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Film vs Digital - Color Rendition


mauro_franic
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<p>A COMPETITION !!!!!!!!!!</p>

<p>As we all know film and digital are very different when it comes to color.</p>

<p>First, film (or scanners) do not interpolate color and this translates into higher color resolution which provides a less smoothened (infamously "plasticy") rendition.</p>

<p>Additionally, and most importantly, different films give photographers a characteristic and predictable look, an array of ammunition with different color responses to individual wavelengths. This cannot be reproduced with digital cameras (as of today) since the response of a single sensor to different wavelengths cannot be changed. </p>

<p>Consequently, it is impossible to reproduce the look of a particular film (e.g. Velvia) starting with a digital capture unless that particular film is used alongside the digital camera to match the colors later in PS.</p>

<p> </p>

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<p>The competition:</p>

<p>I have shot different scenes under different light with a digital camera and also with several films alongside.</p>

<p>At the beginning of the competition, everyone will be presented with only the digital capture.</p>

<p>Participants will provide their best effort to render the color for each picture as closely as possible to the different films and post their exercise replacing the question marks with their guesses.</p>

<p>Participants can revise their guess any number of times. Only the last one will be taken into consideration.</p>

<p>After 1000 posts, 100 participants or 30 days; whichever comes first, the competition will close, I will post the results (in my possession already with the exception of Velvia which was sent to the lab) and the judges will deliberate and announce the winner.</p>

<p>I will provide the prizes.</p><div>00YIXv-335745584.jpg.c2a223fcc1f6e8e43a781140f1f7916f.jpg</div>

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<p>The Prizes:</p>

<p>1st place:</p>

<p>- Minolta XD11 in perfect condition.<br>

- Matching prime 50mm lens.<br>

- $100 worth of film. The film will be purchased new on-line and drop shipped to the destination chosen by the winner. The winner will also provide the list of films desired not to exceed $100.<br>

- Eternal recognition as Color Master (at least by me).</p>

<p>2nd place:</p>

<p>- $100 worth of film. The film will be purchased new on-line and drop shipped to the destination chosen by the runner up. The runner up will also provide the list of films desired not to exceed $100.</p>

 

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<p>Discussion:</p>

<p>Welcomed to all people - participants or not.<br>

.</p>

<p>Judges:</p>

<p>I need three volunteers.</p>

<p>Myself and three volunteers (film or digital shooters with a record of participating in Photo.net) will be the judges.</p>

<p>Please email me at franicma@yahoo.com if you desire to act as a judge.<br>

.</p>

<p>Enjoy.</p>

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<p>Seems like a fun game, Mauro, and some very generous prizes. I'm just a bit confused as to what to do and how to do it. I understand the digital images are at the top and the films listed on the side.</p>

<blockquote>

<p>Participants will provide their best effort to render the color for each picture as closely as possible to the different films and post their exercise replacing the question marks with their guesses</p>

</blockquote>

<p>What do you mean render? Do you mean I should download the three digital images and post process them in Photoshop to what I think those films look like? Then paste them back into a grid? In this thread? Why are two N/A? </p>

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<p>This weekend I will be out shooting pictures (I seem to remember that is what our hobby is about) with both film and digital. It's called a "Life". Maybe Mauro you should think about why you spend so much time on the unwinnable debate and get back to why, I assume, you got interested in photography in the first place. People seem to be very happy with whichever medium they choose, why the endless round of This vs That?</p>
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<p>Louis, for each of the three digital pictures, you have to start with the digital pictures and modify them (colors, saturation, etc) to try to provide the look of each film below. </p>

<p>You have to post a chart like the one above (same size if possible) replacing the question marks with your guesses.</p>

<p>You can used any tool at your disposal (including specialized software if you would).</p>

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<p>I shot each individual film so I have the results with me. After the competition is closed and I post the actual film shots, I will also provide close ups to discuss color/tonal gradation relative to each film. Resolution and dynamic range are also observable although it was not the driver for this test.</p>

<p>I had never actually created a formal exercise like this myself and it was very interesting last night for me to see he subtleties in color palette between Portra 160c and 400 for example under different lights.</p>

<p> </p>

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<p>@ Lex<br>

I will be delighted to see a well designed and impartial discussion, I just hope this will be one. I do object to the constant "film vs digital" confrontational tone to these debates, look at the "Film vs 5D MKII" to see what I mean, there are 23 pages to it ( didn't seem to lead anywhere reallly) and all were based on a very flawed first set of examples. As Mauric will know I asked many times for a level playing field test but had no response to this. I hope this will be a more balanced debate but really, hasn't this been done to death now? I like the technical aspects as well, I worked in the industry for years including owning a pro lab, whenever these threads come up they just seem to turn into a slanging match between film and digital. I wait eagerly to learn something new from a well balanced and impartial discussion. Please don't blame me if I don't hold my breath.</p>

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<p>So another thread with a stupid premise, digital users are supposed to guess how inaccurately various films reproduce colour, with no targets at all, they are then supposed to post their guesses, you can then pull them apart and use them for ever more as examples of how bad digital is at making the same mistakes film does!</p>

<p>Why not take an image of a colour checker card with your various films then get people to try to get the colours correct, not just accurately white balanced. At least competitors would have an actual, accurate and indisputable target to aim for. No contest really, digital can just do it automatically, even if it is a scanned film image.</p>

<p>You seem to be setting this thread up as a "film has a better "look" than digital" tomb. Digital has far more looks than film, if people want grain, colours etc that give a film feel it can be done far more easily in a digital workflow. So you see an image that really needs a Kodachrome "look", how you gonna do that on film? You see an image that needs a Velvia look but you only have Portra with you, what are you going to do? Will the digital conversions be similar enough for pixel level internet nerd comparisons? Probably not, without a decent bit of effort. Good enough for everybody else including lots of image pros and buyers? Yes.</p>

<p>It seems the record player is still broken.</p>

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<p>Any of the negative films will have the color and contrast controled by the details of how the film is scanned. There is not aboslute color or contrast in a negative film, so it is like shooting at a moving target. The Velvia could be more interesting, but even there the color and contrast can be different in the scan then in the slide. I have had a Velvia slide scanned from two differeent scanners and the results look miles apart. </p>

<p>So show us what your film scan looks like and then see how close the digital image can come to matching it, that would be of far more interest to me, of course we would want the raw files to work with.</p>

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<p>This is not a film VS digital test. This is a Digital VS Digital test as soon as you scan the film it becomes Digital.<br>

To do a film VS Digital test you would have to shoot film and then print it in a Dark room then shoot the same shot on Digital and print it on a digital printer.<br>

Sigh I am not even sure why I started to read this thread. Have fun boys but don't look to prove anything with you Digital vs Digital test.</p>

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<p>Mauro, I think I see three problems:</p>

<p>1. Shouldn't have put "Film vs Digital" in the subject line. It only causes problematic individuals to go off topic and insult you. See above. (Not directly above but a few up. Seriously, problematic individual, if you're so down on film, just don't read the film forum. It's only going to annoy you.)</p>

<p>2. I can take my digital raw files and make them approximate how films look when I scan them, but I don't know how you scan. That's a problem especially with, say, Ektar and Portra 400, where there's so much flexibility deliberately built into the film.</p>

<p>3. These are JPGs and there isn't enough shadow detail to do a proper job on what I would think negative films would look like in those situations.</p>

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<p>I'm taking this a fun "Match-the-Film" experiment. I have some experience with the films. I'm not using plug-ins, just winging it in Photoshop adjusting contrast, color and saturation going from memory. I hope I'm doing this right. Certainly individual monitor calibrations, including the judges, will be an issue.<br /> In the end only Mauro's direct side-by-side comparison will be of any value for technical discussion. All the individual game players are doing just that...playing a game. Thanks for an interesting, fun game, Mauro.<br /> Here are my entries:<br /> Velvia 50</p><div>00YIgt-335869584.jpg.80fe555baf020f9c049c6e7600cabf71.jpg</div>
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<p>I agree with Michael and Andy: As long as we compare images on a computer screen we would not do an all-film work flow (from capture to print or slide projection) justice.<br>

Also, 8bit jpg images as a starting point for any further image processing is not doing justice to an all-digital workflow.<br>

Lastly, I think several of your statements in your first post are not correct. In digital, the sensor does not produce the image, or the color rendition. That is done during the digital image processing step. Different programs will give you different results for the same RAW data, and the same program can give an infinite large number of different results. Different sensors will give you different signal, and thus RAW data, to work with, but processing has a significantly larger impact on the final result. Let's face it, simply by looking at a digital image, you cannot tell if it was shot with a Nikon or Canon.<br>

What you propose is an exercise in Photoshop techniques. I think there are programs that simulate certain film looks.</p>

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