and best quality print" is the right answer. I guess this is meant to be a pie in the sky kind of question, but really down here on earth the user makes a difference and whatever they can do the best with is where you will find the biggest and best quality print.

    Beyond that I don't know anyone using all of the crazy high quality equipment out there and doing comparisons.
  33. Per equivalent unit area, digital is better.
  34. Jason,

    OK, so you think it would be more fun to solicit answers on the internet than come up with your own answer. Fine.

    Why don't you ask the students to design a comparative test? It will teach them a lot about photography such as how to expose film vs. digital
    and to discover the trade offs of each capture method. Sharpness vs. detail, noise vs. grain, film color vs. digital color. It will also teach them
    about eliminating variables from the test such as different lenses and printing methods. And when they're done in a few weeks you can post the
    results and their opinions here where can have an enjoyable discussion about it.

    Whadya think?
  35. Ahemm B G, please take notice that, for whatever reason, the original poster has deactivated his account. He is hence not very likely to respond.
  36. "Fact: A camera's primary function is to take a picture. Its primary function is not to be cheap, not to be convenient, not to be easy to use."

    I don't think that's a fact - and don't agree with the statement as it does not take into account working conditions.

    Here's a fact: you can't use a 20x24 view camera for underwater photography, but you can use a Nikonos or any digital camera that has an underwater housing for underwater photography.

    The point being, it's a poorly framed question because it attempts to deal in a self-defined absolute statement that in-and-of itself is false.

    Cameras are tools. In concept, you would always like to use the largest format possible for the shooting situation, but there is no universal answer as to the correct tool - that's driven by the subject and shooting conditions.
  37. I would think they both are just about same as far as mentioned quoity is coserned. Maybe 35 mm digital is better in some corners, the medium format probably is 50/50 and the large is some better on film but in general these are the imaging techniques designed to achieve essentially same result - an impressive looking picture in print sizes from A5 to A3 for the ammount of money currently carouseling in professional circles.
  38. Moderator's note: Well done, folks, well done. I changed my mind. I'm not going to delete this thread. Instead, it'll be preserved as an example of why these debates are seldom constructive. That way I won't have to keep explaining why these threads are usually deleted. When it's all done I'll highlight the unique or insightful quotes. Both of 'em.
  39. Thomas, did he deactivate his account himself, or was the account deactivated some other way? I certainly do not know the answer... probably he did it himself, but who knows?
  40. Yes, the account was deactivated at the request of the initiator of this thread because I had temporarily locked the thread while I was away from the computer earlier today.
  41. My 2 cents. Digital slr's from 6-10 mp's pretty much match, and sometimes exceed the resolution of 35 mm film. Cleaner at about any given ISO as well. So why do I shoot B&W film? Jeez even though I'm old enough to be "keepin' the faith" with film the fact is I learned on digital and gravitated to B&W film. It's esoteric. Alchemy even. It's about precision, discipline and timing. And there's the look. The plus-x and tri-x I shoot have a look that i don't get with digital. Plus I can print in the darkroom for smoothness and tonality I can't seem to duplicate with my Epson 2400. Digital now often equals "look what I made" on the computer. HDR, combined exposures and objects added to the scene somehow equate to being a skilled photographer in some camps. Digital or film I've developed a liking for simple documentary and trying to capture that special moment in time. The fake stuff turns me off.
  42. First of all, thank you Lex for re-opening the thread. As I understand, the only place to discuss the film / digital debate
    without it getting deleted is in "Casual Conversations" so this is appreciated.

    Lets face the fact that if people want to talk about it, then it is no different or any less important than any other topic that
    might arise. There should be no judgements, no prejudice of any kind, it is a worthy topic. It is also a topic that will never
    get old as technology is always changing. I spend most of my time out photographing life for various outlets and needs.
    Three questions are always asked of me by curious onlookers or enthusiasts:

    1. Do I shoot for a living?
    2. What is the best digital camera brand now?
    3. Which is better, film or digital?

    The third is the most popular, especially among younger folks who are pretty tired of doing everything on a computer and
    want more out of life.

    But to answer Jason's two questions, I have two answers, one is pretty simple, the other is more complex.

    1. Jason asked what gives the very highest image quality when going really big.
    2. Jason asked what would be the best gear to bring if he had only one shot at a lifetime image.

    Number two is easy, you bring what you trust and you bring enough of it as backup.

    But number one is not as easy....

    Photographer Simon Norfolk had an assignment to photograph the Mayan temples in grand scale for the National
    Geographic. He could have chose a 39MP hasselblad then stitched it together. But instead, he chose 8x10 transparency

    One of the reasons why is predictable and tremendous clarity of optical path and color fidelity. Some of the shots took
    days to light with thousands of watt seconds of power packs in every nook and cranny of the temple grounds, truly a
    production of unprecedented proportions. And that would be the other reason, lots of lights to sync, stitching would be
    risky and 39MP not enough on it's own.

    But the bottom line was Simon knew exactly what he wanted in his effect and how to get it. He did not need anyone to
    tell him what was best, he knew he was right:


    The problem with the arrival of the digital age is that it is giving off the wrong impression of what photography should be
    about and what actually makes up true "Image Quality".

    The most powerful images of out time were not chosen to be as such because of a measurable or scientific assessment
    of image quality, but the quality of the experience in viewing the image or the quality of how well the moment was
    interpreted. This is not to say that the gear or materials chosen are not important to the outcome, they very much are.
    But this incessant measurement of pixels or grain is not what you frame on your wall or what makes the cover of a

    The image quality that is most important in a meaningful image is the sum of the creative energy of what you put into the
    chosen materials. You get out of it what you put into it, digital or film.

    In 1994, I helped Kodak, Nikon and AP get the NC2000 to the NC2000e, a bulky 1.3 MP DSLR with a N90s on top.
    When the battery ran out, the camera had to be plugged in. It cost the paper over $14,000 at the time. I mostly helped
    figure out the nasty overexposure with the flash.

    I remember distinctly while photographing Bob Dole on his campaign trail having this happen at the worst possible time.
    Mary Ellen Mark saw my reaction and felt bad. She had an assistant with a 400B on a monopod helping her light images
    shot with a 500 C/M.

    It would take some 9 years of using staff and pool equipment before I would actually feel that digital was worth the effort
    when I switched to Canon full frame and got my own gear.

    Now I have three digital bodies and 8 film rigs. When I saw Mary this year, she remembered the Bob Dole battery
    incident. She looked surprised when I told her that digital was being phased back to part time in my career. In the
    coming years, I hope to only have one or two digital cameras and use them no more than 20% of the time.

    I have been shooting digital professionally for over 14 years, while it is a fantastic medium that has come a long way, I
    still see so much uncharted territory on film it excites me to no end.

    So which is better, film or digital? Neither and both. They accomplish the same task, but do it differently. And they do it
    with qualities that are unique to each medium when in the right hands.

    And this will never change...... film will always be a better medium than digital for some as color will be a better medium
    than black and white for others.

    The hype party for digital is just about over and as it turns out, digital is not the film killing revolution that many made it
    out to be. It is just a different way of making and showing photographs.
  43. How is it a dumb question? because you don't like the common answer? If I am in the middle of, say, Africa, and I will never return, what is the best equipment I should use? and that is a dumb question?

    Middle of Africa ------ get a 4x5 camera that will not need any batteries.
  44. "2. What is the best digital camera brand now? 3. Which is better, film or digital? "

    Very important questions, at least to pattern bold, middle-aged, technology oriented and cubicle working male gear heads. And while boys at their computers are debating, over and over again, some younger lady is taking _the pictures_ with D200 or old film SLR and couldn't care less.
  45. I really think Daniel had the best answer, on both of these threads.
  46. This is a delicate topic as you can tell by the Moderator's Note. I personally do not like censorship on Internet discourse, and a 3 day limit is censorship. This is contrary to democratic principles.

    Jason, using your Africa trip example, 200 ISO NEGATIVE Film would be your safest best choice. You could also choose 100 ISO. With Digital you would have to worry about the loss of battery power. The Link below provides a Photography Article I've written which explains in detail the differences between Film and Digital.

    Photography Article - http://www.geocities.com/filmanddigitalinfo/ARTICLE_PHOTO.html

    Mr. Terry Mester ----- Film Info Website - - http://www.geocities.com/filmanddigitalinfo
  47. Terry, photo.net is not a democracy. That's usenet you're thinking of, which is a perfect example of the problem with mob rule. The Greek ideal seems wonderful in theory but fails abysmally in practice.

    Forums are closer to the classical ideal of the Roman style governmental paradigm, with representation and moderation. We also tend to show preference toward citizens, i.e., subscriber members.

    Not relevant to this discussion, but this discussion is not relevant to b&w film darkroom work either.
  48. While Photo.net is not a democracy, it is the total sum of the members and their photographs who happen to often pay to
    be here. So with that in mind, the site should make a clear and easy to find distinction of where exactly *is* the right forum
    for the often intense discussion of film versus digital?

    I was told "Casual Conversations", is this right?
  49. There is a whole lot left out of the OP post that is really needed to answer the question.

    Is the subject being photographed moving, and if so how fast? How much light is there and are very long exposures ok?

    There is a huge difference between photographing say a lion going for a kill vs. photographing a landscape shot.

    The OP seems to be looking mainly at resolution, if the scene is somewhat static then stitched images win, but few people really need a 5 to 10 giga-pixel image. At 5 Giga pixels you would be able to make a 16 x 24 foot print at 300 ppi, not a lot of call for that.

    Not too far behind this is the Giga-Pixel project, they claim they are close to 4 Giga pixels, I am not sure if I would go this far but the images are impressive and would be more then enough resolution for most people.

    Typical LF is good for around 100 Mega-pixels. One might think that 8x10 LF would have a lot more resolution then 4x5, but at 8x10 the lenses are normally stop down to something like f/64, and this limits the resolution due to diffraction.

    MF 6x9 if done really well might be good for 70 mega-pixels, typical would be closer to 30-40 mega-pixels.

    Which of these possible solutions is best depends a lot on the detail that the OP has not told us.
  50. Few people may *need* a 5-10 GP image, but like ISO 6400, it you make it available, then the intrepid thinker's wheels
    may start turning. I never turn my nose up at or question what technology can do for me, I just let my imagination run

    I had a client call me up looking for an enormous file size of a popular mountain scene. They needed it as close to 15
    feet wide at 300 dpi as they could get it. The biggest file they found was at Getty and it was 100MB. They were desperate and willing to pay many thousands of dollars for the right image but were running out of time. Well I went I has
    just installed 16GB of ram in my Mac and thought I would give it a go. I hiked up to the location, shot over 48 panels on
    my 12MP DLSR and stitched them together. Luckily there was no motion and no clouds.

    For three hours of work, I pulled in over 5 figures. I would have preferred to have done this stitch with medium format film
    scans, but time was the seller here.

    There is a time and place for everything.
  51. It seems some people have a different definition of what the "better" means. Some people kind get into a subjective area. What about to change the question: what technology can capture more information at single shot - color, resolution and density.

    Then to me an easy answer: 8x10 scanned on virtual drum scanner hasselblad flextight x5. better colors, resolution and density.

    When I look at trees and grass shot with digital technology it is clear to me - still a long way to go for digital.
  52. Your students are going to be mighty confused when all is said and done.
  53. "I'll put it another way: Lets say I had to photograph something very important in another country and I only get one chance at it. And I need the highest possible quality and the biggest picture ever. AND I ONLY HAD ONE CHANCE. What equipment should I use? (Film or digital) "

    I'd use large format film, and if I needed to work fast, I'd use my Crown Graphic. But that's assuming I'm striving for the best image quality and I want to make large prints. And I have confidence in my ability to meter.
  54. "There is a time and place for everything."

    Hence, my comments that the shooting situation has to be taken into account, and should drive the choice of equipment. Likewise, the Mayan Pyramid shoot description - driven to 8x10 - you choose the tools to fit the situation. There is no single, ubiquitous, "best" answer. I haven't used my Nikonos V in years, but - I'm sure at some point - it will become the tool of choice for a future project.
  55. Digital seems to be pretty good at high ISO values.

    How's film in that department?

    This would make the question of how much light is present at this hypothetical "once in a lifetime" shot relevant. As is the question whether the subject is moving.

    I disregard the question whether the photographer is moving because of the mention that the size or practical use of the equipment was deemed irrelevant.

    Regards, Matthijs.

    P.S. Is the number of bits per pixel relevant or is 14bits color depth deemed satisfactory?
  56. Borg Collective hive mind FAIL
    FILM is HISTORY, period! today is digital age, change in inevitable. go figure guys.
  57. The answer to these kinds of debates is always the same and has been heard earlier:
    Use the best tool to get the image you want!
    That will depend on - you, the technological limits and the environment you use the technology in.
    Otherwise you are discussing more detailed and non-general questions which are much more likely to lead to useful answers for
    specific cases.
  58. Film is history for *you* Nolax, not for everyone. You should probably make that distinction as what you have said has
    added nothing of value to the topic being discussed.
  59. Well Mathhijs, film is great at high ISO's, unless you are into trying to get the look of ISO 100 film at ISO 6400 which I am
    at times. It really does need to be understood that "Image Quality" is more than just sharper, faster, grainless, noiseless
    and so on. I have had some advertising clients ask me to give them the grainy look.

    We really do need to get out of the scientific measurbeation box to really understand this.
  60. Riposte FAIL
    yah right FILM is not history for the old people.
  61. Well, Nolax, it's clearly history for you, as I see that you prefer the over-sharpened, over-processed look. You sure can't get that with film!
  62. Nolax your rudeness is exactly why we can't have a meaningful conversation on the subject without the moderator shutting it down.
  63. As a direct consequence of this exact forum post I have sold every bit of film kit and have gone digital because film is history. It was said here, so it must be true. After all, this is a very objective subject.


    (In case your sarcasm radar is on low or been absent, I'm being sarcastic. Just pointing out opinion abounds but really, we'll probably all go home thinking the same as we did before, maybe a bit more enlightened, but mostly thinking the same way as we did before...)

    Peace x
  64. As a serious response though.

    I think one of the biggest reasons I have stuck with film, and wll continue to do so is because I love the process. I love black and white. And sure my ISO 3200 prints are grainy, and sure my 35mm negs don't always look pin sharp at 20x16. But -- I do love the process, I love developing my films, even sometimes making handmade prints when I get the chance (I usually scan or send off for large enlargements, space constraints.)

    And I just love the aesthetic out of the box that I get from the black and white films I use.

    So as a film user I accept that the mainstream and majority have benefited from digital photography, and its brought many more to the fold than before. But film is still relevant for those who it is relevant to. I'm not kicking the bucket either as the stereotype goes, I'm 25 and a computer professional so it's nice to do something else.

    I do derive a great deal of pleasure walking with my camera composing and relishing the thought of developing my work at a later date. That works for me, but not for others.

    It's personal, just like many an amateur/keen photographers work is - it's personal and I think we're all the better for having choice rather than dictation.

    What happens in the future? I don't know, all I do know is, I look forward to every frame I fire come what may!

    Peace x
  65. This is really funny. I think most people are missing the point. Jason has posed a real world question to a group of
    photographers to illustrate to his students that even photographers cannot really conclusively decide which is better.
    This is a dialogue to stimulate thought - not to actually answer the question. The truth is there is no definitive answer
    because "quality" is not a scientific term. It means different things to different people.
    For you pros, do most of your clients buy wall portraits or 4x6 or 5x7 or 8x10??? The thing is, quality vs.
    acceptability is the real question.

    Realize that quality is a relative term that is dependant on individual requirements. I may think a certain photograph
    is high quality while somone else will pull out a loupe and judge based on pixels or grain or whatever. I may not
    care. I just think it looks great.

    So there is a considerable amount of judgement surrounding quality. I hope Jason's students will realize that the
    quality of a photograph has a lot of different criteria besides the actual resolution of the image. It will also change
    based on the presentation media used to display the photograph. Some photos will look better in print while others
    may look great on the web but not as good in print, and so on.

    If I were teaching a class in photography, my advice would be to look at the subject and composition first and then
    decide if the actual resolution of the image really contributes to the value of what they are seeing. If the subject and
    composition are strong enough, maybe it doesn't matter. Case in point - Frank Capa - D-Day. Check it out and see
    if perfect resolution would really change your perception of the image. Maybe it would not be as powerful if was
    perfectly in focus and sharp with no grain at all - or in color! Who knows?

  66. Oh please!
  67. "I'll put it another way: Lets say I had to photograph something very important in another country and I only get one chance at it. And I need the highest possible quality and the biggest picture ever. AND I ONLY HAD ONE CHANCE. What equipment should I use? (Film or digital) "

    As a few others have alluded to, you cannot answer this question without knowing something about what you are photographing and what your goals are. Though I'm sure that some people could come up with great work shooting on safari with large format, medium format, small format, digital, film, pinhole, they would probably represent different looks.

    We've just had a one-chance event in a different country (maybe this is what started the discussion). I wouldn't want to try to shoot the Olympics with any medium or tool with which I am unfamiliar. I wouldn't try to shoot action in the Water Cube with 8x10 film if my goal was to have multiple sharp pictures of several different competitors - hello digital SLRs, and many of them, triggered with PWs on custom channels. But for Landscapes intended for large format prints: how about large format film, with camera movements for extra control. Or at least medium format digital.

    So, to me, any time someone asks what is "better", I would want to know "for what". Unfortunately, there is rarely a wholly generalizable answer. Best possible quality: a lot of folks seem to go with Large format film, which makes sense. Does a Better Light scanning back beat it in absolute resolution, dynamic range, or some other measure of quality?
  68. 24x36" neg vs. 44MP

    The film wins, but obviously its use is limited. However, even an 8x10 neg will beat a 44MP camera.

    If you really want big enlargements film is the way to go. You also get to use a large format camera which has its advantages too.

    Sure its big, heavy etc, but if your looking for quality then you ignore everything else.
  69. Back to the original question, if I may!

    A definition of quality is necessary - quality is commonly defined in industry as "fitness for use", which
    necessarily involves the details of the purpose at hand, as well as cost and convenience. In any of a number of
    personal interpretations quality may be some concept of perfection or its pursuit, which again relies upon
    subjective value judgements.

    In terms of resolution and percieved sharpness, while digital is a great tool I use daily, film has the edge on
    capture. Larger would seem to be better since grain is reduced, improving tonal richness. However, optical
    design for larger coverage restricts resolution, and a 35mm setup resolves more lines per mm than 120 or larger.
    I find that if I need swings and tilts the large camera is best, and 35mm or a DSLR are most convenient, but
    that for tack-sharp images 120 film is the winner. The tradeoff between grain and lens design is at its sweet
    spot and the thin film base reduces internal light scatter. If you want some Scheimpflug adjustments without
    sacrificing sharpness, there are some wonderful 120 cameras that may fit your need. A well-made drum scan and
    fine digital printing can't be beat.

    Why not a 120 back, then? For me, the linear response is too demanding on exposure, with blown-out highlights
    and shadows with no detail a common problem. The math of the number of pixels needed to match film grain is
    ridiculously complex because grain is spread in a random fashion, less detectable to the brain than the geometric
    pattern of pixels, and internal imag processing often has more to do with the outcome than any other factor.

    In term of purely subjective "I like the way it looks", I have to go with film because its tonal rendition,
    especially in highlights and shadows, is more palatable to eyes accustomed to over a century of pre-digital
    photos. Not to say that digital can't produce technically excellent results - quite the contrary, and my guess
    is that a generation down the line the preference for the look of film may be near disappearance as the cultural
    memory that it is. Meanwhile, I'll continue to use the one I see best fits my needs for each scene and situation
    I shoot.
  70. 6x6 vs. 44mp would be close.
  71. This reminds me of Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." Pirsig argues that although rational thought may find truth, it may not be valid for answering all questions. Pirsig points to perception that embraces the rational and the romantic: logic, AND a Zen-like direct viewing of the question.

    There seems to be one group trying to answer the question of quality between film and digital with rational considerations of things such as pixels, grain, and enlargement. The second group, through direct viewing of an image and its content and impact to judge "quality." Perhaps the best answer to the OP's question is a combination of both group's definitions. Or maybe no answer at all.

    If none of this answers the question, perhaps this will:

  72. I'm glad that Mike Wilson and Jeffrey Prokopowicz have moved onto the subjective judgment of "quality". For me, film is undoubtedly the more beautiful medium.

    It's analogous to listening to music. I probably have more music in digital format than on old-fashioned vinyl. But if I want to listen - really listen - to recorded music, then there's no question but that the old analogue records are superior.

    So it is with the recorded image. I don't spurn digital at all, but with today's technology there's no doubt in my mind which I'd choose if I could have only one.
  73. dlw


    If an armadillo blew up in the middle of the forest and there was no one to take a picture of it with the biggest, sharpest most fantastic camera and lens the world has ever seen, would it really matter?
  74. Well given best possible and largest print question of OP, assuming he means the one with the most detail and richness of color that holds together at "largest"size. it would have to be an 8x10 view camera, it that's the biggest one. Otherwise it just blather and preference. The best camera is the one you have in your hand taking pictures and what you do with it aferwards.
  75. For me digital wins bigtime over film. But I think "better" is a very personal definition.
    I love shooting under water photo's. Using film that would mean you are limited to 36 shots in roughly one hour, in far from optimal conditions.
    Digital gives me instant feedback if I aimed my strobe right, if the fish / critter /anemone actuallty is on my shot and best of all, I can click the shutter as many times I like, since I won't be filling up a 4 Gb card in a single dive.

    All film UW shooters will tell you how they would always save the last 3 shots for that perfect once in a lifetime encounter with a very special marine creature, which obviously would only appear when they did finish the roll of film.... :cool:

    So in my case digital is better
  76. Just get on with making pictures and choose the gear that you personaly like to use. If your once in a lifetime shoot was a sporting event then 8x10 film may not be much use regardless of how big you could enlarge it. If you like the look of film then shoot it if you prefere digital then shoot that.
  77. I agree with John Norman. That´s exactlly the point.
  78. Jaap, I'm glad you gave this example, it brings an recent observation of mine to the front of my thoughts.

    I agree that in the case of something like a space walk, underwater photography or just plain foul weather, digital makes
    complete sense and is exciting to think of what one could do if the film never ran out.

    So with this in mind, I expected many of the average U/W photographers to finally take some chances creatively
    speaking and show us more than just uniformly lit mug shots of sea creatures we see ad nauseam.

    Well that has not happened.

    Only people like David Doubilet, Flip and Paul Nicklen and Bill Curtsinger have ever seemed to notice that there is a
    *huge* undepicted world under there that warrants some creative attention in the first place. This has not changed from
    what I see day to day.

    So I talked to Paul Nicklen about this and some ideas I had and he was in full agreement, most everyone gets the same
    old thing, digital has indeed not made most underwater photography better.

    Here is a shot from an underwater project I am working on...it has nothing to do with sea creatures and is not hear the

  79. sorry for the inconvenience, guys.
  80. Jason, why are your students tired of your answer? Is it not the answer they want to hear? Do they trust your
    knowledge and teaching abilities? Actually, most professional and hobby photographers have this question asked of
    them from time to time. As a gag, I used to answer "a Minox, of course"(this is from the days when the only Minox
    were the 8X11 cameras). If the person knew a little bit about cameras they would stammer "...but why?" and the
    answer was, "because you are more likely to always have it with you, something that could not be said for a Nikon
    FTn for instance."

    Really, although you claimed your question was narrow enough I don't think so. You didn't specify if there is a
    budget. Does this shot have unlimited gov't funding? Is Bill Gates writing you a blank check? Or, does it come out
    of your pocket? Or out of the pocket of the student who asked the question? This would be vital information
    before an answer could be formulated. You said the end print would be a photo mural. How big? Forty feet long?
    Eighty? How far back are you going to stand to view the print? Ten inches? Sixty feet?

    Years ago Kodak had a huge transparancy on display in NYC, I think it was called Photorama and was at grand
    central station. I do not remember it's size but I do recall some of them were made from 35mm Kodachrome
    originals, in this case the long viewing distance made the picture appear sharp. It was a good object lesson
    those who wanted to know "whats the best camera"
  81. zml


    If I had to choose between digital and film, and I wanted the absolutely biggest and best quality print, which one would provide it?

    The question is so 20th century but I'll bite regardless.
    You have to define "best." "Best" for what? Blog? Publication in Playboy? Hanging on the wall? Billboard? There is no "best" for everything so you gotta choose...
  82. I wonder if we are living through the same transition that occurred when (film) photography supplanted engraving for "illustrated" newspapers and commerical uses. Photography offered advantages for documenting a version of reality and for most people was preferable and supplanted engravings for many commercial purposes, but engravings and other mas media like lithography always kept a place in the commercial world just as some preferrred a painted or drawn portrait to a photographed one.

    However, some people still chose to make engravings, etchings and drawings for intereptive use (as art) and any agrument of "quality" comparing photography and engraving i meaningless. You can't debate quality between art forms, just within them. I think the same is true with digital and film. Digital offeres more control of color, textrue, recording high and low values etc. and as been said elsewhere heads toward illustration in the amount of control the artist has. But, just because the results look similar, a digital image (and a digital print from a scanned negative) is fundamentally different from a film image printed with a chemical process.

    Even when digital process surpasses film in resolution, a digital image will still be different from a film image. I think you can make a case that digital is always going to be more of a creation from an infinate set of choices in the same way drawing based media like engraving and llthography is, and a film image is more about selecting from reality what to represent. Many will embrace digital for the chance to create any image in their mind and many others will to choose a all chemical process, even if they have to make the film and paper themselves - after all artists use engravings to create an image they can't create anyway else.
  83. I actually find this thread as interesting. One can see clearly that:

    1. most of postings do advocate for film but in rather tentative yet passionate way

    2. and are comming from film heads basically

    3. folks from d-camp are much less enthusiastic

    Technically speaking the greatest file size one can produce scanning full frame 35mm shot in, say, Heidelberg Tango
    drum scaners is 1 - 2GB at 16bit per RGB color at 300dpi or more. This should easy give you a A0 or 2XA0 exelent,
    sharp print on large enough Epson or Canon ink jet printers. It basically does not matter whether original was 35mm
    or 6x6 or 4x5. The print of this size is as exotic as 16X20 view camera and is very, very far away from dayly toils of
    most professional printers not to mention photographers.

    The greatest file size the top Canon and Nikon digital cameras will make is less then 50MB, Hasselblad - less then
    80Mb, top db for large format is probably less then 200MB. Which on the other hand, with some pp will give you A0+
    print size on the same printer.

    Keeping my eye on quolity publications and catalogues, like stylish equipment for Alpine skiing, furniture, clothes,
    better end euro cars I have noticed they all have about 60 - 70% of digital mixed with some 30% film material. Year
    after Year. Cheaper end is 100% digital. There are no more pure film works.

    A few heavy photographers I know do use digital but none of them have sold their film rig. Only one does 100% f6x7
    film shoting food for expencive restourant cooks. His pictures usually appear in print size of 5x6 or such and are
    most appetizing.

    I also think that the medium can exite greater passion in practicioners it is bound to produce superior results in the
  84. I'll chime in. As far as sheer "quality" is concerned (if you try to focus on sharpness and resolution, not taking into consideration any less-quantifiable characteristics, such as "depth" or color rendition), film still wins...if you go large enough. Honestly, there's no limit to how large you can make film — specially-built camera plus custom-size film — but the "standard" options pretty much max. out at 20X24 inches (and even that's hardly common). Once you get that big, there's nothing in the digital realm (right now), that can compete. Yes, digital can also be built large, but, the highest-resolution digital cameras, at the moment, still compete just with medium-format film — and they charge a a prettier penny than film to get you there. Of course, you're asking that we not take into consideration other technical limitations of shooting very large (for instance, probably a lens designed for a large-format camera won't be nearly so corrected as one made for a small-sensor digital).

    Now, I'm not trying to be pugnacious here, but, what kind of class do you teach where the theme seems to be, "Which is ultimately better: film or digital"? Shouldn't a photography course be geared more toward technique and vision than these perfunctory battles regarding "technical limit"? You appear to have brought the discussion onto this board because you're fed up hearing your class raise the question. As the instructor, isn't it your place to enlighten them as to how not very important the issue is? Is it just that engaging for them? Do they plan on being thrown into the wilderness for six months — given some awesome, once-in-a-lifetime thing to photograph, and blow up to epic proportions — with no way to contact humanity for the duration? Better take along a bunch of batteries if that's the case. Or, pack an Argus C-3...
  85. This seems like it all boils down to what do you really like vs. whats better. Some very good arguments on both sides.
    For me, it's a bit like asking who is your favorite child. You can love them both.
  86. Exactly.
  87. I like this thread, so JM2C

    There have been a lot of critiques on what does the question mean. I agree that this is really a simple question. All
    the additional points about whatever gets the shot, not for underwater, film too slow, and so on, are not part of the
    question. Also not relevant is what size of negative is usable/reasonable. Jason states that whatever size camera
    is needed, and whatever team of assistants is needed will not disqualify a selection. Unfortunately, Jason's first
    clarification, "I only get one chance at it", causes quite a lot of confusion, because that brings in many other issues,
    not really relevant to his question. I may explain why I believe this clarification is a problem in a later post if

    However, color vs. black and white does raise some problems with answering the question because it may affect
    dynamic range for tones in the digital realm. As for the film realm, I also believe that color film has less resolution
    because of the need to layers the colors.

    BUT, I don't think that color or black and white will matter because as I'm about to explain, specifically answering
    this question, there can be little doubt that film is the answer to Jason's question.

    So here's what I offer, and it's pretty simple. From both resolution and dynamic range, it's film.

    The resolution of a film negative starts with a few atoms of silver salts, suspended in an emulsion, reacting to light.
    Well, I'm no chemist, but I am pretty sure that technology cannot produce a pixel sensor anywhere as small as
    that. So, I'll grant you that processing a negative to produce a photograph will increase a given cluster of atoms from
    a few to a larger group, but these will still be smaller than a pixel.

    The size of these grains starts at less than 0.1 micron, and can get up to a few microns. A full frame 35mm sensor
    is 36mm x 24mm. Let’s make the math easy and go with a 1 micron grain size. Consider each grain as a pixel. A
    35 mm negative would work out to 36000000000000 pixels x 24000000000000 pixels, and, if my math is right,
    840,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. This would be 840 x 10 to the 27th (octillion). All I know is that's a whole lot
    of gigabits. Before we get too far into what about the average real grain size and spacing between the grains, I think
    the point is pretty clear. Even at a grain size of 4 microns, there is a significantly larger count of possible “pixels” for

    In dynamic range for digital photography, the camera has to take the incoming light and digitize it, which, as well
    explained many other places will always drop information. 12 bit, 48 bit, RAW, whatever. Digital conversion has to
    drop information.

    Printing is not the issue, because many current printing processes can produce a print with finer detail than any
    human eye can resolve. No, I won’t be sucked into a thread about the issues around scanning a photograph
    processed from an 8 x 10 negative to be able to use an inkjet printer.

    So, once the negative starts to get much larger than any available digital sensor, film starts to leave film way, way,
    way behind.

    Now, this is a loosely theoretical approach to support the simple answer.
  88. bert,

    * 1 micron = 1/1,000th of a mm. Your conversion is off by 9 orders of magnitude!

    * Modern low speed, fine grain film has an average grain size of 2 microns.

    * Grains are either there (developed silver) or not (washed away silver halide). You need a clump of 30-40 grains to represent the tonal range that can be recorded by a single photo site (pixel) on a digital sensor. You need clumps that size across three layers to represent the color range output by a single photo site.

    * I think the average DSLR photo site size is 6 or 7 microns. The new 50D is just under 5.

    * You claim that digitizing "will always drop information", but you don't explain how this is different from grain density approximating the intensity of the light that hit it (i.e. dithering).
  89. I'm not specially worried about the question and I don't know about comparisons for color photography. I shot black & white,
    and no digital camera can touch my Leica and Nikon sytems with Tri-X, Fuji Across and D76. By the way, everybody was
    saying back in 2001 that film is dead. It doesn't seem the case.
  90. Provided you've got only one chance to photograph something, then best outcome will be if you stick to whatever you're used to. Else things will get messy and the opportunity will be gone.
  91. film is better.
  92. The limitations of human vision and the medium of reproduction (screen, paper, etc) determine which is "better" in practice. It turns out neither is better according to my eyesight. In theory film ought to be "better", but it isn't in practice.

    Such theoretical or benchwork techie stuff may be a matter of interest to physicists and boys and girls, but hardly of interest to a photographer who is concerned with 'practice'.
  93. Luis, film might not be dead, but, it's well on the way. Will it be around in "some capacity" for quite a while? Sure — people still use videocassettes, too, but that doesn't mean DVDs haven't taken over the vast majority of ground.
  94. Arjun, I've heard that DVD's are being phased out.
  95. Given the parameters you gave: I agree with the view that the largest practicable film area will do the trick.

    Why? well I feel that digital is founded in issues of rapid reproduction rather than being total quality reproduction. We were using 320x240 cameras for putting up stuff on our websites and making bits for making images to be putting together in photoshop quickly for putting up on our website back in 1999. Noone was saying "gosh, thats not as good as a 'blad" then.

    I'd probably also suggest that the large format film be negative, and perhaps colour (just to give the options).

    been interesting reading the replies

  96. I seem to be making a habbit of piggy back posting... cest la vie ...


    I visited a photography museum in Tokyo some years back and was impressed by a print that was on the wall. it was huge. It was made from a glass plate negative taken around 80 or so years earlier (developed in a tent I think ...) Still, detail was very impressive. I was kept a polite meter or so from the print by a rope fence, but I pulled out a magnifying glass (part or my swiss army knife) and 'close inspected' on bit of the print. There was such detail in the woods of the doors to the temples.

    gosh, I keep pulling more detail from my 35mm and 4x5 stuff each time I get better scanners, even if we ignore the technical details associated with digial montaging (such as artifacts from subject movement or change) this ability to keep getting more from the original film capture than we were able to previously is something yet not possible with digital images (although it may be in the future ...).

    So thats why I voted for film. ... but then have I made my vote a fence sit by suggesting I'm going to scan the film, wouldn't that make it digital then?

  97. Jack, DVDs? Phased out: never! By what: Blu-Ray? Ha! Blu-Ray lacks the soul and depth of DVDs! You just watch how fast this new "technology" goes down in flames.
  98. Another boring discussion on the same topic, possibly proposed by digital photographers who are worried they might be missing
    out on something.

    Short answer is, YES they are.

    If you haven't tried film photography you are really missing something. The same can be said for for digital. Valhalla is
    composed of a bit of each. Sipped like a great wine, each has its considerable pleasures.
  99. Holy cr@$, how embarrassing. Yes, I'd say I was off by a few magnitudes. It's my fault. In wanting to be accurate, I Goggled for a web conversion form to help me make the conversion correctly. Oh well, never trust what you find on the web.

    I tried to find some info if the clumps of grains in the processing would be larger, and didn't find anything. 30-40 grains really surprises me. However, we are still back to the fact that one can easily increase the negative size. Increasing the digital sensor, particularly in any scenario that someone could make super large sensors without significant dead sensor elements, is not currently technically feasible.

    I read an article in Outdoor Photographer that reported the pixel size for a D3 is 8.45mm and the D300’s is 5.50. Why am I mentioning this?

    All of the people who have posted “not this again” or boring, in this and for the many incarnations of this issue might want to remember that the technology is changing in the digital realm quite fast, and for the most part, is, and will be static on the analog/film side.

    This question will always be relevant. At some time, some digital capture process will exceed film’s capabilities. I read that current technology limits the minimum size of a pixel to 1.4 microns, which has been achieved by Micron Technology in the lab.
  100. Bert
    the technology is changing in the digital realm quite fast, and for the most part, is, and will be static on the analog/film side.​
    last time I looked Fuji and Kodak both have introduced new emulsions, scanners are getting better / cheaper and there seems to be a number of new 'film players' emerging from Eastern Europe and Asia.
    In contrast I've noticed that sensors remain 2/3 or smaller in size in the vast amount of cameras, JPG still rules the roost (with for example no camera maker producing a RAW or DNG only camera that puts the processing on the download side where the grunt may lie) with makers placing higher and higher emphasis on DIGIC XYZ processors to do what your PC can do better. Sensors seem to still be Bayer arrays and megapixelisation of the same sensors seems to be the only innovation bar 2 or 3 exceptions.
  101. of course when we see 32bit capture on digital (giving us HDRI in one click) and sensors like the Foveon it will indeed be a much tougher call :)

    a worthwhile read is here http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sigmadp1/page20.asp ... "revealing it is Hmmm"
  102. We have to be careful not to define our work/art by the tools we use to produce it. The nature of technology is something like; more, better, faster.......but always tomorrow.

    Right now we need to use what is at hand. The work can always transcend the medium anyway.

    Some of the best paintings were created with the lowly paint brush. Some of the greatest novels were written with a pen. Some of the greatest photographs were taken with film.
  103. WOW - that DPreview article.. for some reason i no longer want a Leica M8.... it gets spanked by a measly little Nikon D60!
    that's just sad.

    Concerning the FIlm v. Digi thing, i think it's fair to say that for MOST applications, especially technically oriented ones,
    digital is "better." However, if you want the most NATIVE resolution, you will be hard pressed to beat just a 4x5 piece of
    film! I have never shot 8x10, but knowing what 4x5 is like, i can just imagine the detail.. That simply blows digital away.
    Even with a full frame (6x4.5) chip, that's NOTHING next to one of these LF negs.

    Of course, the other side of the coin is that the increase in resolution really only becomes apparent in big enlargements..
    so unless you're a very hardcore purist, you might not want to walk around with a view camera.

    On that note, the argument is soo relative that it's almost not worth typing. Techincally, digital is better, but it's
    expensive, and the best you can get is a scanning back, that takes alot longer to take a picture than just a conventional
    peice of film. That makes film "faster" for LF work.. but for medium format (6x4.5 anyway) digital prety much whips
    film. But then again, film is more "rugged" - ie no batts required in those extreme instances.. but more prone to
    mechanical failure... this goes ON AND ON AND ON....
  104. I wrote a few pages about what I think are the advantages of both film and digital. Since I don't want to overwhelm the
    site, I have put them on a separate web page. If you are interested, you can read my essay:


    Click on the tab marked, "Blog: Documents on Photography"

    The essay is titled, "Advantages of Film and Digital Imaging Syntaxes"

    Good luck. J.
  105. QUOTE: Mike Wilson , Aug 26, 2008; 02:55 p.m. -----
    "... However, optical design for larger coverage restricts resolution, and a 35mm setup resolves more lines per mm than 120 or larger. I find that if I need swings and tilts the large camera is best, and 35mm or a DSLR are most convenient, but that for tack-sharp images 120 film is the winner. ..."

    QUESTION: Mike, what is the Diameter of the Lens in your 120 Camera, and what ISO Film are you using? The lpmm Resolution is related to the amount of light exposing the Film. A 43mm Lens (without the Zoom) will fill up a 135 Frame, but it takes 84mm & 92mm Lenses (without Zoom) to fill up the 60mm and 70mm 120 Frame. With full size Lenses, 120 Format should be stunning.

    Mr. Terry Mester ----- Film Info Website - - http://www.geocities.com/filmanddigitalinfo
  106. "Jack, DVDs? Phased out: never! By what: Blu-Ray? Ha! Blu-Ray lacks the soul and depth of DVDs! You just watch how fast this new "technology" goes down in flames."

    Arjun, you sound like what people said when 8 tracks were replaced. Or, records or everything else in the past.
  107. I would like to ask a different question, what makes a better painting oil paints or aquarelle. both are different mediums and give very
    different results the only similarity is they both us a camera and lens (paint brush) and give an image as a end.. why the duality? can one
    not use the medium most appropriate for our artistic expression or is photography not art?
  108. "why the duality? can one not use the medium most appropriate for our artistic expression or is photography not art?"


    Photography seems to have two souls.
    -One soul appears to be the attraction the human has to pretty sparkly things like new cameras. Comparing pixel counts, enigmatic lens tests, features and cost.
    -The other soul has something to do with art.

    But then, you know this.
  109. Jack, yeah, I know...
  110. I can not believe people are still asking this question and that so many people replied to it. This argument will never end if
    people keep being drawn into it. As a matter of fact i can't believe I am responding to this. Forgive me for my hypocritical
    ummm, ness
  111. "why the duality?"

    Some film users have seen the photography world move away from their understanding and practice and have circled the wagons against it. Some digital users seem to transfer their anger with and need to break with their parents' views, and transfer that to film (after all, their parents used film) and become transgressively triumphalist in their adoption of "change".

    Sorta like USA politics.
  112. "become transgressively triumphalist"

    Thank God you're here Don E.
    Do you make house calls, I think someone here may have a digital camera.
  113. "Do you make house calls"

    Give 'em two PX625s with a glass of water and call me in the morning.
  114. In the spirit of playing the game rather than arguing a point (mainly out of boredom), I'd say since digital is still in infancy, only those who don't care or those who are addicted to "new" would think digital imaging is a superior technology to film.

    By "those who don't care," I am lumping pro shooters in with MySpacers. The reason is that publications don't really care how they get an image as long as it's publishable and prompt. The quality of the lens, the accuracy of colors, the nuances of how lenses and sensors capture light are distractions from the job of pushing content. By the same token, someone who likes digital because it's easy to post images taken a few minutes ago has willingly sacrificed everything for convenience. It's a conscious choice for those folks. It's not ignorance or foolishness, it's apathy. And for them, it's fine - whatever works.

    I recently shot a roll of Pan F at an Italian car and bike show. I shot one roll, and every shot was what I wanted. Not all were "perfect," but *none* were discards. That's because I took a minute to consider if the shot was going to be what I wanted. I didn't snap away hoping something worked. I don't point my camera out the window of my car and hope for the best very often. If I am pressing the shutter button, it's because I already know it will work. I'm not just "seeing what I can get." And to me, the lens, the film, the developing, those issues are relevant.

    I'm under no time pressure, so I don't sacrifice quality for convenience. I have a dedicated film scanner, so I can share my shots digitally when I wish. And as has been said, when I get a better scanner I'll have better shots to share online without having to retake anything. I can still print my shots whatever way I wish.

    Obviously, sacrificing quality for convenience is not something I feel comfortable doing. So I will maintain film rules, digital drools. Other folks have access to lower quality media, and that makes them happy. The fact that they cannot fathom the reasons I say film is universally superior is proof of their own indifference, not proof of an irrational prejudice on my part.
  115. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The fact that they cannot fathom the reasons I say film is universally superior is proof of their own indifference, not proof of an irrational prejudice on my part.
    Nah, it's proof that you prefer knocking what other people do to any kind of meaningful evaluation.
  116. I don't know, BT: sounds like curmudgeonly snobbery, to me. A hell of a lot of people shoot digital nowadays, and
    it's absurd to state they all do so because they're somehow unrefined or apathetic. If film helps you "take your
    time," and taking your time helps you get better shots, good for you; that's how the medium affects you — it's
    not a reflection of some caveat of an alternative format. It's laughable to suggest that you, with a roll of Pan
    F Plus, take your time and consider what you want, while another photographer, with a D.S.L.R. and a four-gig.
    memory card, just snaps off a hundred or so shots hoping that something along the way will turn out all right. I
    guess, by the logic that convenience leads to haste leads to poor pictures, one could make the argument that
    anything more portable than a large-format camera — less burdensome that a Waterhouse stop — is just amateurish
    junk for those who don't care about the art of photography.

    By the way, it's 2008 — I think digital has safely set foot a couple of years out of its "infancy."
  117. ". . . one could argue that anything more portable than a large format camera . . . is just amateurish junk . . . "

    Yeah, well, really, sometimes that's close. Let's face it, do you want 3 good pictures or 3,000 bad ones that are going to
    need a helluva lot of work in post processing? Not the tools, but the photographer that generated that problem.

    Meanwhile, some of these DSLRs that are getting pushed on us in the marketplace represent "snobbery" to me.
    Meanwhile, there go the tools and materials that could keep photography going forever. Gone. No more black and
    white print paper from Kodak. Ridiculous. Polaroid; no more instant films. Ridiculous. Pentax, maker of numerous
    innovations in cameras and lenses, phasing out film cameras. Ridiculous.

    And what are we to do with these shiny and new tools that are replacing our old ones? Pay out some company $5000 at
    a time and then pay another software corporation some other thousands. It's a crass re-marketing of objects so that
    someone can charge us what we paid before, plus another ten times that amount, in order to do the same thing.

    Rush, rush, rush. To achieve what? A rush to failure. Don't buy the latest new toy that costs ten times what its
    predecessor did, to do the same thing, and you can kiss your applied art goodbye.

    When they began marketing cameras that made us choose between either a digital sensor or film, camera manufacturers
    worldwide failed us. We should not have to reformat our lives and our works just because they wanted to sell the world
    on a more expensive design. Period.
  118. ". . . digital a couple of years out of its infancy . . ."

    Excellent point. How marketable are those Windows 3.1 compatible digital photos? Worthless. When was the last time
    someone actually used a contemporary operating system that was effortlessly 100% backwards compatible? Four years
    ago? Seven years ago? How many times are we to throw away years of our lives on work that will be worthless every
    time someone wants to sell the world an "update"?

    Are the film guys getting racketeered? What about the digital photographers? How many hours, weeks, months and
    years of their lives are going to be thrown away because they are working on a file format or a product that will not last
    more than two years? The people who are paying into these digital schemes are good folks who work hard and who
    need their tools to do the job. And look what happens to them. Never to gain any ground. Never to even hold on to
    what they have already done. Work galore arbitrarily thrown away because of someone's marketing scheme.

    There needs to be an ISO standard or some kind of international standard, not set by manufacturers and their lawyers,
    but by the users and consumers, just as there were standards set for basic structural soundness for film years ago.

    Foisting all this cheap, poorly thought out, constantly disposable and expensive technology in the form of intellectual
    property tools is ridiculous. It's worthy of ridicule, and that's why I'm slinging it. We should not roll over and just accept
    anything. Even for the digital photographers who have already invested so much, why should they continue to lose the
    gains that are rightfully theirs? So that someone else can take their money? Ridiculous.

    I'm sorry. I hope I didn't hurt anybody's feelings. But I really feel that this situation is unacceptable. It's ridiculous.
  119. "The fact that they cannot fathom the reasons I say film is universally superior is proof of their own indifference, not proof of an irrational prejudice on my part."

    Insert CF card rectal suppository and call me in the morning

    Dr Don E
  120. Both are better, but when i want a good picture i use film.
  121. Sorry, meant to type No
  122. Which is better, Photo.net or APUG.org? Last call? Where do the people who are 9 years old now post this question
    when they are 16, 18 or even 21 years old?
    How about you look at the search results to see just how many different places this gets asked:

    "film versus digital" under photo.net.

    So what, it has been asked before..is it a crime to ask it again? NO!
    There is no crime in asking this question, but for some reason, it is heavily discouraged on this site.
    I was happy to join this place in 2000, in looking at how much photoshopped non-photo garbage is on here now, I am not
    so happy.

    In a few weeks, my new site will launch. Once it does, I am pulling every single image except for the two POW's off and
    disassociating with this place.

    It's not that I don't like it, I just don't want my images anywhere near the proliferation of what I consider to be non-
    photographic images. And that is not a crime either.
  123. By the way, thanks again Lex for keeping this one in, you have my utmost respect for that, even if it is the last one.

    Peace everyone...and get out to make some photographs.

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