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Digital or Digital via Film

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by BobBill, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    I have been shooting digital for a couple years or so and engaged the medium's obvious advantages...which to me is mostly no film worries (convenience).

    My most-used cameras are the Pens and a small Lumix point and shoot that is waterproof etc/convenient sailing etc.

    But, on the other hand, when I get into the art of photography, I remain a film guy, and use my trusty F2A (PH11) and develop the film, and then scan it.

    It seems the scanned film remains the superior end product, the drag being camera weight and fewer options at shutter press and weight.

    I must add that most, if not all, of my serious attempts are with B/W film...but there are those color moments...

    I may go back to film, with all its fiddling, and wonder if others here or elsewhere have found themselves in a similar conundrum?
     
  2. Nathan King

    Nathan King Mu-43 Regular

    103
    Jun 19, 2013
    Omaha, NE
    I have had a pro lab scan my black and white 6x7 medium format negatives to 18 megapixels. I have had some of the scans printed but prefer the look I get from my silver gelatin prints on an enlarger. Of course, I would kill to be able to do in the darkroom what I can do with the scans in Photoshop!

    There is A HUGE range of tonality in a negative (look at them under a loupe on a light table); however, that range is larger than even high end fine art papers, so not all of them will always print with adequate tonal separation. I can really nail the exposure with my Seikonic one degree spot meter and can judge if I'll need to modify development to retain as much highlight and shadow detail as I can, which is considerably more than my E-M5. For me, its not a conundrum, I do prefer film and use my Mamiya 645 and RZ67 more often than my E-M5.
     
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  3. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I have been tempted multiple times to go back and shoot a roll but haven't since I went digital years ago. I always wanted to try medium format but the cost was beyond me. The low prices on good used Mamiya and Bronica equipment is tempting me again. I wouldn't use it a lot but for those special times it would be nice. Of coarse I would have my film scanned because I refuse to give up digital editing of my images.

    I have been reading on what resolution film would equate to and there are way too many theories. I have yet to find a truly scientific and reliable source. Some argue that the average 35mm film would be between a 20 and 30 MP sensor and others argue as high as 100+ MP. Of coarse the way they work is very different and each has advantages and disadvantages. Anybody have a link to a reliable source on this?
     
  4. Jeff1:1

    Jeff1:1 Mu-43 Regular

    70
    Dec 2, 2013
    Chicago
    After trying DXO Film Pack and other software manipulations, I have hard time finishing 3 rolls VS100 35mm film I have left. Maybe medium format gives bigger difference, but I can't justify expense of another system & processing cost for half dozen rolls per year.
     
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  5. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    Caught this on Peta-Pixel yesterday and thought it was pretty interesting - not in a 'this is better than that' way but more in a 'interesting rendering differences' way

    [video=youtube;WiwsOaDBZkQ]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiwsOaDBZkQ[/video]
     
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  6. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    941
    Oct 20, 2011
    I prefer film as it allows the best of both worlds. Ilford's delta 100, or ilford 400 (I use 4x5) scanned in and PS'd to my heart's delight is a hard combo to beat. No need to be a purist, imo. Even Fuji's insant film at 3200 is pretty fantastic. You can print them out as a 8x10 digital negs and get some real impressive contact prints. If I had a larger contact frame I'd print larger, but its a ton of fun. Big negs have ALOT of range in PS. Especially with multiple scans. Lots of crazy tricks

    Lately I've been wanting an 8x10 to get into contact printing those negs, but that would just be a ridiculous luxury.

    OMG, that video... the idea of doing that kind if thing with film seems insane though...
     
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  7. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    Film printed to photographic paper has character, warmth of complexion, and charismatic in nature.

    Digital photographs and prints are like the new clean, pure, and analytical in nature.

    These traits are why there are no standards which can easily be recognized as to when digital resolution equals film resolution.

    Digital can never duplicate the film or print processing and excitement of watching a black and white print come to being or the surprises of a color print enlargement - or the joy of knowing when you finally succeeded in printing your vision.
     
  8. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    +1
     
  9. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    +1
     
  10. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    And, too, doing both offers a slightly different window on the world, IF you have the time. What I mean, is that the subjects are indifferent and missed shots can be heartbreaking...for years, but digital can help to set the shot for film.

    I am certain Halsman and others like him, including Cartier-Bresson and Ansel would have used digital to some extent...looking for the key to perfection.
     
  11. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    I have yet to conquer this process, as is negatives. Should remove the blemishes, but stuck them here for reference. Sorry.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Nathan King

    Nathan King Mu-43 Regular

    103
    Jun 19, 2013
    Omaha, NE
    In numerous interviews of Ansel in his later years he expressed excitement in the possibilities of the new "electronic image." Im certain given his penchant for painstakingly spot metering his subjects to see where the luminance range fell and modifying development for maximum detail he would have loved digitally merging exposures in HDR photography, done very subtly and naturally, of course.

    As for equivalent megapixels for film. I have never been a numbers person and honestly have no idea, but look at these:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/98835475@N03/11546074155/sizes/c/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/98835475@N03/11546235283/sizes/c/


    Ignore for a minute the boring subject matter in these two images (I was messing around testing my studio flashes). The first was taken with an E-M5 and 75mm f/1.8. The second was 6x7 medium format (Mamiya RZ67, 90mm lens with the bellows racked all the way out, and Ilford Delta 100). The medium format was scanned to 28 megapixels, and you can see that the scan resolved down to the film grain (which is extremely fine with Delta 100) when you increase the size to "original." The digital file does not pixellate or show noise nearly as fast as the film scan begins showing grain when you view them both in Flickr at the larger sizes. This is despite competing with a 16 megapixel digital image. I'm not hating film, in fact I shoot mostly film and love it, but it is what it is.

    Bottom line: film or digital? BOTH! It depends on what the artist is visualizing. Sometimes digital allows us to come closest to our visualization of the finished image and sometimes film does. Why did DaVinci paint his famous Mona Lisa using oil paint instead of watercolor? Because oil probably allowed him to get closest to what he had in his mind's eye.
     
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  13. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    I like Just Jim's ideas of using 4x5, but I got away from my Crown Graphic long ago as the longer lenses were too spendy. I have had some success with scanning in 35 mm negatives really big and then going bigger later, but I cannot knock the m4/3 for grab-convenience...I mean, for the "gee one change to get it" shot, and so on.

    I still bring out the 8008s and the F2a for the "studies"...which reminds me to get crackin' on three cassettes to develop.

    Just Jim, if you happen to see this, what 4x5/lenses? Just curious. As implied, the combo is the best of both worlds to me, though I would not trade my EP-3 for anything.

    Nice to know I am not a screwball, meaning nice to know others have similar ideas about this game. Yea!
     
  14. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    So true, of course, at least for me 100. +1 also.
     
  15. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    941
    Oct 20, 2011
    I use a Schneider Super Angulon 90mm f8, a Kodak Aero 2.5, a cheapo graflex tessar @ 128mm 5.6 (surprisingly good and easy to use) , and a 6" no name brass lens, I also have a Dallmeyer RR that has about 100 degree view (give or take a few degrees).

    What I want.. well. Modern Coated lenses, but I don't have the 1.5-3k to be spending, but hey, maybe in a few years. The oldies, while a PIA, do work quite well.

    I also suggest learning more about scanning, as that can really make or break film images in digital. I'm not the best at it, and need a lot of learning to get the most out of it. Mostly I'm super sloppy with any kind of workflow that's repeatable.

    Ken Lee has a page on scanning to get you started, it quite helpful http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/index.php#Monocular I bookmarked the monacle part (amazing really) but scroll up. He's more of a purist, but he knows how to get a super clean file.
     
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  16. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    Thanks for the response and Mr Lee's link. I am sloppy too, but the scans do come out fine for my purposes. I use an ancient version of P-shop to remove bad stuff.

    I also use only green as well. If I use digital, I shoot RGB and go to green later. I will go over the Lee material carefully. I always scan the BW films in RGB and revert later.

    My Crown Graphic had a Compur 2.8 on it, and I still have the negatives, but with today's tech, I am more at ease with the 35mm format and smaller machines..

    Thanks much.
     
  17. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    Uh-oh...just processed a pic from film, 1974...and bought a nifty 57 Bessa I with orig 645 mask for more...might not look back and consign nice
    E-P3 to back up. Guess I am slipping into a 2014 forward funk.
     
  18. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    Mike
    I have not shot any film for nearly a year. One of my 2013 resolutions was to shoot my remaining film stock, but it never came to pass. Several years ago I pretty much stopped using my digital cameras and shot film exclusively with my Voigtländer Bessa cameras. I used Ilford XP2 so processing was not an issue. I would then scan the negatives and PP with Photoshop. I later started to use a P&S digital camera on trips and the film cameras saw less and less use. Now I use u4/3 gear and am very pleased with the results. At one time film had a larger dynamic range than digital sensors. I think that digital photography has pretty much caught up and in some cases surpassed the dynamic range of film. My current cameras are capable of producing very nice 13x19 prints. The variety of papers available now for printing make it possible to rival gelatin papers. Software and computers have now replaced the wet darkroom for many photographers and offer the same image refinement as wet printing. I also enjoy the convenience of digital - no chemicals to deal with, working in a lighted room, etc. Even as I put these thoughts down in print I wax nostalgic for time spent developing film and watching my images magically appear in the developing tray. I applaud those of you who still enjoy shooting film and working in a darkroom. Enjoy!

    Happy New Year!
     
  19. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    Bio...agree. I do both. In fact your note reminded me that I neglected to post the "fixed" version of the Oats pic above, but c'est le vie...I do both, but when the art need is there, the film comes out, the seemingly slight differences and convenience of digital notwithstanding.

    Moreover, since my reversion, I note that interest in film has or is rising...indeed, apps are available for using smartphones as light meters...for what else but film.

    I might add I have had to quit the dark room for many reasons, one of which is time...not enough really to do both digital and film, so I scan the film and do at the computer...but down the road...seems film will remain the art form of choice, HDR etc notwithstanding, simply because in-phone cameras have made everyone (and that does have its drawbacks) a photog...and that in and of itself is not a good thing, IMHO.