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Wow - read this re: Film versus Digital debate!

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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.


<a href="http://www.northcoastphoto.com/Ken_Rockwell_Scans.pdf">North Cost Scans</a>


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...

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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.
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"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".


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!!!

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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

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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.

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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...............
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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


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>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.



Well I did just that, and came up with this:



Not very good science at all, in fact I have written an article to debunk it- as film isn't binary but analogue.



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.


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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.
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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



He is not writing about 'end results and how you get there' it is a wholly wrong opinion piece written in a very snarky


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.


But I spent 18 months researching my 'how film works' MR wrote his quip in 15 mins.


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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.

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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".
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"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.

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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?
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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!!

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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.
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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!

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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.

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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)

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<P>Mark Smith,</P>


<P>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.</P>


<P>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."</P>


<P>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.</P>


<P>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.</P>


<P>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.</p>


<p>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



<p>While I'm on the topic of your blog post, you said: <i>...therefore the dynamic range of density is analogue

in nature and virtually infinite.</i> 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.</p>

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