Wow - read this re: Film versus Digital debate!

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by philip_sutton, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. I hope I have put this question in the right place??


    I have been doing a lot of research lately. I used to shoot for a stock library (Austral international but is now called
    Austral Press) years ago with a full Nikon F5 system. I had lots of stuff published and the money was starting to
    come in - was all very exciting.

    However through a family tradegy I had to give it all away.

    Now I am in a good position to get things cranked up agian. However I have been amazed that in the interim nearly
    everybody has gone digital. I still think in film and loved working with film. The idea of having to spend so much on
    an expensive DSLR and spend all that time on the computer is really daunting.

    I have just ordered a new in the box Pentax 67ii off ebay. It should be here in a few more days. I have a thread up
    on the Pentax 67ii link at the moment asking a question about the metering prism.

    Anyway - I was starting to think that I had done the wrong thing by breaking back in with film. I wondered if I would
    be viewed as a dinasour or something. I wondered how many serious photographers still use film and how much
    longer it will last.

    Here is the point of this thread: I was reading some stuff from a Google search and stumbled upong this. AS it was
    only written recently, I found it very inspiring and it filled me with confidence.

    I was wondering if some of you folks who know a heap more about this subject than me at the moment, could read
    this and tell me your opinion. Is this guy credible. Is it true what he asserts.

    Can't wait to read some opinions!

    Phil

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/why-we-love-film.htm
     
  2. Is this guy credible. Is it true what he asserts.
    No, he's a crackpot. Take his writings with large grains of salt. Much of what he says is tounge-in-cheek. He can nonetheless be insightful and has written valuable articles. He's also written a lot of hogwash.
    This article about film's superiority was good for laughs. I agree with some of the things he says there, and he raises some good points.
    And to Phil: by all means go ahead and use film if you like working that way. It's the result that counts. I'm shooting mostly film too but I'm not a professional.
     
  3. You will love your Pentax, I had one for a while and loved the quality and results I obtained. Be confident about your
    choice there are loads of films out there, rather than film vs digital think film and digital they are quite different mediums.

    On the site you linked to, he's not a 'crackpot' as previously inferred but a very shrewd blogger, who publishes
    contentious material to drive hits to earn cash, kind of the photo blog version of those magazines about celebrities and
    what surgery they are having etc.
    Think about what you want to achieve from your photography, look at the work of others, develop a style don't worry
    about internet debates that are basically driven by bored people who just want to back up their choices.
    In fact I'd go further, those who tell you to 'go digital' are not to be trusted, ask yourself 'why does it matter to them what
    camera I use?"
    There is a huge amount of misinformation out there, based upon others choice, people will try to convince you film is
    binary (its not) a 6mp DSLR is better than your 6x7 or a $5 camera is better than a $5 digicam. those sites are for
    entertainment rather than science or guidance.
    Have Fun!!
    Mark
     
  4. Hey thanks guys - this is a very good start. I really enjoyed your responses. I had to laugh Fredrik where you called him a 'crackpot'.

    Mark you really made a lot of sense. I am starting to think down that road - better to concentrate on making good images than to worry about which medium I use.

    I suppose a more direct question to Ken's link is what he says about dropping off his films to the lab, getting them processed and the resultant slides are then scanned. My question is - the scans that he speaks about - how do they compare with the same image taken on a top range DSLR.

    I would be getting 6x7 transparencies scanned. I rang my lab today and they said that their high quality scans are about 18 meg. Would they be enough to submit to a stock library, take high quality prints from or to view on the screen.

    Sorry about the stupid questions but I am just getting back into photography. When I gave photography up in the mid 90's, digital was barely around so I know nothing about it.

    Cheers - Phil
     
  5. I don't know much about digital cameras but I do know about computers and scanning. I use film and then scan it because I just don't have the room at the time since I moved for a dark room. I will tell you personally in a print magazine I can't tell much difference between Digital and Film but I can tell it in a print even a digital print from film. You will love your Pentax it is a great camera and shoot tons of film I have not gone digital because I have about 6 liters of rodinal in the cubby and about 3 miles of film in a huge freezer and always adding more to it.

    I wish you luck in getting back to photography and the secret I recently learned is shoot and worry later.

    Larry

    P.S. Crackpot is a bit harsh *g*
     
  6. I suppose a more direct question to Ken's link is what he says about dropping off his films to the lab, getting them processed and the resultant slides are then scanned. My question is - the scans that he speaks about - how do they compare with the same image taken on a top range DSLR.
    I can't imagine that they compare. I do believe that if digital images is what you want, a digital camera is the way to go. I shoot slides for projection myself. I don't shoot color negative film; few labs print optically these days and if they are going to scan the negative before printing, I can just as well shoot digitally in the first place.
    However, your 6x7 transparencies are large; scanned competently using good equipment they will give any DSLR a run for the money.
     
  7. You trade time or travel to get film processed vs some computer time. Scanning or making prints in the darkroom are labor intensive.

    To me the biggest advantage is being able to make two pics and load into my computer in a few minutes and I am done. No worries about what to do with the rest of the roll.

    With a computer, you can walk away and not worry about chems spoiling. Learn to use action and other tricks to process many pics at one time. Let the computer slug through it.

    If you are comfortable with film, continue. I like and use both.
     
  8. "I wondered how many serious photographers still use film and how much longer it will last."

    Many serious photographers continue to use film: some exclusively, some in addition to digital. Film will be around for a long time, although it will probably get more expensive, and quality lab services rarer.

    I don't agree much with Ken Rockwell's article, but it's mostly an opinion piece. The problems he has with digital are because he prefers photos "straight out of the camera", and doesn't want to deal with getting too involved in digital processing. There are so many variables in the creation of a photo that's it's best to test your own methods; having the same gear/materials doesn't mean you'll get the same results. A lot of folks on the internet like to show highly magnified samples as quality comparison. I've found hanging large prints side by side on a wall to be a better way for me to compare.
     
  9. Film has worked very well for over 100 years. Digital hasn't changed that fact.
     
  10. "I will tell you personally in a print magazine I can't tell much difference between Digital and Film but I can tell it in a print even a digital print from film."

    Then you've apparently never seen a well printed digital image. The ONLY way you can tell, is if the print is inkjet printed on matte paper. Why? Because there is nothing in the traditional photographic papers that has that type of matte paper look. That says nothing about the quality of the results - only the difference in media. A LightJet print on traditional photographic paper is indistinquishable from a wet darkroom print on the same paper - unless you're looking at the prints with a 10x or higher power loupe. Then you can see the individual lines made by the lasers on the digital print.
     
  11. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Most pros now use digital for a good reason, that is what the submission editors want. It used to be slides now it is digital. You will have to check with that stock library to see what their submission guidelines are. Then you may have to buy a scanner if you don't want to get a digital camera.
     
  12. "I will tell you personally in a print magazine I can't tell much difference between Digital and Film but I can tell it in a print
    even a digital print from film."

    >Then you've apparently never seen a well printed digital image.

    Steve he's talking about a results from film cameras vs DSLRs on the SAME media, and I agree I can tell an image from
    film no matter what it is printed on.
     
  13. I'm surprised you slipped a Rockwell link past the goalie!
     
  14. Even Kodak Is back into Film Look at the new Ektar and the secret stuff they sell through Freestyle.
     
  15. Eric

    I think it was allowed because the people here are now human and the fighting is so stupid even the Stupid now only answer with wisdom.

    Larry
     
  16. In response to a question about a lens, I once tried to insert a link to some factual, straightforward
    information from Ken's site and was blocked from posting. That's why I made the comment above.

    I'm not much for putting smileys in my posts, though that may have helped with the lighthearted intent of my
    comment. :)
     
  17. pge

    pge

    This debate is over.

    If you are shooting photos strictly as a hobby choose anything you want, but beyond that we have moved past film.

    I really enjoyed film and I was very wary of digital, but then I picked up a Nikon D200 and I haven't been able to put it down. 2 1/2 years later and my poor Hasselblad has not had a roll of film through it.

    Time has moved on. Digital has its issues, I agree, but I would never go back.
     
  18. Keep on using film, if that's what you like; unless reportage or telecom is an important part of your business deals. If
    they are, then move over to digital, and just be prepared to take the long-term losses. Your overhead will take a hit with digital because
    there are more people involved in the process, all of whom will take their cut as you go along.

    I ended up buying a digi-cam for color images; the whole thing was over-rated. Within six weeks, I ordered a
    replacement film camera in small format. The digital does what it does, but there's some real class-conscious vanity
    built into modern marketing schemes. For what I do, I would rather use older film cameras. Viewers prefer some of the
    digital products for now; but overall satisfaction on film photography is rock solid for me.

    Ultimately, it's a matter of personal choice. I would recommend that you go with what makes you feel good about what
    you are doing. Proceed with confidence. J.
     
  19. A friend of mine who has shot stock for over 40 years says his agencies want everything in digital form but they actually
    prefer the look of film scanned to a digital original because of better tonality. Also many tests have shown that in all MF vs
    DSLR comparisons as long as the MF is scanned at high quality (ie not a flat bed) especially using a drum scanner, that
    the MF always wins. But don't think that digital is more expensive, as the high initial investment rapidly pays for itself in the
    savings on film, processing and, if you don't do your own, scanning costs.
     
  20. Sorry Phil I agree to disagree but then again who the hell am I but a guy who still enjoys agreeing with what mike just said after you.
     
  21. Phil, I'm a film shooter BUT we I see what you can do with digital I think that's time to move on...althought i do not have any digital camera I think that sooner or later we have to go digital!
    That's future!!
    BUT now I'm saving money to buy a 35 summilux asph. for my m6 titan (just bought with 21/2,8 and 75/1.4)
    Ciao
     
  22. "Even Kodak Is back into Film Look at the new Ektar"

    The new Ektar is a movie film without the "remjet" (removable jet black) anti-halation layer. If anything, it is proof that Kodak is getting out of film. No new still films, just the systematic replacement of the old still line with adapter movie films to lower Kodak's production costs and R&D budget.

    "No, he's a crackpot."

    Ken declares, openly, in many places throughout his site that what he writes is humor. He is honest about not taking what he writes too seriously. That is the total opposite of a crackpot: one who is completely convinced of the truth of his strange beliefs.
     
  23. Larry wrote: Even Kodak Is back into Film Look at the new Ektar and the secret stuff they sell through Freestyle.

    What secret stuff? Im curious:) And hell yeah, im using more and more film. Digital is for press use when its about to be published within minutes on internet and in the paper the following day. Most of my comercial/portrait is in b&w-film or Fuji Astia.
     
  24. I really don't understand why people keep posting Film VS Digital topics, or ask if anyone is still using film...in a
    FILM forum. Just look in the film and processing forums and Classic Manual Camera forums and ask if "anyone is
    still using film." Obviously so, for there to be enough interest to have a very active film forum! It's almost like you're
    trying to ask a rhetorical question. Are people using film? Hello! Yes, of course. Then you say things like "oh, will I
    be viewed as a dinosaur for using film?" NO. Why are you saying things like that?

    I just turned 31 and I love film. I talked to friend who is 25 and he uses film at least half the time. He got a new
    digital camera for Christmas last year, but he's getting BACK into film. So why do people keep saying "oh, are you
    STILL using film." It's not a matter of "STILL," it's a matter of preference. Some people just like film. Why is that so
    hard to accept? It's not just older people or people who are anti-technology. Some people just prefer film. I've been
    around computers my entire life, and the internet has been around most of my life. I've grown up with technology. I
    have an 8 megapixel digital camera. But I still prefer using film.

    Philip, it sounds like you really want to use film, but you're trying to justify it. Why? You do NOT have to explain or
    justify anything to anyone. When I go out with my friends, I love getting out my Argus C4 and taking pictures with
    it...and I really don't freaking care what ANYONE thinks. Not one bit. If I want to use film and a 50 year old
    mechanical camera because it's FUN...that's my business. Besides, if anyone really wants to GENERALIZE, then
    we can just say that most consumers who use digital cameras are just taking lame snapshots with their point and
    shoot digital camera for their MySpace page. Sorry, but that's what most young people are doing with digital
    photography. I know because I'm actually around them. The people who would post on this website are an
    exception, but the average consumer isn't using digital SLR cameras. They're not even seriously interested in
    photography at all. They're taking "pics" for their MySpace and Flickr pages.

    So Philip, why do you feel like you have to explain or justify yourself for wanting to use film? I don't justify anything.
    I just ordered Ektar 100 film from Freestyle, and I've lost count now of how many rolls of film I've used in the last year
    or so. So is anyone "still" using film? What do you think? I sure am.
     
  25. ...Phillip, I just re-read my post and I realized that I might have sounded a little rude towards you because of my tone, and I did not mean that at all. I hope you didn't misunderstand me. But my point still stands. It's rediculous to ask if anyone is "still using film" in a FILM forum. All I'm saying is that you do not need to justify or explain yourself to anyone. You are NOT a dinosaur, and I don't know why you feel that way. You don't need to.

    I'm young, but I have no interest in digital cameras. None whatsoever. I have an 8 megapixel digital camera, but that's because my parents got it for me for Christmas last year. (I guess a lot of people get new cameras for Christmas). I like it, and it does take nice pictures. But guess what...it mostly just sits on a shelf. I take it along with me sometimes when I go out to take pictures, but ONLY when I run out of film. My film cameras just take better pictures. When I take pictures with the digital camera, I always wind up having to fix them somehow on my computer later on. Even at the highest resolution setting, they always end up looking pixelated, and the color balance gets jacked up no matter what white balance setting I use. And there is absolutely no comparison with the pictures I can get with my Yashica A. I'm always blown away with the amazing detail you can get with 120 film.

    My birthday was in October, last month. Do you know what I wanted for my birthday? I went into the local camera shop here and got an Argus C3 matchmatic and a 16mm movie camera. Because that's what I wanted. (Well, I got an external hard drive too. So I am still firmly in the 21st century. I couldn't live without my computer.) But for photography, I absolutely prefer film. I guess that means I'm a "dinosaur" too?

    I'll admit that I'm not a professional photographer. I just do this as a hobby and I'm still learning. But I have shown some of my pictures to people and I have had good reactions. Also, I will have some of my black and white pictures displayed in a Starbucks near where I live, and a few people have already said they were interested in prints. In fact, when I told them they were traditional silver prints from FILM, they were even more interested.
     
  26. To be sure, people should shoot what they want, but it helps those of us who are inexperienced when others report facts. That said, I think people should be careful about what they claim. Some of what is written above is inconsistent with my research. In deciding whether to buy a high-end DSLR for amateur landscape work, or a medium format film camera and scan, I did a lot of research and discovered the following: all tests that I saw (which is not to say that there aren't others) suggest that a high-end DSLR has superior resolution to any 35mm film camera and comparable resolution to any MF film camera, at least if the film is to be scanned, even on a drum scanner. Tone/color is a different story and I can imagine advantages to MF film in that regard based on what I've read (though not 35mm film, which suffers from its size in many respects), but others say that if one shoots RAW and processes carefully it's possible to get film colors from a good DSLR (particularly a Fuji S5, which, unfortunately, lacks resolution). Note that Ken Rockwell says that he never shoots RAW and prefers highly, highly saturated colors; so take anything he says about digital with a grain of salt.

    All this said, from what I've read, the gold standard is MF digital. Look at comparisons on Luminous Landscape between even 4x5 film and a camera such as the Hasselblad H3D-39; the reports are universal that the color/tone matches that of the LF film, but with sharper images (ironically not because of more native resolution but because of autofocus); then there are the general advantages of autofocus, portability, an option for greater depth of field for objects that move (even including leaves in a breeze), and convenience. The problem, of course, is that camera cost $20,000 used with a single 80mm lens, probably twice that new.

    So I just spent $525 on a used Sinar f2 for which I already have a $125 used Fujinon 135mm lens; the price difference will buy me an awful lot of processing and scanning while I hope to win the lottery. For snapshots of my kids and the like, I use a $275 Fuji s6000fd, which is a spectacularly good digital bridge camera, in part because at only 6mp the pixel pitch allows nice depth of field and little noise. For an amateur, as opposed to a professional journalist or sports photographer, what I can't see is spending $2,000+ on a DSLR, which will produce large prints that are about the same quality as MF film and inferior to LF film (and generally gives you full resolution only at the 3:2 aspect ratio, which I find limiting given a frequent desire to have depth in my images). Put differently, I doubt that the top Canon or NIkon DSLR will produce noticeably better web images or 4 x 6 prints than my Fuji digicam; either will certainly produce far superior large prints of landscapes, architecture, or portraits, but, again no better than MF film and not as good as LF film, and for landscapes, architecture, and portraits, there is time to set up a shot with film. So I'm at a loss to understand the broad market for high-end DSLRS, but to each his own.
     
  27. "I really enjoyed film and I was very wary of digital, but then I picked up a Nikon D200 and I haven't been able to put it down. 2 1/2 years later and my poor Hasselblad has not had a roll of film through it."

    Really, your poor Hassey. I will gladly swap you my D200 for your Hassey. It seems such a waste.
     
  28. I'm really glad to see so much positive commentary on using film. I am primarily a film user, but also shoot some
    digital.

    Phil, two things will impact you in going digital: cost of new gear/software/batteries/memory, etc. and the other
    is the learning curve. Open any magazine now and you will be inundated by the plethora of choices available for
    software and hardware. We can also open another can of worms with the Mac -vs- PC debate!!! Oh, and forget
    digital printing being faster than darkroom - you can still spend hours working on one image onscreen! The BIG
    plus is that once you have a file saved to print from, it can be reloaded and printed immediately.

    As was mentioned by others, you may wish to try scanning film. I shoot infrared and get much more latitude from
    my negatives via scanning. The best of both worlds! Again, many options.

    New films are available. European manufacturers such as Efke, Rollei, Maco (all kind of related); Fuji has new
    films and as others have mentioned, there are some very good new films from Kodak (not just reformulations of
    motion picture film - new film! REALLY!!!). Try the new Porta NC and VC films for color; TMY-400 Pro is the new
    TMAX black and white - fabulous!

    For future readers of this thread, the most important reason to use film may not be so obvious. Use film now,
    because it might not be around forever. My favorite IR film, Kodak's HIE-135, was discontinued this past year.
    Others are history too. The key to keeping film available is sales. On the future downside, film may go the way
    of the 8-Track tape -- or upside, it could be like AM radio - still around, even though maybe not so popular.

    One final note -- you came to the right place. Photo.net is a fabulous resource. Many good people with many good
    words of advice. Like all forums you may encounter the occasional smart ass, but overall, the forums are very
    good. Another good source for film/digital info and advice is Shutterbug's forums. APUG also excellent for new
    film info.


    I hope this is helpful! Good luck!

    James C. Williams
     
  29. Many of the world's top photographers are customers in my large format camera store. Most of them have digital cameras and/or backs as well, but many use large format film whenever possible. This even includes some photojournalists. Film may not be better, but a lot of these guys think that it is.
     
  30. This is starting to sound like a bunch of kids fighting over what is better, briefs or boxers. It's you choice whatever makes you feel better.
     
  31. I am enjoying film again after a three year hiatus. If I have to shoot for a client, or some disposable event then digital is cost-effective and lends itself to quick delivery. But for personal projects I am quite enjoying the new generation of color negative films, their clearly superior latitude as compared to DSLRs, and the way prints look. The key is good scanning. I am lucky to have a very good dedicated film scanner, because Ken Rockwell's lab would be cost prohibitive for much of what I do. You are lucky to be getting back into photography right now, with prices for very capable DSLR's having fallen dramatically and used film equipment going dirt cheap on eBay. There is no reason you cannot have a digital camera for some uses and film for others.
     
  32. By the way, in my post above I mention a connection between pixel size and "depth of field;" I meant "dynamic range." Sorry for the confusion (or for sounding like an idiot).
     
  33. if you go to the following website-
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/
    and in search on the left side put in "film vs digital" without the quotes you get a list of articles with supporting pics of the great debate. note that this are not opinions the images are right there for you to see.

    a few years back i read an article from the website written by m reichman in which he was comparing the canon 1ds and later the 1dsmkII to 35mm film, also there is the same comparisons made though with MF. the first comparison was that the digital had passed the 35mm in terms of IQ. against MF it was equal or better in all but resolution and that difference could only be seen under lab conditions. suggest you read the articles yourselves.
     
  34. I agree with Chris about there is alot of people that prefer film. I got back into photography after a 20 year hiatus.
    From what I've seen on the internet, if they ever do get rid of film, there will still be a huge interest in the oldest
    processes. The wet collodions, etc. No one has to explain why they use film, (or, digital). But, it seems that there
    are alot of digital users who seem to snicker whenever a lab closes or a film manufacturer stops providing a film type.
    When a person on Pnet mentions how he is on his 3rd or 5th digital DSLR, you won't see me snicker. Today, I got
    my B&H catalog. Inside, they mention a Hasselblad that delivers 50 megs. The cost? $39,000! Maybe that camera
    would equal 4x5 or even 8x10. But, the only ones who could afford that would be a top end pro who can justify the
    expense. (or, someone like Warren Buffet) But, a film user can buy a LF camera. As Chris bought for himself an old
    Argus camera for his birthday. For my birthday last month, I bought a Cambo SCII. Which cost far less than that
    Haasy!

    The high end DSLRs cost several thousand to basically get a little better than 35, and not 6x7. But, I saw in a
    photolab where they had an 8x10 monorail that was black and looked new, for $2,000. I'm not sure if it had a lens or
    not. But, that is a better deal than a DSLR that cost more.

    So, one reason why I don't shoot digital is that it's too expensive. No matter what the ads said when digital came out
    about the lower cost, The only saving that digital has is what applies to film. But, digital has it's own costs, too.
     
  35. As I film shooter I have a big bias. I don't think it is a question of what is better - it is a question of what you prefer. I find that I prefer the quality of traditional film based prints. I don't think they are better - I just like them. I have never really had great experiences of hybrid results - shot on film and digitized. While with slide (e.g. velvia 50 or MF velvia 100) you can get very good results from a Nikon scanner digital appears to be cleaner - while film has better colours. While I am sure you can achieve Velvia results with Photoshop I cannot be bothered. For print I have never been really happy with scanning and digital printing - I like to do it the old way at home. I am waiting for a 5D Mark II which I am buying for high ISO performance. this is because one of the arenas my son plays hockey in is almost impossible to shoot in at ISO 400 and F2.8 lenses (ice Hockey is fast and you often need 1/250 speeds). With digital and Photoshop you do have more ability to "fix" poor photos - which is important to someone who must deliver good shots. I find that MF black and white printed at home is difficult to match digitally. Unfortunately film is a dying art - I live near Banff Canada and have to do almost all the film work at home. I can get services from pro labs in Calgary (e.g. Vistek) but it is clear they really don't want to do it. I have had issues with bad scans, films with minute surface scaratches that show up in my Nikon scanner and lost films. I suspect that they may still provide good services to regular professional (i.e. high spend) customers but they really do not want to know the amateur. The staff at the desk sneer at you when you talk to them and struggle to apologise when they lose a film! There are some benefits to film - my wife now has two used Contax G2 rangefinders which are remarkably cheap these days. The quality of the Contax lenses (especially the contrast and colours) is spectacular - an almost new Contax G series 90mm lens is about $150 these days. You cannot get a lens of this quality for a digital body (Leica M8 users will object but I have heard of so many problems with this camera - not the lenses- that I discount it).
     
  36. I use film cause my images are already backed up cause I have the negative. With digital, you have the risk of system crashing and constantly having to back up your hard drive/s. When computers move beyond CD/DVDS, you would have to transfer. With film, you don't have to worry about any of that.
     
  37. Hey Phil Evans,
    You've moved past film - terrific, and you're not going back - great!
    Can I have your Hassleblad?
     
  38. Some like film some like digital, some like ladies with trowsers, but I prefer them with skirts. Ladies do not use nylons with skirts anymore, but I prefer both skirts and nylons.

    Maybe I'm living in the wrong century...!

    Sorry for my stupid contribution, but I just had to get it pout of my system...!
     
  39. Some like film some like digital, some like ladies with trowsers, but I prefer them with skirts. Ladies do not use
    nylons with skirts anymore, but I prefer both skirts and nylons.

    Maybe I'm living in the wrong century...!

    Sorry for my stupid contribution, but I just had to get it out of my system...!
     
  40. "Is this guy credible. Is it true what he asserts."

    Sure, but only to the extent that it's good entertainment.

    Practically, how do you plan to compete against the much higher productivity and throughput of other stock
    photographers originating images with digital equipment? I guess it doesn't matter if this is a hobby, but I'd
    think doubly hard if this venture is meant to be a livelihood.
     
  41. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I like photographing with film too.

    Thing is though that one of the larger stock agencies I work with won't even look at a submission on film, and the other will shortly be spending a day going through my archives of MF transparencies before they go the same way at the end of the year. So if I want to shoot film on material I hope to put their way I have to be prepared to scan every image I want them to see ( a decent flatbed will do for this) and then pay for a drum or at least Imacon scan for every image they accept from my submission. These guys want 50/60MB Tiffs . 18MB will be fine for on screen use or a stock agency submission. It will not make a good enough file for those images selected by a mainstream agency- even though everyone is aware that the vast majority of their customers' applications will use less than this.

    When added to the cost of film and processing the 5D and three L lenses I bought in March have paid for themselves already from the saving I've made on scanning.

    There is no point in debating with these stock agencies which is best or which I like using best. If I want to work with them economically I have to use a digital camera. If I'm out with a film camera then I'm a hobbyist.
     
  42. Philip,
    I won't go into the whole Ken Rockwell thing. You either like him or you don't. Most of his stuff you can take w/ a grain of salt, but I admire his courage to tell things as he sees them and to hell w/ everyone else. He obviously shills for some of the companies, but he is so transparent about it (and in his denials) that it doesn't matter. He is a lot of fun to read.

    I read most of that article you posted the link to, and he's right on the money this time. Absolutely, film looks better than digital, and the bigger the format the better it looks. But it is a lot of trouble and expense. If I were shooting commercially I would almost have to shoot digitally, and you couldn't pay me enough to do that. I like the way film looks.

    Another thing is that 99% of the people out there can't see the superiority of film, and this probably includes art directors. Quality ain't what it used to be, at least awareness wise. So unless you are planning on shooting for galleries, or in B&W, you might want to rethink whether you want to go w/ a film camera.
     
  43. Phillip when you say you're ready to get things cranked up again I assume that you want to get back into making an income from your photography? If that's the case then it's kind of irrelevant what you prefer to shoot. Your clients will make that decision for you. If you want to shoot film but no stock agencies will accept film any more (I know that one of mine is about to stop and another says it does but I find it very hard to get any accepted but they take all my digital stuff) then you would be better off getting into the digital habit. If you plan to pursue assignment work then you need to find out whether the clients you hope to work for will still accept (and more importantly pay for) the expense of scanning and digitising film. If they intend to take that out of your creative fee and expect you to pay for it then economically it just won't be viable.
    On the other hand if you just want to do it as a hobby then shoot whatever you feel like. Likewise if you plan to sell fine art prints or produce your own products, after establishing which is more economical, choose whichever suits your business plan. Just be aware that in the professional game the world really has moved on and film is very hard to sell these days.

    Paul Dymond
    http://pauldymond.blogspot.com
     
  44. Wow so much of this is over my head as an amateur but here is my half cent comment. For years I wanted to shoot more but could not afford the cost of constantly pushing the shutter button. The cost of digital may be more up front but the real cost of actually getting the shots is so much less it is really no contest. For the first time with the start of my D70, then D80 now D300 I am able to experiment, have fun and not fear the cost of each shot. For those of you with deep pockets or pros this may not be an issue but for the rest of us Digital is the best thing since sliced bread! Learning the computer and how to store and manipulate images should not intimidate anyone. I could barley turn my computer on several years ago and as an old Irishman even I could figure it out. Good luck and thanks to all on this site as it is always a help to us little folk.
     
  45. I don't understand when people say that they'd rather shoot film because they don't want to deal with post
    processing. Just expose your digital images the way you expose your film. If you get them right there's no need to
    post process. Digital shooters tend to be sloppy because they always think that they can fix it in post processing. If
    you're an ex film shooter and moving onto the digital world, just keep the good habit in shooting film and carefully
    expose/compose your images. I love digital because I can shoot 300 images using my $18 4gb CF card over and
    over, I can switch from ISO 100 to 1600 instantly, I can see what I just shot,..just to name a few. Ok, even film is
    better (which I don't think it is, but just for the sake of this arguement) I don't think that it is a day-night better. For
    me all the conveniences of digital easily offset any advantages of film.
     
  46. Ken Rickwell was born in the same year (1962) I bought a used Nikon F with prism and 5.8cm F1.4. Thus he is going to have a different opinion than me about Nikons; the recession of 1958; the 1960 election.:) Film versus digital debates are ancient; if YOU think they are new; you are just a new to digital; its really decades old. If you seek an exact answer wether film or digital is better by reading anothers writing; you might as well get their advice on coffee; amount of ketchup on a burger; dog versus cats. If you think digital is new to commerical work then maybe you time time traveler from 1980's; or have nver heard of Britney; X-files; Bill Clinton; or a 486 computer; or a cell phone.
     
  47. "The new Ektar is a movie film without the "remjet" (removable jet black) anti-halation layer. If anything, it is proof that Kodak is getting out of film. No new still films, just the systematic replacement of the old still line with adapter movie films to lower Kodak's production costs and R&D budget. "

    Please don't start this rumour. Ektar 100 has its "technology" borrowed from the latest Vision 2 motion picture films, but Ektar 100 is NOT movie film or the same emulsion as 50D without the remjet coating. It has been said motion picture films have a lower contrast ration and they are processed in ECN2 chemicals which is not C-41. Even the temperatures used in ECN2 are higher then C41.
     
  48. Thanks, Jack. Actually, I got the Argus C3 matchmatic the day before my birthday and my dad got it for me. I was out having lunch with my dad and I decided to go to the camera shop here, where I sometimes get film. It was on our way back home. They have a ton of antique cameras on display, and they sell them too. I've looked at it before, but the weird shutter speed and f-stop settings on it kind of threw me off. But my dad saw me looking at it, and asked if I wanted it...and of course I wasn't going to pass up another Argus camera. So there you go.

    My brother got me an external hard drive. One of my friends got me a 5-pack of Kodak Gold 200 film and a gift certificate to Best Buy. I guess everbody knows me well :)

    It made up for what happened earlier, when I messed up my Argus C-44. That's a long story involving a spilled Pepsi. But anyway...

    I'll never understand the wisecracks or why people feel like they have to justify why they like film. I prefer shooting film, and frankly I don't care at all what people think. Digital is BORING to me. I prefer the snap of a real shutter instead of the wimpy beep of a digital camera. And I have just gotten much better pictures with my film cameras then digital. But that's just my opinion. There has been a lot of interest in the new Kodak Ektar 100 film here the past few days, and I would hate for someone to try to ruin that with cynicism. I know I can't wait to finally get my order.
     
  49. That article= NCPS, NCPS, NCPS, NCPS, NCPS, NCPS... and did I mention that they handle mail orders too!?!! Very subtle, I wonder how much he get's paid for dropping names like their assigned to a *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* macro key.
     
  50. I didn't see a mention of the price. $11.95 per 35mm or 120 roll of film. For film this is a recurring cost.
    North Cost Scans
    I'm a bit tired, help me with the math here, the scan is 5035 x 3339 pixels - which is 16 megapixel equivalent. Three channels of RGB. The resulting scan is "48 MB" - so the scan is 8 bit color channel depth? Is that right?
    It is simply not going to take that long to reach the price of a Canon 5D Mk II if you shoot professionally from just the up front costs to get a digital image to *start* with. At a lower bit depth (less dynamic range) smaller size (21.1 megapixels for 5D). The 5D Mk II is 14 bit per channel capture?
    That said, the 5D Mk II uses a Bayer grid on the sensor and interpolates - so squint your eyes and wave hands and declare it a draw.
    I am not sure I see the economic argument (which is the business side of photography) for film here?
    Tell me my math is wrong - I am a bit tired...
     
  51. I bought a film SLR 2 years ago after reading so much on Digital and Films, I also read Ken's articles seriously. His suggestions were realy good. Earlier I used to shoot with Digital P&S cameras. I feel I choosen write medium for my needs and satinsfaction and it is not so expensive for me as some people argue with the run time cost of film medium. I love the dynamic range and color tonality of films and usually I scan all of my negatives in Vuescan as RAW (Tiff DNG format). I started scanning myself with my canon 8800f scaner recently and learned so much and my scanning and digital post processing techniques improoved so much till now. But this is hard truth that it is way hard to find a proffessional wedding photographer in my town who is still shooting with films, yes many of near villager or attached small town photographers still using 35mm fimls. Medium and large format were never been popular around me, except some enthusiast artist photographers. Medium format films are hard to find here and slide films also gone and no labnear to me which developes E6. But still the 35mm Negative films are hugely popular. I have seen some great results came out from some cheap P&S cameras like Kodak KB10, so I find films are still good output medium.
     
  52. "The new Ektar is a movie film without the "remjet" (removable jet black) anti-halation layer. If anything, it is proof that Kodak is getting
    out of film. No new still films, just the systematic replacement of the old still line with adapter movie films to lower Kodak's production
    costs and R&D budget".
    Proof?
    The incorrect hypothesis that the new film is exactly the same as movie film without the backing is wholly false. It is one of those rumors that grow out of ignorance and a need to project FUD.
    The new film has a different layer structure and contrast, and is processed in a different chemistry- how is that the same film?
    Also how is sharing technologies across divisions to keep R&D costs down proof that Kodak is "getting out of film"? Pure FUD and not
    even very logical reasoning, the clue into if Kodak have/or will abandon film is the continued release of new emulsions and the
    improvement of existing ones.
    Shame on you!!!
     
  53. Hey thanks so much everybody for taking the time to answer my question!

    First - I must commend you all - you are all very civilised!!

    I do a lot of traditional archery with an old wooden bow and arrow. Two of the main archery sites that I frequent, often have the old debate regarding traditional tackle versus modern compound bows. Some of the guys on there get very rude and personal and I can imagine if they could get their maulers on some of the people who post there, we would have a brawl on our hands.

    However not you folk - I liken the digital/film debate to my trad/modern archery debate - but nobody here got angry or vitriolic - very well done.

    I can't thank everybody but particualarly Garry (that stuff on L/L looks awesome - I will peruse it soon), James, Chris, Paul and David for specifically answering the core of my query (re the 18 meg file scan from my photo shop).

    However I like most of all what Chris said about doing what one loves to do and not getting too wrapped up in what others say. However some of the technical stuff relating to me getting back into Stock is also very pertinant - as somebody said - the customers will dictate what medium you need to shoot, and that is that.

    I am a High School teacher in Australia, and even when I used to shoot for Austral, it was only as a part time thing - just a bit of pocket-money and a thrill to see my work in print (The Melbourne Age newspaper, Womens's Weekly, advertising brochures, lots of stuff in text books).

    Yes I would like to get back into it in a semi-serious fashion again, but as somebody suggested I had better ring up the editor and see what they are needing now as far as submissions.

    There is one thing - as a side note - that nobody has mentioned about film. Originals!! It works both ways as far as being an advantage or a disadvantage for the photographer.

    Once you shoot on digital, then you can copy as many times as you wish with no loss of quality. With film, your original will always be the only one and the best.

    I once did very well thankyou very much because of this quirk to shooting film.

    When I was in full flight in my stock shooting days, I received a call from the editor. They had loaned out 7 of my original transparencies. Several of these had been very good sellers and I had done well out of them. The client - National Australia Bank - had lost all seven of my originals!#%^&^!!

    The editor charged them $1,500 for each slide they had lost. That was a total of $10,500. Even with the fee deducted from the Stock Library - I still did very well. I remember jokingly telling my family at the time "at this rate, I hope they keep on losing a lot more "!

    Anyway - just thought I would share that rare experience. I guess it will not be happening now in this digital age!

    Cheers - Phil
     
  54. To me digital is just "reusable film already scanned" if you like. It is greatly convenient but not superior. Convenience is
    what drive most people into digital. After a year or two, getting busy and overworked you might want to switch to digital too
    but at least you will be in a better financial situation. After all, all your lenses that you had for the F5 will still work perfectly
    well with a D3. I have an F5 but have only manage to hold a D3 in the shop once. I would been willing to bet that they both
    handle and feel with the same beauty and precision. Yes I would love a foray into larger formats too. Enjoy your rekindled
    passion. From a fellow Australian and F5 owner.
     
  55. Hung, I have both the D3 and F5 and to me, the F5 feels better built. I am not completely happy with the build quality of the D3. Things such as a plastic card cover, which is ok, but when compared to a Hasselblad or Leica, it amazes me to think that some people say that the build quality of this beast is top notch. I love the camera, don't get me wrong, it's just no F5 and it's definately no Hsbld. But I digress...............
     
  56. Hi there Phil,

    I'm here in Australia too and it's very difficult to find anybody who will take any liability for film these days. Most refuse to sign any delivery memos stating the value if they lose them. Some will just refuse to take film but others might accept transparencies but then refuse to compensate you for them if they lose or damage them. So you end up having to get digital scans but they only want the best which means expensive drum scans which they will refuse to pay you for. Like it or not the industry is trying hard to get us all to give up our film! I shot a job earlier in the year on medium format print film (request of the editor) and that was the first time I'd pulled out the film camera in a couple of years. I think my Mamiya had a heart attack when I opened the box up!

    Paul Dymond
    http://pauldymond.blogspot.com
     
  57. >if you go to the following website- http://www.luminous-landscape.com/ and in search on the left side put in "film vs
    digital" without the quotes you get a list of articles with supporting pics of the great debate. note that this are not
    opinions the images are right there for you to see.

    Gary
    Well I did just that, and came up with this:
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/clumps.shtml

    Not very good science at all, in fact I have written an article to debunk it- as film isn't binary but analogue.
    http://photo-utopia.blogspot.com/2007/10/chumps-and-clumps.html

    Those black specks when looked at closely (50,000 times mag) are filamentary like a wire wool pad, the density of that
    pad is dependent on how many photons strike the grain, and the grains are stacked so density varies normally between
    0.10 - 3 density.
    Mark
     
  58. Cheers Hung and Paul - always great to hear from fellow Aussies - well done!

    Phil
     
  59. mark-why don't you take it up with m reichman? he wrote it not me. besides he is talking about the effective end result not how you got there. film is capable of X resolution and digital is capable of Y resolution and that IS THE POINT. and if one is more than the other it wins, period. this is not for debating points, though you may like it that way. this is talking about the end product as a photographer uses it. and that is the way reichman writes. he always leaves the super fine reviews to people who like that. he doesn't, neither do i, i or he want to know what happens when you take the picture and how it looks. his articles on film ve digital tell you just that. i suggest thsat you read all the articles including the last one listed on the page. then you if disagree write him. no doubt he will be as impressed as i was about your view.
     
  60. Hey America settled the fight about Who would lead it for the next 4 years can we decide to let this be personal choice for the next month and when someone brings up the question just say

    " Personal Choice Try both "
     
  61. Gary
    Read the linked article. He is not saying this is how you get the end result.
    He is stating film is binary, and 'forum expert who tells you it isn't is a chump', tell them its about 'vortex shedding' blah
    blah.

    He is not writing about 'end results and how you get there' it is a wholly wrong opinion piece written in a very snarky
    manner.
    If he had written a factually correct article where he stated film is capable of X resolution and digital Y that would be fine
    *IF* he had any idea how film works -which he doesn't.
    When you put yourself in the position of 'educator' you need to check your facts with a least 2 independent sources, just
    going in 'gung ho' and writing about how you feel things work rather than using science is a poor way to educate.
    YMMV
    But I spent 18 months researching my 'how film works' MR wrote his quip in 15 mins.
    Mark
     
  62. I have a very nice digital setup. I'm considering a medium format film camera to "see" how it is. That really is all that matters for any photography, right? Many images I admire were taken a hundred years ago.

    If the pentax doesn't work for you, resell it, you'll hardly lose anything on it, couldn't say that for a DSLR. Seems an emminently sensible approach!

    I did laugh during this thread! Esp Ken Rockwell being a crackpot. He is so self contradicting! I'm sure he'd enjoy it being a hollywood person ... any publicity is good publicity.
     
  63. If Ken Rockwell's thoroughness, adherence to anything resembling the "scientific method" of testing, consistency, logic train, competence, and responsibility to the reader displayed even a fraction of his need for attention his site would be very valuable. Unfortunately, compared to his need for attention the listed aspects are nearly completely missing. This might sound harsh, but I don't mean it to. I simply find it extremely unfortunate that folks who really want to learn something spend their valuable time sifting through so much information like that site, believing that the writer is really an expert. Such a waste of valuable time. I wish sites like that would have a big banner "For entertainment purposes only, this site is a mixture of humor, whimsey, personal philosophy, and a little serious information, so don't take it too seriously".
     
  64. "I wish sites like that would have a big banner "For entertainment purposes only, this site is a mixture of humor, whimsey, personal philosophy, and a little serious information, so don't take it too seriously".

    Actually, If you go to the main page and click on "about", it reads :
    "This is my personal website. I do it all by myself. I'm just one guy with a computer who likes to take pictures. I have the playful, immature and creative, trouble-making mind of a seven-year-old, so read accordingly. This site is purely my personal speech and opinion, and a way for me to goof around."

    I think some people just take some of his comment a little too personal and get offended.
     
  65. mark smith- why don't you tell m reichman all this? why tell me? you can tell him how little he knows about photography, be my guest. in any event it sounds like you only read 1 article not the whole listing. by the way, mr has been shooting professioinally for 40 yrs, and has the sold images and has pro reputation that goes with that. you have been selling how long, made how much, sold how many?
     
  66. why so defensive? I have told Reichman and he doesn't care why should he if he wanted to publish the truth about film
    being binary a little research would have revealed the truth-I can only think he has another agenda. Also I have been a
    photographer for many years and have a wide knowledge in my own field.

    As for MR I think he knows a fantastic amount about photography and LL is a great resource, but he is often wrong (as
    we all can be) he was in several of those articles you linked to.
    Secret is, if someone does 'bake off' style posts or tries to convince you X is better than Y I would have to ask why they
    feel the need to do that over something that is personal choice?
    As for how much I've earned well that is irrelevant, all that is important is to follow your own vision, film vs digital is
    passé and I wouldn't trust anyone who tells me one is better than the other.
    When they pay for my gear they can tell me what to use!!
     
  67. The answer to your question depends upon what kind of photographer you are, what kind of photography you do, and whether the factors involved include meeting the needs of business clients or are limited to personal preferences. As an amateur photographer, I prefer Leica M film cameras to consumer-grade digital cameras, because they are superior tools for available-light shooting and candid portraiture, and my personal preferences are the only considerations involved. If you are interested in a more detailed explanation of my reasons for feeling that way, including a comparison of the tradeoffs between Leica film cameras and digital cameras for those kinds of shooting, see my post at: http://www.photo.net/leica-rangefinders-forum/00ROM9 . If the question is what set of tools you need in order to be competitive as a professional photographer shooting under the broadest possible range of situations, however, and you will need to market your images to publications, photo agencies or business clients who will expect rapid delivery of results in the form of digital files rather than printed images, you probably need a good DSLR system to be competitive. If you concentrate on a few areas such as portrait, landscape or art photography where clients may be more interested in maximum quality rather than speed of results, or if you are (like me) an amateur photographer shooting for personal enjoyment, then film equipment may still offer significant advantages over consumer-grade digital equipment.
     
  68. Philip -

    From a purely logical standpoint, if your intent is to re-start your stock photography business and make a profit, should you not be asking your potential clients what they prefer?
    Or other pro stock photographers what they use?
    And then determine if using film will put more money in your pocket, or the film lab's.

    Ultimately, it's a business, not esthetic decision to make: Everything else is pub talk.

    And as you've already purchased a new film camera, you've made your decision – unless you're experiencing buyer's remorse, you've no need to either research, or inquire about others' thoughts on the matter:
    It's done - just like this thread, and the hundreds of its clones on the internet.

    Congrats on your new camera - enjoy and good luck!
     
  69. I could switch to digital right now....I shoot film because I like it....for me photography is a hobby and is all about what I like....it is not my job......
     
  70. How can film, be binary, which is 1's and 0's? And Phillip, not trying to make this an Archery thread. Just to let you know, I have a 1968 Ben Pearson 45 # hunting recurve bow.
     
  71. Jorge, good one.........almost! His home page does not say this, you have to go to "about", and folks don't read this (you could say shame on them) and take him seriously. That's what's really too bad. That's why I said there should be a banner! On every page......

    I mean a guy how compares himself to a 7 year old, and writes "I like to make things up and stretch the truth....." should be making his lack of seriousness clear in every review, and should not be calling them reviews, or referring to himself as a "news organization".

    Believe me, I'm not hot under the collar about him, I just think it's really too bad that folks think they are reading factual material but in reality are reading at least part fiction.
     
  72. Some of y'all take this debate way too seriously, sheesh! Film/digital both have their virtues, and many of us have both digital and film and use each when it's called for. It's like asking which is better, zoom or prime lenses? C'mon, don't be silly. They have tradeoffs, you use what makes sense in the situation.

    This is about as fun as the Canon versus Nikon debates.

    That's a joke by the way, because it's a matter of personal preference and they're both good cameras, you just buy the one that works best for you (or you buy both because you're rich, or buy neither for personal/financial reasons)
     
  73. FILM WILL ALWAYS BE KING - PERIOD.
     
  74. Mark Smith,
    You made Michael Reichmann's point for him. Your 50,000x view of film grain is all the proof needed. And your descriptions of film grain structure are essentially descriptions of a "binary" system. I'm quite frankly baffled that you don't realize this.
    Binary means "two." One and zero, true and false, black and white...or black and clear as the case may be with B&W film emulsions. Analog means "continuously variable."
    Your argument seems to be that film cannot be "binary" because the grains are very small, there's lots of them, they're irregularly shaped, and they are stacked. But that doesn't change the fact that they are either there (black) or gone (clear). Whether the "wire wool" filament is small or large, it's black. There are no gray grains. They're binary. The fact that they are small, irregularly shaped, stacked, etc. only tells us that they make for efficient dithering. It is through dithering that we see grays at lower magnifications.
    Digital, ironically, is "continuously variable" at the pixel level. The electrical output is analog in proportion to the light exposure. That analog signal may be sampled and stored as a binary string of 1's and 0's, but you still end up with a system where any individual picture element can be any one of millions of colors.
    Reichmann's point is that you cannot make any conclusions about resolution or image quality by comparing average grain and pixel sizes because you need many grains (i.e. many different sized filaments if you prefer) with which to dither various tones. Any individual grain or grain filament is just black. It has to be in a group with others and with some clear spaces to render a gray. But one pixel can be any tone.
    He's a smart guy with a lot of experience and as far as I know, he was the first person to point out this subtle but important difference between the technologies. Understanding that difference goes a long way to explaining some of the unintuitive observations of performance between the systems. For example: it explains why film does so well with high contrast detail, yet so poorly with low contrast detail, while digital holds an even performance level virtually regardless of detail contrast.
    While I'm on the topic of your blog post, you said: ...therefore the dynamic range of density is analogue in nature and virtually infinite. At the macro level I agree that film density is "continuously variable", but Reichmann was discussing the micro, the individual grain or grain filament. At any rate, film is not "virtually infinite." Films have a maximum dynamic range beyond which exposure either yields black or white. Within that range density changes below a certain threshold are not perceivable as different tones to the viewer of a final print. If anything I would have to say that digital has the advantage in distinguishing really small and subtle changes in tone, which is related in part to general noise levels.
     
  75. I have always wondered about what it is that people are always thinking about when they shoot a basic camera. It's
    not that the film advance lever is that hard to find or you need a book to rotate a f/stop ring but then it finally dawned
    on me..'It's where you can dump the thing. Once that popped into my head I piled it all in a box and junked it"
    Stopped thinking about manual focus camera's after..Leaves plenty of time to trim my toenails now that I don't have
    to think up a storm all the time.

    I keep reading about Ken Rockwell and how people do not like his web site..Maybe if you toss out your manual focus
    camera's it will clear up some cobwebs in the head and you can remember to not visit his web sight. Problem solved.

    As far as film vs digital goes it's no problem. Just shoot what you want to. No brainer on that one.

    Any other problems to be solved, just let out a holler. I am just sitting here eating some corn on the cob. It's yummy.
     
  76. If your goal is to make money, then I would stick with what you know AND learn digital. There's no need to be afraid of digital.
    There's so much more control of the whole process.
     
  77. I dont know if it means anything but you where talking about if there are pro photographers who use film. Well i got the magazine Outdoor photography the one from england and the pictures in the magazine where split pretty much 50/50 film digital.
     
  78. Let me preface what I'm about to write by saying: I find most of Ken Rockwell's stuff very thorough & extremely valuable. I also still shoot & love film. 35mm RVP 50, to be exact. I scan using an IT8 & Hutch Color Target profiled Imacon Flextight 848 (I did the profiling myself using LPROF).
    That being said, I have some serious problems with Mr. Rockwell's article. I am only going to discuss some very technical issues, because whether or not my girlfriend likes me to use a digital or film camera is not of concern to me when I'm trying to discern which gives me the best quality. Now, Mr. Rockwell makes valid points, but there are a few statements he makes that need obvious qualification:
    First of all, re: film scanning, Mr. Rockwell writes: "The reason film became less popular was because there was such a large barrier between film and getting it into the digital domain via scanning. Now that it's trivial, by having my film all scanned at NCPS at high resolution at the same time it's developed, I can shoot film as transparently as a digital camera."
    Film scanning trivial? My friends, please take a look at the 'Digital Darkroom' forum and illuminate yourself with the multitude of problems when it comes to film scanning. For example:
    • How do you solve the film flatness problem?
    • Color accuracy when it comes to scanning slide film? Have you profiled your scanner?
    • Color accuracy when it comes to negative film? What's the best way to remove the cast from the orange mask? Erik Krause's advanced workflow method? Fuji negative film with an IT8 target printed on it for building a color profile?
    • Fuji pepper grain -- how to get rid of it, unless you only scan with one of the newer Imacons or the Nikon LS-9000 which has an optical diffuser in the light path?
    I could go on and on, but you get the idea. I would be seriously skeptical re: whether or not NCPS has figured out all these issues. On their website, I can't even see their scanning method or technique.
    So I have to disagree that getting your film scanned is 'trivial', unless you're not a pixel peeper or a color nazi, both of which I am & I suspect lots of other discerning photographers are.
    Now, re: his talk of 'dynamic range'. Mr. Rockwell says:
    "The dynamic range is so great that the hellacious sunbursts you see are just what's naturally coming off the diaphragm blade at f/8, as if 1,000 suns were shining in the lens in the two-minute exposure."
    That's largely because our eye-brain visual system is interpreting it as so because of the stark contrast between the wood of the barn and the light leaking through. Why the stark contrast? Because slide film has extremely high contrast, which is exactly what makes it so hard to shoot & why we use graduated neutral density filters so as to retain color information in the highlights while still capturing shadow detail.
    Yes, I agree that on a light table, the difference between the darkest dark (black on Velvia can be incredibly dense) and the brightest bright (depending on the light source of your lightbox) can be significantly greater than that exhibited by a typical LCD screen.
    But if we're talking about the dynamic range that can be recorded on slide film, it is at best equivalent to CMOS capture, and at worse, well, worse than CMOS capture. In fact, when I last checked the response curves of Velvia in a Fuji technical guide, the dye response to light was, not linear, but exponential. That means shadows stay dark and highlights get blown out easily. This is why we bracket. But let's give Velvia the benefit of the doubt & say its latitude of exposure is on par with digital... I back this up by the following comment made by Canon themselves. Canon, in a white paper about their CMOS technology, write: ""Canon’s full-frame sensors have reached another image quality milestone as well. Their gradations and dynamic range are now the equal of the best positive films, and their resolution and lack of grain are superior. No smaller sensor has achieved this level of performance." But with the newer 'Highlight Tone Priority' combined with increased signal:noise ratios in the shadows, I'm quite certain that digital capture's latitude will surpass that of positive film (but I admit I am not qualifying my statement). If Mr. Rockwell is talking about the dynamic range that negative film can capture, which I assume he is since he refers to it later on in his article, then, yes I agree with him. Negative film has a logarithmic response to light, since, as photons expose silver halide particles and more and more of these clusters are reduced to silver metal (which is black), less and less light can make it through the film. Beautiful principle, you must agree :)
    Finally, I have some serious doubts with that overlay that he has at the beginning of the article, where he shows a 118% crop of a Nikon D3 image and a 100% crop of Velvia 50 scanned at approx. 4000 ppi (if my calculations are correct). Assuming my math is right, his film scan yields a 16.8MP image. He then took his 12MP image from the D3, then scaled up both the width & the height by 118%. So, for example, if the original image were 4000x3000 pixels (12MP), scaling each dimension by 118% you would get 4720x3540, or, 16.7MP. So far so good; the two crops should be comparable.
    BUT, here's my problem. His 100% crop of his 118% upsided image from the D3 just looks like crap. There is no reason why a good digital camera should give you a RAW file that when upscaled just 118%, you get that crap. Which leads me to ask these questions:
    • What ISO did he use?
    • Did he shoot JPEG or RAW?
    • If the former, what sort of noise reduction did the camera use?
    • If RAW, which RAW converter did he use?
    Because when I shoot with a sub-par camera (Canon Rebel XTi - 10MP), and a subpar lens (EF 28-80mm II) at f/14 which should actually show diffraction-induced softness on an APS-C sized sensor, here's what I get when I upscale the RAW capture 118%:
    [​IMG] Link to full-size image
    Please click on the link and view the image at 100% to really gauge resolution. Compare that to Mr. Rockwell's 118% crop:
    [​IMG]
    So, in my analysis, yeah, my 118% crop is not that great. It's a bit soft. But not as soft as that crop that Mr. Rockwell shows from his D3, which also looks like it's had heavy noise reduction applied. And that's a 12MP camera, whereas this XTi is a 10MP camera using an inferior lens. No sharpening applied.
    Interestingly enough, it does look a bit muddied in the shadows, especially in the region of the trees. Maybe the interpolation from the Bayer pattern is rocky in these areas of higher detail/low signal:noise. I'm not qualified to comment. But as those luminous landscape articles point out, sharpness is not all about resolution. Much of it has to do with contrast, edges, smoothness... these latter factors are some of the huge reasons why digital capture tends to look sharper to the human eye-brain system.
    But this all got me pretty curious. What I really want to do is a side by side comparison of my film scans to digital capture. Unfortunately, I don't have access to a digital camera right now, but I have some old shots from before. And I have my film which I scan at 8000ppi on an Imacon 848. These scans give me 80MP files, which I then downsize to 20MP? Why? Because I can't deal with 500MB files, and because from articles I've read, there probably isn't more information than ~20-25MP worth in a 35mm frame of Velvia 50. Why scan at 80MP then downsize to 20MP? Because you then minimize the risk of softness induced by interpolation during the analog to digital conversion process of scanning.
    Anyway, I decided to throw up these extremely unobjective comparisons (you've been forewarned, so please don't yell at me telling me that my comparisons are completely unfounded). Basically, I'm showing a 1:1 crop from a 10MP RAW capture (Rebel XTi), and a 1:1 crop from 35mm Velvia 50 scanned at 8000ppi and then downsized to a 10MP image (downsized using a bicubic sharper algorithm). The problem is, the images are entirely different. So, really, you can't come to any conclusion :) But, I try to discern sharpness anyway to see if they are at least in the same ballpark. In this extremely subjective comparison, I'd have to say that the 35mm film seems to have about as much, or perhaps a bit less, amount of resolution as the 10MP digital capture. If I were comparing apples to apples, I'd judge this by how 'sharp' or 'diffuse' an edge looks... the lower the resolution of the capture, the more 'diffuse' an edge would look (or, the lower contrast it'd have). Clearly, I can't do that objectively here, but it feels like they are on par. This seems to corroborate previous predictions of well scanned 35mm film having near the resolution of an equivalent 8-12MP digital SLR. Well, take a look at some of the comparisons yourself:
    [​IMG] Link to full-size image
    And...
    [​IMG] Link to full-size image
    Again, please click on the links and view the images at 100%. Interestingly enough, in the first example, the digital capture seems a bit sharper if you look at distinct, smaller features. But in the second example, the film scan looks sharper. Is it coincidence that the digital capture looks sharper in the case where there are less fine details mostly consisting of sharp, linear, high contrast edges? Probably not... but someone who knows more will have to comment on this. The individual smaller branches certainly look sharper in the film scan in the bottom example in comparison to those branches below I-5 in the digital capture. Of course, this could largely be a contrast issue, with Velvia getting the upper hand due to its high contrast & exponential response to light. Why didn't it win in the top example? Well, the top example is a bit unfair because the digital capture shows a crop of a portion with high contrast in the subject matter itself wheras the Velvia scan shows a crop of a portion with pretty low contrast overall.
    Anyway, this is really not an objective comparison, as I've said 100 times, and I'd really like to do a side-by-side comparison when I get the chance just to convince myself (I mostly believe, but have a problem, with Michael's shootout over at Luminous Landscape, but that's probably for another thread. Here's a link to his article on film vs. digital: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/shootout.shtml).
    But I do feel that Mr. Rockwell's article needs some objective qualification. I find it hard to believe those results, as my own results, as well as many other's (on Luminous Landscape, for example) who've, apparently, objectively qualified their methods, disagree.
    Yet I do love film & continue to shoot it :) I admit that on a light-table my slides look overwhelmingly better than after I scan them. After scanning them, even with a profiled scanner, they just appear a bit 'lack-luster', and I always find myself trying to apply a tone curve to increase contrast... probably because I want highlights to pop off the image, and darks to remain deep black, much as it does on the light table.
    Rishi
     
  79. >You made Michael Reichmann's point for him. Your 50,000x view of film grain is all the proof needed. And your
    descriptions of film grain structure are essentially descriptions of a "binary" system. I'm quite frankly baffled that you
    don't realize this.

    What rubbish if grain is filamentary and passes varying amounts of light depending how many photons hit it how is it
    binary?
    To be binary would mean it only has two states solid black or clear.
    hear is a 50K times image.
    http://www.pbase.com/mark_antony/image/105223576.jpg

    look at the image Daniel. What about the partially exposed grain on the left? surely it should be clear or black, instead it
    has been exposed round the edge near the sensitivity ears 'irradiation' an id most certainly Not binary.
    I know it, Kodak experts that helped me write the article know it
    Film is NOT binary.
    The Riechman article is pure FUD
     
  80. Mark,
    What rubbish if grain is filamentary and passes varying amounts of light depending how many photons hit it how is it binary?
    At the level Reichmann is talking about, it doesn't pass varying amounts of light. It's there are not, black or clear. There's no gray in the 50,000x image you posted on your blog. I've seen other images like it and I've looked at my own B&W film under a microscope and at high enough magnification, there is no gray, only black specks and clear areas. (I forget the magnification I went to in order to observe this, but a standard high school or college microscope can magnify enough that you see this at play, at least with B&W film.)
    Backing off, looking at film at lower magnification, varying density passes varying levels of light. At that level you can call it "continuously variable" or "analog". But Reichmann was talking about the actual image forming elements in each system because people tend to make 1-to-1 comparisons between grain and pixels. His point was that you cannot do that because a grain filament is not a pixel. A pixel represents much more information. A pixel can precisely represent any one of millions of tones. A single grain filament cannot.
    What about the partially exposed grain on the left?
    Sorry, that image also confirms Reichmann's statement. There's either silver or there isn't. There's no light gray silver, mid tone silver, dark gray silver, etc.
    No offense, but I think you don't want to see this. It seems to me that calling film "binary" strikes a nerve with you. Just an observation. Use whatever term you want, a grain filament is either there or not. There aren't any 35% gray grains or hot pink grains. A pixel can be any one of millions of colors. That's why you can't compare grains to pixels on a 1-to-1 basis.
     
  81. "At the level Reichmann is talking about, it doesn't pass varying amounts of light. It's there are not, black or clear.
    There's no gray in the 50,000x image you posted on your blog. I've seen other images like it and I've looked at my own
    B&W film under a microscope and at high enough magnification, there is no gray, only black specks and clear areas. (I
    forget the magnification I went to in order to observe this, but a standard high school or college microscope can magnify
    enough that you see this at play, at least with B&W film.)"

    Thats false.
    I'm talking about what happens at a MOLECULAR level MR asserts that grains are either black or white and clump
    together to form tone-that just doesn't happen. Grains are filamentary like a wire wool pad and the denser the pad the
    more photons have hit it and the less light it passes.
    The density of that pad TRANSMITS different amounts of light that is what makes it ANALOGUE.
    Here is a photo (which I'll explain)
    http://www.pbase.com/mark_antony/image/105223576.jpg

    You'll notice that the grains aren't either black or clear as MR suggests but filamentary far from validating his claim that
    the grains themselves are either black or not there it shows that grains can be partially exposed to light.
    In that state the amount of light the individual transmit VARIES.
    Look Reichmans argument is a binary one, the grains are either solid black (binary) or they are semi transparent as
    show.
    Those semi transparent grains ARE the grey tones!!!!

    "No offense, but I think you don't want to see this. It seems to me that calling film "binary" strikes a nerve with you. Just
    an observation. Use whatever term you want, a grain filament is either there or not. There aren't any 35% gray grains or
    hot pink grains."


    Its not me that doesn't want to see....
    The reason I got together with a former Kodak engineer to write this is that MR is wrong, bad information is poor
    information and coming from someone who sets himself up to be an educator is poor science.

    Grain transmits a varying amount of light proportional to the amount of photons that strike it and the developer that
    magnifies that process.
    FACT
     
  82. BTW Daniel:
    "His point was that you cannot do that because a grain filament is not a pixel"

    A grain filament is 3 single atoms, a bit smaller than a pixel in reality!!! Those grains you see at a macro level are made
    up of billions of Ag atoms, your school microscope cannot resolve individual grains for that you need an electron
    microscope, the picture above was supplied to me by Kodak- I doubt you school lab has such a microscope.

    So to recap grain is filamentary (note: not a filament!) like a wire wool pad, transmits varying amounts of light, and
    therefore is analogue.

    It is not a black speck or clear, as those black specks have holes!! The grains do not move around within the emulsion
    to 'clump' together to form tone (contary to MRs claim) but are layered (sometimes 10 layers thick)
    That is what you see when you look though your school microscope many layers of varying density depending on how
    dense the grain 'wire wool pads' are.
     
  83. Eh, Daniel, you go small enough, the whole universe is "digital" - the correct term is of course quantum. Of
    course, a single "unit" is either a molecule of AgBr or an atom of Ag, but that is far too small to be a grain.
    If a single grain is some microns across, it would contain what, something to the order of microns/nanometers
    cubed - or perhaps as Mark says, billions of atoms or molecules. Unless you insist that these billions of
    molecules must all change state from AgBr to Ag simultaneously, grain must have all the states possible - 2 to
    the power of that billion or so.

    By comparison, a pixel has say 2 to the power of 48 states. (16 bits per color times 3 colors). Sorry, but if 48
    bit digital is what you call analog, then a billion bit digital can't be errr... binary. For all purposes, it is
    continuous - in fact, the quantization of tones is probably so tiny that you can't even pick it up on the most
    sensitive instrument.

    Thus, this Reichmann chap's stuff about grain being binary is bunk. However, there may be merit to the argument
    that film can't resolve details much finer than an individual grain, but that is a different issue and quite
    unrelated to the point that an individual grain can have continuously variable tones.
     
  84. I view this a little bit differently - which is what does a final print look like? I really don't care whether a workflow is binary or digital at a molecular/pixel/theory level - this is the "how many angels can you fit on the head of a pin" type discussion - it's the end result that matters.

    What I know is that with a good digital camera (I use an M8) - I can make 18x28 inch prints that can be shown along side prints of the same vertical dimension (18-inches) made with a 6x7 film camera (either E100G or Provia film) - and the prints from the digital camera can stand the side-by-side scrutiny.

    Now, I'm NOT saying that the digital camera image has the same resolution, but it does not look fuzzy and grainy - which, in a print from 35mm film gives the appearance of lower resolution. What I am saying is that displayed side-by-side, you don't have the grain "fuzz factor" of film in the digital image, you see more details, and you don't have the very apparent resolution disparity that you would have with a 35mm film print along side of a 6x7 film print.

    Having printed Ilfochromes professionally for a number of different photographers; from all different types and sizes of transparency film - I can tell you that no 35mm transparency film printed at 18-inches in height would stand the side-by-side comparison to a print made from 6x7 film.

    One other comment - if Mr. Rockwell thinks that Ilfochrome does, in any way, make accurate color - he's either color blind, totally unfamliar with Ilfochrome, or delusional - take your choice.
     
  85. Just stepping aside from the issue of which is capable of "the best" image quality, let's just say both are capable of very good IQ. I view both as tools that can have different advantages for different applications.

    I have digital cameras and enjoy their benefits greatly. Can erase and retake shots on the spot. Great for their immediate on-screen viewing, electronic storage and at-home processing, printing or CD-making, as well as easy sharing through e-mail. Quick, easy access for image adjustments in software like photoshop.

    But I still use my 35mm film bodies much of the time, in fact more often than digital.

    I like slide film for its straightforward accuracy, that is, in terms of your exposure settings, etc- what you shot is what you got. I can also more predictably expect the kind of color palette I will have by selecting a particular film.

    I often shoot print film for its exposure latitude/dynamic range, and its convenience and low cost for prints. For pics of special occasions with friends or family, for the sports events I sometimes shoot, the convenience and deal I get using print film can't be equalled by digital use. I often supply copies of prints for others, for their photo albums. Through our local K-Mart, and another local chain store I use, I get a roll developed with an order for three copies of each print of 5x7 size for about $16. I usually get 25 shots on a 24 roll. That comes to 75 5x7 prints, which is about 21c each! Try getting 5x7's from digital at 21c- no way. Quality from their Kodak Perfect Touch service is very good.

    A number of photographers have said to me that they go to film for very long exposures, because with film, the grain/noise does not increase with exposure time.

    So each has its own advantages. I enjoy the benefits of both. But others may only need those benefits of one or the other, and may just shoot film or just shoot digital.
     
  86. Well Phil, you know what they say about opinions.......Here's another one for ya'! Although his writing style is
    a bit .....novel, it's my opinion that Ken's message (and opinion!) is basically sound. I too have used film for
    40 years, bought into digital (NIKONBIG!) 3 years ago, and have found the instant gratification to be less and
    less rewarding. I've tried everything to get greats shots from digital (and HATE the computer work!) and for me
    there seems to be "no place like chrome". In fact I recently have been driven over the edge to a Chinese built
    4x5 view camera.....madness takes it toll! I think you've done well grasshopper. -john
     
  87. People have been getting great shots from 2mp cellphone digicams to the mammoth polaroid 20x24 camera. I don't think the question is so much about resolution, as in what works best for you and your approach to photography. I find that photography is not so much about the final product as it is about the process of getting to the final product. Using the camera, visualizing the scene, anticipating the result, trying to improve constantly, just enjoying yourself and appreciating; this is what makes photography so fun and special. The killer image is just the bonus at the end of the road.
    The only people who should be concerned with resolution, dpi, and end product are the professionals who make a living off of it, who know that if it ain't perfect they won't get paid.
    There you go. Out of my system now.
     
  88. philip, shooting with a Pentax 67 has great potential for large, finely detailed prints. The question is, what are you going to use it for? Scanning medium format takes a rather expensive scanner unless you have a pro lab that prints from negs or trans. 12 shots per roll of 120 is expensive if you shoot a lot. If you intend on just using chromes to send to an agency, maybe that will be the way to go for you. Check out Walter Tatulinski's folders here on pnet: http://www.photo.net/photodb/user?user_id=605046 to see what you can to with a Pentax 67. On the other hand, if you shoot a lot of images that you intend on scanning and printing, it can get expensive and tedious. I myself moved away from medium format and even large format and love the Nikon digitals. I generally don't print over 11x14 and a 10 or 12 mp camera can make prints at that size that rival medium format (but not large format IMO). I enjoy the ease of use, flexibility in post processing, high iso, low grain, and low cost of making lots of images. I've shot film since the 1960's using all formats up to 4x5. I made all my own B&W prints and developed my own film. I prefer the flexibility of shooting in RAW and processing in ps over working with the chemicals of the darkroom. What works for you depends on your style of shooting, how big you want your prints, what type of post processing you enjoy, etc. Don't obsess about film vs digital a la Ken R. As others have pointed out, comparing is like apples to oranges and not worth agonizing over. It boils down to what are you having the most fun with!
     
  89. First of all - Michael, thanks for pulling the subject back down to a level most of us plebs can understand - I was getting a bit lost in the ''binary' 'pixels' and 'molecular' stuff. Furthermore - like my archery mates mentioned above, it looked as if things were about to end up in a figurative stoush, so well done Michael.

    Secondly - I think Lucas has pretty well summed up the conclusion that I have reached.

    I phoned the chief editor at the Stock Library, and as I suspected things have really changed in the ten years since I was actively submitting. So much so it sounds all a bit daunting now.

    So like Lucas suggested I am just going to start taking pic's the way I like it, enjoy the process and if the final results are worth something to somebody - then so be it. If not, then I will still be happy.

    In fact, since I penned my submission up top, I received my F5 back from Nikon in Perth. I sent it in for a service and check-up. They did such an awewome job. It only cost me 260AUD. They put on a new grip, pulled it all apart, checked seals, replaced several mechanical parts and recalobrated everything. It is really awesome, it looks and sounds like a brand new camera.

    I am about to order either the 80-200 2.8 professional zoom, or the 180 IFED. Either way I will just enjoy my F5 like I used to and will persevere with the Pentax when it arrives. Hopefully I can use both cameras to compliment each other.

    If I decide to persue the stock seriously again in the future, and have to get a DSLR, then my new Nikkor lenses can still be used.

    Thanks everybody for contributing to this great thread. Even though the comments differed markedly, I enjoyed reading all of your thoughts and observations.

    Happy shooting - Phil from Down Under!
     
  90. Digital, film, and chalk sticks all make images on paper the same way cheesecake, meatloaf, and garden salad are all food.

    Make your own assignments about which item belongs to which course of the meal in your kitchen, but don't try to claim that the three are close enough that one can compare "which is better" than another.

    If I rephrase the question to ask is digital better than chalk, then I can get a whole new crop of digital artists into the fight. Some of the stuff that the uber-photoshop folks produce with nothing more than a mouse amazes me, but it's *DIFFERENT* from digital image capture, not better or worse. The same for film. It's just different.

    MB
     
  91. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKc6oTvztYE
     
  92. well I am still using film and will for a long time yet ,digital is great and oh so easy but I just dont have the cash to fork out on digital gear that to my opinion cant give me what my bronica SQ with ISO 100 or 50 film can give me .

    maybe the AU$55,000 39 Mp hasselblad will give it tho .well when I can get one for around $1000 I will go digital
     
  93. Does no one else here agree that Mr. Rockwell's 1:1 crop from his Nikon D3 image is unacceptably soft, and not the type of results typically seen with 1:1 crops from, say, a Canon 5D?
    Also, here's a slightly more objective comparison of a 10MP file from a Canon Rebel XTi vs. a 10MP scan (Imacon 848) from a 35mm Velvia 50 frame (well, more accurately, an 80MP scan downsized to 10MP). Yes the time of day is different and the zoom setting is actually not the same (with the advantage going to the Rebel since it's zoomed in more, hence any feature in the frame is represented by more light-gather elements, or pixels and grain in this case), and the lenses are not the same (with the advantage going to film as a 24-70L lens was used as opposed to the EF 28-80mm on the Rebel).
    [​IMG] Link to Full-Size Image
    As always, please follow the link to view the image at 100% to make sharpness comparisons.
    If you look at the 'Express Lanes' sign, there's a slight advantage to the digital image, though this is arguable especially in light of the fact that the sign is smaller on the film (shot is zoomed out more) so the fact that the feature is smaller on the capturing-media frame yet still fully legible is impressive. But if you look at some of the rails or the buildings, even though they're smaller on the film scan, they appear to be sharper than in the digital image. The digital image is, however, much cleaner in these areas (whereas you can see the grain on the film in the buildings).
    So it's a bit of a toss-up. I'd say that what's capable of being resolved on both these frames is similar, going along with my previous observations that film scanned well (though I haven't tried drum scanning) yields resolution at or near a 10-12MP digital camera. Certainly the cleanliness of a digital image, though, makes images appear sharper to the eye.
    Additionally, I find it interesting that straight edges seem to be better represented in the digital capture, whereas more complex edges (e.g. trees) seem to appear sharper in the film. Is this my imagination or is this because straight edges are better represented by the linear array of a CMOS/CCD sensor, whereas the random distribution of silver crystals better represents non-linear complex surfaces/paths?
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks,
    Rishi
     
  94. Interesting point, Rishi. I have posted before that when testing film vs digital, that what might be descirbed as "complex edges" (or more loosely described as "random") is a better test subject than subjects with lots of straight or simple edges. I suspect that the interpolation algorithms applied to Bayer patterns may be performing some kind of edge enhancement which contributes to digital images looking so sharp. After all, to take the argument to absurdity, a black box which always spits out sharp lines regardless of the subject is indeed producing a very sharp image, but one that has nothing to do with an imaged subject.

    Years ago, I studied information theory (rate distortion theory, etc.) I don't have the inclination or time nowadays, but it sure would be interesting if an information theorist would take up the issue of whether a particular digital sensor, say the new Nikon CMOS chip or the chips in the Hassy back, captures more or less information than a particular film and negative size, such as 35mm Kodak portra 160NC or the new Etar 100. The information content of a digital sensor is easy to compute. But for film, it will take some thinking. Any information theory professors out there up for it?
     
  95. Benny,
    Yeah, look closer at the buildings in the image I posted above at 100%, and I think you'll see that the absolute resolving power (subjectively) is higher in the film than the 10MP digital shot. Essentially meaning that there's more than 10MP worth of information on a 35mm frame of Velvia 50. Which I'd certainly hope there would be, given that it's the highest resolution film out there (right?).
    However, the straight edges of the buildings themselves don't look so impressive; in fact, they look 'fuzzy' whereas the straight edges of the buildings in the digital shot look, well, straight. I'd be willing to bet a nickel that that's because of the regular pattern of the CMOS along with, probably, what you suggested in the Bayer pattern interpolation method.
    Yes I'd love to see such an analysis about the information captured by film vs. digital. However, what will render this analysis very difficult will be how to figure out how many silver crystals make up a 'clump' that represents the absolute tone of the smallest feature being recorded? Yes I'm of the Reichmann from Luminous Landscape camp, even though I really wanted to believe Mark Smith here. I will follow up with a post of why, including a number of quotes from Ansel Adams. Of course, I'd like to be challenged and proven otherwise because I Rishi
     
  96. I thought that this thread was over - apparently not. Benny, a simplified information theoretic analysis for you follows. Rishi, your image shows some serious vibration or camera shake or scanner shake or something, especially visible in the Velvia picture. Unfortunately, with camera shake present, any meaningful comparison about resolution gets tossed out the window.
    Look at the traffic streaks - instead of being smooth lines, they look "stepped" - either there were ground borne vibrations, or it was windy and your tripod (or the entire structure you were on) "rang", or something - but there is clear evidence of some kind of vibration and its there in both pictures. Naturally this is a resolution killer; meaningful data is lost and comparisons can't be made or conclusions drawn other than the fact that both systems are capable of more resolution.
    Benny - here's a simple information theoretic analysis.
    Lets assume that a very good lens is capable of 100 line pairs per mm, or 100 cpmm (cycles/mm). Nyquist's theorem states that you need 2x the sampling frequency to capture this information, and reconstruct it without loss. The simplification here is that the cycles are treated as sine-wave cycles, not as square-wave alternating light and dark values. In theory a square wave contains infinite information (because there is a transition from light to dark in time or space approaching zero). Well then, to sample and reconstruct the information, you need a capture mechanism that can sample 200 cycles/mm.
    What does this translate to in terms of pixels? 200 lines/mm x 24mm for the height, and 200 lines/mm x 36mm for the width of the image. This is 34.56 Megapixels, say around 35 MP.
    This is more or less the maximum information content of the input source, i.e., the lens. In other words, there isn't more information to be had from the source to begin with. Now when you capture this with a 35 MP sensor or high resolution film or whatever, you will probably do justice to whatever high end lens gave you 100 cpmm to begin with. Any more pixels and you are oversampling, i.e., going into a subjective realm similar to where audiophiles sample 20 kHz audio at 1 Msamples/sec, and claim that they can somehow "hear" this. Maybe the brain invents information where there is none - however it is outside the current abilities of optical or audio engineering to make the brain see or hear what doesn't exist. But I digress.
    So we are back to this magic figure of 35 MP as a fairly accurate upper bound of information content in a 24mmx36mm system.
    This renders moot (or will as soon as digital sensors hit 35 MP) all discussion that film outresolves digital or vice versa; after all, the lens isn't providing any more than that much information to begin with.
    Now lets talk a little about film. I already said why I think a single grain has a continuous range of tones. Don't confuse this with a the ability of a single grain to resolve information content smaller than the grain size. This would require that the alternating black and white line pattern be reproduced by a single grain, and I haven't seen any claim to that effect. In other words, a grain is a picture element (or pixel), with a continuous range of tones possible. Grain size is variously stated as being 1-10 microns (micrometers, 10^-6 m). 200 cpmm means that each individual line is 1mm/200 or 5 microns across. if you want this to be properly resolved, you need grain size less than 5 microns.
    Now if film grain were binary as Reichmann says, then you would need somewhere in the neighborhood of 48 grains to give you the equivalent of 16-bit color depth; or you would need an area occupied by about 7x7 grains, or about 35x35 microns. With a film "pixel" occupying 35 microns linearly, you could only resolve 1000/2x35 cpmm or 14 cpmm. This number is absurdly low for film, based on all sorts of empirical and experimental evidence.
    Now before somebody comes back and says that there may be some way for grains to be stacked along the third dimension (i.e., that of emulsion thickness) that can give the effect of having a smaller area for 48 grains (i.e., a film pixel), please realize that this can't be possible with binary grain since a single "black" grain will completely occlude all lighter grains, essentially resulting in a binary AND operation, i.e., creating another binary grain, third dimension or not. Meaning that there have to be 48 grains in the x-y axes to form a grain. Meaning that film must have 14 cpmm resolution, which is false.
    For those familiar with how to prove things with logic, I just used reductio-ad-absurdum to prove Reichmann wrong.
    I am quite sorry for being arcane, but this thread has raised some excellent points and counterpoints, and I think that we are headed in the direction where the limiting factor is the lenses and format, as opposed to the medium. This is excellent from my point of view, because these arguments about which medium has more resolution will be finally laid to rest.
    A few personal observations: All tests of film and digital I have seen so far (especially ones in with APS-C digital outperforms medium format, these were popular a few years ago) - have one glaring shortcoming - they don't have information content more than what the lens provides; and this is generally quite low, i.e., maybe in the neighborhood of 25-30 cpmm; that is relatively easily handled by both media, so the apparent grainlessness of digital is taken as proof that it is superior. We somehow equate lack of grain to more resolution, but this is quite untrue.
    Second, using a scanner to compare film resolution to digital resolution is indicative of poor methodology. I happen to agree with Mauro Franic that examination under a loupe or microscope is the correct way to determine resolution of film.
    Finally, digital pixels have edges, so it is easy to create a completely sharp 200 cycles per mm pattern from digital when the lines exactly line up with sensor pixels. It is also easy when they don't, since software can detect straight lines and optimize them very well. It is when you have random curved lines that digital chokes up, because you have to represent that curvature with square pixels. If the curvature is smaller than a pixel, you lose that information.
     
  97. Good Post Vijay,

    Just looking at this image will show that individual grains aren't binary (either totally black or clear)
    http://www.pbase.com/mark_antony/image/105223576.jpg
    I don't know how to embed so you'll need to follow the link.
    The grain on the left is Black with a hole in it, so in effect transmits a small amount of light, in other words it's black(1)
    and clear (0) at the same time which is not possible with binary states. The filamentary (Kodak term: Lattice) grains
    increase in density depending on how many photons strike the individual grain and can be anything from 3 single atoms
    right up to the entire grain, they are also stacked in the emulsion (sometimes 10 layers) with the larger grains ≈10µm
    (faster) at the top and the smallest grains ≈ 0.2µm at the bottom of the stack.
    The denser the lattice the less light that passes, the inverse also being true all states between the minimum (one
    photon) 3 Ag atoms right up to the whole grain are possible- in other words they are analogue.
    Reichmanns assertions are way out even if he is confusing grains with Ag atoms.

    Rishi

    Your photo's although interesting seem to be taken at different times, do another side by side test with cameras on
    tripods in the same lighting conditions, try also less linear subjects like trees.
    In my side by side tests I have found that slower (25-200) film has a higher resolution and resolves more detail at the
    expense of some noise in the mid tones- a trade off.
    Mark
     
  98. Vijay,

    I have to disagree with you on camera/scanner vibration. I see no evidence for it whatsoever.

    The film shot was taken with a Canon EOS-3, with mirror-lock up (though really that's not even needed on a wide-angle shot such as this one taken at 17mm), on a Gitzo 2-series tripod. The wavy-ness you see in the streaks is because that section of I-5, which I drive across quite often, is notoriously bumpy. Those are simply the headlights of cars bumping up & down. There is no such evidence of this wavy-ness *anywhere* else in the scan. If you want, I can send you the full-size image.

    The digital shot doesn't show any wavy-ness; I assume you're referring to the jagged-ness of the headlight streaks indicating vibration? Those are caused by interpolation patterns from Bayer pattern sensors... I see that on any diagonal lines even on shots taken at high shutter speeds in broad daylight.

    The REAL reason my comparison is partially meaningless is because they weren't shot with the same lens, not shot at the same time of day, not shot at the same zoom, etc. When I get a chance, I'd like to do what Mark suggests: a side-by-side comparison of more complex & interesting subjects.

    If you still find any other evidence that supports your claim of 'vibration' or 'shake', please do let me know.

    Thanks,
    Rishi
     
  99. Actually, let me clarify:
    In the digital image, the stair-stepping I'm referring to is in the highlights of the streaks... these are Bayer interpolation problems.
    Looking more closely at the non-highlights, I do see the wavy-ness. Again, this is due to the road surface of I-5... those are cars bumping up and down.
    Why is the wavy-ness not as 'sharp' & 'resolved' in the 10MP digital image? Because the film resolved it better :) Which goes along with my argument that the film does seem to have a higher resolving power than this 10MP digital image (barring lens differences, yes, I know).
    This is not camera vibration because if it were, it would be evident elsewhere in the image, which it is not. Plus, any vibration of the camera would have had to have been continuous, because these are ~30 second exposures, and a short-lived vibration would not have led to those very well defined and resolved and COHERENT wave patterns! It would have led to random wavy-ness at different times, which would not have formed those coherent sine-like waves.
    So, I think, by logic, I've proved the 'shake' or 'vibration' hypothesis wrong. Vijay, please let me know if you are convinced of my argument.
    Rishi
     
  100. Rishi,

    If your camera/tripod rings, typically the type of resonance you see in steel parking garages when cars go over a
    bump (say at around 10-15 Hz), you'd see exactly the kind of pattern you see in your pictures. Linearly moving,
    bright subjects look stepped and static subjects look "spread out" as if they were out of focus. Though possible,
    it is difficult to imagine that a section of I-5 has bumps at exactly the same intervals causing such a regular
    pattern. Different cars have different suspensions, and you would see different amplitudes of the bumpiness wave
    depending on if it was a Lexus LS460 or a Dodge Ram truck. You don't see that in your picture, so Occam's razor
    suggests it is camera vibration. With your digital picture, you are already at the sensor limit, and it is
    impossible to distinguish the pixels from the car streak waviness.

    I've taken pictures of fireworks from near the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, and I was standing on hard
    ground but it was windy, and I saw exactly the same behavior - the firework streaks were stepped, and everything
    else was slightly fuzzy, as if it was out of focus.

    I'll admit that it is difficult to say with certainty that there were camera vibrations in your pictures, but it
    seems likely.

    I do agree that to do a meaningful comparison you'd have to create more controlled conditions - same lens, same
    time of day etc. I'd also suggest avoiding long exposures, moving subjects etc; the best would be some complex
    but immobile subject under studio flash but maybe that's a stretch.
     
  101. Vijay,

    I'm going through you argument for the theoretical resolution of film & proving Reichmann wrong. And here are a couple of glaring problems with your argument:

    If you read Norman Koren's page here: http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF1A.html

    You will see that, according to manufacturer's specs themselves on film, the finest resolution film has a 50% contrast (response) at 40 cpmm, and only a 10% contrast (response) at 120 cpmm. So your claiming that somehow for 35mm film photography the limiting factor is lenses, and not the medium, seems wrong to me JUST based on manufacturer's specs (and I doubt they UNDERestimate their specs).

    Secondly, you state:

    "Now before somebody comes back and says that there may be some way for grains to be stacked along the third dimension (i.e., that of emulsion thickness) that can give the effect of having a smaller area for 48 grains (i.e., a film pixel), please realize that this can't be possible with binary grain since a single "black" grain will completely occlude all lighter grains, essentially resulting in a binary AND operation, i.e., creating another binary grain, third dimension or not."

    I disagree.

    For argument's sake, let's say grains *are* binary. Let's call the depth axis running through, say, 3 layers of film, the Z-axis. You're incorrectly assuming here that one black grain along the Z-axis results in pure black. Rather assume that 3 black grains stacked on top of one another along the Z-axis results in black. Two stacked on top of one another yields 66% (slightly darker than gray, which is at 50%) black, and one grain yields 33% black (slightly lighter than gray). It's not like each grain of silver is a 'black hole' of black. I'm sure that light can still travel through a grain of silver. Stack 10 layers together, and maybe it has a harder time traveling through 10 stacks of black silver grain. Of course, in reality, the random dispersion of silver grains means that it's unlikely that any two will be stacked perfectly on top of one another in adjacent layers; however, my scenario is purely for argument's sake. A single black will NOT occlude all lighter grains (& by 'lighter', if you're trying to disprove Reichmann's argument, I think you mean 'clear'), because you have to look at it as: a single black is lighter than 2 blacks grains stacked on top of one another, is lighter than 3 black grains stacked on top of one another.

    More coming later...
    Rishi
     
  102. OK, Vijay, I see what you are saying about camera/tripod vibration. I need to ponder on it a little more but it does make sense. The only part of it that is hard to swallow is: since the aperture was so small, many light streaks have to add up to register a signal on the film/sensor, and all of these light streaks have to be from cars traveling at roughly the same speed, and then the sensor has to vibrate up/down at the same frequency (ok, believable if it's a resonance phenomenon) every time a car drives by on the bridge from where this picture was taken. If the cars were traveling at different speeds, we'd see different frequencies in the light streaks... but there really seems to be only one (dominant) frequency.

    The one dominant frequency is what led me to believe that it is the road. Yes, different suspensions could give you different amplitudes. But different car speeds will give you different frequencies of the registered sine-like wave.

    So which is it? LOL, this is hurting my head :)

    More importantly, though, Vijay -- from an Imacon 848, do you expect to see a sharper scan from 35mm RVP 50? In my experience, I don't. I do have sharpening turned off on my Imacon though, because I don't trust it and I sharpen later in PS/LR.

    Best,
    Rishi
     
  103. Rishi,

    Talking about black and white film for now, silver is opaque, so a black grain will not be 66% gray, it will be
    opaque. If there are any clear grains along the z axis that it occludes, you won't get lighter shades of gray -
    it is the case of an opaque object occluding a transparent one, resulting in an opaque object.

    If you postulate that a grain is either clear or 66% gray (or any value other than black, opaque), what you are
    saying is that silver is not opaque, which isn't true, right?

    If you postulate that grain is completely black, then it must occlude, meaning that the third dimension is
    meaningless etcetera.
     
  104. I'm saying that an individual grain looks filamentous when developed, therefore it is not a perfect absorber (is that a word?) of light. Even if we do call grain binary, it's not that simple. It's not binary as in 'blocks 100% light being transmitted' or 'let's 100% light through'. That's impossible. Think of it this way: if you shine brighter & brighter light at it, some is bound to get through a black silver grain even if it is completely black. In such a case, having another black silver grain on top of it will allow *less* light to go through as opposed to just one black silver grain in the path of the light. Therefore, two black grains stacked on top of one another will register darker, in a scanner say, than one black grain. Stack even more layers, and you've got even more tones representable by any given Z-axis value. Up to a certain point, of course. Let's just say that after 20 such grains perfectly stacked on top of one another, it becomes so dense that no light (from any practical scanner light source anyway) can get through. THEN, having 20, or 25, or 30, or 50 grains stacked on top of one another will not make any difference. But I certainly don't think that you can say that one silver grain in and of itself is sufficient to completely block a path of light running right through it. There are clear areas within this filamentous region, as grain images show. Stack enough of these on top of one another though, and then you can reach pretty high densities. And, of course, it's also possible to increase density by creating clumps of silver. What you use, more clumps, or more layers, will of course affect your resolution. The more clumps you use to represent darker tones (or lighter ones depending on positive/negative film), the lower your resolution. If you can expand the # of tones recorded by increasing the # of layers, that's probably preferable. Again, this is all assuming that Reichmann's argument is correct. And I still need to write more on that. Which I'll get to after I finish reading this Chem. Review paper by Theys & Sosnovsky (1997). Rishi
     
  105. "But I certainly don't think that you can say that one silver grain in and of itself is sufficient to completely block a path of light running
    right through it. There are clear areas within this filamentous region, as grain images show. Stack enough of these on top of one another
    though, and then you can reach pretty high densities.

    And, of course, it's also possible to increase density by creating clumps of silver. What you use, more clumps, or more layers, will of
    course affect your resolution. The more clumps you use to represent darker tones (or lighter ones depending on positive/negative film),
    the lower your resolution. If you can expand the # of tones recorded by increasing the # of layers, that's probably preferable.

    Again, this is all assuming that Reichmann's argument is correct."

    Well it isn't correct.

    When a single photon hits a positively charged AgBr+ molecule it separates the Ag and sends it on a journey towards the sensitivity
    speck which is sulphur coated with gold (gold increases the chance of the bond and stops the Ag 'roaming') with that single photo a
    filament of 3 atoms is produced.
    The more photons that strike the grain the denser the filamentary structure becomes.
    The image at this time is latent, developing the film amplifies the structure, developer time, strength, agitation all play a part on the
    density of the filamentary structure.
    Normally, the grains will reach a maximum density of 2.5-3.0 but this is very dependent on developer choice, but grains that reach such
    densities are said to be developed to completion as more development time will not yield any more density.

    Normally maximum resolution is achieved developing slower films (which have thinner and less layers) to a medium gamma say G0.65,
    but tone suffers somewhat, so nowadays we normally develop to a lower gamma for increased tonal range with softer working (low
    energy low p.h developers) normally metol (Kodak Elon) based.
    One silver grain will not totally block light, but there are quite a few in the layers, test this yourself by exposing a film to the sun
    developing to completion, and holding up to a light source it hold back light OK :)

    Clumping is rare in emulsions these days as developers are now pretty low energy low p.h and is not a good way to increase density, in
    fact I cant think of a single developer that promotes clumping, most include restrainers to avoid that and give better tone.

    That is one of the problems with the LL article clumping is not desirable and doesn't give you tone, I find it ludicrous for Reichmann to
    suggest that grains 'clump' to form tone like inkjets, that statement shows a gross lack of knowledge and is pretty much a 'made up'
    fantasy, which is my problem with the whole article really- its plain dumb.
    Mark
     
  106. I just had a thought - maybe people are confused about what a "grain" really is. Mark, I have taken the liberty of taking your picture and highlighting what a grain is. The grain is the shape that looks like a triangle with its corners chopped off, kind of like a medicinal tablet (tablet grain; or T-grain). Grain is not those dark clusters that look like scotch-brite fragments. Those are the 'filaments' or 'lattice', but that is not the grain.
    00RS1x-87289584.jpg
     
  107. Rishi - you took those pictures from a bridge - a sure recipe for camera vibration. Bridges tend to oscillate
    naturally at 20-50 Hz, especially metal ones, and there is constant vibration inducing traffic passing over the
    combs where two spans join. There is also wind that causes the structure to vibrate, quite like a plucked guitar
    string. The fact that you took this picture from a bridge greatly increases the likelihood that what you see is
    camera vibration.

    Also, after you've seen the above picture of a single grain, do you still concur with Reichmann?
     
  108. I didn't read this entire thread, it honestly looks like a bunch of blah blah blah about resolution. In my quip
    about resolution, as far as I can tell from all the technical crap I've been reading in the last few years,
    diffraction is the key limiting factor in resolution regardless of what media you shoot on, so all that the 100MP
    sensor cameras of the future will be resolving over the 10MP sensor cameras or film emulsions of today is
    diffraction patterns.

    Since no-one has mentioned it, you might be surprised to hear what a friend told me about this year's Photokina.
    Even with world economies suffering, every vendor at this year's Photokina reported better sales of film this
    year than last. Apparently there were even four professional photographers speaking explaining all of the
    technical reasons they still shot film either in-lieu or in-addition to digital. You can read into things what
    you want, but the horses were at Photokina and the word from horses' mouths was that they were happy with their
    sales and that they hope that film is here to stay.
     
  109. Regarding your grain picture:
    First of all, Vijay, that grain that you highlighted in yellow: is that an exposed, partially exposed, or unexposed grain? Because only the boundary is black.
    Second, I can understand why a clump within the grain may be black, as silver ions are present inside of a grain or crystal. But what's up with the black clump on the upper left side of the grain? That's outside of the crystal. There shouldn't be any silver ions or anything there but the gelatin in between crystals. So what exactly am I looking at here?
    OK, regarding Reichmann:
    Ansel Adams clearly argues against Mark Smith & agrees with Reichmann (or, er, the other way around, chronologically speaking). So, I am going to quote a number of lines from Ansel Adams' book 'The Negative'... Ansel Adams was a pretty smart & knowledgeable guy, so I assume he knew what he was talking about. However, in the face of new evidence and reconsideration, sure, I'm willing to rethink even what Ansel Adams says. Kinda like how I'd rethink the Bible or any religious text in the face of (and by that I mean lack of) any believable evidence. But I digress...
    "I remind you that the 'grain' we see in the print is not the grain itself but the effect of light passing through the spaces between the grain clumps. As with the dots of the printing-press plates (halftones) the grains are themselves of the same density, but the number and size of grains in a given area define the effective density." Page 182
    "Examination of a photographic negative with a magnifier reveals that it is not made up of a continous range of white-to-black values, but that such values are simulated using a controlled deposit of individual black specks. These specks are the grain of the emulsion, the reduced metallic silver deposited when a halide crystal responded to light and 'developed'." Page 19
    OK I think that's enough to convince you that Ansel Adams is (was, R.I.P.) of the Reichmann camp.
    Now, let's turn to Wikipedia (hey, no judging):
    Under 'Silver Halide', we find:
    "When a silver halide crystal is exposed to light, a sensitivity speck on the surface of the crystal is turned into a small speck of metallic silver (these comprise the invisible or latent image). If the speck of silver contains approximately four or more atoms, it is rendered developable - meaning that it can undergo development which turns the entire crystal into metallic silver."
    Now, let's turn to this website: http://www.cheresources.com/photochem.shtml
    It says: "In general, as the grain size in the emulsion increases, the effective light sensitivity of the film increases - up to a point. An optimum value of grain size for a given sensitivity is found to exist because the same number of silver atoms are needed to initiate reduction of the entire grain by the developer despite the grain size, so that producing larger grains reaches a point of diminishing returns and no further benefit is obtained."
    Look also at the image there, it shows the entire crystal turning into metallic silver.
    Now, let's turn to this article: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1511/is_8_21/ai_63583781/print?tag=artBody;col1
    "If a silver halide crystal already has a light-blackened duster containing a critical minimum of silver atoms--four, typically--that cluster's electric field draws electrons to the silver ions around it, and the whole billion-ion crystal is quickly blackened. All the other crystals, unexposed or barely exposed, the developer leaves alone; the crystals react individually because the gelatin isolates them from one another."
    OK, I could go on and on. But you see my point: Mark Smith & co., you are literally challenging all the literature out there in saying that each grain can exhibit a continuous tone from white-to-black.
    Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that you're going to have come at the prior literature with more evidence than I've seen presented in this thread. And I actually WANT to believe you :)
    Rishi
     
  110. Answer me this:

    Suppose I am photographing a source of white light, say sunlight through a ground glass (very bright, uniformly
    so). Let's also assume that I don't focus on this backlit ground glass. Then you agree that light through the
    lens will hit every point on the film equally - because we simply simulate a diffuse, bright source. Let us
    assume I simply use the meter reading and take a picture.

    Q: What do I get on the negative?

    A: 18% grey (or 13% or whatever the meter is calibrated to).

    Light struck every grain equally - and surely there was enough light to ionize at least four Ag atoms in every
    grain. This should have resulted, after development, in a black negative because "the whole billion-ion crystal
    is quickly blackened".

    Unfortunately we don't get a black negative but a grey one.

    How do you explain this anomaly?
     
  111. More evidence against Mark Smith and for Reichmann:

    Consult the journal article (well, review): Chemical Reviews, 1997, Vol. 97, No. 1 (actually I could post a link to a PDF of it, but is that legal?). This article gets into the hardcore chemistry of film (& I'm a chemist, well, in a chemistry graduate program anyway).

    It says: "Absorption of more photons by the same crystal results in electron migration to the atom of silver at the surface [of the grain]. In this way an invisible speck of afew silver atoms adheres to the surface of the silver halide crystal. This speck, composed of more than three atoms of silver, is a latent image site and serves as a conductor through which electrons are transferred from the developing agent to the entire silver halide crystal. Imaged silver halide grains thereby become black metallic silver which has the microsopic appearance of black filaments." (Page 86).

    OK, evidence aside, let's look at this from a theoretical perspective:

    In color film, these silver grains must be sensitized to respond to certain colors. Therefore, they have spectral sensitizers adsorbed to the crystals. These are excited by light, then donate an electron to the crystal, which can be picked up by a silver ion to make silver metal. So, if you're saying that the latent image actually determines how black the crystal will become, you have to have a rather extensive range of silver ions that become silver metal... the total number of such silver ions that become silver metal then determine the 'dynamic range' of ONE crystal. What is that dynamic range, Mark Smith? 0-1000? 0-10,000? Let's say 0-1000, for argument's sake. Then, there also have to be at least 1000 molecules of spectral sensitizer (ring-containing molecules that are much bigger than a silver ion) adsorbed to the crystal, all ready to donate an electron to a silver ion. Unlikely. UNLESS you have a source of electrons that can regenerate the spectral sensitizer after it has donated an electron upon being excited by a photon.
    <p>
    Next, the number of silver ions reduced to silver metal (mostly at the boundaries of the crystal, since those are the areas most accessible by photons), has to determine the rate of the development (or reduction) reaction. So, based on whether 4-1000 silver ions were reduced to silver metal per grain, 1-10 billion silver ions would be reduced to silver metal within each crystal. Does the chemical reaction rate really depend on exactly how many silver ions were reduced to silver metal to form the latent image? I don't know... some hotshot chemist needs to answer this question. But it seems pretty unlikely to me ESPECIALLY given that all these technical papers suggest that the reduced silver metal molecules migrate to the electron rich site (silver or gold sulfides) on each crystal. I.E. the crystals are doped with silver or gold sulfides; but, only ONE such site exists per crystal. Upon exposure, the reduced silver molecules cluster at this site. Are you telling me that the number of reduced silver molecules clustered at this site, per grain, determines how black/gray the crystal becomes, and that a whole range of tones can be represented just by how many reduced silver atoms cluster at this site? What is the maximum number of reduced silver atoms that can cluster at this site? What are the maximum number of electrons that can be donated to silver ions to form silver atoms upon simple light exposure? And then can this simple signal be amplified to create all the tones between white and black? Given that the reaction proceeds because of the increase in conductance of silver metal vs. silver ion, can you really generate all the tones between white and black just based on how many such conducting silver atoms are present at the ONE site on each crystal?

    THESE are the questions that need to be answered to prove Mark Smith's hypothesis correct. All I've seen so far is a bunch of handwaving.

    I admit I need to read more the come to a definite conclusion myself, because both arguments still make some sense to me, but I'm still leaning toward the Reichmann camp. Mark, please convince me. I want to be convinced :)

    Rishi
     
  112. Vijay,

    You yourself wrote: "Grain size is variously stated as being 1-10 microns (micrometers, 10^-6 m). 200 cpmm [the resolving power of a lens] means that each individual line is 1mm/200 or 5 microns across. if you want this to be properly resolved, you need grain size less than 5 microns."

    If the smallest feature a lens can resolve is 5 microns, and the finest grain is considerably smaller than 5 microns, then each grain will NOT be hit by a photon in your scenario above. Therefore, you will not get a black negative. Instead, you will only get certain grains falling with this 5 micron region exposed and 'blackened'. Let's also not forget that film does not consist of just 1 layer. Color film itself has at least 3 layers, so, for gray light, the number of photons exciting any given spectral sensitizing molecule is cut in 3.

    These are all great arguments though. Let's figure this out!
    Rishi
     
  113. I will always use film, for my work which is panoramic landscape, digital will never be able to replicate the quality achieved
    by using film, and I could never print the sizes I do with film if I used digital. Well I could but the image would fall apart.

    Use what works for you and the work you are doing.
     
  114. Rishi, surely you aren't trying to imply that the image from the unfocused lens has spots of light areas of 5 micron diameter and the rest is dark. That isn't how light works, but OK, take that hypothetical lens off, and point the camera at the sun. Will that be uniform enough light distribution for you?

    And forget color film for now - lets just concentrate on B&W for the sake of simplicity.

    Also please answer me this: why does increase in development time increase negative density? After all, for a binary grain, amplification of four Ag ions should result in a black grain regardless of development time, agitation, temperature etc., right?

    To everyone else: I know that this is getting pretty arcane, and most photographers don't want to be bothered by details about physics and chemistry, but this is turning out to be quite the in-depth discussion about these issues. I haven't seen much of such debate elsewhere, so I personally feel that it adds value to photo.net. If this has started bothering you, please ignore this thread, or maybe the mods could consider moving it to another area (although when this is done, the focus and continuity of the thread are generally lost).

    I am acutely aware that the art of photography is what is supposedly sublime, and these technical topics are third-rate wasters of time and energy, but please, please let us continue. Some of us enjoy understanding what we are doing. Patrick Dempsey, if you had read this thread in some more detail, you would have seen me celebrating that the digital-film war is about to be over because both media are no longer the limiting factors, so finally we can go about photographing with either without feeling inferior.
     
  115. Rishi

    The argument you posted backs up mine and Kodaks claims that grain is filamentary:
    "It says: "Absorption of more photons by the same crystal results in electron migration to the atom of silver at the
    surface [of the grain]. In this way an invisible speck of afew silver atoms adheres to the surface of the silver halide
    crystal. This speck, composed of more than three atoms of silver, is a latent image site and serves as a conductor
    through which electrons are transferred from the developing agent to the entire silver halide crystal. Imaged silver halide
    grains thereby become black metallic silver which has the microsopic appearance of black filaments." (Page 86)".

    Look what it states:
    That a grain is made up of microscopic black filaments, Reichman suggests that the whole grain is TOTALLY black
    either on or off, binary, it has two states.
    Here is my explanation.
    http://photo-utopia.blogspot.com/2007/10/chumps-and-clumps.html#links

    We know from the way film works that when a single photon strikes an AgBr+ (the structure is positively charged) that
    the photon energizes the Ag atom and separates it from the Bromide atom. The Ag atom then moves towards the
    sensitivity speck to form a latent structure which is later amplified in development.
    The filamentary structure can develop from 3+ atoms up to the entire grain and all those states between.
    A normal negative has states between 0.10--3.0 density.

    You reading of the paper puzzles me am I right in that you are assuming that there is only 1 sensitivity point?
    In reality each grain has many hundreds of thousands of these specks, the silver is not black metallic until after
    development, I think you are slightly confused about the stucture of the individual graind before development.

    If Reichmann is right (which he isn't) grain can be not be transmissive it must totally block light (black binary 1) with the
    clear parts transmissive (clear binary 0)
    But as the grains are shown to be filamentary they block varying amounts of light depending on how many photons strike
    the grain (more photons denser structure)
    Grains are basically photon counters, if they were binary 1 photon would have the same effect on a grain as a million.

    So far from your PDF agreeing with Reichmanns position it actually undermines it.
    If you need more proof borrow a copy of "The theory of the photographic process' by Mees and James from your library,
    or alternatively go to APUG and ask you questions on the emulsion forum, the person there called Photo Engineer (Ron
    Mowery) is the man I put my article to for proof reading, he is pretty much the film expert.
     
  116. Rishi

    Just an aside when you quoted all those sources as flying in the face of 'my argument' you are forgetting one very important fact, I'm not saying the grain is not totally made up of black metallic silver, obviously it is.
    To most people they are just black specks, but upon extreme magnification you will see it is the silver ATOMS not the
    actual grain that is SOLID black, if film can be proved to be filamentary it passes light in varying amounts.

    You asked about my picture:

    First of all, Vijay, that grain that you highlighted in yellow: is that an exposed, partially exposed, or unexposed grain?
    Because only the boundary is black.

    So ask yourself if that grain is only black around the edge which of the binary states is it?
    If grain is either black or clear it can be binary but as soon as a third state exists the binary argument is invalid.

    That picture shows a Kodak T grain emulsion. T grain emulsions have the sensitivity centers placed around the edge,
    these are called "ears" If you go to the post on my blog you'll see at the top of my post a photo of Ilfords Delta structures which are hexagonal, each point of the hexagon having a 'sensitivity ear'

    If you can understand that grain can have many states the yellow highlighted grain shows a partially exposed grain one
    that has only developed around the sensitivity areas- if grain is binary that can't happen.
     
  117. Vijay,

    You write: "Also please answer me this: why does increase in development time increase negative density? After all, for a binary grain, amplification of four Ag ions should result in a black grain regardless of development time, agitation, temperature etc., right?"

    Simple, because increasing development time allows the developer to start reducing silver ions within crystals that were unexposed. Chemistry is all about reaction rates. The reduced silver atoms in exposed crystals serve as catalysts, allowing the reaction to initiate and thus proceed rather quickly. Crystals without reduced silver atoms will still be reduced, but the the probability of this reaction starting within any given finite time span is less if there are no conducting silver atoms near the crystal surface to begin with.

    That takes care of that part of your argument.

    Now, you say: "Rishi, surely you aren't trying to imply that the image from the unfocused lens has spots of light areas of 5 micron diameter and the rest is dark."

    You're right, I'm not trying to imply that at all. I'm saying that if the resolving power of the lens is only 5 microns, then sometimes this lens will direct photons towards one portion of this 5 micron area, and sometimes to another portion of this 5 micron area. If 5 microns really is the limit, then it can't direct photons, in any coherent fashion, to any one portion *within* this 5 microns; rather, it directs photons randomly within this 5 micron region. Thus the exposure of every grain within this 5 micron region will be a stochastic process dependent upon *time* of exposure. Since the time of the exposure will be adjusted to as to result in 18% gray for this particular feature being recorded, not all grains within this 5 micron region will be exposed within the limited time frame of the shutter speed.

    Rishi
     
  118. Simple, because increasing development time allows the developer to start reducing silver ions within crystals that were unexposed.
    Oops. Now the developer invents the image does it? It can't develop unexposed grains. If it could, there would be no conceivable relationship between the optical image formed by a lens and what the "film" recorded.
    Since the time of the exposure will be adjusted to as to result in 18% gray for this particular feature being recorded, not all grains within this 5 micron region will be exposed within the limited time frame of the shutter speed.
    If the light is continuous, i.e., there are the same number of photons striking a unit area, and if the grain distribution is random, how do some grains get hit by photons and others not? I mean for film to behave in the way you describe, it has to be sentient. Besides, forget the lens - just worry about exposing the film to constant luminance.
    This is what I mean by reductio-ad-absurdum. Assuming grain is binary results in absurdities, film resolution only being one of them.
     
  119. Mark,
    You write: "You reading of the paper puzzles me am I right in that you are assuming that there is only 1 sensitivity point? In reality each grain has many hundreds of thousands of these specks, the silver is not black metallic until after development, I think you are slightly confused about the stucture of the individual graind before development.
    By 'sensitivity point', I mean that silver or gold sulfide which serves as an electron trap. That is, a photon strikes the crystal, liberates an electron from a halide ion, and this electron is trapped by this silver or gold sulfide electron trap. Eventually, a silver ion travels near this electron trap (the site of the gold or silver sulfide; only one such site exists per crystal), and then picks up that electron from the silver or gold sulfide, reducing it to silver metal.
    Mark, I appreciate the clarification. But you need to decouple:
    • Reduction of silver ions due to photon excitation
    • Reduction of silver ions due to a combination of developer and alread reduced silver atoms near the silver crystal surface
    Specifically, how many silver ions can be reduced to silver atom, per crystal, by simple photon excitation? 100? 1000? 1 million? Because this'll determine the overall dynamic range of each crystal in your argument. Your argument also assumes that the number of silver ions reduced to silver atoms at each crystal site determines the total number of silver ions reduced within the crystal upon addition of developer. But if all the silver ions reduced to silver atoms upon exposure, per crystal, cluster at one site within each crystal (where the silver/gold sulfide resides), then how can you correlate the rate of reaction (reduction) with the number of alread reduced silver atoms at this site? I need some chemical mechanism rationale here...
    Rishi
     
  120. "Oops. Now the developer invents the image does it? It can't develop unexposed grains. If it could, there would be no conceivable relationship between the optical image formed by a lens and what the "film" recorded."

    Um... yes it can. It doesn't happen because it's a function of reduction potential of the developer and/or time. Typically both are adjusted such that this does not happen. If you had a really strong reducer, sure, it'd reduce the silver atoms in the unexposed grains.
     
  121. "If the light is continuous, i.e., there are the same number of photons striking a unit area, and if the grain distribution is random, how do some grains get hit by photons and others not?"

    Because the lens is trying to focus photons on a given area. For argument's sake, let's reduce this 'area' to an absurdly small area. That is, the area that you are sampling to see if a photon hit is absurdly small. Since the lens can't perfectly focus photons onto any area smaller than 5 microns, do you think it'll always focus said photons to a tiny patch, say, 1nM in diameter? No, because it might focus a photon onto a 1nM in diameter area somewhere else within this 5 micron area.

    On top of that, this'll be a time dependent process. Over enough time, yes, probably all of the areas within this 5 micron area will be hit by a photon or two. But not within a finite time span.
     
  122. Rishi

    By 'sensitivity point', I mean that silver or gold sulfide which serves as an electron trap. That is, a photon strikes the
    crystal, liberates an electron from a halide ion, and this electron is trapped by this silver or gold sulfide electron trap.
    Eventually, a silver ion travels near this electron trap (the site of the gold or silver sulfide; only one such site exists per
    crystal), and then picks up that electron from the silver or gold sulfide, reducing it to silver metal.

    You speak as if there is only one 'sensitivity point' per grain there are many, just looking at a T grain you can see these
    points "called ears' round the edges each ear can have many sulpher/gold.

    Specifically, how many silver ions can be reduced to silver atom, per crystal, by simple photon excitation? 100? 1000? 1
    million?
    1 photon will give a structure of 3 atoms of black silver upon development.

    The silver atoms are converted to metallic silver by the developer, it magnifies the latent image.
    All this isn't MY theory it is from Kodak engineers, Mees and James etc It's reichmanns theory that flies in the face of
    established knowledge.

    I'll ask You a question.
    If film is binary, and tone is formed by 'dithering' how and what causes these wholly black grains to move together to
    form tone, after all they must do this upon exposure, the grains themselves would have to decide where to position
    themselves to form that tone.
    Reichman states that it is like an inkjet dither- well a Rip does that (a very complex piece of software) how do the grains
    know where to position themselves.
    But the binary argument is a binary one soon as you find one grain that is neither black or clear it is invalid, I'm still
    waiting for your explanation of how a binary system can have a third state of partially exposed.

    Before accepting Reichmans 'new theory' you need to prove how these states occur.
     
  123. Um... yes it can.
    Not in the sense of photographic development, it can't. If it could I could process a roll of unexposed film and get back perfect portraits of my children.
    As for your second point, I've repeatedly said, get rid of the lens, just point the camera sans lens at the sun and shoot. No femtometric focusing issues then, are there?
    Mark raises the same issue as I - "how do the grains know where to position themselves?" - if they did, film would be sentient - like I said before.
    Once again, don't confuse resolution with tonality. A grain can have many shades of gray, but it can't represent more than a unit of resolution information, a pixel, if you will.
    At the risk of repeating myself, please look at Mark's picture - the tablets are the grains, not the black clusters. Those tablets are supposedly why Kodak named their technology "T-grain".
     
  124. I'm not going to try quoting/responding to all the text written while I've been gone. I will merely add some
    comments based on what I've skimmed...

    * Rishi - thanks for replying and posting the Ansel Adams quotes. I'm a bit perplexed as to why Vijay and Mark
    ignored those. They are not arguing against Michael Reichmann, but against Ansel Adams. I'm dying to see a quote
    from someone as respected as Adams stating that he is wrong and silver comes in shades of gray.

    * Silver halide crystals vary in size, shape, and orientation within a single emulsion. That means they also vary
    greatly in sensitivity. In the diffused light, middle gray exposure thought experiment Vijay describes, not all
    of the crystals would be exposed sufficiently. The illumination of the frame may be uniform, but the crystals are
    not by any means uniform in their sensitivity to that light. (Sorry Rishi, but I have to disagree with your
    explanation. In Vijay's thought experiment, the exposure should be uniform. It's the crystals which are not uniform.)

    * Along those same lines, I seem to recall that the degree of exposure of a single crystal does influence how
    completely AgBr is converted to Ag and, therefore, the resulting density. That doesn't matter much in Vijay's
    thought experiment, but matters in normal scenarios.

    * There is no AgBr left after fixing. I'm not entirely sure Vijay realizes this given his comment about a grain
    having billions of "possible states" based on the number of atoms/molecules in the grain, and his comment that
    there are "partially exposed" grains.

    * Vijay - yes, developer will reduce unexposed grains to silver given excessive development time. This is taught
    in any basic photography class that deals with B&W materials. Why else do you think development time is so
    critical? Please note the following comment and source:

    "Prolonged development would, of course, increase overall density through the development of unexposed grains (fog)."
    http://www.cheresources.com/photochem.shtml

    If you let unexposed film sit in developer longer than the recommended development time it will continue to fog
    until, at some point, you have a black frame. (I don't know specifically how long it takes to reach that point as
    I've never tried it. I try to avoid fogging my B&W film.)

    * Grains do not "move together" to from tones. Dithered printing systems use software to precisely position the
    dots of ink because those dots are large relative to the medium as contrasted with, say, grains in film, or
    grains on B&W paper. By controlling the patterns more tones can be produced from those dots, and with fewer
    perceptible patterns or defects.

    * Again, there is no such thing as a "partially exposed" grain after fixing. There is only silver.

    * Again, Reichmann's theory is not new. It was Adam's theory.

    * Just thinking about the language of film should reveal the truth here. We measure and discuss the density of
    silver in film. We do not measure or discuss the "tone" of silver, as if silver came in a range of tones.

    No offense, but I think perhaps some people in this thread need to read The Negative and spend some time in a
    darkroom.
     
  125. One more point: take a frame of B&W film and put it under a microscope. Find a middle gray area and then crank up the magnification. Notice how middle gray becomes a bunch of black specks and clear base?

    That's the point Reichmann and Adams tried to make.
     
  126. One more point: take a frame of B&W film and put it under a microscope. Find a middle gray area and then crank up the
    magnification. Notice how middle gray becomes a bunch of black specks and clear base?

    That's the point Reichmann and Adams tried to make.
    Yes and crank it up further and those black specks have holes, holes that let varying amounts of light through!!

    Again, Reichmann's theory is not new. It was Adam's theory.
    No it isn't, Adams was not correct in his assertion that they are wholly black specks just looking at grain under a
    microscope will tell you that if a grain has hole it can transmit light.

    * Again, there is no such thing as a "partially exposed" grain after fixing. There is only silver
    Yes silver ATOMs that make up a filamentary structure, that passes light in varying amounts.

    No offense, but I think perhaps some people in this thread need to read The Negative and spend some time in a
    darkroom.
    Just WOW what does Adams book tell us? Nothing thats what, a better read would be this:
    http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?
    bi=1223828210&searchurl=an%3Dmees%2Band%2BJames%26sts%3Dt%26x%3D0%26y%3D0

    I'm still waiting for someone to tell me if grains are black(1) or not there (0) how a grain that is black silver and clear in
    the centre can exist?

    Reichman cannot be right, his silly post is contradicted by science.
     
  127. Yes and crank it up further and those black specks have holes, holes that let varying amounts of light through!!
    Light passing through a hole invisible to an average optical microscope will not have any discernible effect on tone in that region of the photograph. Gray tones on film are not created by such holes, but by larger mixes of silver specks and clear base. Even if these holes you think you see in 50,000x images contributed, it's still binary dithering. Finding some filament of silver that loops back on itself with a "hole" in the center does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that individual grains can take on any one of millions of tones the way a pixel can.
    No it isn't, Adams was not correct in his assertion that they are wholly black specks just looking at grain under a microscope will tell you that if a grain has hole it can transmit light.
    At a much lower magnification gray is gone, and only black specks and clear base are visible, which clearly illustrates that the "holes" you refer to are insignificant and not the basis of gray tones. And between your opinion and Adams, I'll take Adams'.
    Yes silver ATOMs that make up a filamentary structure, that passes light in varying amounts.
    There's nothing special about the structure. The overall density of silver determines how much light passes. Silver does not come in a multitude of tones like pixels do. That's Reichmann's point!
    I'm still waiting for someone to tell me if grains are black(1) or not there (0) how a grain that is black silver and clear in the centre can exist?
    Black silver...clear base...sounds like a binary grain to me.
     
  128. DLT
    Again, there is no such thing as a "partially exposed" grain after fixing. There is only silver.

    Just to educate you:

    The grains are filamentary, the more filaments are formed as more light hits the grains. Grains are photon counters, less
    photons and the lattice structure is less dense, more photons mean the lattice becomes potentially denser right up to the
    whole grain.
    Developer and more importantly choice of developer is crucial if a grain has had a few photons hit it and we develop for
    longer those lattices withe say 50% silver develop to completion, this is know as 'over development'.
    In other words it is possible to develop the grains to a point where indeed all (most) of the grains are black the resulting
    picture would be tonally reduced (compressed).
    That is proof that grain is not binary as if it is filamentary it can pass light, If it is binary it can only be black.

    We know that if we look at grains under an electron microscope, they are not the black specks they seem to be at lower magnifications.

    I posted a picture of a grain with a hole in the centre if grains can be only be black (1) or not there (0) how do explain a
    third state? Let alone the filamentary nature which blows the doors of Reichmans theory.

    DLT
    Grains do not "move together" to from tones.
    No they don't-that is my point, but in order for Reichmans theory to work they need to.
    here's what he says:

    What this means is that it takes a clump of between 30-40 grains of film to represent a full tonal range, (similar in
    concept to the dithering done by inkjet printers to produce continious tones)

    So its similar? in what way?

    How do those black dots combine to form tone? what is this 'dithering' and if the grain can only be black (which we know
    isn't true as we can see more than 1 state in the ACTUAL grains)


    Finally it is laughable that people 'evoke the Ansel Adams' card as if everything he suggests in the negative is "the word'
    There are much better sources of info-Kodak 'H' datasheets. Mees and James etc are a much better bet than the
    simplistic 'gloss over' way it is put forward in the negative.
     
  129. Black silver...clear base...sounds like a binary grain to me.
    Now you're being obtuse Daniel those grains with hole let light though just as well as the black will attenuate light.

    Lets look at Reichmans argument:

    "Grain particles are binary. An individual film grain can only be either black or not-black, on or off, exposed or not
    exposed"

    Bearing that argument in mind where does a grain that is both black and clear or filamentary fit in?

    Of course the silver is black, but that is at ATOMIC level Reichman asserts that the WHOLE grains can only have 2
    states Black (1) or Clear (0) a grain that has both states SIMULTANEOUSLY or lets a varying amount of light though
    doesn't fit that rigid dichotomy.
     
  130. Here's all I know. I've learned a lot by reading and weighing Ken Rockwell's opinions. I use digital. I use film. I have fun with both. I know little and care less about what goes on at the atomic level.
     
  131. DLT
    There's nothing special about the structure. The overall density of silver determines how much light passes. Silver does
    not come in a multitude of tones like pixels do. That's Reichmann's point!
    DLT

    "The overall density of silver determines how much light passes"
    Finally-
    You got it!!!!

    Now can you see how the density of silver varies? If that is true then grains cannot be solid black and light will pass
    though.
    Reichmans point is not that they can pass light, in fact he states they are solid black.

    DLT
    At a much lower magnification gray is gone, and only black specks and clear base are visible, which clearly illustrates
    that the "holes" you refer to are insignificant and not the basis of gray tones

    No quite the reverse, it underlines the importance of remembering that when you look at those distant specks you are
    looking at a single layer, there are many underneath possibly another 10-12 all acting as tiny variable light attenuators to
    give the appearance of tone.

    BTW this isn't me vs Adams as you laughingly put it, it is your misunderstanding of a simple language that he uses to
    describe a complex process.
    My understanding of how film works come from my studies of the book "Theory of the Photographic Process" by Mees
    and James- ISBN 9781124086248.
    Which states clearly that tones are formed in the manner that I suggest, by filamentary structures that pass varying
    amounts of light.
    Indeed my blog post was written with the help of Kodak engineers, who I'll take over Reichmann any day as experts in
    the opto-mechanical nature of grain.
    Mark
     
  132. In the referenced article, Ken discovers what tens of thousands of us have been doing for ages. In the Trip 35 article, Ken
    discovers the awesome technology of selenium meters.

    What will he discover next? Stay tuned...
     
  133. Daniel: "There's nothing special about the structure. The overall density of silver determines how much light passes. Silver does not come in a multitude of tones like pixels do. That's Reichmann's point!"

    True, but then you are not looking at a grain - you are looking at a sub-granular structure. Comparing this sub-granular structure to a pixel is like comparing a bit in a pixel to the pixel itself - that bit can only be binary (0 or 1). Resolution for digital depends on the pixels, not sub-pixel structures. Similarly resolution for film depends on the grains, not sub-granular structures.

    This is a subtle point that both Adams and Reichmann miss. Adams missed it probably because he was looking at black specs under a microscope, not at electron microscope images. Reichmann misses it because he hasn't done his homework.
     
  134. Several thoughts come to mind here.

    1. Film is analog. A whole grain does not need to develop and is seen clearly in the electron micrographs above. Sometimes they do, but most of the time only a small percentage of the grain will develop. Digital images are binary and if you look at them under high magnification you will clearly see the "jaggies" on edges created by the binary image. You cannot see this in film, it isn't there!

    2. Film density can go up as high as 5.0 or even higher. I've seen it. But, the common shoulder that we see in negative and postitive images is there due to the fact that film has good enough latitude at that level and does not consume an inordinate amount of silver.

    3. No one has mentioned aliasing in digital imaging which is a common cause of severe artifacts in all digital images. Only stacked sensors can solve this. And, the average pixel of any one color is larger than the grains in most films.

    4. The dynamic range of negative films is superior to positive films and digital. Digital is enhanced electronically in the camera to introduce corrections that improve the image.

    5. Ektar 100 is not at all like Vision film except to use colored couplers, DIR couplers and 2 electron sensitization. This is a generic requirement of any good color negative film. Kodak makes B&W with an ISO of 400, but no one would argue that because of that, an Ilford or Fuji film uses the same formula or is the same film.

    6. What a pain this thread is! I use both digital and analog and make prints from both. The best results I get are analog negatives or slides, scanned at high resolution and then printed. The key is to use high end equipment. You can get good results from low end analog cameras though!

    7. As film becomes rarer and the price of chemicals keeps going up, film will become more expensive.

    8. On average, the manufacture and disposal of digital equipment is less environmentally friendly than the equivalent analog materials. And, the analog originals are much more stable.

    Ron Mowrey
     
  135. Wow - I can't believe this discussion has gotten to the atomic level......... ;-)

    After all is said and done, the only true measure is the final result - the image/print on the wall or in the book or on the screen. The arguments pro and con for both sides will undoubtedly continue to go on with really no winners or losers, only opinions.

    So lets just go and take some pictures..........

    And while some find Ken's writing a bit off-center, for many users, his easy-to-read opinions and guides are actually quite helpful. You've just got to be able to figure out how to remove the tongue from the cheek.

    --Rich
     
  136. Philip: see the real proof (print) of superiority of FF Digital (Nikon) over 35 mm (Nikon) Film in Video (in exactly the same environment) by a British TV... I was skeptical of digital before (being a traditionalist), but this video/print proof left no question at least for me how advanced digital has become in equivalent of 35mm film. Medium format is a different story. open the link: http://fwd.five.tv/videos/challenge-blow-up-part-3
     
  137. A few comments after skimming this discussion.

    First and foremost in photography, if you do not wish to boggle your mind, do not read Ken Rockwell's writings.

    Second, read and UNDERSTAND Ansel Adams. Trust me, he really helps you out with the basics.

    Third, learn to use a camera (regardless if you shoot film or digital) fully manual, without a meter. That way, you can take a photograph anytime.

    Fourth, buy the best lenses that you can afford (I for reasons of quality, use only fixed focal lengths), which may mean buying an older camera (I use the Canon FD and Mamiya RB67 systems).

    Fifth, to nail down correct exposures in-camera, I recommend shooting slide film (especially that temperamental child, Kodachrome 64) metered and unmetered in an SLR (if you shoot digital, you can buy a cheap film SLR for a few dollars and shoot some rolls of slide film until you have unmetered exposure down). Make sure to understand that sometimes the meter lies to you, and in what situations that happens.

    Sixth, invest in processing/post-processing with a traditional or digital darkroom (i.e. enlarger or Photoshop, etc.).

    Seventh, look back at all you have done and realize the style of shooting that you enjoyed, as well as the style of processing/post-processing that you enjoyed. Make any revisions that might make you happier. Ask questions to other photogs. Never be afraid or opposed to trying new things (pick up a Polaroid pack film camera or a Holga, even if you shoot only digital, etc.). Remember that you are always learning new things, and treat all photogs respectfully.

    You are now part of a family. Some of us do not get along well, but when we do, it is an awesome feeling.
     
  138. Mark, You need to correct your blog. The image you lifted is not of developed film, and the magnification is 25,000, not 50,000.
    00RSS7-87513684.jpg
     
  139. Mark, This image from the same PDF yours came from illustrates Adams' / Reichmann's point nicely. A has gray tones, B has "noisy" gray tones (discrete particles aren't clear, but are perceptible), and C and D show no gray, only black and clear. (Note: out of focus grains do not count as "gray" since that is an artifact of the microscope's narrow DoF.) E is interesting, but the "holes" between grains, at this level, contribute nothing to tone, otherwise we would see plenty of tonality in C and D.
    00RSSV-87517584.jpg
     
  140. Roland,
    3. And, the average pixel of any one color is larger than the grains in most films.
    This is exactly the myth that Reichmann was trying to address. You cannot compare a single grain and a pixel. A pixel can be any one of millions of colors. A grain is exactly one tone, and you need an area of film where many grains can exist to produce tone. The tone produced depends on how many grains are, in fact, on that spot. Same thing with color, only there it's dyes in three (or more) layers.
     
  141. Vijay,
    Resolution for digital depends on the pixels, not sub-pixel structures. Similarly resolution for film depends on the grains, not sub-granular structures.
    Notice that all tone is gone by C and D in the above posted image. Electron microscopes are for studying structures too small to be studied using visible light because visible light is literally too "large" in wavelength to resolve the detail. Is it not absurd to suggest that structures which are invisible under the visible wavelengths of light have an impact on our perception at 25,000x lower magnification?
    This is a subtle point that both Adams and Reichmann miss. Adams missed it probably because he was looking at black specs under a microscope, not at electron microscope images. Reichmann misses it because he hasn't done his homework.
    No, you and Mark think that structures only detectable using electron microscopes play a part in B&W film tonality because neither of you have done your homework. Take a piece of B&W film and place it under a microscope. By 60x tone is pretty much gone, by 400x there's no question it's gone, made up only of black particles and clear base. If tone were formed at the level you guys suggest, if individual grains varied in tone, then at 400x you would still see plenty of tonality. For that matter, even 35mm film would show no grain when printed to extreme enlargement if that were the case. Heck, if that were the case, if meaningful image detail and tone formed at the levels you guys are suggesting, not only would the laws of physics be repealed, but we wouldn't need any film format larger than 110!
     
  142. Daniel Thanks

    the guy at Kodak told me it was 50K I'll correct.
    But I must correct you it IS developed film, read the caption underneath.
    Showing development centres and the etching out of silver bromide to provide material for the DEVELOPED SILVER.

    The image below clearly supports my case that grains are filamentary and the clumping is NOT physical but caused by
    overlap.
    If those images are correct (which they are as they come from Tim Vitales paper who in turn uses info from Mees and
    James as a reference) then grain is not a "solid black speck" but filamentary and those filaments let light though and
    overlap with other grains to form tones-just as my blog states.

    Like I said if grain is filamentary it cant be binary.
    Mark
     
  143. BTW Daniel in you last posted image N.B

    The make-up of individual grains takes DIFFERENT forms!!
    how do you rationalize that position with:
    An individual film grain can only be either black or not-black, on or off.

    If it is capable of taking on different forms, registering different densities (by more tightly pack filamentary structure
    attenuate more light) then the grain itself cannot be on or off.

    Like the real expert in this (Ron Mowery) thread stated film is analogue.
     
  144. Mark,

    I have the PDF the image comes from. It's next to 3 other images of undeveloped film. That's the section of the
    paper this image comes from.

    If tone were captured/created at 25,000x magnification then there would be tone at 60x and 400x. There clearly is
    not, proving the points made by Reichmann and Adams.

    BTW, just because grain forms in filaments and clumps doesn't mean it's not binary. It's still either there
    (black) or not.
     
  145. Mark,
    If it is capable of taking on different forms, registering different densities (by more tightly pack filamentary structure attenuate more light) then the grain itself cannot be on or off.
    Varying density is how you achieve tone when you only have one ink or color or, in this case, material which is silver. The fact that you are talking about density proves the point of your opponents. It's funny to see you discuss the relationship between density and tonality then insist that film grain is not "binary" in nature (there or not). If film grain were not "binary" in nature then we wouldn't measure density. The final developed film would have a uniform density of silver across the entire frame, and we would measure the tone of silver at a particular spot. It doesn't work that way because silver comes in one tone only.
    Silver does not come in your choice of any one of millions of tones. Pixels do. You get tones with silver by varying the amount of silver at a given point. You get tones with pixels by reading out their analog signal and assigning a number to it.
     
  146. Daniel

    I'm not suggesting that silver comes in different tones in fact I know the silver is black. What I'm suggesting that the
    grains are photon counters and the more photos that hit the grains the more dense the filamentary structures become.
    Reichman is suggesting that the grains THEMSELVES are solid black, which is untrue they can have many states.


    When these structures are layered they give the appearance of tone, this is why grey only becomes visible when many
    filamentary grains overlap.
    If silver was just a black speck, on or off then tonality and the appearance of grey would be dependent on the spacing of
    the grain.
    I'd be happy if you could tell me how those on/off solid specks mange to arrange themselves.

    No I understand grain is made up of black atoms, but filaments with gaps allow us to see grey tones.
     
  147. What are we doing here? Shooting pictures or ATOM BOMBS?!
     
  148. BTW, just because grain forms in filaments and clumps doesn't mean it's not binary. It's still either there (black) or not.

    I disagree, if grain is solid a black speck it can't pass light it would be binary, if you can pass light through the filamentary
    structure then it isn't black, as it has a transmissive quality and the density and the amount of light it passes varies
    depending on how many photons have struck the grain, how much development that grain receives in order to create the
    structure.
    Basically if different grains transmit varying amounts of light then they are analogue in nature. I they are SOLID black they
    would be binary
     
  149. Daniel:
    • I buy your argument that crystals vary in sensitivity to incident photons simply based on their structure, orientation, etc., and that this is why even uniform light will not expose all grains given the appropriate exposure time. Overexpose, and of course the chances that photons will productively hit all your crystals, regardless of sensitivity, goes up. Thanks for pointing that out.
    • You write: "Silver does not come in your choice of any one of millions of tones. Pixels do. You get tones with silver by varying the amount of silver at a given point." This line of argument is not going to get you anywhere with Mark, because Mark will simply reiterate that you are confusing 'silver grains' with 'silver atoms'. That is, let me reword your first sentence here in two ways:
      1. Silver atoms do not come in your choice of any of one of millions of tones. Mark agrees.
      2. Silver grains do not come in your choice of any of one of millions of tones. Mark disagrees.
      So what I'm saying is this line of argument does not help you prove your point. Though your previous evidence you've been posting is bringing us closer to the answer, so thanks for that.
    Mark:
    While I do wish for you to continue arguing your point, please try & present some new evidence for your argument, because at this point you are just wasting time repeating yourself ad nauseam. And I don't mean that in an offensive way; I'd just really like to see you present some new evidence that supports your case :)
    In the meantime, I'm going to play devil's advocate to both camps, since I still can't decide who's right.
    My next post is aimed at Mark.
    Rishi
     
  150. Daniel, Mark;

    First off, silver is not black. Spectrophotometric curves easily show that it comes in a variety of "colors" from reddish
    to blue black. This is, of course demonstrable by preparing colloids of silver in varying colors.

    Now, the electron micrograph above is developed silver! That is fact, and many other electron micrographs exist to
    show the same thing as the ones above show. Silver is analog. An easy way to demonstrate this is to draw a line
    on paper with a pencil very lightly. Repeat doing it harder to get a denser line. This appears to be digital, but the
    density gradient is analog. Magnification of this graphite deposit shows that it is made up of tiny dots of abraded
    graphite on the paper. The combination of the visual impact is either digital or analog depending on the way you view
    it or maybe we should say the magnification.

    An even better example is the resistor. We would all agree that a resistor is an analog device but at the atomic level
    it may appear to be digital if we consider individual electrons. A variable resistor produces an analog signal that can
    be measured by a voltmeter, but an electron count can show its digital nature. This is Einsteinan physics (macro) vs
    Quantum physics (atomic) scale in a way. That might be a rough analogy.

    Now an electronic D/A converter does not produce a smooth gradient, it produces a jagged gradient, but film
    produces a smooth gradient. An A/D converter changes film images into a smoother gradient than a D/D image is
    possible of producing.

    So, silver deposits in film can be shown to be having a smooth gradient with all possible tones from Dmin to Dmax,
    but a digital image cannot be.

    I'm adding #9 to my post above.

    9. All of the above will be ignored or dismissed or not really even read. The proof of this is that some of you cannot
    even spell my name when you try to criticize my post.

    Having analyzed both silver and digital output, in both image and electronic forms for many years, I find this thread
    continues to be packed with misstatements and myth.

    Now, on to the color aspect and the side by side nature of the pixels.

    In digital, a sensor is of a given receptivity to color - R/G/B etc. Many schemes exist to form proper digital images.
    In film, the color receptors - grains, are stacked and in most cases are transparent to wavelengths of light to which
    they are not sensitive. Therefore a red light in a digital scene striking a green sensor does not cause exposure, but
    with film it causes exposure in the layer underneath at the correct spot. The one causes aliasing and the other does
    not. In digital imaging, aliasing is what causes moire patterns to appear in motion picture or in stills with fine lines.

    Now if you think this is not a problem, many small objects represented on a sensor of any type can be on the order
    of 1 micron. This is far smaller than most pixels in digital sensors, but can impact and cause imaging on silver
    halide crystals. I have done the epxeriments to show this as many have in the industry. This tiny colored image can
    vanish totally or create discontinuities in the image. A colored thread seems to appear and disappear as it passes
    over a row of pixels whereas in film, it does not. This is another example of aliasing.

    Now, I know you will ignore this or try to refute it somehow. All I can do is present the facts. Remember that on the
    atomic scale you can prove that anything is digital. But, this does not mean that it is true. Sorry, but unless you
    go into the lab and do some measurements yourself, your arguments are baseless.

    BTW, it took years for them to go from the high contrast (on/off) digital nature of the early electronic sensors to those
    of today. Early Xerox images were essentially totally digital, whereas today they represent the whole gamut of V/Log
    E (Voltage vs Log Exposure) in a curve, but only as 8, 16, 32 or whatever... steps.

    Ron Mowrey
     
  151. Mark, you write:

    Grains are photon counters, less photons and the lattice structure is less dense, more photons mean the lattice becomes potentially denser right up to the whole grain.

    If that were the case, then when I take a new roll of film, and roll out the film, place it under a light for 10 minutes, shouldn't the entire thing turn black? Instead (I just tried it), it turns darker, but not that much darker. Just a tiny shade darker than the unexposed film next to it which I can see by rolling out the film a little more after holding it under a light for 10 minutes.

    Now, you keep asking how, in that infamous image you first posted, is the outer rim of that triangle black, but not the inner core (which remains clear)? Here's one hypothesis: That's an entirely (mostly) exposed grain *prior* to development; the rest of the grain (inside) doesn't turn black because the outer rim is already metallic silver, so any more photons hitting it don't penetrate into the crystal to knock any more electrons off halides buried within the crystal, because the metallic silver (already reduced from exposure) around the edges of the grain are essentially blocking the light. Precisely why it becomes harder and harder to expose film the more you expose it, giving it that wonderful logarithmic response that keeps film from 'blowing out'. Now, when you develop this grain, it'll turn completely black.

    Basically, what I'm saying is, with that hypothesis, the picture doesn't preferentially support *you* OR *Reichmann*. Either of you still could be correct; that picture, to me, proves neither one of you absolutely correct.

    I think what we need to talk about is the chemistry of what happens.

    Mark, despite touting your theory vehemently, you haven't address my fundamental questions regarding the kinetics of the chemistry that goes on in development. I quoted a Chem. Rev. paper that says: "In this way an invisible speck of a few silver atoms adheres to the surface of the silver halide crystal. This speck, composed of more than three atoms of silver, is a latent image site and serves as a conductor through which electrons are transferred from the developing agent to the entire silver halide crystal."

    Let's say I buy your argument Mark. Then are you saying that the number of such specks of a few silver atoms (adhered to a sensitivity center) around the surface of the grain, in the end, determines the rate of the development reaction, and thus, the amount of silver atoms reduced within an individual grain? If so, what is the maximum number of tones representable by such a grain? Well, it'd depend upon the total number of sensitivity centers holding reduced silver atoms, wouldn't it? That is:

    Let's say only 1 sensitivity center gets 3-4 silver atoms clustered around it. Arbitrarily, I'll say that that means, upon development, only 1/100 of the grain is reduced to black metallic silver.

    Now let's say 2 sensitivity centers gets 3-4 silver atoms clustered around it. When developed, let's say 1/50 of the grain is reduced to black metallic silver.

    Now let's say 10 sensitivity centers gets 3-4 silver atoms clustered around it. When developed, let's say 1/10 of the grain is reduced to black metallic silver.

    Do you see what I'm getting at here? Basically, the final 'blackness' of the grain must be determined by the number of sites on a given crystal that have at least 3-4 silver atoms (reduced from photon exposure). And how many such sites are possible per grain will determine the number of tones possibly represented by a grain, according to your theory.

    And I seriously doubt there are that many such possible sites on a grain, thereby reducing the number of tones possibly represented by your grain. I would argue that the number of tones representable by the clustering of fully developed (100% black) grains, within a layer, and across layers, would give you many more tones than the number of tones possible according to your theory.

    Because, remember, your theory hinges upon the RATE OF THE CHEMICAL REACTION during development being controlled, very finely, by the number of initial sites & extent of reduced silver atoms. And I'm just not sure how fine tuned this chemical reaction is such that you can generate thousands of tones (thousands of different levels of *amount of reduced silver* within a grain) just by controlling the rate of the reduction reaction based on your initial conditions of how many reduced silver atoms exist per grain. Chemical reactions proceed extremely fast at the atomic level!

    Rishi
     
  152. Rishi
    Silver atoms do not come in your choice of any of one of millions of tones. Mark agrees.
    Silver grains do not come in your choice of any of one of millions of tones. Mark disagrees.


    I agree period and have consistently stated that silver ATOMs are black, where I disagree is that I believe that those
    atoms form structures that pass light.
    If they pass light in varying degrees they cannot be binary.

    Rishi
    Mark:
    While I do wish for you to continue arguing your point, please try & present some new evidence for your argument,
    because at this point you are just wasting time repeating yourself ad nauseam. And I don't mean that in an offensive
    way; I'd just really like to see you present some new evidence that supports your case :)

    Why do I need to present a 'new argument'?

    Here is how film works.

    Pairs of silver bromide ions are held together by an electrical charge. The silver ions are positively charged because they
    lack one electron.
    The bromide atoms are negatively charged because they have an extra electron.
    Specks of silver sulphide, and some free ions complete the crystal structure.

    When a photon of light strikes the crystal, it gives extra energy to the electron of the bromide ion allowing it to 'roam'
    though the crystal, it then attracts and bonds to a positively charged free silver ion.

    Specks of impurity (normally silver sulphide) attract this new bonding these are known as 'sensitivity specs'

    As more photons hit the crystal more electrons are released, these and more silver ions migrate to the many sensitivity
    specks.
    This combination of ions creates silver metal which at this point is invisible (latent) so we need a developer to reduce the
    latent silver to black silver.
    The lattice structure created has a density directly proportional to the amount of photons that strike the grain, the denser
    the filamentary structure the more photons have hit the grain.

    These developed silver grains are like a wire wool pad light can pass through them, and it is the effect of many of these structures piled on top of each other that give the illusion of 'graininess' and tone which are optical effects.

    I think I have proved my point, and have spent many months researching, I don't know why it so hard to accept the
    above for some and they still cling to the belief that grain is either totally black or clear when the structures clearly
    transmit light in proportion to their exposure/development
     
  153. Wow...I can't belive all of the posts on this forum! 151..mine will make 152
     
  154. "People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along?"....Rodney King, May 1, 1992.
     
  155. Vijay & Mark,
    You know what the biggest problem with your argument is?
    Here:
    This article says: "There are 10 billion crystals in a frame of ordinary film--the equivalent of 20 million digital pixels."
    I actually disagree and say it's more the equivalent of 10-12 million digital pixels. But I digress.
    If there are 10 billion silver grains/crystals per 35mm frame, and if each one of those grains can represent thousands of tones, then each one of those grains would be the equivalent of a pixel. Each one of those grains could represent an image element. Which would then give you a 10 billion pixel image. But that's just ridiculous. C'mon. From many (fine, subjective) tests, we've seen that a 35mm frame of film really doesn't hold any more than 10-12 MP worth of information.
    So let's start an intelligent argument here. Let's say that a frame of 10 billion grains gives you a 10 million pixel image. So, 10 billion/10 million = 100 grains that collectively make up an 'imaging element', or analog equivalent of a 'pixel', in film. Now, since there are 100 grains which can all either be black or clear (on or off), one could argue that there are a 2^100 tones that can be generated. I doubt that's true, since if exposure is such that 50 of those grains are black, while 50 are clear, I doubt it really matters WHICH 50 are black... from a distance (low magnification), it'll just look gray (50% black). So, let's say, in the worst case scenario, 100 tones can be represented by this cluster of 100 grains.
    Before I proceed any further, is that reasonable? How many different tones do you think can be generated by a cluster of 100 grains?
    Rishi
     
  156. Ron:

    "Now an electronic D/A converter does not produce a smooth gradient, it produces a jagged gradient, but film produces a smooth gradient. An A/D converter changes film images into a smoother gradient than a D/D image is possible of producing."

    Huh? An A/D converter changes film into a smoother gradient than a D/D image is capable of producing because film itself has a smooth gradient? So you're arguing that the 'real world', or 'nature', that the digital camera is shooting is not as smooth as film??

    The only manner in which your argument makes sense is if you're saying that interpolation from the Bayer pattern results in less smooth gradients (D/D), whereas the A/D conversion process on a scanner does not need a Bayer pattern, so therefore can give you smoother results. Which I agree with.

    Is that what you meant?

    Rishi
     
  157. I'm loving this debate! I keep changing sides depending on whose answer I have just read. But I can't get past one inescapable truth as posted by Daniel: That at VISIBLE light levels and magnifications, a location on a negative is one of two states - either black or clear. There are no grey tones visible. Until someone explains how this inescapable FACT can be reconciled with the assertion that that a negative's tones are made up of tiny different toned areas, I'm going to have to believe what my eyes are telling me is true.
     
  158. Rishi

    If that were the case, then when I take a new roll of film, and roll out the film, place it under a light for 10 minutes,
    shouldn't the entire thing turn black? Instead (I just tried it), it turns darker, but not that much darker. Just a tiny shade
    darker than the unexposed film next to it which I can see by rolling out the film a little more after holding it under a light
    for 10 minutes.

    Eh? you do realise what latent means? and the fact it is changing at all shows you a reaction has taken place, as I
    stated in my previous posts you need a developer to magnify the action.

    Now, you keep asking how, in that infamous image you first posted, is the outer rim of that triangle black, but not the
    inner core (which remains clear)? Here's one hypothesis: That's an entirely (mostly) exposed grain *prior* to
    development; the rest of the grain (inside) doesn't turn black because the outer rim is already metallic silver, so any
    more photons hitting it don't penetrate into the crystal to knock any more electrons off halides buried within the crystal,
    because the metallic silver (already reduced from exposure) around the edges of the grain are essentially blocking the
    light

    That image is of developed silver as Ron points out above. So if grain is binary how can it be black and clear at the
    same time?

    And I seriously doubt there are that many such possible sites on a grain, thereby reducing the number of tones possibly
    represented by your grain. I would argue that the number of tones representable by the clustering of fully developed
    (100% black) grains, within a layer, and across layers, would give you many more tones than the number of tones
    possible according to your theory.

    Why do you doubt? Mees and James suggest there are many hundreds of thousands of sensitivity specks in each grain
    what makes you think there are only a few?

    Because, remember, your theory hinges upon the RATE OF THE CHEMICAL REACTION during development being
    controlled, very finely, by the number of initial sites & extent of reduced silver atoms.

    Yes and development is crucial, time temperature agitation all play their part if grains were only 1 state than only one
    development time would be needed as the grains would just develop to completion.

    In photography that stae exists with line (lith) negs, extreme contrast is possible because very high p.H > 11 developers
    with high activity are used normally a formaldehyde-hydroquinone based developer is used which gains maxiumum
    density very rapidly (often called infectious development) and a gamma of 10 is not unusaual, that is the closest film
    gets to being binary as the whole point is to rapidly turn any exposed silver to metal.

    Normal development is a slower affair with low energy low p.H <9 often using sodium metaborate (D76) this gives us
    very fine control over tonal values, as can dilution with developers like Rodinal which give lower gamma and more tones
    as the filamentary structures develop slowly and are more defined.

    But honestly I can tell you are sceptical so [shrug] i'm going to bed, you should read Rons post above he is one of the
    leading experts in the field and has 15 or so patents to his name, if he says film is analogue- you can take it as read.
     
  159. Mark:

    "As more photons hit the crystal more electrons are released, these and more silver ions migrate to the many sensitivity specks. This combination of ions creates silver metal which at this point is invisible (latent) so we need a developer to reduce the latent silver to black silver."

    OK, I think we've uncovered a serious misunderstanding here.

    'silver metal which at this point is invisible... we need a developer to reduce the latent silver to black silver.'

    What? Uncharged Ag (0) is metallic silver. Which is black. It's not reduced any further to anything. Metallic silver is metallic silver. There is no 'latent silver' vs 'black silver'. What are you talking about??

    The speck of metallic silver (charged 0) serves as an initiator site (catalyst) because it is CONDUCTIVE, which means it allows the developer molecule to channel electrons through this site to the silver IONS (charged +1) within the crystal that have not yet been reduced. This is a radical process that involves one electron abstractions/donations.

    Please tell me you understand that.

    And as for the posts about us 'getting along', we ARE getting along. This is a HEALTHY DEBATE, something that occurs all the time in science. It's necessary to arrive at an accepted conclusion. We don't hate or disrespect one another; we're just trying to collectively work this out. Please participate! For the sake of knowledge... this is very interesting & I really want to unequivocally come to a conclusion.

    Rishi
     
  160. Rishi
    What? Uncharged Ag (0) is metallic silver. Which is black. It's not reduced any further to anything. Metallic silver is
    metallic silver. There is no 'latent silver' vs 'black silver'. What are you talking about??
    Well this is simple:
    here is a quote from Michael Freemans 'Film technology'
    The combination of silver ions creates silver metal, this is invisible and needs the action of a developer to make it
    visible.

    You cannot see a latent image it needs to be 'magnified' by the developer.
    Possibly I should have stated convert to rather than reduce.
     
  161. Mark or Ron:

    Please explain to me why a 35mm frame of film doesn't give me a 10 gigapixel image, if each silver grain is capable of displaying the entire dynamic range of film.

    And for the sake of science, I'm posting this review on the chemistry of color photography... if you're interested, please read it & see if you can come to a conclusion. I'm still chugging thru it.

    http://staff.washington.edu/rjsanyal/Photography/Chemistry&Process_of_Color_Photography.pdf

    Rishi
     
  162. Silver metal is invisible?? So then why on earth do I see my film darken when I take out a new roll and pull some film out and expose it?

    It's because SOME of the silver ions get reduced to silver metal (uncharged) for some of the grains, and this is BLACK, with or without developer, it's BLACK, not INVISIBLE.

    Which is why I see it.

    Are you still trying to argue that there such a thing as a 'latent Ag (0)' vs a 'black Ag (0)' atom? They're one and the same thing.
     
  163. I think trying to equate grain to pixels is wrong they are different technologies. Pixels are fixed in a grid zoom in you can
    see this.
    Film grains are stacked in 3 dimensions many layers deep and are random in size and dispersion, I don't think there are
    any sensors out there that fit that description

    In the end only those who wish to 'prove' how many pixels it take to out resolve 35mm will worry I'd guess we are close
    but the two techs take a different approach to the same end, film will be percieved to have more grain and some will
    object.
    I like it! graininess is a product of the eye, my eyes like it.
    going to bed....
     
  164. It's because SOME of the silver ions get reduced to silver metal (uncharged) for some of the grains, and this is BLACK,
    with or without developer, it's BLACK, not INVISIBLE.
    You misunderstand silver halide is not black.

    Here again is some info from Mees.
    With the help of the developer, a single crystal of silver halide is CONVERTED to black metallic silver.

    All the texts I have agree why not do some research?
    try this because I have to go to bed, and I've got to drive a long way tomorrow.
    http://aic.stanford.edu/sg/emg/library/pdf/vitale/2007-04-vitale-filmgrain_resolution.pdf
     
  165. Please explain to me why a 35mm frame of film doesn't give me a 10 gigapixel image, if each silver grain is capable of displaying the entire dynamic range of film.
    Why do you keep confusing tonal range with resolution?
    In the digital world, I could have a phototransistor with area 1 inch by 1 inch that produces a current proportional to the light impinging upon it; I could use a 256 bit analog to digital converter to get a 256 bit representation of this current - with that I could represent 2^256 tones (or values of current, or values of light impinging on the phototransistor), yet I can't resolve any detail finer than an inch.
    If I made an 8"x10" digital sensor with 80 of these phototransistors, I could at best get an 80 pixel image, but the range of tones would be nearly continuous (2^256 = 1.1579 x 10^77).
    Please, please try to make this distinction clearly.
     
  166. "You misunderstand silver halide is not black."

    Mark, tell me you don't purposefully misinterpret what I write... I never said silver halide is black. I said the silver metal atom, which became charged 0 AFTER accepting an electron from a halide (or from the gold sulfide which was holding the electron that was donated by a halide), becomes black.

    So I ask you again: are you saying that a 'latent silver atom charged zero after accepting an electron from a halide and/or gold sulfide' is any different than a 'black metallic silver atom'? Because they are one and the same thing.

    And FYI your quote from Mees: "With the help of the developer, a single crystal of silver halide is CONVERTED to black metallic silver." argues against you. Read it again... it says 'a single crystal... is converted to black metallic silver'. It doesn't say 'a single crystal... has a proportion of its silver ions converted to silver metal, proportional to the amount of metallic silver atoms that were there to begin with at the sensitivity sites'.

    OK reading your linked article. Agree you should probably stay away from this forum for now if you have a long drive tomorrow :)

    Rishi
     
  167. Please consider this scenario:
    Lets say that I take exactly four grains of silver halide - and these are R-grains (for Reichmann grains - that are binary; i.e., they can be either completely opaque or completely transparent after processing). That is, either they will convert to silver, or remain halide which will be cleared away.
    Lets say I need one unit of light energy to "tickle" one grain such that it will eventually turn black. Let us assume I expose these four grains with three units of light energy.
    This must imply that three grains will eventually turn black, and one of them will not.
    Remember, the four grains are isolated in space by the gelatin emulsion, and luminance is continuous, meaning that 3/4 of the light energy falls on each grain. Each grain is identical to each other, meaning that its "propensity" to turn black or remain clear is the same as all the other three grains (inviolate symmetry laws).
    What mechanism would apply that would make one of these R-grains remain clear and three turn black? Did the grain that remained clear realize that the three others have "decided" to turn black? Could the grain "measure" the total light energy impinging on all four grains and figure out that this is only 3/4th the energy required for all four grains to turn black? How would it know what to do?
    If it knew what to do, film would be sentient. If it didn't know what to do, what could be the possible explanation for the four grains creating the five possible tones - or for film creating greyscale images?
    Rishi, Daniel, please try to answer these questions - before quoting the rather arcane literature.
     
  168. Why do you keep confusing tonal range with resolution?
    I may be out of my league here, but I will give it a shot anyway. If the situation is a Michael Reichmann says it is, then the two are linked vis-a-vis: It takes a clump of film grains to allow the production of enough tones to match a typical DSLR pixel, such that the size of that clump is far greater than the size of a dslr pixel. Hence the resolution of film isn't say 2 microns, but more like say 60 microns.
     
  169. Wait, Vijay, you're kidding me right?

    You do know about the wave vs. particle theory of light, correct? In this case, we evoke the particle theory of light, and call each discrete packet of light a 'photon'.

    Let's say, for argument's sake, one photon is enough to render one grain 'develop-able' (i.e. 3-4 silver ions are reduced to metallic silver atoms charged 0). In your scenario, the aperture/exposure would have to be such that within the given exposure time, 3 photons hit this cluster of 4 grains, and each encounter was 'productive'. Three photon 'absorption' events occurred. On 3 of the 4 grains. Because 4 grains can't absorb 3 photons.

    Need I argue any further?

    And all this talk of 'film being sentient' is really getting on my nerves. When you first brought it up, it made no sense within the context you brought it up in, and it is just as irrelevant now. Grains don't have to be sentient to clump together because THEY DON'T MOVE to clump together; it's just that there are a lot of grain particles to begin with within a given area and an area that experiences a lot of exposure has a lot of its grains turn 'develop-able' and subsequently 'black'... the more the exposure in a given area, the greater number of such grains that actually productively absorbed photons... therefore the more such grains within such an area that turn black upon development. I.E. a 'clump' forms. Not because grains moved to form said clump! But even within these 'clumps' there are grains that DON'T get developed because they didn't experience enough productive collisions with photons so they didn't have enough silver ions reduced to silver metal so these grains don't turn black and are washed away, leaving clear film base. The ratio of black metallic grains to clear film base within these 'clumps' then determines how black said clump is.

    That is how clumps achieve tonality.

    Clear?
     
  170. Bernie - yes! Thank you!
    Vijay: "Why do you keep confusing tonal range with resolution?"
    I don't confuse them at all. In our scenario, they are intimately related. Because if Reichmann is right, then theoretically many silver grains need to be used to represent a reasonable tonal range, thereby limiting your ultimate resolution FOR A FIXED FRAME SIZE (e.g. 35mm). Why? Because you can only have X number of silver halide crystals per 35mm frame. If 1 grain itself can represent 256 tones, and if X = 10 billion, then, theoretically, if you had a lens capable of resolving that much detail onto a 35mm frame (probably impossible), you'd have a 10 gigapixel image. If, on the other hand, you needed 500 grains to represent 256 tones, then that region of 500 grains needs to be used to resolve any meaningful details for whatever given image element is falling on that region. Thereby limiting the resolving power of the film to something more like 10 billion/500 = 20 megapixels.
    Hmmm... which is near the calculated resolution of film (well, ok greater, but at least on the same order of magnitude).
    Coincidence?? I think not!
    Rishi
     
  171. I need to correct myself.

    Earlier I wrote: "Let's say that a 35mm frame of 10 billion grains gives you a 10 million pixel image. So, 10 billion/10 million = 100 grains that collectively make up an 'imaging element', or analog equivalent of a 'pixel', in film."

    I was off by a zero, obviously.

    In other words, 10 billion grains/10 million pixels = 1000 grains that collectively make up an 'imaging element', or analog equivalent of a 'pixel', in film.

    With three layers in color film, if we can generate a tonal range of 1000 per layer, that's 1000^3 colors that can be generated (in an additive model, yes, I realize... I don't know if this number changes for a subtractive color model), or, 1 trillion colors.

    It has been argued that when scanning film, one should scan at a bit depth of 12-bits per color channel to get all the color information off the film. 2^12 is 4096. 4096^3 is 68 trillion.

    So, we are off only a little over 1 order of magnitude here. Besides, in A/D conversion you need to sample at a higher 'resolution' (in this case, bit depth) in order to accurately represent all information because doing this avoids interpolation problems (when elements, or in this case colors, fall in between two bits).

    I seriously doubt more than a 1 trillion colors are represented by slide film.

    So, my point is: I think 1000 grains working together to form 'one resolving unit' of film (by resulting in clumps of varying densities) is reasonable, as it gives rise to a boatload of colors or tonal range.

    I think that each grain being capable of displaying the entire tonal range is ridiculous, because then, theoretically, you could have a 10 gigapixel image on a 35mm frame (if you had a lens capable of resolving that sort of detail, which is impossible).

    Please point out any flaws in my argument.

    I'm still not entirely convinced by my argument, and I do still wonder if it could be a combination... i.e. silver grains are capable of displaying *some* tonal variety (like in the image Mark Smith posted), but ultimately it's the combination of the tonal variety of each grain AND the density of such developed/exposed grains vs. the density of clear film base within a given 'clump' (smallest 'resolving element' of film, equivalent to a 'digital pixel' in that it, this clump, can represent the entire tonal range exhibited by the film)... that gives rise to the final product.

    Rishi
     
  172. Gentlemen;

    There is such a thing as a continuous density wedge without steps! Yes, it is evaporated nickel onto glass. As
    such, I have used it many times to evaluate images. With silver, when you trace a film curve, it has a smooth
    continuous gradient from 0 - 6.0 (well 3.0 in silver and 6.0 in nickel)......

    With a digital product, the steps are jagged. They look like a staircase. This is incontrovertable fact due to the
    nature of analog vs digital. However, OTOH, at the atomic level, everything is done at the particle level, silver halide
    involving 3 atoms of silver as a minimum for normal ET (electron transport). Here, with digital, you still see the stair
    step effect, but with silver you see a "random walk" of particles.

    Now, it is clear to me that these are gut arguments you all are presenting, not based on anything anyone has done
    in a lab. I have spent most of my life measuring films and working with digatl people in R&D. Among other things,
    all you digital guys ignore aliasing which exists in digital but not in analog. This interests me as it shows either a
    lack of understanding or a wish to avoid a major problem in digital.

    It is plain to me that everyone in the digital arena here seems to have a closed mind to the possibility that digital is
    not yet perfect. Analog has been maturing over 100 years, but digital is the new kid on the block. It has lots of
    potential, but isn't quite up to the task yet IMHO and based on measurements that I have made in the lab and
    personally.

    Best of luck to you all, but I can make 20x24 enlargements from 35mm and have proofs to show it. I cannot do that
    with digital and I have proofs to show it. The data was obtained using a Nikon D70 vs a Nikon 2020 with Portra
    160VC. The photos were side by side comparisons. Too bad. Digital lost! It has improved a great deal since 10
    years ago, but you are using gut arguments to justify a move you really have no reason to have made. Many pros
    are moving back to film. The data is shown in current Kodak and Ilford data that film sales of most analog products
    is leveling off or increasing in the pro area.

    Eventually, you will need stacked sensors with about 5 micron sides to produce what film can produce, or you need
    MF or LF sensors. It can be done. I do not disagree but where we are now is not where film is.

    Lets not forget the selenium, lead, arsenic and other pollutants in digital imaging products. (no mention of that here
    so far either :D ) that amuses me a bit. Current B&W and color processes can be quite environmentally benign and
    the film and paper manufacturing is quite benign as well.

    Ron Mowrey
     
  173. Wait, Vijay, you're kidding me right?
    You do know about the wave vs. particle theory of light, correct? In this case, we evoke the particle theory of light, and call each discrete packet of light a 'photon'.
    Let's say, for argument's sake, one photon is enough to render one grain 'develop-able' (i.e. 3-4 silver ions are reduced to metallic silver atoms charged 0). In your scenario, the aperture/exposure would have to be such that within the given exposure time, 3 photons hit this cluster of 4 grains, and each encounter was 'productive'. Three photon 'absorption' events occurred. On 3 of the 4 grains. Because 4 grains can't absorb 3 photons.
    Need I argue any further?

    Rishi, don't go off on a tangent. We are talking huge grains, around 10x10 microns in area. A single photon can't do a thing. We are talking about a macro phenomenon, adequately addressed by luminance, no need for wave particle duality. Gazillions of photons are hitting each grain simultaneously in my example. Yet one R-grain magically decides to be unaffected by these photons, because after all it has to be binary, i.e., perfectly clear, since the other three are going to be perfectly black - after all this must occur to get to 75% density, right?
    If this were the case, by logical extension, this grain "knew" what to do and also knows what the other grains will do in the future, with no physical connection to them. Sentience is the wrong term - fantasy is the right one.
    Understand what I am saying before presenting the counterargument, please.
     
  174. I have been reading this thread for a few days and it has turned into an interesting theoretical discussion about the
    resolution of 35 mm film. I have produced the best demonstration I have seen of how good a particular 35 mm picture
    actually is and is in my gallery at http://www.photo.net/photodb/member-photos?user_id=698549 .
    Starting at the right hand picture is the full frame scan of the Kodachrome slide, then a full width crop, then a crop
    at the end of the path, then getting into the pixels, and the last is an enlargement of the actual pixels of the scan.
    The slide is of the Public Gardens in Halifax, Nova Scotia which I took in the 1980's with my Pentax Spotmatic F
    with 55 mm SMC Takumar lens on Kodachrome 64. I had it scanned for $25 with a CREO scanner at 4800 BPI, 16
    bit TIFF, which produced 3957 x 5881 pixels (23.3 megapixels) and the file size is 136 megabites.
    The enlarged pixels show that the heels of the man and woman are one pixel wide which means that the 35 mm
    slide resolved at least the equivalent of a 23 megapixel digital camera. The grain is not even that obvious.
    I hope the new Ektar 100 is this good.

    Hugh
     
  175. Bravo, Hugh. This resonates well with my experience too. By the way, I am a Kodachrome fan.
     
  176. you can argue these points forever, which from the length of this discussion it already has. Regardless of what you use a quality image will shine through.

    I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU USE, SHOW ME WHAT YOU DO WITH IT!!!
     
  177. Why does this discussion bother you that much, mark L?
     
  178. Rishi/Mark - I've been enjoying this discussion and buy alot of your input (both sides) but let me add a few comments/corrections:

    1 - film format has nothing to do with resolving power - film is film whether its 35mm or 110 or 2 1/4 x 2 1/4. Resolving power is a function of the structure of the film and emulsion. However if you wish to compare a given area of any film - say 1 square millimeter - with an equal area on a digital capture sensor, then you've got the basis for valid comparisons.

    2 - the 'atomic level' at which this conversation seems to be based is totally out of scale with what is translated into a visible image. Density is the final arbiter of grey levels - density depends upon the multiplicity of crystals which are 'piled up' upon each other. You forget that the crystals at this level are NOT opaque. A single silver crystal as shown in the referenced micrograph is probably transparent or translucent.

    3 - the electron micrograph used as a basis for this discussion was obtained from a transmission electron microscope (TEM) - and is a two-dimensional representation of the structures. To get a true idea of the 'transparency' of the crystals in question, one must use a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to obtain a more accurate topographic image which illustrated the true dimensionality of the features in question.

    I'm not a film scientist or a chemist, however I am a research microscopist who uses SEMs every day, and it appears to me that you may be relying to much on the TEM images in these conversations to make assumptions about how images are formed at the molecular level.

    --Rich Evans, (Ph.D. - Optics)
     
  179. Ron: you call us 'you digital people'. I shoot film (Velvia 50) exclusively. The digital image I posted above was a test with a friend's camera. So my argument in this debate is purely for the sake of knowledge, not because I have a thing for digital because, uh, I still prefer film.

    Since you do seem to know a lot about this, are you basically saying that there are many 'sensitivity centers' per silver crystal/grain, and that the number of such centers, on each grain, that contain at least 3 reduced silver metal atoms (b/c you need at least that many to support electron transport from the developer), as well as the number of reduced silver metal atoms at such sensitivity centers, determine the rate at which the reduction reaction that tries to turn all the silver ions (associated with halides) in the crystal to black metallic silver? Meaning the more sensitivity centers that support electron transport (b/c they have 3 or more metal silver atoms that have migrated to those sites), the more Ag ions that get reduced to metallic silver, and so the more dense the final resulting silver crystal is?

    As you can see, I'm not going for a 'gut argument' here... I'm trying to come up with a sound chemical rationale that supports your/Mark Smith's argument.

    Vijay: 10x10 microns? What kind of grain are you talking about? Most silver grains are 2 microns (largest) to sub-micron size.

    You say: "Gazillions of photons are hitting each grain simultaneously in my example. Yet one R-grain magically decides to be unaffected by these photons,"

    Not sure what you're arguing here. You realize there ARE areas of the film where not enough photons productively fall to even reduce 3, yes just 3, silver ions to silver metal, rendering those grains 'un-developable', which are then later dissolved away to give clear film base. So, yes, sub-micron (not 10 micron) size 'R-grains' do, from time to time, not get enough productive collisions with photons to generate a conductive site of 3-4 (at least) metallic silver atoms and so hence do not efficiently support transport from the developer during the development process.

    So... how am I going off tangent?
     
  180. Hugh,

    Very interesting. I have to agree with you conclusions there.

    I was guessing that my 35mm Velvia contained ~12 megapixels worth of info, but, maybe with an even better scanner or a different test (or a different subject matter, since Vijay brought up the possibility of bridge resonance introducing softness in my example), I may also see closer to 20 megapixels worth resolved.

    Heck, maybe in my example above I underestimated how much the film resolved. I did argue earlier that it resolved more than the 10MP digital camera; but lines appeared 'sharper' in the digital image. Did you take a look at my side-by-side comparison of the shot of I-5?

    Cheers,
    Rishi
     
  181. Rich,

    Thanks for your input :) The only reason I brought up the film format was because I was using a bunch of examples where I was saying '10 billion crystals on one frame'... so I wanted to clarify that I meant 10 billion crystals on a 35mm film frame, because a large format film frame certainly has more than 10 billion crystals (since the density of crystals shouldn't vary from format to format for the same film). So, yes, I understand your point, and that's the only reason I brought that up

    Rishi
     
  182. Hugh, forgot to ask -- was any sharpening applied to your image? That could affect your guess of resolving power.
     
  183. Ken Rockwell? Trust but verify. He is usually worth reading, but check his opinion against those of others.

    As for film, why not? I have some Bronica gear that I bought some time back that I have been wanting to try.

    Right now, what deters me about seriously going back to film is indeed the scanning. It is simply a lot of trouble--but a lot of people will go to the trouble. Film is expensive, too, and using film is not necessarily going to get one away from the computer if one digitizes everything that one shoots.

    Maybe we should combine all "film v. digital" threads into one mega-thread and just put it in one special place where it can get bigger and bigger, while people continue to cover the same territory over and over--myself included.

    --Lannie
     
  184. Rishi, I don't know how to make this clearer - 10 microns, 2 microns - they are all at the macro scale, and the
    phenomena are identical.

    All I'm asking is that if film grains can only have two possible states - opaque, by the presence of the grain,
    and transparent, by its absence - how is it possible to create a middle gray - any middle gray - under constant
    illuminance?

    The point is, the grains are identical, the illumination is completely uniform, so all the grains will behave
    identically - either all will go opaque, or all will go transparent. That is the nature of a binary system. If
    you replace binary grains with phototransistors, all the (binary) phototransistors will behave identically too -
    either switching on, or remaining off. This is the nature, once again, of binary systems.

    This is exactly why the phototransistors that make up a pixel are biased in the active region - i.e., as analog
    (not switching) devices, and an analog to digital converter is used to quantize the response of the phototransistor.

    Once again, if grain were binary, creating grayscale images would be impossible. If the phototransistor in a
    digital pixel were made binary, creating grayscale images electronically would also be impossible.

    The response of a single unit (grain or phototransistor) has to vary (linearly, logarithmically, exponentially,
    who cares - all curves can be linearized) with illuminance; you can't achieve the same effect by having multiple
    units, because all the units will sample the same thing.

    Clear enough?

    Now, postulating that all the grains or phototransistors don't behave identically is tantamount to imparting
    intelligence or sentience to them, which is tantamount to absurdity.

    My example was supposed to highlight this absurdity, but it evidently did not have the desired effect.
     
  185. Rishi;

    I spent 32 years doing R&D at Kodak and many years + doing professional work before and after working for Kodak. There can be many centers on one crystal. That helps it be analog. :D

    Ron Mowrey
     
  186. Ron,

    OK, sure, I'll buy that there can be many centers on one crystal. Whether or not that helps it be analog -- I'm not convinced yet. Because you have to show that:

    A crystal with 4 metallic silver atoms (reduced) at one sensitivity site (enough to make this crystal 'develop-able', according to texts) will, upon development, result in a less dense overall silver crystal/grain than a crystal with, say, 4 metallic silver atoms (reduced) at 5 sensitivity sites.

    Is that what you are saying and, if so, can you please find me like ONE reference paper that actually says/shows this?

    Also, as for the spectral sensitizers that are first excited and then excite the halide to give up an electron: doesn't there have to be one spectral sensitizer molecule PER possible reduction event? Isn't that a lot of spectral sensitizer molecules per silver grain/crystal? Or can these spectral sensitizers recycle electrons from somewhere else?

    Thanks,
    Rishi
     
  187. Vijay: "All I'm asking is that if film grains can only have two possible states - opaque, by the presence of the grain, and transparent, by its absence - how is it possible to create a middle gray - any middle gray - under constant illuminance?"
    <p>
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/97/Halftoning_introduction.png">
    <p>
    Left: Halftone dots. Right: How the human eye would see this sort of arrangement from a sufficient distance.
    <p>
    For further reading, go here:<br>
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halftone
    <p>
    And let me quote yet another line from this entry: "At a microscopic level, developed black and white photographic film also consists of only two colors, and not an infinite range of continuous tones. For details, see film grain.
    <p>
    I mean, so far, every article I look up says this. It is you couple of guys who are arguing otherwise. If what you are saying is well established *please* point me to a reference that proves your point. If one doesn't exist, don't you think it's about time you published your idea in 'Science' or 'Nature' as a "this contradicts traditional thinking" article??
    <p>
    -Rishi
     
  188. Rowland... Just for clarity sake, your answer doesn't fully answer Rishi's question (which was: "Meaning the more sensitivity centers that support electron transport (b/c they have 3 or more metal silver atoms that have migrated to those sites), the more Ag ions that get reduced to metallic silver, and so the more dense the final resulting silver crystal is? ") Is this the case?
     
  189. Ron/Mark: All you'd have to do to prove your point would be just show an image with a few grains showing variable levels of black filamentous density (EM images).

    I don't really understand the initial image... I see two grain crystals, and then some other filamentous black masses... where are the latter coming from?
     
  190. And, Vijay, your argument makes no sense. Of course there can be some grains that remain unexposed even when a lot of light shines on a given area of the film *for a given exposure time* because grains vary in their sensitivity based on size, position, orientation, etc.

    All of them will be exposed if you expose for sufficiently long enough.

    Read about halftone processing as another way to achieve tones.

    You have to realize that BOTH what Ron/Mark are saying AND what has been in established literature for years ARE possible methods of attaining photographic images. You trying to prove that you JUST CAN'T get grays from the method that has been established in the literature for years and is proven to work as it does for the halftone process is just going to make you look foolish.

    I'm trying to come up with an argument that'll show that Ron/Mark's theory IS plausible. Because even if it is, the clumping of grains to give varying densities WILL STILL HOLD TRUE. So stop trying to disprove it.

    Rishi
     
  191. Nice image Rishi, but no workey. For this to work, either

    a) The smallest grain in the emulsion must respond first to the incident illumination and as light continues to
    impinge, larger grains must start responding later, i.e., the response time of a grain must vary with light
    intensity. Further since the grain is binary, it must "store" photons as they impinge, and when some correct
    threshold is met, the entire grain must suddenly go from clear to black. This is the nature of binary systems.
    The threshold has to vary with grain size, of course, so that smaller grains switch earlier in time.

    or

    b) A grain must grow in size (increase mass while isolated in an emulsion) proportional to the illuminance.

    No other explanation is possible because the grain is binary - i.e., must have all AgBr or all Ag in it.

    So which of the above is it?
     
  192. Vijay,

    I'm beginning to think perhaps you're a troll. Trying to waste my time. Either that, or you really need to read a paper on the chemistry of photographic development. Like the one I linked to.

    Not that I even understand WHY you make this statement: "Further since the grain is binary, it must "store" photons as they impinge, and when some correct threshold is met, the entire grain must suddenly go from clear to black. This is the nature of binary systems."

    But...

    Yeah, that's exactly what is said to happen. Photons knock electrons off of halides, these electrons are trapped by an electron trap "gold or silver sulfide", some Ag+1 ions then eventually migrate to this electron trap site on the surface of the crystal, then the electron from the trap reduces the Ag+1 ion to metallic silver (Ag charged 0). At least 3 or 4 of these events must occur to render the crystal 'develop-able'.

    I can't believe I just wasted my time even repeating that, which I've already stated in some posts above.

    If anyone else has anything to chime in, please do. Otherwise, Vijay, I'm sorry, I just can't.

    Rishi
     
  193. Ron/Mark: All you'd have to do to prove your point would be just show an image with a few grains showing variable levels of black filamentous density (EM images).
    From Mark's blog - a photomicrograph of Ilford Delta grain - you see lighter and darker grains; you also see the same grain (a three dimensional crystal) lighter on one side and darker on the other.
    I don't really understand the initial image... I see two grain crystals, and then some other filamentous black masses... where are the latter coming from?
    There are five partial grains in the image. The top left hand corner is a black, fully exposed grain. Below that is a partially exposed grain, below that another fully exposed grain. On the top right is a fully exposed grain and below it a partially exposed one. The TEM creates "shadows" of a three dimensional structure, so what you see is a 2D representation of the grain. Black specs "outside" the tablet boundary are the ears. Mark, Ron - please correct me if I am wrong.
    00RSnp-87663584.jpg
     
  194. Vijay,

    Thanks for pointing that out and linking the image. OK I admit... I got so caught up in the discussion I didn't check this picture out on Mark's blog (although I read his blog, so I must have spaced out and not seen the image).

    Now I'm beginning to be convinced. As long as the darker areas in the image above aren't imaging artifacts.

    And someone please confirm this... and that those ears arranged around the tablet boundaries are in fact sensitivity specks?

    I'm leaning now towards: it's a combination of both camps... varying intensities of crystals themselves, as well as a greater dynamic range achieved via the concentration of exposed crystals controlling the perceived density of a section of film.

    Rishi
     
  195. Rishi, please keep the verbal abuse to yourself. You don't seem to understand what I am saying and I have no problem with that - I can explain the same thing again for your benefit, but you seem to be hell bent on seeing only what supports your viewpoint.
    You clearly do not understand binary, or switching systems - you don't understand the concept that "storing photons till a threshold is met" is an absurdity because if the threshold is not met, the grain must remain transparent, despite the fact that it has lost its electron and blah blah. Is this said to happen in the literature? That once the AgBr trap blah blah occurs, the grain still remains perfectly transparent? Once again, it must remain perfectly transparent, since the only other state is perfectly opaque. If the grain reaches any intermediate state between transparent and opaque it is not binary.
    Get it? It is not binary.
    If you feel that what I am saying is absurd, then you are right - it is; because it stems from the assumption that grain is binary. Go look up reductio ad absurdum. It's a way of proving that the initial assumption was false.
     
  196. Wow, it's like you've unlocked the greatest mystery of the universe. Can we go take some pictures now?
     
  197. Wow, it's like you've unlocked the greatest mystery of the universe. Can we go take some pictures now?
    If you were waiting for my permission, you have it. Go take pictures, now.
     
  198. As long as the darker areas in the image above aren't imaging artifacts.
    Well, you also see semi-transparent grains: the grain behind that dark grain near the top center is visible through the grain in front.
     
  199. Now I'm beginning to be convinced
    Well, I'm not. I won't pretend that I understand all the minutiae of this debate, and I really don't have a clue which side of the debate is right (although I would love to know!). But I see a couple of holes in the "non-binary" camp. The most glaring (i think) is the images DAniel posted above (11/11 at 3.30pm) and the observational FACT that at magnifications greater than what would normally be involved in the printing of a 35mm negative, the negative consists of ONLY black clumps and clear sections. How do you explain this and maintain that grains are continously toned? This example fits the halftone argument perfectly.
    The other hole I think I see is that the "non-binary" camp are relying on EM images. Correct me if I am wrong, but relating these images to how the crystals interact with light is somewhat of an oxymoron. EM's work at wavelengths shorter than light.
     
  200. The most glaring (i think) is the images DAniel posted above (11/11 at 3.30pm) and the observational FACT that at magnifications greater than what would normally be involved in the printing of a 35mm negative, the negative consists of ONLY black clumps and clear sections.
    Because you are looking at filamentary silver within a grain - a subgranular feature, if you will, that nobody denies can either be present or absent (binary). The more such subgranular "dots", the blacker the grain, the lesser these "dots", the lighter the grain.
    Think of this as "shading" a grain via a sort of halftone representation, the density of the filamentary "shading" varying with illuminance etc.
    The other hole I think I see is that the "non-binary" camp are relying on EM images. Correct me if I am wrong, but relating these images to how the crystals interact with light is somewhat of an oxymoron. EM's work at wavelengths shorter than light.
    Yes, but what they show is the distribution of silver; visible light may be of much longer wavelengths, but that doesn't mean that it can't pass through interfilamentary space in a grain. Besides, atoms are neither opaque or transparent - opacity is a resultant property as we go to macro sizes. After all carbon is black and opaque but sugar is transparent.
     
  201. Vijay: "You clearly do not understand binary, or switching systems - you don't understand the concept that "storing photons till a threshold is met" is an absurdity because if the threshold is not met, the grain must remain transparent, despite the fact that it has lost its electron and blah blah. Is this said to happen in the literature?"
    I don't understand binary? Dude, a kid could understand binary.
    'Storing photons till a threshold is met' IS an absurdity, but the SAME EFFECT can be reached by the CHEMICAL DESIGN of film. Instead of sitting here telling me I don't understand what binary, why don't you read the paper I linked to?
    "the grain must remain transparent, despite the fact that it has lost its electron"? It has lots its electron?? What, the grain lost its electron? You are all over the place. Maybe if I say it one more time, you'll actually read what I've already written 10 times before:
    When a productive photon collision occurs, an electron is knocked off of ONE OF BILLIONS of halides within ONE silver crystal/grain. This electron is trapped by the gold sulfide electron trap (e.g. the 'ears'). The purpose of the electron trap is to hold the electron until a silver ion that has migrated near the electron trap can pick it up and be reduced to uncharged silver (metallic). At least 3 silver ions must migrate to one of these 'ears', each picking up an electron... so that means, all together, 3 electrons have to come from 3 halides; these 3 electrons are typically held at the electron trap and then given to silver ions that have migrated near the trap. Once there are 3 reduced silver metal atoms clustered at this 'ear', which is near the surface (which is important b/c developer can easily access the surface), developer can easy start giving electrons to other silver ions within the grain, during development, because electrons can be transported easily through this cluster of CONDUCTING SILVER METAL ATOMS. If the threshold of 3 reduced silver atoms is not met at any ear on a given grain, then, in the time span of development, the grain doesn't get any electrons. It stays as a grain of silver ions (silver halides, to be exact). These are then dissolved away in the next step of development, and then washed away, leaving clear film behind.
    That is how the threshold of 3 is established in film!
    Please read some basic chemistry of photography. I'm really not confident that you know anything about it if you were touting earlier that prolonged development wouldn't reduce unexposed grains because if it did you would never have gotten back pretty portraits from the lab. I mean, c'mon, that's one of the first things you learn when you read anything about the chemistry of photography.
    Rishi
     
  202. Look, Vijay, I'm not trying to be mean. I think that our discussion/argument would proceed much more smoothly, however, if you read up on the basic chemistry of film.

    My paper I linked to does cover it, but it might be a bit too technical. I'll try and find a better, concise reference, and post it back here.

    I apologize if I sound offensive. I really do want you, though, to thoroughly read my paragraph above on the chemical rationale of exposure/development. I myself am getting pretty frustrated that this debate can't be put to bed!
    Rishi
     
  203. Dude, a kid could understand binary.
    And yet evidently you don't. Listen, a binary system may be 1's and 0's for you logically, but it is far more difficult to achieve in practice. You have to create a system with two stable states - and you have to have a threshold mechanism for some phenomenon - when that threshold is tripped, the system rapidly toggles state. It must do this in vanishingly small time. In electronics, this is made possible by a rather contrived circuit called a bistable multivibrator or a simplified version called a flip-flop. A flip-flop is the basic element that is called a "bit", and has the ability to store state (i.e., has memory). Such a system is called a non-linear or switching system. A characteristic of a binary switching system is that it has only two stable states, and deliberately putting the system in any other state, makes the system rapidly go to one of its two stable states.
    Postulating that grain is binary (i.e., can exist only in one of two states) must imply that there is a threshold of something - light - whatever - that causes the grain to trip from being transparent to being opaque. It must imply that transparent and opaque are the only two stable states for the grain, and intermediate states must rapidly resolve to one of the two stable states. Having a threshold requires a memory and a comparator (has that thing - light - crossed (comparison) the threshold that is stored (memory)). Don't try to invent theories to bypass this - all this is absolutely mandatory for a binary system. If even one of these criteria is not possible within a grain, then grain is not a binary system. Period.
    Oh and that losing an electron thing was said to show you that it didn't matter - didn't you notice the blah blah afterwards?
    For the umpteenth time, postulating that a grain is binary shows no understanding of binary systems; I couldn't care less about the chemistry involved. If the math doesn't work, the chemistry is irrelevant.
    I already pointed out that if you had a digital sensor where every pixel were binary (if some value of light energy touched it, it went to a logic 1 state, else remained logic 0), you couldn't create grayscale images, period. This is a property of binary systems in general, and has nothing to do with electronics or film or chemistry. Disprove this, and I'll agree with you that grain is binary.
     
  204. Because you are looking at filamentary silver within a grain - a subgranular feature
    Vijay, I need some clarification with this statement. Is what we are looking at in image (d) of Daniel's post within a grain, or a collection of grains? I read the caption as suggesting that it is a collection of grains. Further, if you do the maths, something doesn't add up in my book. 400x magnification of a 2 micron grain (if 2 microns is more or less correct), adds up to 0.8 of a millimeter. This image is clearly much larger than 0.8mm. What's missing here?
     
  205. Vijay, I think Rishi is saying that the 3 electron trap is the threshold you talk about. Short of 3 electrons - no black.

    Regards the greyscale images from binary pixels... I suggest that you can achieve this as shown with the example of halftones.
     
  206. Bernie, you're right - that needs clarification. I should have looked at Daniel's images more carefully. There is a fundamental problem with those images - they progressively enlarge a binary section of the image - the catchlights in the model's eyes. Those catchlights are completely black, the pupil is clear. The source information is "binary", so sorry, that can't be used to "prove" that grain is binary.
     
  207. Hmm... so Vijay, you understand binary systems so well that Mr. Bernie West here had to school you when he said: "Vijay, I think Rishi is saying that the 3 electron trap is the threshold you talk about. Short of 3 electrons - no black."

    Funny how Bernie & I can understand how this system *could* be binary. I'm not saying it *is* for sure, because for me to say that it *is* for sure, someone would have to corroborate the statement "develop-able grains are fully reduced to black metallic silver". Oh, wait, that's what all the literature says! And here I was being nice giving you, Mark, and Ron the benefit of the doubt by doubting the literature and allowing you to try and show how grain is NOT binary.

    "Postulating that grain is binary (i.e., can exist only in one of two states) must imply that there is a threshold of something - light - whatever - that causes the grain to trip from being transparent to being opaque." -- Yup, and Bernie referred you to my previous statement that explained to you the chemical rationale for this 'threshold'. Funny how he picked it out while, clearly, you missed it the first 10 times 'round. Maybe you'll read it now that Bernie, a third party, pointed it out? But, anyway, don't let me take the credit for the basis of this 'threshold'... It's straight out of page 86 of that Chem. Review paper I linked to.

    "I couldn't care less about the chemistry involved" -- Yup, that's apparent.

    Rishi
     
  208. Regards the greyscale images from binary pixels... I suggest that you can achieve this as shown with the example of halftones.
    That is exactly the point. You can't do that. You really can't. Suppose you were photographing a gray wall with that sensor. If the light falling on the sensor (from the lens) were enough to trip the threshold, you'd get a white wall. If it were below the threshold, you'd get a black wall. Either all pixels would trip, or none would.
    Halftones would require that two identical pixels, illuminated by the same amount of light (same uniform grey wall) do two different things - (and proportional to the grayness of that wall, no less) - that's impossible in the universe we inhabit.
    Film can't magically do something that is a mathematical impossibility. You don't have to know chemistry to understand that.
     
  209. Vijay, I think Rishi is saying that the 3 electron trap is the threshold you talk about. Short of 3 electrons - no black.
    You'll have proved its binary if you prove that 3+ electrons = ALL black, no gray. Saying less than 3 electrons = clear is not the same thing.
     
  210. Phil,
    Film is definitely alive! I shoot Kodachrome when shooting with my Nikon FE2 AND Velvia and TMax 100 when shooting with MY PENTAX
    6x7. I get great results and the guys at my pro lab and pro camera store are always amazed at my 11x14 prints, either b&w or color prints
    made from slides. The TOP wedding photographer in my city shoots film and he gets anywhere from $5,000 - $9,000 for a wedding. Just my 2
    ¢ worth. You can buy anything you want at those two main stores in NY.
    Chris
     
  211. "I already pointed out that if you had a digital sensor where every pixel were binary (if some value of light energy touched it, it went to a logic 1 state, else remained logic 0), you couldn't create grayscale images, period. This is a property of binary systems in general"

    No... it can't be a property of binary systems in general if the halftone process works. For example, if you take this digital 'sensor' and make it a digital 'display' instead, then, if every pixel were binary, it could still generate grayscale images *if the viewer views it from a distance*. You do agree with that, yes?

    I think what you're trying to argue here is whether or not a halftone-like pattern representing gray could be recorded by such a digital sensor... that I need to think about a bit longer.
     
  212. I admit, I am a bit stumped on the gray wall example. I guess it comes back to your statement about luminance being uniform. I'm not familiar with this phenomenon (not saying it doesn't exist, just never heard about it). I would have thought that the grey wall itself isn't a uniform grey, but is made up of many darker and lighter points, which would be reflected (bad choice of word) in the image projected onto the sensor.
     
  213. No... it can't be a property of binary systems in general if the halftone process works.
    The halftone process is not binary: the dots can be any diameter from zero to max in a continuous range of values.
    I think what you're trying to argue here is whether or not a halftone-like pattern representing gray could be recorded by such a digital sensor... that I need to think about a bit longer.
    I am making a broader argument - that any gray tone could not be recorded by any mechanism where the individual "pixels" could have only two states.
     
  214. "You'll have proved its binary if you prove that 3+ electrons = ALL black, no gray. Saying less than 3 electrons = clear is not the same thing."
    My word, Vijay, that's what I've been saying ALL ALONG & I even had two posts above where I cited literature that said EXACTLY that -- that exposed grains turn ALL black.
    For those disinclined to read my posts, Vijay, I'll just copy & paste here, though I dunno if that'll treat your symptom of glossing over & not actually reading what I write:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Under 'Silver Halide' in Wikipedia, we find:
    "When a silver halide crystal is exposed to light, a sensitivity speck on the surface of the crystal is turned into a small speck of metallic silver (these comprise the invisible or latent image). If the speck of silver contains approximately four or more atoms, it is rendered developable - meaning that it can undergo development which turns the entire crystal into metallic silver."
    Now, let's turn to this website: http://www.cheresources.com/photochem.shtml
    It says: "In general, as the grain size in the emulsion increases, the effective light sensitivity of the film increases - up to a point. An optimum value of grain size for a given sensitivity is found to exist because the same number of silver atoms are needed to initiate reduction of the entire grain by the developer despite the grain size, so that producing larger grains reaches a point of diminishing returns and no further benefit is obtained."
    Look also at the image there, it shows the entire crystal turning into metallic silver.
    Now, let's turn to this article: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1511/is_8_21/ai_63583781/print?tag=artBody;col1
    "If a silver halide crystal already has a light-blackened duster containing a critical minimum of silver atoms--four, typically--that cluster's electric field draws electrons to the silver ions around it, and the whole billion-ion crystal is quickly blackened. All the other crystals, unexposed or barely exposed, the developer leaves alone; the crystals react individually because the gelatin isolates them from one another."
     
  215. I guess it comes back to your statement about luminance being uniform.
    No, no - what I said meant creating a condition where exactly the same amount of light falls on every point of the film or sensor. Luminance can be uniform or not - it is just a function of the light source; think of luminance as sort of the brightness per unit area. Such a condition can be created by trying to photograph a smooth white wall, or by removing the lens from an SLR camera and pointing it to the sun, etc.
    Also forget trying to focus on the wall, or worrying that it could be made of specks of black and white - all we want is that the light that falls on one pixel of the sensor be the same as falling on every other pixel.
     
  216. "The halftone process is not binary: the dots can be any diameter from zero to max in a continuous range of values."

    Yes but it CAN be. The dots CAN be all the same size, and be only white or black, and you CAN still create gray scale values if viewing from a distance.

    Are you arguing just for the sake of arguing? Or do you like to throw in a red herring from time to time?
     
  217. "Also forget trying to focus on the wall, or worrying that it could be made of specks of black and white - all we want is that the light that falls on one pixel of the sensor be the same as falling on every other pixel."

    I see what you're saying but your argument hinges upon every single pixel receiving the same number of photon hits per unit time. And I'm not entirely sure that is correct for vanishingly small instances of time.

    This is a bit of a thought experiment. I need to ponder longer.
     
  218. A grain that "can undergo development which turns the entire crystal into metallic silver" doesn't necessarily do that all at one go. If it did, you'd have some grains that were developable, and went all black immediately, and some that didn't cross the threshold of 4 atoms that are undevelopable, i.e., would never develop, no matter how long you kept the film in the developer. Which means that there would be no relation between density and development time.

    Rather as you keep the film in the developer the grain goes from four atoms of metallic silver to all atoms of metallic silver gradually, going through all possible tones from clear to black. This is what allows us to push or pull film.

    "... the same number of silver atoms are needed to initiate reduction of the entire grain by the developer despite the grain size." Of course, but that reduction can't happen from clear to black instantly as soon as you put it in the developer - the grain has to get darker with time in the developer. Linear process - not binary.

    In the images, you see a small Ag speck become a bigger Ag speck within the grain. Does this happen instantaneously with contact with the developer? Will that Ag speck be smaller if I take the film out of the developer earlier?

    Think, man think - everything you show me points out a linear (not binary) system and process.
     
  219. Yes but it CAN be. The dots CAN be all the same size, and be only white or black, and you CAN still create gray scale values if viewing from a distance.
    Yes, and you can create sort of halftone images with that, but the process does not work in reverse. This is because of causality - if we know that an area is light we put less dots there, if we know another area is dark we put more dots there. In reverse, the light hitting the two binary sensor pixels is the same, they won't do different things. Basic law of cause and effect; if the inputs to two identical systems are identical, the outputs have to be identical.
    Are you arguing just for the sake of arguing? Or do you like to throw in a red herring from time to time?
    I do like to throw in red herrings from time to time, but not this time. I'm not arguing for arguments sake at all, I'm honestly trying to educate and learn.
     
  220. I see what you're saying but your argument hinges upon every single pixel receiving the same number of photon hits per unit time. And I'm not entirely sure that is correct for vanishingly small instances of time.
    If you were to photograph a sunlit wall, your exposure would be determined by the sunny 16 rule - for 100 ASA film, you'd expose for 1/125 sec, or 8 milliseconds. That is not vanishingly small at all.
     
  221. I see what you're saying but your argument hinges upon every single pixel receiving the same number of photon hits per unit time. And I'm not entirely sure that is correct for vanishingly small instances of time.
    And here, Rishi, you are correct. The amount of light hitting a surface will never be uniform due to quantam shot noise which is a poisson distribution. Poisson approaches a normal distribution for large numbers, hence an equal amount of photons will 'undershoot' the average, and an equal amount will 'overshoot' the average. So it follows that half the pixels will be black, and half white, presumably randomly distributed, and therefore a grey image when viewed at distance.
     
  222. "Think, man think - everything you show me points out a linear (not binary) system and process."

    No, not everything, as I quoted Ansel Adams as saying: ""Examination of a photographic negative with a magnifier reveals that it is not made up of a continous range of white-to-black values, but that such values are simulated using a controlled deposit of individual black specks. These specks are the grain of the emulsion, the reduced metallic silver deposited when a halide crystal responded to light and 'developed'."

    That being said, as I said about 10 posts ago, I'm starting to lean towards the analog camp, though I don't doubt that the number of exposed grains also has a lot to do with perceived density of any particular feature being imaged... since any such feature, even the tiniest one, will still be represented by hundreds if not thousands of silver *grains* (and not just one grain, especially seeing as how a lens couldn't even resolve down to that level of detail... that is, if a lens is focused on some feature, and if you take the smallest element of that feature capable of being resolved by this lens/media system, and you take all light paths from that element that are also running through the lens, the lens wouldn't be capable of focusing all these light paths onto a point on the film as small as one silver grain... it just doesn't have that kind of resolving power. Some of these light paths would fall in and around said silver grain... therefore, that particular element will be represented by many silver grains. Thus the number of silver grains exposed within this area representing this element will have an effect on the resulting tone. This argument about the resolving power of the lens is exactly what I was invoking earlier to argue that perhaps some of the light paths *won't* fall on certain silver grains within this element-resolving area on the film... or they will but not enough if said silver grain is more insensitive than some of its neighbors... in which case they won't be exposed... and this itself could give rise to a tone that is less-than-black.).

    "Yes, and you can create sort of halftone images with that, but the process does not work in reverse. This is because of causality"

    I have to say, I like that argument. I still have to ponder on it longer though.
     
  223. Bernie, don't invoke quantum mechanics when simple Newtonian physics will suffice. We aren't underexposing so badly that we get into shot noise. Assume enough exposure that the signal hugely dominates the noise.

    Also try the thought experiment as a simple logical experiment - of course when you create a real binary sensor, and hugely underexpose, getting to very low S/N ratios quantum shot noise will dominate etc. That can't be the basis for predictably creating grayscale images from binary pixels though - by hugely underexposing. When the S/N ratio is that low, you can't form any kind of image, period.
     
  224. Oh, thanks Bernie for that explanation! Would you mind then reading my really long paragraph in my last post above & tell me if that makes sense? The whole thing about the lens, resolving power, smallest element being imaged, etc., and tell me if that makes sense? I have to say I'm really going into unfamiliar territory at this point, and just trying to reason at this point.
     
  225. Oh man, isn't there some way we can empirically test this without too much equipment so we can convince ourselves?

    :)

    I'll have to get back to this. It's far past my bedtime here in Seattle!

    -Rishi
     
  226. "...but that such values are simulated using a controlled deposit of individual black specks."
    Controlled deposit implies linearity - the controlling factor being development time. Linear process. Binary is uncontrolled - there are only two states, and these must be determined at exposure time, 4 atom threshold and all - therefore a controlled deposition process post exposure is not possible with binary grains.
     
  227. Hey guys - you just all blew me away. I decided to have a look at my question and see if there were a couple more answers - I thought I was seeing things - it has blown out to over 200 responses.

    I did not realise when I penned my humble question that I would end up with something a Post Grad student could source a thesis from - LOL

    I am a bit confused with all the technical stuff - but to me it does not matter.

    I love using my film cameras - to me half of it is the process, not just the finished product.

    Ok if you are a working pro and have deadlines and customers to please. I am not anymore and don't even care if I can't get back into shooting Stock.

    I am just enjoying puting film through my new Pentax 67 at the moment and watching those awesome trannies leap off the light-box and grab me by proverbials!!

    Thanks heaps Greg for the link to that youtube flick - I really enjoyed that and to hear that film is still happening amongst working pro's.

    Thanks for all the input!

    Phil
     
  228. I'll be responding to some posts, but not all because there are simply too many since I last posted. That said...
     
  229. Mark,
    What I'm suggesting that the grains are photon counters and the more photos that hit the grains the more dense the filamentary structures become.
    That the silver looks like a wool pad under an electron microscope is interesting but irrelevant. The "holes" you see at electron microscope scale are too small to attenuate light in the manner you are suggesting. A single grain is simply not discernible as being any one of thousands of shades of gray like a pixel.
    If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times. Density of silver grains in a given area determines tone. This occurs on a scale viewable under an optical microscope. By 400x magnification no gray tone is visible, only black grains and clear base. For the most part this is even true at 60x. If individual grains were perceivable as any one of thousands of shades of gray like a pixel, then those shades of gray would be quite visible at 60x and 400x.
    If your theory was true we would see gray grains under an optical microscope. The fact that we do not proves your theory false. (Thanks Bernie for seeing that!)
     
  230. Ron,
    First off, silver is not black.
    For all intents and purposes in the context of B&W film and paper, it is. I don't know about you, but none of my B&W film looks reddish or blue. Under an optical microscope I don't even see the shades of gray that Mark insists should be there, much less shades of color.
    Now, the electron micrograph above is developed silver!
    The one Mark first posted? If it were developed, it wouldn't show silver bromide, but silver. It is labeled as showing silver bromide.
    Magnification of this graphite deposit shows that it is made up of tiny dots of abraded graphite on the paper. The combination of the visual impact is either digital or analog depending on the way you view it or maybe we should say the magnification.
    Good analogy.
    Now an electronic D/A converter does not produce a smooth gradient, it produces a jagged gradient, but film produces a smooth gradient.
    This analogy fails because we're talking about a visual system, not waveforms from D/A converters. Digital is known for being "smoother" in tone and appearance precisely because tone is not produced through density of a material, but is directly encoded. People call film grainy because they can just perceive the clumps of silver which create the illusion of tone. The same thing is true when trying to generate gray tones using a B&W printer (old laser or ink jet) with a lower resolution.
    So, silver deposits in film can be shown to be having a smooth gradient with all possible tones from Dmin to Dmax, but a digital image cannot be.
    At 60x individual grains become distinguishable. There are no smooth gradients, there's not even gray. At 60x a digital image may show some noise, but the pixels are the colors that they are. Tone will be clearly perceptible.
    Prove it to yourself. Photograph a gradient gray ramp on film and digital and print to 60 inches. You'll see which distinguishes more tones and has a smoother appearance viewed up close. If the digital image is 8-bit, you will see steps. I'm betting you won't with a modern DSLR and 14-bit processing (roughly 273 gray steps per inch if a smooth ramp were photographed and printed to 60 inches).
    re: color
    Now if you think this is not a problem, many small objects represented on a sensor of any type can be on the order of 1 micron.
    Color film emulsions cannot resolve detail 1 micron wide. That would equate to 500 lpmm. Velvia, at 1000:1 contrast, resolves 160 lpmm. At normal contrast, 80 lpmm.
    I quite frankly don't know why you continue to bring up aliasing since it's pretty much a none issue in modern digital photography.
    Sorry, but unless you go into the lab and do some measurements yourself, your arguments are baseless.
    I may have misspelled your name in one of my responses, but the statement above is rude to everyone here researching and discussing this matter. Don't assume the rest of us haven't been in a lab.
     
  231. Ron,
    Now, it is clear to me that these are gut arguments you all are presenting, not based on anything anyone has done in a lab.
    I didn't come to my opinion based on emotion. I came to it precisely because I have spent time in a lab, performed measurements, and compared results.
    You're basically trying to set yourself up as an authority and then appeal to yourself, a fallacy. It's not going to work. It's disrespectful to the other participants here, especially considering you have NO idea what their backgrounds may be. Further, if we are to appeal to authority, then let's just quote "The Negative" and close the thread because nobody here has produced the body of artistic or technical work which that man did.
    Among other things, all you digital guys ignore aliasing which exists in digital but not in analog. This interests me as it shows either a lack of understanding or a wish to avoid a major problem in digital.
    I'm ignoring it because I've never seen it in any of my own work, and therefore it is hardly a "major" problem.
    It is plain to me that everyone in the digital arena here seems to have a closed mind to the possibility that digital is not yet perfect.
    Nobody here has claimed digital is perfect. This has nothing to do with the thread and is basically a side rant designed to undermine everyone here who might disagree with you.
    Best of luck to you all, but I can make 20x24 enlargements from 35mm and have proofs to show it. I cannot do that with digital and I have proofs to show it. The data was obtained using a Nikon D70 vs a Nikon 2020 with Portra 160VC. The photos were side by side comparisons. Too bad. Digital lost!
    Now who is making the emotional argument? This isn't a "win" or "lose", this is simply an attempt to understand. BTW, I've made multiple comparison prints from various digital cameras, 35mm films, and medium format films, both through scanning and wet lab work. Which "wins" depends on many factors. In some scenarios a D70 would "win". But I'm hard pressed to think of any scenario where 35mm would "win" against a 1Ds mkII or higher.
     
  232. Vijay,
    Bernie, you're right - that needs clarification. I should have looked at Daniel's images more carefully. There is a fundamental problem with those images - they progressively enlarge a binary section of the image - the catchlights in the model's eyes. Those catchlights are completely black, the pupil is clear. The source information is "binary", so sorry, that can't be used to "prove" that grain is binary.
    As can clearly be seen in A and B, the image is not monochromatic or "binary". There are gray tones throughout the region enlarged. (I've reposted so people don't have to scroll up.)
    Halftones would require that two identical pixels, illuminated by the same amount of light (same uniform grey wall) do two different things - (and proportional to the grayness of that wall, no less) - that's impossible in the universe we inhabit.

    Film can't magically do something that is a mathematical impossibility. You don't have to know chemistry to understand that.

    Grains are by no means identical in an emulsion. Size, shape, and orientation all determine the sensitivity, or threshold, of an individual grain. Two grains next to each other can receive the same exposure, and one will reduce to silver while the other will not. Films even incorporate multiple layers with different average grain sizes and therefore different average sensitivities to stretch the dynamic and tonal range.
    Earlier I said that I could recall an article which stated that degree of exposure had some influence over how completely a grain reduced to silver. I've tried finding it and all I can find, in my books and in online references, is the repeated claim that a grain is either developed completely to silver, or not. Unless someone can produce an authoritative statement to the contrary, I'm going on that understanding of development. I can find no reference which supports the idea that reduction to silver for a single grain is proportional to exposure as opposed to being binary in nature, reduced or not.
    It does appear from what I've been reading, trying to refresh my memory as to the most minor details of film development which could influence what we are discussing, that at the threshold (2-4 electrons, depending on emulsion) a grain is not guaranteed to develop. Grain exposure above that threshold, development temperature, agitation, and development time all influence the probability of the chain reaction occurring and the grain being reduced to silver. This is why you can control contrast through development time. A grain in a highlight area will have had more exposure and is likely to chain react and reduce to silver with a short time. But a grain in a shadow area might be right at the threshold for the grain, and the odds of it reacting and reducing to silver increase with longer development time. But again, a grain is either reduced or not. Given the total context of exposure, temperature, agitation, and time, it either chain reacts or not. Near thresholds you have odds of the chain reaction occurring for a single grain, not a guarantee that every similar grain will develop.
    At any rate, for all the text written in this thread, this whole debate can be reduced to a simple proposition and test. If a single grain can take on any tone like a pixel, then it should be easy to produce optical 400x microscope views where individual grains are clearly seen and are clearly of various shades of gray. I've looked at many frames of B&W film under a microscope. They all look like the example I posted. Magnify enough that the grains are clearly visible, and it's also clearly visible that grains only come in one tone: black.
     
  233. Bernie,
    I admit, I am a bit stumped on the gray wall example. I guess it comes back to your statement about luminance being uniform.
    I discuss the gray wall example above, though I wouldn't expect you to try and find it now that this thread is so long. Uniform exposure of a frame of film will not "flip" the film to white or black because grains are not uniform. Their size, shape, and orientation varies greatly and all factors influence both sensitivity and the probability of any single grain being reduced to silver. Given a uniform illumination exposed for middle gray, some grains will receive sufficient exposure for their size/shape/orientation and will develop, while others will not. Further, near the thresholds for the factors which influence development (i.e. grain exposure versus time in developer), you have odds of a single grain developing, not a guarantee. So even with two very similar grains with uniform exposure at their threshold, you might have one develop while the other does not.
     
  234. From above: As can clearly be seen in A and B, the image is not monochromatic or "binary". There are gray tones throughout the region enlarged. (I've reposted so people don't have to scroll up.)
    I forgot to upload it, so here it is.
    00RSwL-87739684.jpg
     
  235. Vijay,
    Controlled deposit implies linearity - the controlling factor being development time. Linear process. Binary is uncontrolled - there are only two states, and these must be determined at exposure time, 4 atom threshold and all - therefore a controlled deposition process post exposure is not possible with binary grains.
    What is linear is the probability that grains will develop as development time increases. The grains themselves either develop or not, binary.
     
  236. Daniel: I can find no reference which supports the idea that reduction to silver for a single grain is
    proportional to exposure as opposed to being binary in nature, reduced or not.

    Then this must imply that the reduction of the entire grain happens instantaneously, because if it happens slowly
    over time, what would happen if I pulled the film out of the developer midway? Would that grain be in some
    intermediate gray state? Surely that can't be - we already assumed grain is binary.

    If the process is instantaneous, then whatever grains met whatever "threshold" (neither the grains have to be
    identical, nor the thresholds, just the fact that some grains met their threshold and some didn't) would go all
    black, and the others would remain all clear. Keeping the film in developer longer wouldn't help either, since
    whatever is black is already fully black and can't change state; and whatever is clear is below the threshold
    (ignoring the small percentage of grains "at" the threshold that could go either way) and can't change state either.

    Then push and pull processing wouldn't be possible. Also, film would develop at first contact with the developer,
    being largely independent of development time.

    Right?
     
  237. Vijay,
    Then this must imply that the reduction of the entire grain happens instantaneously, because if it happens slowly over time, what would happen if I pulled the film out of the developer midway? Would that grain be in some intermediate gray state? Surely that can't be - we already assumed grain is binary.
    I have no reference which gives an estimate of the time it takes for a single grain to reduce to silver. Total development time is determined by and optimized for development of the full range of variable grains in a particular emulsion. The development of any single one would have to take less time, but you are right that it can't be instantaneous.
    I don't know that pulling the film from the developer would "freeze" any chain reacting grains "mid reaction", i.e. the point where the chain reaction starts may be, for all intents and purposes, instantaneous. But if the reaction can be slowed or stopped, you would not see a gray grain, but a smaller speck of black silver than you should have.
    I get your point though, and it would imply that, in fact, development time does influence how completely a grain is converted to silver, contrary to my assumption above and to the texts I'm referring to. That is if the reaction, once started, can be stopped midway and occurs on a timescale where this means something in practical use.
    I'm going to keep looking for the reference that implies as much, and I'll gladly correct my above posts if I find it. But...and this is important...grains would still be black specks with tonality determined at a level observable under an optical microscope. If only half of a silver halide crystal were converted to silver because of short development time, you wouldn't have a gray grain, you would have a smaller black speck. This would be similar to an ink jet printer which can not only vary the pattern of dots, but the dot sizes. It still would not be like a pixel which, again, can be any tone.
    I keep bringing that up not to prove that digital "wins" anything, simply to note that grains are not like pixels, and therefore conclusions about resolution, tonality, etc. cannot be made by comparing pixels and grains 1-to-1.
    If the process is instantaneous, then whatever grains met whatever "threshold" (neither the grains have to be identical, nor the thresholds, just the fact that some grains met their threshold and some didn't) would go all black, and the others would remain all clear. Keeping the film in developer longer wouldn't help either, since whatever is black is already fully black and can't change state; and whatever is clear is below the threshold (ignoring the small percentage of grains "at" the threshold that could go either way) and can't change state either.
    But thresholds are not hard and fast points. That's something that really stood out at me reviewing a few different texts before posting this morning. A simple illustration: at 2 minutes maybe half of the crystals near their threshold develop, while 3/4ths that got more exposure develop. At 4 minutes maybe 3/4ths near their threshold develop, while all the ones with more exposure develop. At some sufficiently long time, every crystal on the film will be reduced to silver including those never exposed.
     
  238. Vijay,
    I feel silly for missing it, but the article has been referenced 3x in this thread though different sections were quoted.
    http://www.cheresources.com/photochem.shtml
    Relevant text:
    When an exposed film is placed in a developer solution, the grains that contain silver nuclei are reduced much faster than those that do not. The more nuclei present in a given grain (i.e., the greater the exposure of that grain), the faster the reaction with developer and the darker the image at that site in the film. Factors such as temperature, concentration of the developer, pH, and the total number of nuclei in each grain determine the extent of development and the intensity of free silver (blackness) deposited in the film emulsion in a given time.
    Note: by darker I do not believe they are implying that a grain can vary from light grays to black, which we simply do not see in microscope views. Darkness is explained by the text "...intensity of free silver (blackness) deposited..." The site on the film appears darker at a distance because more silver or "blackness" is there, i.e. a larger black speck. Again, tonality is formed at a level observable under a microscope by grains which are black but vary in density which, as we see from this text, includes number and size.
    Also:
    The rate of development, as determined from the change in the optical density of the developed image, is complicated by the fact that density increases in two different ways: (1) by the increase in the amount of silver as the grains develop and (2) by an increase in the number of grains in the process of development. Density grows rapidly at first and then slows down until development is complete and no further growth in density takes place. Prolonged development would, of course, increase overall density through the development of unexposed grains (fog).
    So grains with high exposure start to develop sooner and develop more quickly to silver, while grains with low exposure take longer to start developing and then develop more slowly into silver. Good call on your last post. You made me keep looking.
    Where are we at in regard to Reichmann's article? I still say from the perspective he was looking at things, his article was fairly accurate. His whole point was that an individual grain is not like a pixel, able to assume any tone. You need a cluster of grains to form a tone. That's true. And in one sense grains are "binary" because, individually, they are one tone. But in another sense they aren't because they can vary in final size due to exposure/development, which influences the tone perceived at lower magnification.
     
  239. Been said before, but I'll add mine 2cents. I shoot both. Commercial and corporate is done on 40D and 1Ds, and my choice landscapes are on MF and 35mm film. My 1Ds walks all over 35mm in resolution, but cannot compete with the look and DR of film. Which is the real issue, it's the look I want. For many of my shoots I always carry the 40D. I will experiment with that, get instant gratication, and then follow up the selects with film. Yes, digital is much cleaner as the SNR is better, but many times it's the imperfections or shortcomings of film that I want to be part of the image in the first place. I think we need to stop arguing about digital vs. film. It's really neither. They are formats and have looks in their own right. Film and film gear is cheap when you consider Ebay and processing at $6 a roll for MF, compared to $7K for a new 21MP camera kit. The real value of digital is in the development and print technology. No more dark room. A good scanner and pigment inkjet far offsets the real cost/labor of film. After working with both and balancing the merits, I had to say no contest. Just shoot.
    00RSzS-87775684.jpg
     
  240. Here is the same scene with Film:
    00RSzr-87777584.jpg
     
  241. DLT:

    That the silver looks like a wool pad under an electron microscope is interesting but irrelevant. The "holes" you see at
    electron microscope scale are too small to attenuate light in the manner you are suggesting. A single grain is simply not
    discernible as being any one of thousands of shades of gray like

    So those holes are too small to let light through? how can that be?

    I'm NOT suggesting that a single grain is many shades of grey far from it, what I am suggesting is that the filamentary
    structure of grain is proportional in density to the light that strikes it.
    Many grains stacked though several layers, overlapping or not, all attenuating light proportional to the silver content
    create the ILLUSION of tone, just as clumping is an OPTICAL effect, not a physical on, graininess is also OPTICAL.

    DLT:

    If your theory was true we would see gray grains under an optical microscope. The fact that we do not proves your
    theory false.
    Quite the opposite just because we see black specks under a microscope doesn't mean the are SOLID and OPAQUE.
    Just remember that those grains are filamentary and pass light (as you've conceded) just because a lower magnification
    make those LOOK like solid lumps doesn't mean they ARE.
    The magnification doesn't change the property of the filamentary grain it still has holes you just can SEE them.

    Look, you still haven't explained the image that shows a black grain with a hole in the middle if film is binary it must be
    opaque 1 (solid) or not 0 (clear) it cannot be the both at the same time!!!
     
  242. DLT
    Where are we at in regard to Reichmann's article? I still say from the perspective he was looking at things, his article
    was fairly accurate. His whole point was that an individual grain is not like a pixel, able to assume any tone. You need a
    cluster of grains to form a tone. That's true. And in one sense grains are "binary" because, individually, they are one
    tone. But in another sense they aren't because they can vary in final size due to exposure/development, which
    influences the tone perceived at lower magnification

    Hey Daniel that is my position and what I state in my blog (if you bothered to read it)

    Reichmann actually stated:
    "An individual film grain can only be either black or not-black, on or off, exposed or not exposed"

    We know that that is untrue because when he states black he means OPAQUE for it to be binary it must be black or
    clear.
    We know that it is untrue because the grains are a structure that lets light through in VARYING amounts that when in a
    stack give the ILLUSION of tone but because the amount of light they pass is variable the cant be binary.

    For a binary state to exist they would have to black light TOTALLY (1) or let it through (0) but we already know their
    property is to transmit light in proportion to exposure.

    m
     
  243. Daniel - also its not like you have one sensitivity speck on a grain - you have many, which means that a single grain will seem to be made of several areas of "black" silver spots and several clear areas - sort of like a halftone shading of the grain itself. Like I said before, nobody denies that the state of metallic silver can either be present or absent - i.e, one of two states at the end, but the grain itself is not a binary entity. It doesn't transition rapidly from state to state, and it can and does have intermediate, continuous, stable values of silver in it, proportional to exposure.

    Precisely a linear system.

    As for resolution, if a grain can have continuous values, then why - the largest of these grains would determine the smallest resolvable feature size, not a clump of 40-60 grains; which occupy such large area that it would yield too low a resolution number for film. I am also aware that grains don't line up precisely in rows, so it may take 2-5 median grain widths to resolve the thinnest line, not the one grain I've been saying for the sake of argument. But Reichmann takes the approach that a 10 micron grain is entirely black or entirely clear - that would give single digit resolution numbers; and that is not borne out by practical experience.
     
  244. And let me illustrate how apparent grain much larger than each individual grain crystal can occur if this grain crystal has "halftone shading". Please see the attached picture. I made a quick and dirty halftone grain (top right corner), and randomly "brushed" this at different places. More in some places, less in others (sort of like an image). See how big grainy things appear to form in places - this is the graininess you see at lower magnifications, not the actual grain.
    00RT4H-87807684.jpg
     
  245. Daniel;

    Any electron micrograph can show both developed silver and silver halide if the process is interrupted at a given
    time. This is often done by quenching and then preparing a carbon replica of the silver halide crystal.

    Also, any process can be shown to be "digital" at the molecular or atomic level. A solution of dye has a given
    density, and repeated dilutions can give an infinite level of densities. The difference is that mankind has only learned
    how to do this in rather large steps called bits, and usually not much more than 64 bits in some series of steps or
    about at the micron level, whereas in nature the steps represent the angstrom level in atoms and molecules.
    Therefore, in that dye solution, a single molecule of dye represents one bit and each bit has an epsilon value (molar
    absorbance) associated with it which represents 6.023 x 10^23 "bits" possible in a molar solution of dye. That is
    pretty huge compared to digital and is what is going on in color film and B&W film. Chips cannot achieve that
    resoluton.

    Now, as for calling myself an expert, I think that being a system engineer at Kodak directly working on this type of
    problem in R&D for 32 years kinda qualifies me as at least knowing what I'm doing and talking about. I'm tired of
    hearing this pseudo scientific argument about analog being digital. It is incorrect except at the atomic level. You
    either expose enough silver halide molecules to form a latent image or not! You may have more than one site on a
    grain though and some may be exposed and some not. The grain does not have to develop completely. Therefore it
    is not on/off, it is any posssible condition from on to off. A digital camera is on/off and that is an absolute.

    Oh, and the pictures from the D70 and the 2020 are quite striking when you look into the dark areas at high
    magnification. You see streaking and noise in the digital image which is inherent digital at the present level of
    technnology. You don't have to be an expert.

    Ron Mowrey
     
  246. Vijay, you misinterpreted Ansel Adams in your analysis. Let me quote the FULL QUOTE:
    "Examination of a photographic negative with a magnifier reveals that it is not made up of a continuous range of white-to-black values, but that such values are simulated using a controlled deposit of individual black specks. These specks are the grain of the emulsion, the reduced metallic silver deposited when a halide crystal responded to light and 'developed'." Page 19, The Negative
    He says: 'controlled deposit of individual black specks'. I repeat: individual black specks. I.e. either black specks exist on a spot of film, or they don't. How can you get any more binary than that?
    Moreover, in the next sentence, he says 'these specks are the grain'.
    The 'controlled deposit' is 'controlled' by how many photons hit a given area of film. Some grains within this area do not experience enough productive collisions with photons to result in 3-4 reduced silver atoms at a sensitivity site. Some grains do. Those that do are further reduced upon development (whether or not this process is 'analog'... i.e. based on the number of metallic silver atoms at sensitivity sites, the rate of reduction of all AgBr salts within the crystal is controlled... is what we are trying to figure out in this gargantuan debate. This is why I was asking you to please read the chemistry of the process) to:
    • a.) either a fully black metallic silver grain (with all AgBr salts reduced to metallic Ag), or
    • b.) a grain containing black metallic silver atoms in proportion to the initial exposure of *that very* grain.
    Thus, in the end, the amount deposited is 'controlled' by how many of the Ag crystals, within a given area of film, develop to black, and how many are dissolved away in the development processed. This, in turn, is 'controlled' by how many photons productively hit this site of the film, which, in turn, is controlled by the brightness/darkness of whatever is being images at this point of the film.
    "therefore a controlled deposition process post exposure is not possible with binary grains." -- Nope, you have not proved this with your argument, because I just showed how it is possible above. I'm not saying I'm right & this is the only way it works, I'm just saying that it is certainly possible, and I insist that you desist from proving this well established theory wrong UNLESS you can show me that light uniformly falls on all silver crystals within a given area and the sensitivity of all these crystals within this area is EXACTLY THE SAME therefore one crystal can't respond differently than another and, for example, NOT reach the threshold of 3 reduced atoms while the silver crystal next to it DOES reach the threshold of 3 reduced silver atoms.
     
  247. You think "Those that do are further reduced upon development to: b.) a grain containing black metallic silver atoms in proportion to the initial exposure of *that very* grain." describes a binary grain?
     
  248. Ron Mowrey - I just figured out that you were talking about resolution as quantization steps of a single pixel (that is the correct terminology too); we were talking about optical resolution - as in MTF of film kind of resolution. I see how your posts address the former, not sure how they address the latter.
     
  249. I carefully read every single post, and considered all of the arguments. As a result, I lost my job, my wife has left me, and my car just broke down. Oh, and I still can't make heads or tails out of this thread.
     
  250. But you'll have more time to dev and print your film, Benny.

    :)))
     
  251. That's funny Benny - really liked that!

    Phil
     
  252. Hi guys - may I ask a question?? I feel I can do this becuase after all I started this thread by asking the question.

    Aren't we really splitting hairs by argueing over all the technical stuff. For the average pleb like me,most of us don't understand it. Moreover, I guarrantee that at the end of this, each of you will still be of the same opinion when you started - nothing would have changed.

    I think what Peter Ferling said about sums up the most intelligent answer on this whole thread. He shoots both (and whether or not one is 'better' over the other after examining them on a micro level - does not matter), and it all gets down to which looks the best for each given application or desired outcome. He then goes and shoots that medium for that application. He is happy, the customer (or person looking at the finished result) is happy and neither film or digital has won or lost at the end of the day. Just two different systems - each doing what they do best.

    Mark - you seem a really intelligent guy - would like to know what you think of this summary.

    Cheers - Phil
     
  253. Good posts Daniel.

    I really believe there is no need to even consider what is going on at the molecular/crystal level. If at HUMAN VISIBLE realms the negative is composed of clumps of black and clear, with no grey tones visible, then this is all that really matters. What this shows unequivocally is that tones in a negative, as relating to the HUMAN VISIBLE realm, are formed by clumps of black and clear areas of the negative. Hence, meaningful resolution can only be discerned at the clumping scale. It doesn't matter what they look like under an EM. It doesn't matter what the process is of stacking across the different layers. The only thing that matters is that tones ARE created through the clumping of black and clear sections of the negative.
     
  254. Exactly Benny - but what is the scale of that clumping? Subgranular or supragranular? The answer will point to the resolution of film, and that will give us a meaningful way to compare film with digital.

    Hence the debate. Of course every so often someone will say that such a debate doesn't matter - just go take pictures with whatever works. Sure, no problem. Some of us also feel happy (in addition to being practitioners of the elevated "art" of photography) when we develop an understanding of the processes involved.

    Oh, and that hero of the art of photography - Ansel Adams - also dug deep into its technical and scientific aspects. Evidently he wasn't satisfied with the "just do what works and be happy" approach either.
     
  255. Sorry, my last post was addressed to Bernie West. Should read "Exactly, Bernie..."
     
  256. This reminds me of some discussion of inkjet printing where I have seen detailed scans of the drops on paper from the newer 1.5pl printers on (like the R1800, etc). Those printers are clearly putting down fine dots of carbon and in combination with the spaces around create a range of tones. See page five here: http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/Ink-Mixing.pdf

    Perhaps this is a simpler analogy for what is happening and doesn't require electron microscopes?
     
  257. Bernie,

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it! ;-)
     
  258. Mark,
    Quite the opposite just because we see black specks under a microscope doesn't mean the are SOLID and OPAQUE.
    If something is black when white light is shining behind it, then it is by definition opaque.
    You have the right idea of how tone is formed on film, but you're insisting it occurs on a scale much smaller than it actually does. It's not the structure of silver under an electron microscope that determines tone, it's the number and size of silver spots clearly visible under optical microscopes.
    Just remember that those grains are filamentary and pass light (as you've conceded)
    Wait a minute: I did not concede that they pass light in any meaningful way. What I conceded is that individual grains, which are solid black specks as viewed under any optical microscope, vary in size based on original grain size, exposure, and development parameters. The analogy would be an ink jet which can control not only dot placement, but dot size.
    Unfortunately the electron microscope view of developed film in the series I posted is not labeled as to scale. But I can just about guarantee that those "holes" in between filaments are more narrow than the wavelengths of visible light. You're seeing something that has to be resolved by an electron microscope because it cannot be resolved by visible light, yet insisting that it impacts viewer perception of tone at a magnification roughly 3 orders of magnitude less than that of an electron microscope.

    It just doesn't work that way.
    just because a lower magnification make those LOOK like solid lumps doesn't mean they ARE.
    So you're suggesting that at even lower magnifications these black specks will magically appear gray? You're not making sense. If they're solid black at 400x, they're solid black! Again, you have the right understanding of how tone is formed and perceived in B&W film, but you're insisting it happens on a scale several orders of magnitude below where it actually occurs.
    Look, you still haven't explained the image that shows a black grain with a hole in the middle if film is binary it must be opaque 1 (solid) or not 0 (clear) it cannot be the both at the same time!!!
    Just because you think you see a hole under an electron microscope doesn't actually mean any light can pass through that space and meaningfully impact viewer perception. (And I still say that's undeveloped film as it is labeled. See the EM view in the series I posted for developed film.)
     
  259. Mark,
    Hey Daniel that is my position and what I state in my blog (if you bothered to read it)
    I did read your blog and you are insisting both there and here that individual grains can be translucent, implying the ability to represent gray tones like a pixel. They cannot. They are either there (black) or not (clear). Their size can vary in proportion to exposure and development, but they do not, individually, pass varying amounts of light. Only collectively are they able to do this and simulate tone.
    We know that that is untrue because when he states black he means OPAQUE for it to be binary it must be black or clear. We know that it is untrue because the grains are a structure that lets light through in VARYING amounts
    Mark, optical enlargements of film are clearly at odds with your theory, whether we're talking about huge prints with grain visible or microscope views.
     
  260. Exactly Benny - but what is the scale of that clumping? Subgranular or supragranular? The answer will point to the resolution of film, and that will give us a meaningful way to compare film with digital.
    Well it appears to be supra granular if you believe Daniel, Adams and Daniel's pictures above. This should be really easy to solve. I'll do some rough maths, and just point out if you think I have calculated wrongly:
    figure (d) in Daniel's post is about 6x5cm. Divide by 400 means we are looking at an a scale of 150x125 microns. Clearly this is supra-granular. Do you see grey areas in the negative at this scale? Did Adam's see grey areas in the negative at similar(?) scales? This argument should be over. Tones in a negative are clearly formed through the clumping of black and clear areas in the negative.
     
  261. Vijay,
    Daniel - also its not like you have one sensitivity speck on a grain - you have many, which means that a single grain will seem to be made of several areas of "black" silver spots and several clear areas - sort of like a halftone shading of the grain itself.
    Then we should see gray grains under a microscope. We don't. At the scale you are talking about it's not possible for the filament structure you and Mark speak of to appear as anything under the visible wavelengths. That's why we don't see any gray grains, but we do see larger and smaller grains based on how much silver deposited. It's also why there are no optical microscope views of these filaments. They cannot be resolved at visible wavelengths.
    Like I said before, nobody denies that the state of metallic silver can either be present or absent - i.e, one of two states at the end, but the grain itself is not a binary entity. It doesn't transition rapidly from state to state, and it can and does have intermediate, continuous, stable values of silver in it, proportional to exposure.
    Amount of silver affecting perceived size of the grain? Yes. Translucence which enables it to be seen as anything other than black? No.
    As for resolution, if a grain can have continuous values, then why - the largest of these grains would determine the smallest resolvable feature size, not a clump of 40-60 grains;
    They do not have continuous values of tone. They are black. Understand this and you'll also understand another seemingly non-intuitive difference between digital capture and film capture. On a B&W line chart a frame of film might easily out resolve a particular digital camera system. On a scene with shades of gray and color, not so much, if at all. To resolve a black line you need a "column" of grains only a few grains wide (because grains are not neatly organized in a grid it's more than 1). To resolve a light gray line on a medium gray background, you need a wider "column" of grain because a single grain cannot be gray. On digital you need the same columns of pixels to resolve a line pair whether it's black on white or 60% gray on 40% gray.
    I am also aware that grains don't line up precisely in rows, so it may take 2-5 median grain widths to resolve the thinnest line, not the one grain I've been saying for the sake of argument. But Reichmann takes the approach that a 10 micron grain is entirely black or entirely clear - that would give single digit resolution numbers; and that is not borne out by practical experience.
    Fuji Neopan Acros 100 resolves 200 lpmm at 1000:1 contrast.
    So a line pair on Acros, at a contrast level where there is only black and white, and only film grain size should matter in regard to resolution, needs a width of roughly 5 microns, 2.5 microns for the black "column" and 2.5 for the white "column". I have a reference which states that general B&W grain sizes are 0.2-2 microns. That seems to mesh if we're talking about pure black/white lines. Your thinnest line is going to be a bit wider than your largest grain. At 1.6:1 the resolution is only 60 lpmm on a B&W test chart, and demonstrably lower than a full frame camera with 60 lpmm resolution on anything less than pure black on pure white lines. Heck, I can't pull any more detail out of Acros on a real scene than I can out of APS DSLRs in the 8-10 MP range. Maybe with a high contrast developer and an Imacon it would barely show more detail. That's consistent with Reichmann's theory, not yours.
     
  262. DLT
    I did read your blog and you are insisting both there and here that individual grains can be translucent, implying the
    ability to represent gray tones like a pixel. They cannot. They are either there (black) or not (clear). Their size can vary in
    proportion to exposure and development, but they do not, individually, pass varying amounts of light. Only collectively
    are they able to do this and simulate tone.

    Well you didn't understand, then grain is filamentary and CAN pass varying amounts of light that is FACT.
    Where you are confused is you are implying if a filamentary structure can pass light i must have tone -it doesn't the
    tones is created OPTICALLY within the STACKED emulsion.
    I am NOT saying
    Grain is of varying tone, what I am saying is it passes varying amount of light to create tone.
    I'm still waiting if grain is black or clear how a grain can be black and clear at the same time?
    Binary can only have 2 states!!!!

    Bernie tones are not formed by the clumping of black and clear but light passing through filamentary structures many
    layers deep.
     
  263. Ron,
    Therefore, in that dye solution, a single molecule of dye represents one bit and each bit has an epsilon value (molar absorbance) associated with it which represents 6.023 x 10^23 "bits" possible in a molar solution of dye.
    That would maybe be true if we could perceive differences at that level when looking at a normal sized enlargement. We can't. If I could precisely control the exposure of spots on film such that there was a line of "spots" which were, say, 5 dye molecules high by 5 dye molecules wide, where each "spot" had a different number of dye molecules within, then theoretically I would have a line of 32 spots each a slightly different shade. And do you know what you would see in a 16x24 print? Not a gosh darn thing.
    That is pretty huge compared to digital and is what is going on in color film and B&W film. Chips cannot achieve that resoluton.
    That resolution is theoretical nonesense that is not in any way supported by observation. In science, theory follows observation, no matter what your resume is.
    The grain does not have to develop completely. Therefore it is not on/off,
    Nobody said it was on/off. But it is only black as confirmed by microscope views published by your company and observable by anyone with some B&W frames and access to a microscope.
     
  264. Rishi, I'm just back on line on the East Coast. Since you raised the point of sharpening, I looked back at the original TIFF scan and there is the same definition but with more gradation in the shading between pixels. So the resolution is the same. I had applied some sharpening for the final image. I'll try to attach it here but I am new to this editor. As for the rest of this thread, Reichmann's reason for saying that grain is digital was to highlight his point that film only shows more resolution in high contrast situations. My enlargement of this 23 megapixel equivalent slide shows individual pixels of different shades so the resolution is not only in the high contrast borders. With the right film and technique, film can show very high resolution but with a different overall look, which I personally prefer. Hugh
    00RTHy-87931884.jpg
     
  265. Please somebody start the debate of Nikon vs Canon. This debate went from a guy asking about film to the Vijay and Rishi
    show, fighting over film at a molecular level.
     
  266. Well you didn't understand, then grain is filamentary and CAN pass varying amounts of light that is FACT.
    A fact (in this context) is something which can be reliably observed by more than one person. If you wish to call gray grains a fact, show a microscope view where there are gray grains (in focus of course).
    Ansel Adams and Michael Reichmann apparently see the same thing under a microscope that I do. Kodak photographed the behavior that we're seeing so that anyone can see it without access to film and a microscope. They even made a nice little series of images to clearly illustrate the behavior, and described it in text below the images. I'm not sure what more I could do to add to Kodak's published work. I've posted it twice to this forum. What more can I do or say?
    Where you are confused is you are implying if a filamentary structure can pass light i must have tone
    If something passes less light than is being shined onto it from behind, then by definition it is going to have a tone between black and white.
    I am NOT saying Grain is of varying tone, what I am saying is it passes varying amount of light to create tone.

    Distinction without difference: to pass a varying amount of light is to vary in tone. If individual grains passed varying levels of light, then they would appear as gray.
    I'm still waiting if grain is black or clear how a grain can be black and clear at the same time?
    Nobody said it could. If it's present, it's black. If it's washed away by fixer, there's nothing there, so clear.
     
  267. Benny,
    I carefully read every single post, and considered all of the arguments. As a result, I lost my job, my wife has left me, and my car just broke down. Oh, and I still can't make heads or tails out of this thread.
    LOL! My car is being repaired and I have a nasty cold. So arguing over binary grains is all I have to do at the moment ;-)
    I don't recommend this level of discussion to anyone who is healthy and has transportation available. Go photograph something, whether you use binary film grans or analog sensor wells ;-)
     
  268. jorge,
    Please somebody start the debate of Nikon vs Canon. This debate went from a guy asking about film to the Vijay and Rishi show, fighting over film at a molecular level.
    Everyone knows that film molecules are arranged in a more pleasing way when you shoot Canon ;-)
     
  269. DLT
    If you think that light cant pass through a filamentary grain (most grain are filamentary) because light cant pas though something that
    small?
    Are you kidding?
    The filaments are made up of silver that photons have hit the holes are bigger than the filaments, the grain structures are
    sometimes 10µm wide and gaps can be seen but light can't pass through a gap that could be say 0.2µm?
    LOL


    Grains are filamentary structures they let light through so that tone can form if you reduce magnification they look like
    black specks, but that doesn't change their physical state!
    Look at a lower magnification you can't see grain at all-they are still there.
    If you look at a tree you can see leaves, move back several hundred yards and you see a green blob-but the leaves are
    still there!!!
    Grain passes light, simple fact- you don't like it.
    Look at the last image you posted the one with the filaments (from the Kodak H1 data sheet) :

    "When at low magnification filaments APPEAR as a single particle" - that doesn't mean they are! and light easily passes
    through the structures.
     
  270. DLT
    A fact (in this context) is something which can be reliably observed by more than one person. If you wish to call gray grains
    a fact, show a microscope view where there are gray grains (in focus of course).

    I have NEVER said grains are grey, that is a misrepresentation of my argument- you know it, and it does you no credit to
    carry on with your STRAWMAN.

    Grain is filamentary and passes VARYING amounts of light- much to your chagrin- ergo film is analogue.
     
  271. DLT
    If something passes less light than is being shined onto it from behind, then by definition it is going to have a tone between
    black and white.

    yep the penny is dropping.

    The more denser the filamentary structure the less light it passes- a description of the analogue transmissive quality of
    filamentary grain.
     
  272. Grains are filamentary structures they let light through so that tone can form if you reduce magnification they look like black specks, but that doesn't change their physical state!
    Yes, but their OBSERVABLE state in respect to negatives and printed images, is binary (i.e. Black or Clear). This is how tone is formed in an image. Not what is going on at the sub-microscopic level.
    Your example of the tree... The green tree at a distance is a TONE. If your analogy was accurate in respect to the leaves being equivalent to the grains, then the tree should be either black or white when view with less magnification (which is what happens with film grains).
     
  273. DLT
    Distinction without difference: to pass a varying amount of light is to vary in tone. If individual grains passed varying levels
    of light, then they would appear as gray

    No not true:
    You are confusing reflectance, with transmission.

    Try this put a load of wire wool in varying depths onto a light-box some loosely packed some denser.
    The wire wool will always be silver/black even when you shine a light through it, but look my do we have a lot of different tones when we
    turn the light box on- many more than the single tone we see with the reflected light.
     
  274. Mark,
    The filaments are made up of silver that photons have hit the holes are bigger than the filaments, the grain structures are sometimes 10µm wide and gaps can be seen but light can't pass through a gap that could be say 0.2µm? LOL
    You're describing the sizes in D, not in E. Again, you have the right idea about how tone is formed in B&W film, you just think it occurs at the wrong scale. If you had never seen an electron microscope view, you would be fine.

    Grains are filamentary structures they let light through so that tone can form if you reduce magnification they look like black specks,

    If at reduced magnification they are black specks, then they convey no tonal information.
    Grain passes light, simple fact- you don't like it. Look at the last image you posted the one with the filaments (from the Kodak H1 data sheet) :
    The last image was resolved using electrons because the filaments cannot be resolved with visible light.
    "When at low magnification filaments APPEAR as a single particle" - that doesn't mean they are! and light easily passes through the structures
    If that were the case they would not be black.
    It is really, truly perplexing to me that you believe a single grain can be pure black at 400x but something less than pure black at, say, 8x. Really think about what you're saying for a moment. It doesn't make any sense.
     
  275. Yes, but their OBSERVABLE state in respect to negatives and printed images, is binary (i.e. Black or Clear). This is
    how tone is formed in an image. Not what is going on at the sub-microscopic level.

    No that's not true.
    what is going on at 'sub microscopic level' is vital grain is filamentary not solid black. those filaments TRANSMIT light
    through layers, which in turn add to the effect of tonality.

    looking at the light REFLECTED and saying 'gee it looks balck' isn't good enough to prove that it isn't transmissive.

    In grain has a filamentary structure light CAN pass through, after all thats what we do with negative during opto
    mechanical reproduction, we shine light through...
     
  276. Daniel
    Everyone knows that film molecules are arranged in a more pleasing way when you shoot Canon ;-)

    See how easy that was?? Thank you so much, BTW...i prefer Nikon.....let the games begin. LOL
     
  277. No that's not true. what is going on at 'sub microscopic level' is vital grain is filamentary not solid black. those filaments TRANSMIT light through layers, which in turn add to the effect of tonality.
    So show us a microscopic image where you see grey tones in it! You can't. You speak of transmitting light. Well that is exactly what a microscope does, and exactly what an ELECTRON microspoce doesn't.
     
  278. I have NEVER said grains are grey, that is a misrepresentation of my argument- you know it, and it does you no credit to carry on with your STRAWMAN.

    Grain is filamentary and passes VARYING amounts of light- much to your chagrin- ergo film is analogue.

    No, it's not a strawman. You are creating an artificial distinction where there is no difference. To pass some amount of light is to be less than black. There is no such thing as an object which passes some light from behind yet appears black. To be black it would have to block all light. If it appears black, it's blocking all light.
    DLT If something passes less light than is being shined onto it from behind, then by definition it is going to have a tone between black and white.

    yep the penny is dropping.

    You didn't carry through. If something passes less light than is being shined onto it from behind, then by definition it is going to have a tone between black and white. But we do not see any individual grains between black and white in a microscope view, which means individual grains block all light.
    No not true: You are confusing reflectance, with transmission.
    You do realize that both microscopes and enlargers project light through a substance, don't you?
    Try this put a load of wire wool in varying depths onto a light-box some loosely packed some denser. The wire wool will always be silver/black even when you shine a light through it, but look my do we have a lot of different tones when we turn the light box on- many more than the single tone we see with the reflected light.
    A great analogy to what's happening in clusters of grain visible under optical conditions, NOT to what's happening within a single grain with structures only visible under electron microscopes.
     
  279. DLT
    If at reduced magnification they are black specks, then they convey no tonal information.

    The magnification YOU view them at under REFLECTED light is irrelevant, if they are filamentary, they pass light in a
    transmissive way.

    Its the light the grains pass that's important. not what the reflect.

    You refusal to accept that a filamentary structure can not pass light is crazy.

    Look daniel grain is analogue in the way it transmits light, you don't like it. You have experts like Ron who has worked as
    an imaging engineer for Kodak with over 15 patents to his name telling you it is analog and grain is not a solid black
    speck- you won't believe him-fine.
    You position is so entrenched that you just keep on insisting about this 'grey grain' straw man I'm afraid that you have
    made up you mind despite what i'm going to say so bye.
    It's 1pm in Europe and I've a busy day ahead goodnight all.
     
  280. DLT
    No, it's not a strawman. You are creating an artificial distinction where there is no difference. To pass some amount of light
    is to be less than black. There is no such thing as an object which passes some light from behind yet appears black. To be
    black it would have to block all light. If it appears black, it's blocking all light.

    Transmissive vs reflected- think about it..... (I know you can)
     
  281. No that's not true. what is going on at 'sub microscopic level' is vital grain is filamentary not solid black. those filaments TRANSMIT light through layers, which in turn add to the effect of tonality.
    LOL! If they added to the effect of tonality then that would be observable at 400x!
    looking at the light REFLECTED and saying 'gee it looks balck' isn't good enough to prove that it isn't transmissive.
    When I look at B&W film under a microscope I have to turn on the microscope light which is BEHIND the film to see it at all! I'm pretty confident that Adams, Reichmann, and Kodak all viewed/photographed film under a microscope using the light!
    Mark, please, please, PLEASE take a frame of B&W film and view it under an optical microscope. That would pretty much put an end to this thread.
     
  282. DLT
    You do realize that both microscopes and enlargers project light through a substance, don't you?
    You do realise that with a microscope you are looking at the reflected light (the grain will look black)

    With an enlarger the light passes through it's transmissive...

    just think about it
     
  283. Transmissive vs reflected- think about it..... (I know you can)
    What?!? Microscopes shine light THROUGH a sample. Hence what you see is TRANSMITTED light. Do you not see this?
     
  284. Grains are not solid black -we know that if a grain has a hole in the middle it passes light throught he centre.
    How hard is that to understand?

    seriously guys?
     
  285. The magnification YOU view them at under REFLECTED light is irrelevant, if they are filamentary, they pass light in a transmissive way.
    I can't believe I'm arguing with someone who has never used a microscope, much less viewed B&W film under one. You can't see anything on the film without a light behind the film. The microscope has a light behind (underneath) the film. You turn that light on to observe the film.
    Look daniel grain is analogue in the way it transmits light, you don't like it. You have experts like Ron who has worked as an imaging engineer for Kodak with over 15 patents to his name telling you it is analog and grain is not a solid black speck- you won't believe him-fine.
    Once again, if we are going to appeal to authority then I quote Ansel Adams and let's close the thread. With all due respect to Ron, Adams is a far more well known and respected authority.
    You position is so entrenched that you just keep on insisting about this 'grey grain' straw man I'm afraid that you have made up you mind despite what i'm going to say so bye. It's 1pm in Europe and I've a busy day ahead goodnight all.
    Do me a favor if you leave. Don't come back until you have actually, physically placed a frame of B&W film under a microscope and viewed it.
    Don't forget to turn the light on ;-)
     
  286. Mark,
    With an enlarger the light passes through it's transmissive...

    just think about it

    With a microscope light passes through, it's transmissive. Think about it.
    Bernie - is there an easier way to describe this? I'm at a loss! :)
     
  287. yes daniel its late strike that comment i'd pressed the post button too quick 1.30 am here.
    Look

    I'm still waiting for the explanation of how if film is binary it (solid black) that a grain can have holes in the middle (a third
    state)

    I think I'll be waiting a long time...
     
  288. Grains are not solid black -we know that if a grain has a hole in the middle it passes light throught he centre. How hard is that to understand?
    It's not hard, it's just wrong. The hole you 'see' in the middle of the grain is imaged using ELECTRONS. This is because they presumably can't be imaged with LIGHT. You talk about the size of a photon, but as you may or may not know, light exists as a particle/wave duality. Light waves are what are necessary to determine the visibility of an object. Think of it this way: X-Rays can pass through solid things. i.e. they don't image certain substances. This is not because the x-ray equivalent to a photon is too big to interact with those substances, but because the wavelength of x-rays is too big.
    Mark, I suspect you've lost the plot a little bit with your misunderstanding of microscopy. Take a break and distance yourself from this a little, and it should become more clear then.
     
  289. Vijay:
    "You think "Those that do are further reduced upon development to: b.) a grain containing black metallic silver atoms in proportion to the initial exposure of *that very* grain." describes a binary grain?"
    No, that would be an analog gain. Sorry, I forgot to type in the key words 'discern whether it's'. What I meant to say was:
    This is why I was asking you to please read the chemistry of the process, in order to discern whether it's:
    • a.) either a fully black metallic silver grain (with all AgBr salts reduced to metallic Ag) [binary], or
    • b.) a grain containing black metallic silver atoms in proportion to the initial exposure of *that very* grain. [analog]
    Sorry about that.
    DLT: I should be even more embarrassed for missing those lines because I'm the one who initially referenced that article. I stand corrected. I do have more to comment on this, but can't right now. Don't wanna lose my job like Benny over there :) But let me quickly say I do think it's a combination of both 'analog' and 'binary' explanations. Also, DLT, in your discussions you mention it can be analog in the sense that the amount of deposited silver per grain effectively controls the *size* of the black grain when perceived from a distance, and varying the size is what's analog here... BUT, also, I believe, the *density* of blackness of the grain can be affected by the number of initial nuclei (which are arranged at random around the surface of the crystal). This would add another dimension determining tonality of the grain when viewed from a distance.
    Kudos to everyone here... this has been amazing.
    Rishi
     
  290. Once again, if we are going to appeal to authority then I quote Ansel Adams and let's close the thread. With all due respect
    to Ron, Adams is a far more well known and respected authority.

    Ron is a photo engineer with many patents including Kodak Gold and Kodachrome- Anel was a good printer photographer
    but a throw away sentance about grain 'looking black' under a magnifier is not proof of you case.
    Ansel''s book the negative is NOT an in depth guide to the working of films at molecular level
    Ansel vs Ron I'll take Ron he is the specialist in the field.
     
  291. Do me a favor if you leave. Don't come back until you have actually, physically placed a frame of B&W film under a
    microscope and viewed it.

    Oh boy I'm leaving full stop.
     
  292. Rishi,
    BUT, also, I believe, the *density* of blackness of the grain can be affected by the number of initial nuclei (which are arranged at random around the surface of the crystal). This would add another dimension determining tonality of the grain when viewed from a distance.
    That's the key point of the debate between Mark and I. But again I reference microscope views. I think the paper, in describing degree of "blackness", is in fact talking about size. They're describing it from a distance and saying the region on film will appear darker the larger an individual grain is. But a single grain...not a cluster, a single grain...is just black. It's the number and size of grains in a cluster which determines the tone of a region on film.
    Kudos to everyone here... this has been amazing.
    It just goes to show how complicated and in depth matters can be. Look at how long this thread is as we try to grasp and fully understand the nature and nuances of B&W film. No wonder it takes so much effort to achieve peace between nations or a good economy or new energy supplies. Life is detailed, intricate, and complicated. It's lucky one does not have to know this stuff to actually produce great photographs!
     
  293. Mark, I suspect you've lost the plot a little bit with your misunderstanding of microscopy. Take a break and distance
    yourself from this a little, and it should become more clear then.

    Bernie grain is filamentary, it passes light. no amount of hand waving can change that.

    With that I must bow out-probably for good
     
  294. Mark,
    Daniel - Do me a favor if you leave. Don't come back until you have actually, physically placed a frame of B&W film under a microscope and viewed it.

    Mark - Oh boy I'm leaving full stop.

    You had two people telling you repeatedly that microscopes use transmissive light. I'm sorry if I was a bit sarcastic, but I was annoyed that I was arguing with you about observing B&W film under a microscope when it was apparent you had never tried it.
    Try it. You'll see very clearly that individual grains do not transmit some light.
     
  295. Bernie grain is filamentary, it passes light. no amount of hand waving can change that.
    Mark, if individual grains passed light it would be an observable phenomenon. But if you won't look at B&W film under a microscope, I can't say anything to make you see it.
     
  296. Bernie grain is filamentary, it passes light. no amount of hand waving can change that.
    Apparantly no amount of objective evidence can change it either.....
     
  297. Bernie;

    That is approximately correct. The silver is opaque, but distance between the grains/filaments etc. give the appearance of translucency/transparency. Things are only digital in film at the atomic or microscopic level.

    Daniel;

    You said:
    --------
    "That would maybe be true if we could perceive differences at that level when looking at a normal sized enlargement. We can't. If I could precisely control the exposure of spots on film such that there was a line of "spots" which were, say, 5 dye molecules high by 5 dye molecules wide, where each "spot" had a different number of dye molecules within, then theoretically I would have a line of 32 spots each a slightly different shade. And do you know what you would see in a 16x24 print? Not a gosh darn thing."
    -------
    This is exactly what happens in color film. Transparent, but colored, drops of dye are stacked one on top of another just like concentrated or dilute dye solutions. Each molecule is a digital representation of the final image and stacked they represent the special density attached to this level of density.

    This increase in density is analog just like the passage of single electrons appear to be analog visually when you turn on a potentiometer.

    As for making bad posts, the entire thread appears awfully strange to me as a photographic engineer. I have looked at lots of film using both microscopes and electron microscropes at scales below the micron range. I have also looked at the dye images.

    As for the pixellated example above, this is common to what I see from enlarged digital photos, but at the same scale the analog photos are not pixellated. This visual appeance is what counts when analysing the actual nature of the two types of photography.

    Ron Mowrey
     
  298. Ron,
    This is exactly what happens in color film. Transparent, but colored, drops of dye are stacked one on top of another just like concentrated or dilute dye solutions. Each molecule is a digital representation of the final image and stacked they represent the special density attached to this level of density.
    You missed the point. It takes relatively large clusters, or clouds, of these dye molecules to even remotely be perceived by a viewer. You cannot argure that film has "molecular" resolution of detail or tone, which is essentially what you were implying. If it did, a 110 film camera could comfortably out resolve, with superior tonal rendition, a MF digital back!
    This is the same as Mark and Vijay arguing that filaments which can only be resolved under an electron microscope none the less serve as the basis for computing resolution or tonal range. But those numbers would fly in the face of observation. We don't "see" individual molecules. Taking one molecule from a dye cloud large enough to perceive will not produce a different shade for the end viewer. Therefore you cannot treat each molecule as a bit in a formula and compute some absurd range of shades for the smallest perceivable dye cloud versus the known quantity of shades for a pixel. The steps have to be much larger than one molecule.
     
  299. As for the pixellated example above, this is common to what I see from enlarged digital photos, but at the same scale the analog photos are not pixellated.
    Ron, you are comparing an electronic image to a printed image (i.e. apples to oranges). If you print out a digital photo and then magnify it, you won't see square pixels.
     
  300. A general comment on this thread: the thrust of this thread has been in the opposite direction of what it should
    be. You should observe and form theories to explain your observations. We seem to be arguing theories without
    paying enough attention to observation.

    Keep the context of Michael Reichmann's article in mind. When digital was on the horizon, there were plenty of
    estimates regarding the resolution digital would need to reach to match film in print. They were typically based
    on average grain sizes or even on individual silver atoms and dye molecules. They ranged very high, double if not
    triple digital megapixels.

    But then digital became affordable and people observed something surprising: digital cameras could match film
    images in print at much lower resolutions than expected. 6 MP capture held up very well against 35mm at 8x10,
    11x14, and even against some films to 16x20. 12 MP full frame capture held its own at any size against 35mm.
    We're now at the point where 20+ MP full frame sensors comfortably out perform any film of the same size, and
    reach towards medium format.

    How could this be when a formula based on grain size or molecules predicts you need hundreds of megapixels to
    come close?

    Reichmann reached back to his experience and/or works like The Negative and published a theory explaining why.
    Observation, then theory. Unfortunately he had a bit of an axe to grind, and used terminology which offended
    people who wouldn't have blinked twice at Ansel Adam's essentially identical description of tonality and detail
    resolution in film.

    You can't argue against observation. You can't insist a theory which says Acros should have resolution down to
    the sub-micron size of an average grain is true when in real life at normal contrast it's 60 lpmm, or roughly 8
    microns for the thinest line. You can't insist a theory which says film records umpteen megaquadzillion shades of
    color is true when 12 and 14-bit digital capture produces images with all the same tones and gradients which are
    just as smooth. You can't insist that sensors can "never reach film's resolution" when owners of cameras like the
    1Ds don't even bother comparing them to 35mm, but instead compare them to the larger frame sizes of MF.

    It's not a win or lose situation. Use whatever you want. Explore both, please! I am grateful for my darkroom time
    and continue to spend time there because I feel working with B&W film materials calibrates my eye as to how B&W
    should look so that even my digital B&W improves as a result. I'm more likely to keep playing with color balance
    and saturation than some friends I know who have only shot digital because I grew up on films like Velvia and
    learned that there's more than one way to interpret the color in a scene.

    Just keep the theories in line with real observations ;-)
     
  301. You guys seem to be assigning opacity or translucency to atoms. Atoms have no such property. If they did, carbon
    atoms would be "black" and "opaque" so sugar could never be transparent.

    You also seem to be saying that you can't see anything other than a black grain in a microscope at 400x and you
    show that image to prove it - the source content in the image is binary - which means you can draw no conclusion
    whatsoever, but that doesn't seem to bother you.

    If you see specks of silver under a microscope at 400x, how can you tell that they are specs belonging to the
    same grain, or individual "binary" grains? EM evidence points to the former, but you want to continue ignoring
    that. This is the single crucial point that is being missed - looking at film under a microscope provides no data
    to distinguish between the two cases.

    You ignore all facts that pertain to the fact that at the macro level very few processes in nature have "states"
    - (sudden, threshold based phase change of matter being one of the rare examples) - the vast majority of
    processes are linear, or continuous. You coolly switch from the quantum to the macro to suit your arguments.

    You ignore the nature of "sudden state change" - it requires some really contrived physical processes to achieve.
    You do not truly understand the nature of binary, non-linear, switching systems because if you did, you would
    even be imagining such a thing.

    You also ignore all logical absurdities that arise from a true binary system - such as independence from
    development time.

    Are you guys serious?
     
  302. Since were are on this topic....can anyone tell me how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
     
  303. Vijay.... yes we are. Like I said before, I can't argue as to the veracity of a lot of the minutiae of this debate, but as
    I've esssentially said, the minutiae don't really matter in this case (of film vs digital resolution). You and Mark have
    your headspace in the wrong frame of reference. You continue to argue your point of view from the
    molecular/individual grain level. You need to remember that film and prints are a VISUAL medium. Stuff that goes
    on at sub-visual frames of reference, whilst undisputably important, don't really matter when it comes to tones in a
    negative or a digital print. This is because tones are a VISUAL perception. You need to bring your frame of
    reference up into the 'visual', and this really should become a non-argument. At visual scales of reference, negatives
    are made up of clumps of black and clear regions. Even if we granted that the 400x magnification image was only
    fully black and fully white, Ansell Adam's has verified this in presumably inumerable negatives. Daniel has stated
    that he has seen many negatives none of which display shades of gray at the filament/grain level. Hopefully, he can
    get an image of one and show it. Even if he can't, none of you guys have even acknowledged that you have seen
    shades of grey in negatives at the clumped grain frame of reference. I'm sorry if you don't like what we are saying,
    but the onus is well and truely on you guys to show some proof, or at least give some first hand anecdotal evidence.
     
  304. Since were are on this topic....can anyone tell me how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
    Why certainly, if you would just tell us what their heights are and what the diameter of the pinhead is, we can perform the necessary computations.
     
  305. carbon atoms would be "black" and "opaque" so sugar could never be transparent.
    You realise the spaces between atoms is greater than the region within atoms? This should be obvious when you correctly observe that sugar isn't opaque.
     
  306. Bernie: I can't argue as to the veracity of a lot of the minutiae of this debate, but as I've esssentially said, the minutiae don't really matter in this case.

    Yes, the "minutiae" do matter. Asserting one of those minutiae leads to absurdities. I've been repeatedly saying that at the visual scale, you may see black specs but there is no information at that scale that tells you that several black specs are not part of just one grain. If they are, then the grain is sort of grayscale by halftone, if they are not, then the grain is binary, i.e., a switching system.

    Good so far?

    If the grain were a switching system, you'd get into several absurdities as I have repeatedly pointed out, so by reductio ad absurdum, the grain has to be grayscale.

    You could argue about the physical and chemical processes till the cows came home, but you can't escape logic; if you want to disprove me, all you have to do is show the error in my logic. You could do this by postulating some theory that allows grain to be binary AND bypasses all absurdities associated with switching systems. If you can't do that, then reductio ad absurdum will continue to apply, keeping the onus of proof on you.
     
  307. Bernie: You realise the spaces between atoms is greater than the region within atoms? This should be obvious when you correctly observe that sugar isn't opaque.

    So you do assert that transparency is a property of atoms, then?