When digital just won't do... dark music venue.

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by patrick j dempsey, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. A few weeks ago I went to a local show and brought my camera. Now typically when I shoot a show I bring lots of important gadgets like mini tripod, cable release, reflective meter and possibly a bounce flash. But armed with only the simplest of tools... an OM-1 with a broken meter, a 24mm f/2.8 prime lens, a single roll of Ilford Delta 3200, and an incident meter, I took my chances. Granted, the meter was a Minolta Flash Meter IV which has a dramatically better lower-end range than many in-camera meters, I forgot the reflective attachment, so I was stuck with incident metering. This was also my first foray into Delta 3200 and super high speed films in general, so I really didn't know what to expect.
    As the guitarist was tuning up, before the crowd gathered, I hopped on stage for a quick meter reading right beside his mic. Being a small venue with fixed lighting, and it being incredibly dark as it was, I was not worried about the lighting changing. 1/30th @ f/2.8 for 3200 ISO. Now that felt like serendipity. I shot the show in 36 frames with plenty of time for a couple of beers. One thing I've learned about shooting music is that unless something crazy is going on, or there is a lot of room for me to setup lots of different angles, there really isn't much point in shooting more than one roll. Even with my one roll, many of the photos look the same, there just were not that many places to shoot from.
    While I shot, I was careful to watch for other photographers. Beside me and the girl shooting video (it was a CD release show, so they wanted it recorded) there was only one person who seemed to be shooting. He had a digi SLR with a zoom lens on it... it didn't look big enough to be very fast and if anything it looked like a kit lens. If it was faster than f/3.5 I would be very surprised. He shot a little but didn't move around much and he was def looking for a place to support his camera. That guy seriously needed a tripod, or a super fast lens, or high speed film. ;)
    So here's a sampling of what I got, the band liked them so much they want to put them on their website:








  2. Why, exactly, would digital 'not do' in this situation? I've got 3200 on my DSLR. The latest bodies are going to 12800 (APS) and 25600 (full frame). A Canon 50D with a f/3.5 kit lens would have 1.5 stops more light gathering ability than you had.
    If I did dark music venues for a living I would have a 5D mkII and a f/1.4 prime lens. Now that's a low light setup!
  3. Well....perhaps Larry didn't have the 3K for the Canon digital rig. But he, like many of us old timers, already had everything needed on hand to go ahead and shoot the set. Sure, digital is amazing.....if you have the money, for myself, an (almost) fixed income retiree I sure don't.
  4. If you read the post, you would understand. The digital shooter in the audience wasn't shooting hardly at all, and wasn't even bothering to move off of the floor. I guess he didn't have the extra $3000 sitting around to get the 5D.
  5. Why, exactly, would digital 'not do' in this situation? I've got 3200 on my DSLR. The latest bodies are going to 12800 (APS) and 25600 (full frame). A Canon 50D with a f/3.5 kit lens would have 1.5 stops more light gathering ability than you had.​
    I don't think the actual low light gathering abilities are in question. It's more to do with the ability to capture the detail in both the highlights and the shadows.
  6. Very nice tonalities indeed. Clearly nothing any digi can hope to capture.
    ??? What tonality? These shots show over the top contrast. Black, white, and 2-3 shades of gray aren't difficult to capture.
  7. Very nice pictures, and sounds like you had a nice evening also. Without getting (too much) into the film vs digital, your setup is a lot cheaper than the ones suggested by Daniel. And (more importantly), for most of the users in here, a lot more fun to use.
  8. 2-3 shades of gray​
    Maybe you need to have your monitor calibrated?
  9. Maybe you need to have your monitor calibrated?​
    Even if it is calibrated, I expect the prints will look much better than any monitor can manage.
  10. I don't think the actual low light gathering abilities are in question. It's more to do with the ability to capture the detail in both the highlights and the shadows.
    70% of each photo is pure black. Highlights such as skin and shirts go pure white. There's not much gray in between. The contrast on these is beyond excessive.
    Go to flickr, type low light concert, and review some of the results. People using digital Rebels get a far better tonal range and pick up at least some shadow detail.
  11. Maybe you need to have your monitor calibrated?
    Here's a screenshot of the levels dialog for one of your shots. My monitor doesn't need to be calibrated, and the levels read out verifies everything I said.
    If that's the look you wanted, fine, great, more power to you. But if you're going to tell people what digital won't do, have better examples than this.
  12. The only pure white in these images are the light bulbs above the stage. Four spots directed towards the lead singer, clearly illuminating the carpet below him. A fifth directed at the drummer. Low wattage globes for decoration only on the stage, the globes clearly show variations in brightness and even modeling shading. If you see pure white anywhere but inside of the spots, then it's your eyes, not the images.
  13. The only pure white in these images are the light bulbs above the stage.
    Try the eye dropper tool in PS. Skin and clothing also go pure white. I suppose it could be your scan, but these shots show extreme contrast never the less.
    Now if that's the look you wanted, great. But you didn't post "Check out my dramatic, high contrast, B&W music shots." You specifically said digital won't do for this type of photography and shared with us your feelings of superiority over another shooter at the venue based entirely on the camera you were using. You opened the can of worms...
  14. Wow, so you have produced the histogram from an image taken with a wide angle lens pointed at a predominantly dark stage, taken on super high speed B&W film, scanned at home, resized, compressed, and uploaded and compressed again. Congratulations! you have just presented evidence that says that a photograph shot in such a way will have alot of darks in it, and a lump of whites at one end representing spot lights. Believe it or not, but some people actually like shooting high contrast and even do wacky things like add orange filters to make crazy blacks! And even weirder, some people find "even" tonality to be flat and incredibly boring to look at!
    If you would kindly read the actual original post as I have already suggested, then the secret mysterious code of the meaning of the title of the post will be revealed to you.
  15. Here's one just for you Daniel, the classic example of an impossible photograph, a snow scene photographed from inside a cave. Histogram, mistogram.
  16. Patrick, someone from the peanut gallery said these shots have tonality digital can't match. I pointed out that they're high contrast shots with little tonality. You told me to calibrate my monitor. So I posted a histogram to prove the point, and it was proven. To match this look a digital shooter under similar circumstances would have to throw away tones and detail back home in Photoshop. So much for the "digi can't match" comment, which you didn't make, but which I was responding to when I brought up the tonality.
    I read the post and I get the title and it seems childish. Just show your work. No need to feel smug because you think some other photographer didn't move enough. Did you see his shots? Maybe you would feel humbled if you did. Maybe not. But if he was having trouble it was due to a slow lens, not due to the fact that he was shooting digital.
  17. Try the eye dropper tool in PS. Skin and clothing also go pure white. I suppose it could be your scan, but these shots show extreme contrast never the less.
    Now if that's the look you wanted, great. But you didn't post "Check out my dramatic, high contrast, B&W music shots." You specifically said digital won't do for this type of photography and shared with us your feelings of superiority over another shooter at the venue based entirely on the camera you were using. You opened the can of worms...​
    In the fifth image, where the singer is clearly perpendicular to the spot light, there is pure white mixed in with shades of gray in his shirt. That is what I would call an acceptable amount of white. Nowhere in any of these images is there evidence of blown-out whites as you are apparently alluding to. The guy is wearing a white shirt, obviously extreme highlights directly under a spot light are going to show pure white. In most cases, the faces in these images are below 160 on the 256 scale of gray. What that means is that your statement is just a flat out lie, and anyone who cares to look is free to look and can see that for themselves. Unless there is some magical reason that the images you are pulling off of Photobucket are different than the ones that everyone else is seeing.
    As for your other two statements, these are both lies as well. I am not sure what you gain by attempting to place words into my mouth when anyone can read what I've written and see that I clearly have not written what you assert. What it seems to me is that you are continually reacting to the title of the post and not bothering to read my post, or my subsequent explanations of my post, and completely overlooked the tongue-in-cheek nature of the original comment about the digital shooter. I'm not saying anything about superiority, in fact I made it plainly clear that I lucked out in a big way. If the scene had been 1 stop darker I would have a roll of camera-shaky photos, or I just wouldn't have shot.... which is likely the options that the young man was faced with. It was luck of the drawl.
  18. his⋅to⋅gram

    –noun Statistics . a graph of a frequency distribution in which rectangles with bases on the horizontal axis are given widths equal to the class intervals and heights equal to the corresponding frequencies.
    - dictionary.com​
    All that a histogram shows you is how frequently little squares in the image are a certain tone. If there is a heavy bias towards a certain range of tones, then the graph is overloaded and less frequent tones are compressed out of visibility. It is not a graph of ranges of tones, it is a graph of frequency.
  19. Patrick, There is just something cool about high contrast Band pictures. here is one of mine. Shure the lights get blown out, but that is expected. It makes bleached pockets stand out too.
  20. Cool man! It's one of the only way I like band shots... either that or crazy gel color flash stuff.
  21. Rock on Patrick and don't let the Nay-Sayers get to you! Here's another.
  22. I think the point that may have been missed by the posts here (sorry if I overlooked it) is that with a film camera you can update the "sensor" technology with a new roll of film, which is why even a camera from the 1950s can do as well as one decades newer. With digital, the camera is what it is and will never get any better.

    Digital SLRs that can shoot in low light (e.g., Nikon D700/D3/D3x) cost in today's dollars almost exactly what a Nikon F cost in 1959. But even a $100 rangefinder in 1959 could use exactly the same film as the Nikon F. A pro in 1959 would not be using a $100 camera, which for all I know is the equivalent in today's dollars to what that other guy with the zoom was shooting with.

    Having said the above, I do find the title of this thread annoying. But, I love the pictures and the story! Nice work, Patrick!

  23. Patrick - your images are high contrast with relatively few tones. Period. This is not difficult to replicate digitally, a statement I make in response to comments from other posters. And digital would not have been at a disadvantage in this situation given a f/2.8 or faster lens, a statement I make in response to you.
    I'm not telling you high contrast images are bad. But I am saying the written context in which you posted these images makes no sense.
  24. By the way, if you check the histogram on my two shots, it is nearly identical to yours. And I do agree that the title of the thread will attract a lot of digital defenders.
  25. You should try Tri-X pushed to 1600ish, and developed in Diafine. It's a compensating developer, and will help bring out more shadow details. I used to shoot it in 6x6 (Rollei 3.5E or a Norita 66 with the sweet f/2 80mm lens), and always got better results than the 3200 labeled films.
    Film vs digital is silly as usual. It depends entirely on the abilities of the photographer and processor to make either work in low light. Pick the tools you enjoy using, and don't worry about what the other guy is using. I always got a kick out of the stares when I pulled out the Rollei TLR. But you are kidding yourself if you think it can't be done with digital. Below are a couple of examples of the EOS 5D (which is $1500 not $3000 these days) raw pushed to ISO 25600. Admittedly you can probably get a Norita 66 with the f/2 lens for under $300.
    I'm sure that the hardcore film geeks will find lots of flaws. I regularly show these as 8x12 and 12x18 prints, and they look fantastic even with your greasy nose pressed right up against them. They look better than anything I was ever able to get from medium format, high ISO films (my flaw I'm sure).
    #1 reason why digital is better than film for live music? It's much easier to share the photos with the bands. :) I've still got folks griping that they never saw the film shots of their band I took years ago. Keep shooting; the bands love us! :)
  26. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I shoot in dark music venues every week. I do it for pay and for myself, and get quite a bit of publication. As someone who does this regularly, I think the argument is silly. Digital has some very specific advantages for shooting in clubs, and I don't know anyone doing it professionally these days who uses film. It just can't take advantage of the situation.
    One thing to know is that most clubs allow flash, and when one knows how to use flash properly, the photos can look quite natural. Being able to switch ISO on the fly allows shooting with flash at low ISO and without flash at high ISO. I use 1600 or 3200 depending on the amount of light, but I find that controlled flash often looks better in terms of what one gets. Digital also lets you shoot color in low light.
    I also think it's important to fill the frame. You get a lot more drama and impact, which is what music is about.
    Just a few examples...
    Flamingo Gunfight, Copyright 2009 Jeff Spirer
    Forget About Boston, Copyright 2009 Jeff Spirer
    Perfect Machines, Copyright 2009 Jeff Spirer
    Candy From Strangers, Copyright 2007 Jeff Spirer
  27. I shoot both film and digital, but digital has the advantage in low light if you want to capture shadow detail. If you don't care about shadow detail, then push film. It's really a matter of preference.
  28. Awesome shots Matt. I never said I didn't think it couldn't be done with digital, I actually have a good friend who shoots concerts in Hawaii exclusively on digital! His biggest problem is actually affording lenses that are fast enough and sharp enough for those situations. He had exposure problems in the beginning, but learning how to use his meter better helped. Heck yes bands love us... you can't put music on the outside of a box yet. ;)
    I think I forgot to mention that this film was expired and of an unknown age and unknown storage. Although this doesn't appear to have affected anything. Despite some people's opinions, there is actually quite a bit of detail in the shadows just before the toe, so it isn't totally dead in there.
  29. Patrick - great shots. Love the tonality.
    I don't think it was necessary for this to be film vs digital. That just confuses things.
    BTW, the example of the other guy in the crowd doesn't show the limitations of a digital camera, it shows the limitations of that guy - he probably had the technical ability to get a shot at ASA 3200 or higher, and probably had some image stabilizing lens and a manual exposure mode and he probably had feet. He could have done a couple test shots, seen that the meter was messing with his head, figures it out in manual then walked around to get some good shots, but he didn't. He also could have used a fast prime lens - that's not a limitation of digital, it's a limitation of people who don't buy fast prime lenses.
    I'm not counting money here - when a Nikon 50/1.4 AF is $400 new and a 50/1.4 for any discontinued manual focus system is $20 used, and the price difference for camera bodies is even worse, that changes the argument a bit.
    None of this changes the fact that Daniel is a troll. I just ran across one of his other trolls in another thread, and clicked on his backlog which seems to have a rather high percentage of trolls either on film v. digital or politics. Daniel, cut that out. The classic cameras forum is not a place for it.
  30. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I never said I didn't think it couldn't be done with digital​

    Then what did the title of the thread mean?

  31. Then what did the title of the thread mean?​
    It was specific to the example mentioned in the text of the post, which was tongue-in-cheek. I said a digital shooter was frustrated shooting this show and he needed either a tripod, a fast lens, or high speed film. Wink wink nudge nudge har har.
  32. There was absolutely no need to turn this into a film vs digital thread. You took your camera and you got your shots. The band was happy. So what was the problem?
    As one who has used high-speed film I have found Delta 3200 to rate at between 1000-1200 ISO. If you try to go higher you lose tonality. You get what you have shown. There is nothing wrong with that. We have seen this for many years and are use to it for low-light photography.
    DSLRs have changed our ability to shoot in low-light. They have true ISOs past 6400. They have low-noise and can retain incredible amounts of detail. Even the lowly Canon Rebel can shoot at 3200 ISO.
    So what? This is a classic camera forum. Let's see what our classics can do. Let's share information about them. Let's leave other cameras and what they can do to other forums.
  33. Nice pictures, I think, but why bait digital available-light photographers?
    I'm with Jeff and Marc on this one, the title was unnecessary at best, and not well-informed if it was meant seriously.
  34. JDM, please read my last few posts. I think I'm making my position pretty clear. Yeah it was a silly title, but reacting to titles and not reading follow-up posts from the OP is pretty silly too. It's a good thing I didn't go with the original title: "Film haxor totally pwns digi noob!!!!"
  35. Stage lighting is difficult. Like others that have posted above, I'm not seeing anything remarkable in regard to tonality in the op's pictures.
    The picture below was shot in colour, converted to b&w. With digital, I have that option.
  36. Great atmospheric shots Patrick. Amazing what can be done with simple equipment and some Fast Film. THAT was the original point I believe. Precisely why the digital crowd Lurks on this forum and tries to shoot holes into any post like this proves they have the photographic equivalent of Penis Envy.
    FLAMES AWAY! That's what this post seems to have turned into anyway.....
  37. tsk tsk. lurking. 'penis envy'.
    I will leave you to enjoy your imaginary world where blown highlights have detail in them - "no really they do, it was shot with film and film has a superior dynamic range!"
  38. Russ: you might be surprised how many PN users don't think of the place as being a bunch of individual forums, but as a wider community and info/idea-fest. I never look at individual forums, but instead at the Unified view, showing everything. I learn all sorts of stuff that I would otherwise miss, if I were just limiting myself to Nikon Land, or to Lighting Limbo.

    So what do I see? A list of topics about Victoria Falls, about Vivitar flashes, slow-sync issues, slide film developers in India, and a loaded topic that implies the inability of a digital camera to work in a low-light music venue. You don't think that people who actually do use their digital gear in exactly such venues might want to know what it is that means they've been mistaken all this time? This ain't lurking, this is baiting. Simple as that.
  39. There are some great concert photos in this thread.
    "Low wattage globes for decoration only on the stage," this was my favorite part of Patrick's images.
    While Jeff's digital images, even his b&ws, look great to me that one of Mike's above looks incredibly flat and lifeless especially considering the scene. Jeff's post-processing is perfect for my eyes.
    Personally I like to participate in the action in front of the stage so I'm not going to use an SLR or a DSLR, I want something pocketable and I just have never liked the results of my digital p&s's, it might be because of my poor knowledge of post-processing. I use Provia 400 and an Olympus Stylus when I'm close enough for the built-in flash, or I use Fuji 1600 in it.
  40. Great shots patrick using an "old relic and outdated FILMCAMERA."
  41. " but instead at the Unified view"
    Same here, and the subject definitely caught my eye quicker than the others. And I'm grateful because I got to see a couple fantastic concert photos, a genre I wish I could do better at.
  42. Patrick,
    Your pictures are awesome! I think the tones look great.
    By the way, I've found that before I get into a debate with someone, it helps to look at their posting history, just so that I know what their real motives are. Daniel is probably 99.99 percent digital. In fact, he said in one of his recent posts in a topic about Kodachrome that he would just look for a Photoshop plug-in to "simulate" film. So there you go.
    And by the way, the only time you get digital users here is because they lurk in the Film forums. When they aren't here trolling, they will jump in and try to pick apart any topic that promotes film in the slighest bit...even in a FILM forum. It doesn't matter what the topic is. People might say your topic here was "loaded" or whatever...but the last time someone posted a very casual topic and we had a friendly discussion, but the same thing happened. Yet, you don't see us going into the digital forums and jumping into topics like "Why would anyone use film now?" (And yes, they post topics like that all the time...and make remarks about how they use a 35mm SLR for a doorstop). There is such a double standard that it's not even funny.
    Do you ever go on Flickr, Patrick? I just started a new group there. I sent you an email about it earlier, but I don't know if you saw it. if you're interested, this topic would be very welcome there. No censorship and no digital trolls.

  43. Sorry Patrick, I called you Larry in my first post. Just got up, 4:00 AM here on the west coast.
  44. "And by the way, the only time you get digital users here is because they lurk in the Film forums."
    I have been using film since before you were born. I bet I have more film darkroom experience than you have life experience.
    Some of us are open to many methods. Some of you are closed off. The forums on Photonet are open to all. They are not just for some who want their own clubhouse. I feel as a long time paying member, that I can visit any forum and express my views. Because I have long term experience with both film and digital that I can share things from both perspectives.
    Before you call people trolls, perhaps you should look up the definition. It probably doesn't mean what you think it means.
  45. Patrick, I guess you and I are the only ones that showed what film will do in this post. The rest of the examples are digital. HMMMM. One good thing is that some of the people that come to read this may just say to themselves " I didn't know you could do that with film, I thought you needed bright sunlight for film." or something like that and then may try some film for themselves.
    from above: "converted to b&w. With digital, I have that option."
    With film you have that option too, when you scan the negatives and turn them into super high quality digital. We also have the option of making real Silver halide prints, and toning them with real Gold or real Platinum, or a multitude of other creative mediums that you do not have the option to delve into. By creating real hand done prints with real precious metals, the artwork has a more intrinsic value to it, than a print made with ink from a computer. There is more to photography than the mere capture of an image.
  46. The phrase "any press is good press" comes to mind. Having evoking titles can certainly add a dimension to any discussion. In the bigger scope, I think everyone benefits if they keep an open mind to all the input.
    Personally, I enjoyed learning about low light situations with both film and digital. These are areas I have yet to explore but have seen a few places I would like to capture: night scenes, low light forests, etc. and the dialogue above is all very useful. Thanks for the posts.
    Keep up the good antagonism, encouragement and sarcasm! Kind of like the British Parliament!
  47. And there I was beginning to think that the DigiFilm wars were over and the armistice signed. What on earth are the U.N. doing all day?
  48. Yeah, Marc I'm sure you do have more life experience than me. There's nothing I can do about that.
    Maybe I should have re-phrased it to "digital-only" users. Why would someone who never posts any topics in the Film forums jump into a topic only to troll or make snide remarks? I'm not saying that's what you did. In fact, I don't think I ever mentioned you specifically at all. But I can tell you that certain people here who started the flame war, that's exactly what they did. They never post topics in the Classic Cameras or Film forums and only jump in to make sarcastic remarks. Some people were complaining about the title of Patrick's post...but so what? Like I said, people in the digital forums post topics all the time about "Why would anyone bother using film?" Yet, that doesn't seem to bother anyone. Why is there such a double standard? So should I start going in there to argue with them? Who gives a crap...let them say whatever they want in their forum. And yes, I DO view this site as individual forums. They ARE minature clubhouses. People who have similar interests go into a forum to hang out and talk about it. People who like film should be able to hang out in Film forums and talk up FILM whenever they want, without worrying about someone coming in who NEVER posts in that forum and posting sarcastic remarks. People who like Classic Cameras should be able to talk up classic cameras (and film) whenever they want. And hey, people who like digital cameras should be able to talk them up too, in a digital forum. Whenever people just want to hang out and talk about general stuff, I thought that's what the Casual and Off-Topic forums are for. Otherwise, what's the point of even having forums?
    Let me put it this way...if someone wants to say "film sucks" in a DIGITAL forum, I have no problem whatsoever with that. But that means we should also be able to give our opinons freely in the Classic Cameras and Film forums. Right now, it's only the other way around. Why is there such a double standard? Why is it that digital-only users can bash film all day long and no one cares...but if anyone DARES to say "Film will do this better" than all hell breaks loose? Enough with the censorship.

    Yeah, I'm young but I've been on the internet for a LONG time. (since circa 1996) It used to be that lurking was considered a netiquette NO-NO. It used to be that before you jumped into a debate, you should let people get to know you by posting a few topics first.
  49. i don't understand why people show up at a classic cameras forum and expect enthusiasts of film and film cameras not to profess pride in their 'antiquated' equipment while denouncing the ubiquitous modern ones. that's the nature of this forum. it exists at least partly because we have to stick together in these times of increasing difficulty to commit to film photography. some of our reasons may be mythology just as some peoples' reasons to use digital instead of film may also be mythology but it's what we all prefer. and HERE, we prefer film.
    why are members here arguing amongst themselves? those of you who are arguing against patrick, why? are your classic cameras nothing more than mantel decor? or do you believe in them the way he does? why knock someone for taking something more seriously than you do and putting it through its trials? perhaps you should be criticized for not making better use of your equipment. if you truly believe him to be wrong, what is the point of arguing with him? he clearly is committed and is not going to be dissuaded. nor should he have to be within this environment.
    we can all sit around and argue about one thing or another that's better or worse than one format or the other for this or that situation or we can appreciate one another's work the way it's been done or make suggestions for improvement towards given goals. as we know with all other elements of photography, everything's subjective. while some math can be applied here, please realise that it's all subjective.
    and if you believe patrick's work could be improved by making it look more like digital, how about suggesting ways to do that with chemistry? if lack of tonality is a problem, perhaps they should have been processed differently? it's like saying digital sucks because i saw some jpgs that someone didn't photoshop to my liking.
    why do soo many digital shooters appear to be personally offended when someone says they think film is better for this or that? did you invent digital cameras? are you losing money on people not using it?
    of course my bias is for film and the classic cameras that this forum is SUPPOSED to be in support of so allow me to run down a few points that seem important to understanding patrick's photos and his experience.
    --price--a $3-5k body and a current copy of photoshop vs. a $100 body with some $5 film and just a few cents processing if you do it yourself (i'll spare computers and hard drives from this calculation since both sides need them to display online but in theory, you don't need either for film if the images were to be displayed in a gallery)
    --viewing--we're looking at these photos which were scanned by a digital device and are being viewed on digital displays. the film is the visiting team here and the field is biased for the home team.
    --tyme--i doubt patrick has has to edit these photos much, that they came out pretty much as expected.
    --reusing instead of throwing out a perfectly useful set of items--why toss a good camera/lens when you can still get photos of this quality (better than digital or not) out of it? why not shoot a few concerts with it and enjoy the ride?
    --focus--try auto focusing in this environment with less than $1k dslrs. and try manual focusing with fast lenses wide open. as a glasses-wearer, i find the viewfinders of the d80,d40, d90 and the canon rebels completely unacceptable. and yes i've calibrated the finders with the lenses i'm using.
    --grain--folks in these parts generally prefer it to slick digital
    anyway, i enjoy these photos very much. they don't look like everyone else's concert photos. they don't have to be the posters for the film vs. digital argument. they can just be nice photos and nice examples of how old rigs can still be useful.
  50. Johnny, that's kind of my point.
    For crying out loud....let us talk up FILM and Classic Cameras. Everywhere you go, digital is in your face. You go to a bookstore and look at the "photography" magazines, and it's all about Photoshop and they look like catalogs for DSLR's. This is our place to hang out. If we want to say that we like film and digital sucks, that should be our right! (No one has actually said that, but we should be able to). I dare anyone to go into the digital forums...go ahead. Look for a little while and read the topics and probably within a few minutes you will see people making remarks about how they "can't understand why people bother using film anymore." They do it all the time. And yet, we aren't allowed to give our opinions here. It's no wonder though...what kind of advertisements do you see on your screen right now? It's all digital.

    If the playing field were more level, then yeah maybe we could all sit around a campfire saying "oh, it doesn't matter how you get your pictures"...but guess what, it's not like that. If it were, I would also be seeing Kodak Ektar 100 film being shown in the ads on Photo.net. But I'm not. So yeah, maybe film users are getting defensive...because we HAVE to be and we are tired of being ignored. Josh has made a real effort to be more inclusive of film users with his "Viva Film" letter and "Filmtown" articles. But let's face it...Photo.net is largely a big ocean of digital. There are a few film and traditional darkroom forums here, and I DO consider them safe havens, where we can talk freely and have fun. So let us have them.
  51. Well said Chris, well said.
  52. Maybe we should organize some "Film Users Tea parties" across the country and invite the news media to hear how we are mad as heck and not going to take it anymore. My plate camera's healthcare has been ignored long enough. It's time to stand up and fight.
  53. LOL...count me in, Cliff!
    I say right now, everyone should load a classic camera with a roll of film, while you have "We're Not Gonna Take It" playing on your stereo.
  54. What the heck, let's go world wide. It's time to take a stand !!!! I don't want to see Grandma's Kodak plug get pulled !! And I don't think we should be required to have film camera "End of Life Counseling" forced upon us !
  55. Chris, I think you doth protest too much.

    This wasn't a case of someone saying "digital sucks!" and then a digi user saying "no it doesn't!" This was a case of a thread subject that implies something that's - to say the least - open for debate. And it was stated in a way specifically meant to stir the pot. It's not about whether the people who limit themselves to the individual forums should or shouldn't have secret handshakes and whisper only to each other. It's about the fact that untold thousands of people encounter this web site in all sorts of contexts, looking for information. One of the site's great values is that you can search it with phrases like "low light concert photography" and get enough information to feel like you came out the other side knowing more, and even knowing some actual facts. Even some facts that are different today than they were two years ago (since the technology has substantially changed).

    It's not a question of whether Patrick's photos are enjoyable (they are), or whether Matt Needham's have a really lovely tonal range (they do!). It's about asserting something that's ... well, not really true - and doing it with a kinda snarky tone. Folks weren't "lurking" in this forum, ready to respond to Patrick's fightin' words - I think you greatly mistake how people come across threads like this. The very fact that so many people did should tell you why it's more helpful to start threads with subjects like "Look what I could do with Delta 3200 at a dark concert" instead of incorrectly implying what he did.

    And for what it's worth, I do see people with film experience - whether or not they're film/classic-camera evangelists/enthusiasts - step into all sorts of digital conversations, spanking people for uttering nonsense, or trying to broaden their horizons. Honest mistakes get an informational straightening out, and tone-deaf taunting gets some slightly more prickly responses. How many times have I seen someone asking "how can I get this retro look?" in the digital darkroom forum and then seen people launch the ol' "use some Kodachrome!" or "buy some Velvia and stop sitting in front of the computer" or "find a real lab and get them to cross process for you!" missiles into the conversation. It happens, and nobody "lurks" their way into those threads. They see them just like I saw this one.
  56. Flat and lifeless! Well, I am both shocked and appalled!
    Oh well you can't win em all.
  57. Title explanation:
    1. 1 music venue
    2. 2- shooters in the crowd
    3. 1 w/ a Film camera
    4. 1 w/ a DSLR
    5. 1 was able to shoot
    6. 1 (seemingly) was not able to shoot. Happened to be the DSLR
    In no way do I see the OP claiming that ALL digital cameras (or digi shooters) are unable to shoot in these conditions. Just not that second guy in the crowd at that one event. Pretty easy actually.
    As far as the actual pictures are concerned, I like them (I'm sure my opinion means little to most) and I see a good tonal range in them. If the histogram it what you like to use as judgment of that, then it proves good tonal range. 18% gray would lye somewhere very close to 117 on the scale being that the spot light is the brightest white and reading 255. 18% gray is in Zone V meaning that in these images he has hit; I, II, III, IV, V, possibly VI, IX, X, that's 8 out of 10, plus 0 (black), I think that is pretty good range for the conditions.
  58. "Flat and lifeless! Well, I am both shocked and appalled!
    Oh well you can't win em all."
    Remember the quote, "Too many notes" from the movie Amadeus ? Well, in this case Mike, you've used too many tones!
  59. I shoot both in concert situations.

    FF Digital has a huge advantage in high-ISO color performance; even in b&w FF digital is significantly better than film at high ISOs. Also a huge advantage in being able to chimp what you've shot in stage lighting that is insanely good at confusing meters. Far better to get to settings that give you a histogram/image you like and lock them in.

    The biggest knock I have of digital is butt-ugly handling of blown highlights, especially blown color highlights like in-scene gelled stage lights. You get these weird abrupt transitions from 3-color blown to 2-color blown to 1-color blown. I'm also not fond of how you throw 3/4 of your pixels away in the solid-red lighting that's inexplicably popular in small clubs.

    Then there's dynamic range/lattitude. High ISO digital has very little. Granted, TMZ at 3200 in D-76 is at least as bad, especially after factoring in what affordable scanners do to dense film, but pushed TMZ/TMY in Microphen or dilute XTOL with a good scanner rocks.

    At this point I still shoot 98% digital at shows, but that's down from 100% a couple of years ago. A lot of that's because I don't really have a suitable film SLR, just a Hexar, a Zorki and Mamiya Universal. Maybe there's an old EOS-1 in my future...

    Supersuckers' Scott Churilla
    Canon 1dsII, ISO 1600. No way ISO 1600 color film (or 800+1) is anywhere close to this.
  60. I really don't care about the whole digital or film thing, but there are some really cool concert shots here, beginning with Patrick's. I've enjoyed looking at all of them. I shot my first show a couple of weeks ago and ironically it was with my DSLR, although it was a brightly lit venue. Knowing that I will be shooting more, I've decided that the next one will be shot with my Spotmatic, just for kicks, so perhaps I'll have something to share. We'll see...
  61. Which is better for photographing the carcass of a dead horse which was senselessly beaten beyond recognition, digital or film?
  62. The Horseman SW612 PRO ‹ An all-around camera.
  63. Just my meager 2 cents worth—

    I won’t get into the film v. digital debate except to say that I’m a diehard film user and will be until there is no more to be had anywhere on the planet. So what? Many other film shooters probably feel the same way. Digital users – we are NOT your enemy. There is no war to be won; no “unwashed masses” to conquer; no such place as a Digital Heaven with a Rolls Royce cloud as the prize for those who convert the most film users to digital. You won’t get to sit at the right hand of the Digital God. So all of you whose self-directed mission is merely to disrupt the film forums, stop channeling Orly “O’really?” Taitz – you’ve got yours, be happy with it. We’ve got ours—we’re happy with it. Get over it already.

    The same goes for film users who argue with digital users. It doesn’t matter. It’s what you DO with what you use and whether YOU enjoy using it. Just stop trying to take it away from each other. You don’t have that right OR privilege.

    BTW – I’ve inherited my son’s K100D so, yes – I AM qualified to talk out of both sides of my mouth. So there.

    As to Patrick’s photos—

    B&W film and bar bands – what could be more natural?
    (You DID bait, however. A Wag of the Finger on you. hee)
  64. Mike Nikolic
    I will leave you to enjoy your imaginary world where blown highlights have detail in them - "no really they do, it was shot with film and film has a superior dynamic range!"​
    I'm really struggling to understand the multitude of comments like this. I'm not sure if they are directed at my work or is just some kind of general ignorant comment. If you've never shot B&W film yourself, it's probably very unlikely you realize how difficult it is to push B&W so far over the edge you get no detail. Color film and C41 B&W... yes it happens easily, and B&W paper goes out of range faster than negatives, so maybe you saw some bad prints sometime? I've shot in snow, at beaches, under bright lights, with yellow and orange filters, and it's just not that easy to push a good B&W film over the edge. Maybe you've been looking at images where someone scanned B&W negatives in grayscale and left themselves with only 256 tones. My scans have an average of around 170,000 unique colors in each one. The versions that you can pull off of here are down to around 4000 unique colors after being resized, compressed during save, and recompressed during uploads. Even after all of that downscaling of the palette, not a single one of the images I posted has blown highlights anywhere except directly in the insides of the spot lights, and not even ALL of the spots suffer from this. I'm not even sure how a piece of anti-digital propaganda has been reversed and spit back at film, but it's rather confusing to me, and especially when applied to images that are not blown out. Maybe all these guys are viewing on LCD monitors?
  65. Gee that was just too much to read guys.

    Neat photos , neat discipline too, one camera, one film, one lens!
    Oh and ... one post

  66. For future reference: If you don't want such threads to become pointless "film vs. digital" battles, perhaps it would be wise to not attribute the limitations of a slow zoom lens to the capture medium in the title.
  67. For future reference: If you don't want such threads to become pointless "film vs. digital" battles, perhaps it would be wise to not attribute the limitations of a slow zoom lens to the capture medium in the title​
    For future reference: If all would react to the actual written words in the post instead of jumping the gun and reacting to a TITLE, perhaps threads would not become pointless "film vs, digital" battles.
  68. that was a marathon of a read, with no conclusion really. I wasn't expecting there to be one to be honest.
    these 'battles' seem to be a fan favorite on forums
  69. If all would react to the actual written words in the post instead of jumping the gun and reacting to a TITLE, perhaps threads would not become pointless "film vs, digital" battles.
    It makes more sense to not make a spurious and provocative claim (which is contradicted by the experiences of many photographers, both amateur and professional) in the title which will be seen by many users outside this particular forum. If you don't want pointless film vs. digital battles, don't make unsupported claims which would tend to provoke such battles.
  70. Not reading all the subsequent posts, but, in response to the first, I disagree. First, the shots presented don't exactly show off hoe film could be argued to be better than digital for low-light photography (they're high-contrast with poor tones, I find). Second, digital has several advantages over film (e.g., changing I.S.O. settings immediately).
    If you get what you're after from either medium, or just "like" one for whatever reason/s, fine, but it's silly to argue film can do things digital can't, then to present these images as "proof."
  71. My two cents worth: It's been common knowledge from day one that no camera has or will ever be designed to do everything perfectly, every time, forever. If that camera were ever to be designed, the market would die in the long term. Period. Every camera (or tool for that matter) is primarily designed to perform a job. Just as you would not buy a hammer to cut a piece of pipe, you would also not buy a disposable camera for a long range shot at a rare bird. Cameras have evolved to the point that they are quite versatile. Different makes of camera put more emphasis on certain tasks than others. All cameras have their individual strengths, but they also have their compromises. I shoot both film and digital. I like the versatility of my digicam, but there are times (and a lot of them at that) when I just enjoy getting one of my antiques out for a hike through the local parks or along the Lake Ontario shoreline in Scarborough. I personally haven't shot much in the way of b&w although that time may come yet. FWIW, I've seen some spectacular examples of what old photography equipment can still do on this forum, and I find that inspiring.
  72. You know, not too long ago, a very very common rhetorical technique used on this very forum was to have a title with some captivating or dangerous idea in it, and then to write a post that reveals it's meaning. But I guess this forum has turned sour, and judging from the number of people who are posting here whom I've never seen in this forum, they must be picking this post up off of the first page, not reading anything it in, let alone the fact that it comes from Classic Cameras, and adding to the pile of ignorance. Internet culture can really be frustrating. And no, the title wasn't designed to upset digital heads, but apparently it does, oh well. I think the only horse that's been beaten to death in this thread is the horse of how many people are reactionary and don't care to read anything, just to express their anger randomly and off topic on forums.
    Of the people who actually read the article, and who responded to the photographs actually contained in the article, I thank you very much, despite all the bull, there were actually some great comments and ideas. For those of you who jumped to conclusions and didn't even bother to look at the images, or looked at them but decided to make spurrious claims about them to suit your ego and meet your personal agenda, get a life.
  73. Patrick, I thought the whole topic was a great read, sure livened things up around here. Never pay too much attention to the naysayers, shoot, post, have fun with our classic cameras. I have a gaggle of classics myself and if I were not such a computer dummy would post a few shots. This latest mix up makes me wonder though just what others are seeing on their screens? Don't know for sure but I'll bet it's nothing like holding a darkroom B&W print in your hands.
    At any rate, please don't take it to heart too much and stop posting, I for one would miss your comments and pictures.
  74. Patrick, they're interesting shots to say the least. Keep on truckin'.
  75. "For those of you who jumped to conclusions and didn't even bother to look at the images, or looked at them but decided to make spurrious claims about them to suit your ego and meet your personal agenda, get a life."
    Well Patrick, what about those who read your post, looked at your images and reach a different conclusion based on long time experience with both film and digital? Do those of us who actually pay to keep Photonet running need to get a life?
    I think your title was meant to create a harsh reaction. You know what they call people who do that, don't you?
  76. Marc Bergman
    Do those of us who actually pay to keep Photonet running need to get a life?​
    Subscribe? To such abuse as to what has been given here by people that feel that they are objective but show no actual tribute to being so? Do you really not understand that the title was in reference to a specific time and place? Why the hell would someone actually pay for this kind of retort? Yes, get a life! Your experience with film and digital has absolutely nothing to do with this post. YOU WEREN'T AT THE SHOW, so you weren't the digi-shooter,w/ the particular equipment that wasn't working, he was referring to. Step off the high horse just because you paid the $24 a year to be here w/ your opinion.
    Thread re-open
  77. Patrick, don't take anything here personally. Like I said earlier, all you have to do is look at a person's posting history and usually you can pretty much tell what their motives are. I always have a great time hanging out in the Classic Cameras forum, especially with the regulars...you, Cliff Manley, Russ Rosener, Andy Collins, Rob Holz, and many others. I seriously wish that we could all meet in real life someday.
    Don't take anything personally from one or two people who NEVER post in this forum, and mistake that as everyone jumping on your case. I'll say again too, by the way, that your pictures are awesome.
    And don't anyone get me wrong...I have seen some beautiful pictures from digital cameras. In fact, some of my contacts and friends on Flickr have taken some great pictures with digital cameras. But my view is that in the Classic Cameras forum, and in the Film forums, we should have the right to talk up film and give our opinion freely.
    Also, if Photo.net REALLY was a fair, open playing field where digital users and film users could co-exist in harmony...then why is it that if you go on the front page, everything you see is digital? Like "Building a DSLR system" and "Advice on Choosing a Digital SLR." You see reviews...but of course, they're all for DSLRs. Not one single mention of film. It's like film doesn't even exist. I just tonight saw an advertisement for Kodachrome in the "Popular Products" area...kinda late for that, isn't it? Josh has made efforts recently to make film shooters more welcome...but overall, Photo.net is heavily biased towards digital. So yes, film users are kind of defensive, and I feel it's because we have to be.
    Anyway, I think I'm going to hang out with Cliff at one of those Film Tea Parties for a while. Keep posting, and keep shooting, Patrick.
  78. Chris, I'm quite sure there is no bias from photonet as to who can advertise. If you pay the money , you get the banner. However there are simply not that many new film cameras or equipment out there to be sold, and the few that are, have likely determined that this is not the venue that will produce the most return for their advertising dollars. So you really can't confuse profitable marketing with a deliberate bias. The same for reviews, If there were something new out there pertaining to film, I'm sure they would be happy to have someone submit a review and it would be posted,
    Let's all quit barking up the wrong trees, but keep barking up the right trees, namely the manufacturing companies, to keep the production of film and film products viable. This can only be done through sales. If people aren't buying, they can't afford to make it. Anyone new to film reading this type of quibbling rhetoric may say why bother with this stuff, they are just a bunch of loonies hanging on to the past, and never get to see or try out the true beauty of this medium.
    The tea parties are really not a bad idea. To have some press coverage of a rally of film users would help the manufacturing companies take notice that people still want their products. That would in turn, increase their desire to advertise such products in a broader spectrum than company catalogs and trade journals.
  79. [[To such abuse as to what has been given here by people that feel that they are objective but show no actual tribute to being so?]]
    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Christ on a crutch, Jody, you need to take your meds.
  80. The problem is that advertising is very expensive, and the companies that are still producing some film and related equipment are hanging on by the skin of their teeth and don't have the money to mass market these products. I'm sure if the money was spent to do so, the people would buy ( as they always do) what the are told to or enticed to buy. So it boils down to a money thing, like everything else. We need more people using film, and buying film. This will never be done by quibbling. I guess in the mean time we can think of ourselves as "film specialists". A dwindling breed of photographers that take pride in producing hand made products from real silver, gold, and platinum; using techniques that take some time and learning to master to produce truly outstanding artwork that will last throughout time, rather than be obliterated with a static discharge, and our equipment , with a little TLC and lube, will continue to operate throughout the next century.
  81. Rob Bernhard
    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Christ on a crutch, Jody, you need to take your meds.​
    Please try to quote me correctly, that comment was a question in reference to someone telling us we should pay/support the site. I'm asked why I would pay for the kind of abuse Patrick has been given.
    I also gave my opinions and explanations Two days ago, so hypocritical is not something I am feeling. I do, however, feel my opinions were objective, as they were "On topic" . So, pills taken, would you like me to send you some or can you make it to the cabinet yourself?
  82. profess pride in their 'antiquated' equipment while denouncing the ubiquitous modern ones. that's the nature of this forum.​
    That's not the "nature of this forum" at all. The whole point of THIS forum is that we can enjoy our nostalgic trips into a past period of innocence. Shoot and compare the cameras we wish we had then, and shoot and enjoy some we wouldn't have touched with a 3 meter pole at the time. Aside from occasional flareups when certain people refuse to acknowledge the historical fact that Praktiflexes had the first instant-return mirrors by a lead of about 10 years, we are pretty even tempered here and willing to live and let live. Let's save our vitriol here for each other, not the hordes of digital users (of whom many of us here are, if that makes any sense).
  83. Awesome JDM!
  84. Sorry guys but I will stick with film cameras:) Here's shot from Yashica GSN with Kodak ISO 200 or 400 film, handheld. Sometimes, when it's really dark I just set camera for flash symbol (1/30 sec)...
  85. Nice shots Patrick. Personally I prefer Tri-X pushed to 1250 and developed in Diafine for my club shots.

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