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Wow - read this re: Film versus Digital debate!


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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.

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<P><i>Yes and crank it up further and those black specks have holes, holes that let varying amounts of light

through!!</i></P>

<P></P>

<P>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.</P>

<P></P>

<P><i>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.</i></P>

<P></P>

<P>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'.</P>

<P></P>

<P><i>Yes silver ATOMs that make up a filamentary structure, that passes light in varying amounts.</i></P>

<P></P>

<P>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!</P>

<P></P>

<P><i>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?</i></P>

<P></P>

<P>Black silver...clear base...sounds like a binary grain to me.</P>

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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
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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.

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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.<div>00RSSV-87517584.jpg.b250aba6b3e0ad1a09b5e909fc3e371f.jpg</div>

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<P>Roland,</P>

<P></P>

<P><i>3. And, the average pixel of any one color is larger than the grains in most films.</i></P>

<P></P>

<P>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.</P>

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<P>Vijay,</P>

<P></P>

<P><i>Resolution for digital depends on the pixels, not sub-pixel structures. Similarly resolution for film

depends on the grains, not sub-granular structures.</i></P>

<P></P>

<P>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?</P>

<P></P>

<P><i>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.</i></P>

<P></P>

<P>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!</P>

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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

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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.

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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.

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<P>Mark,</P>

<P></P>

<P><i>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.</i> </P>

<P></P>

<P>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.</P>

<P></P>

<P>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.</P>

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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.

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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

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Daniel:

<ul>

<li>

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.

</li>

<li>

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:

<ol>

<li>Silver atoms do not come in your choice of any of one of millions of tones. <i>Mark agrees</i>.</li>

<li>Silver grains do not come in your choice of any of one of millions of tones. <i>Mark disagrees</i>.</li>

<p>

</ol>

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.

</li>

</ul>

<p>

Mark:<br>

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 <i>ad nauseam</i>. 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 :)

<p>

In the meantime, I'm going to play devil's advocate to both camps, since I still can't decide who's right.

<p>

My next post is aimed at Mark.

<p>

Rishi

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