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Author Topic: Film is still hard to beat  (Read 76779 times)

Hillsilly

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #45 on: May 20, 2012, 06:04:39 AM »
I dunno, I just got my EOS 3 off ebay for $150 shipped.
at $12 a roll of film plus $8 developing, how many rolls do I have to shoot to equal a 5D3 body?

Is that what they're going for?  I've got a 7e (aka eos 30), and the 3 is definite step up in features.   Time to go shopping me thinks.
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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #45 on: May 20, 2012, 06:04:39 AM »

pwp

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #46 on: May 20, 2012, 06:50:39 AM »
Yes film certainly does often display lovely subtle differences to carefully processed digital files. I love some of the exquisite Holga and Lomo images that better artists are producing. In a training environment film does have the advantage of forcing a student to really look at the subject and feel very sure before pressing the shutter. There is also a certain motivation  that comes from knowing it will cost a dollar every time you push the shutter.

I started out on a small newspaper where we had to fit four jobs onto a 36 exposure film. There were some narrow advantages in this enforced and necessary system but I know I would have delivered far better shots if I'd gone out with a couple of 32Gb cards.

As someone who has not owned a film camera since 2001 it was in large part a business reality that pushed me away from film. In a good year my annual film/processing bill was $35-45K. The switch to digital was eye-wateringly expensive but almost overnight my film/processing expenses fell to zero and I was sending out bigger invoices as I could value-add, custom prepping the files for exact client needs and delivering to deadline conscious clients in a fraction of the time. It was a business no-brainer.

There are many completely valid dimensions to this discussion, but my decision to dump film signposted a breathtaking leap in the quality and unhindered creativity in the images I was producing. As my first picture editor kept drilling into us, "content is king..."

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7enderbender

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #47 on: May 20, 2012, 09:18:22 AM »
Here's my take (again):

We already have established the economics of this comparison. We know that there are differences in "feel" and "look". All true and in a good way. I still think there is room for both and I still use both. Film less and less - not because I wouldn't like it still (quite the opposite) but because of cost and inconvenience - and because of the drop in quality. And that has to do with the sad fact that a) I don't have easy access any longer to a lab and enlarger to make my own prints b) at "professional" labs mostly everything gets scanned and you get the same kind of mediocre print you get for other digital files.

The two main annoyances with my DSLR: 1) I'm pretty much forced to use AF lenses 2) the print quality these days still hasn't caught up with where film was 20 years ago

And I'm only talking 35mm here. Medium format still beats all that anyway.
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mb66energy

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #48 on: May 20, 2012, 10:37:18 AM »
I don't believe yet that film is hard to beat but I will try it now - with an "old" EOS 33 35mm camera. If I have results I will tell about them in this forum.

O.k., if you compare a 4x5 inch negative with an APS-C file, 4x5 will win.

But the erratic thing is that I see nearly the same detail with a XGA Beamer (0.75 MPixel) and a slide projector. Except the disturbing TFT patterns. And I know that the EOS40D with good light, lens and technique delivers per pixel sharpness. So it would be much better with - lets say - a 6 MPixel Beamer (2k x 3k) which not yet available for mortals like me!

But besides the discussion about which is better: The meaningfulness of the subject, the lighting and the arrangement of the surroundings are the most important parameters to achieve a valuable/good/great/interesting photograph - if you have at least a good so called amateur camera (let's say an 40D, a 650D or similar cameras from other brands).
« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 11:19:30 AM by mb66energy »
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Policar

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #49 on: May 20, 2012, 01:19:18 PM »
That's more of a condemnation of your slide projector (or eyes) than anything...  And it's just not true; my 1080p projector is much softer than the slides I've shot.  Also, I've yet to find a digital camera that's even close to "per-pixel" sharp.  Bayer interpolation and the olpf knock resolution down by at least 30% linearly (and in theory should knock it down by 50% to satisfy nyquist, but of course no one does this).

In terms of extinction resolution 135 and FX are really pretty similar.  I have 25 megapixel scans of Velvia that have detail almost down to the pixel level.  The only issue?  Contrast is quite poor there and it's very grainy.  Subjectively, 135 looks closer to 4 or 6 megapixels than it does to less than one...  You can print up to 8x10 with 135 no problem; you can't from a web cam.

Large format, while no more detailed than any other given medium at normal apertures (due to diffraction), still has the best "look" by a very large margin (excepting maybe those 80 megapixel MFDB backs) just because the lenses are so darned good.  But it takes maybe 20 minutes and six dollars to shoot a photo and $150+ for a high quality scan, so you get what you pay for.  But 4x5, and particularly 8x10 (which I've never shot, only seen prints from) is still a worthy format, even if 135 and 120 are on the way out.

epsiloneri

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #50 on: May 20, 2012, 01:22:32 PM »
For those who think they need a "scientist" to tell them whether they should like a picture, poet Walt Whitman had some advice

This reminds me of a quote from a famous scientist:

Quote from: Richard Feynman
I have a friend who's an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with very well. He'll hold up a flower and say "look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree. Then he says "I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing," and I think that he's kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is ... I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts.
― Richard P. Feynman

dirtcastle

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #51 on: May 20, 2012, 02:02:42 PM »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this "digital vs film" quality issue doesn't really kick until you start printing at large size (beyond 4x6in and magazine spreads).

I'm guessing that the majority of photographs are consumed (by the public) at small sizes (magazine size or smaller), and often on digital devices. At those sizes, is there a technical difference between digital and film?

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #51 on: May 20, 2012, 02:02:42 PM »

Policar

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #52 on: May 20, 2012, 02:34:10 PM »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this "digital vs film" quality issue doesn't really kick until you start printing at large size (beyond 4x6in and magazine spreads).

I'm guessing that the majority of photographs are consumed (by the public) at small sizes (magazine size or smaller), and often on digital devices. At those sizes, is there a technical difference between digital and film?

Smaller than 8''x10'' anything, including 135, is more than good enough.  APS-C digital will hold up almost flawlessly at 11''x17'' (and probably acceptably at any size) unless you're super picky.  The 8x10 film prints I saw were 80''x100'' and at that point you do get a distinct advantage from large format, however.

distant.star

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #53 on: May 20, 2012, 02:49:50 PM »
.
Great quote. I love Feynman, such an iconclast. As an artist himself (he would sit around and make drawings in topless joints) he had an artistic appreciation and insight often missing in his colleagues.

Completely off topic, since we're drifting there anyway, Loren Eiseley was another scientist with a strong artistic side. His essay, "How Flowers Changes the World," should be mandatory reading for any human being.





For those who think they need a "scientist" to tell them whether they should like a picture, poet Walt Whitman had some advice

This reminds me of a quote from a famous scientist:

Quote from: Richard Feynman
I have a friend who's an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with very well. He'll hold up a flower and say "look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree. Then he says "I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing," and I think that he's kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is ... I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts.
― Richard P. Feynman
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dr croubie

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #54 on: May 20, 2012, 06:03:18 PM »
Completely off topic, since we're drifting there anyway, Loren Eiseley was another scientist with a strong artistic side. His essay, "How Flowers Changes the World," should be mandatory reading for any human being.

Drifting further off topic (why not?), for anyone who hasn't heard of him, check out the works of Ernst Haeckel, especially Kunstformen der Natur (Artforms of Nature). I wish I could take macro photos half or even 1/4 as good as his 120-year-old drawings.

Slightly back on-topic, when shooting film, it all depends on how slow film you use to take shots, how good your scanner is, etc. Lots of people making comparisons (not just here, but on the interwebs), are forgetting that they're scanning slides shot 30 years ago on glass that didn't have as fancy coatings as now (although some old lenses are sharper than current counterparts, i'm looking at you, Super Takumar 50/1.4 vs EF 50/1.4).

Aside: i've just thought of a test, seeing as I've got an EOS 3 now (now there's one way film beats digital, Eye control AF), and a roll of Velvia 50 lying around, i'll go ask my friend if he's bought his 5D3 yet and do a direct same-shot-same-lens comparison one day.

Anyway, let't think mathematically.
5D3 is 5760x3840 = 22.11 x10^6 pixels.
Let's scan a 135mm film to 4800dpi:
36/25.4*4800 = 6803x4535 = 30.85 x10^6 pixels.
OK, so scanning all but the finest-grained film is not going to give you the same sharpness as a D800. So let's downscale the scanned film a bit later on.

Now, as is my understanding, an iso100 film has the same grain size, whether it's deposited on a 135, 120, 4x5, or 8x10 negative. (if i'm wrong on that, better stop me here).
So let's scan in a 645 (cropped to 3:2 ratio) film, 56x37.3mm, at 4800dpi.
56/25.4*4800 = 10582x7055 = 74.65 x10^6 pixels.

OK, that's about what I was expecting (i was typing as I worked, so i'm reading the results now too).
Basically, scanning 135 film gives (near enough) equal to the best FF digital in terms of MP (D800), just as scanning 120 film gives equal to the best MF back (IQ180). That's assuming that scanning film to 4800dpi gives just as good results as the digital equivalent, which is a test for later. But the results should scale, if I can only scan a 135 Velvia 50 at 2400dpi (or more likely, to 4800dpi then downscale), I'll get 1/4 the res (7.5mp), and scanning 120 film to the same will give 18MP.


Anyway, that's just from an MP perspective. DR and colours is a whole different perspective, and we could go all day, but they're just not directly comparable (vinyl vs CDs vs MP3s anyone? or transistors vs tubes?).
The best thing about film is the non-linear response curve, so highlights don't get clipped as easily, even if you overexpose a bit too much (if you're good and process your own), you can recover a bit by underdeveloping. With digital, once the photon-bucket is filled, it's filled, no going back (although you can instantly see results and shoot again, another plus on digital). So there's never going to be a direct number-to-number comparison. Knowing your tool is more important than the tool itself in this case.

The best film will always beat the worst digital.
The best digital will always beat the worst film.
I think that's the only thing we can say with certainty...
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dirtcastle

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #55 on: May 20, 2012, 07:15:47 PM »
The best film will always beat the worst digital.
The best digital will always beat the worst film.
I think that's the only thing we can say with certainty...

That's a cool way to look at it. Thanks for the thorough breakdown!

pwp

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #56 on: May 20, 2012, 07:39:11 PM »
Drifting further off topic (why not?), for anyone who hasn't heard of him, check out the works of Ernst Haeckel, especially Kunstformen der Natur (Artforms of Nature). I wish I could take macro photos half or even 1/4 as good as his 120-year-old drawings.
Film vs Digital vs Ernst Haeckel. OMG what exquisite work.

Ernst Haeckel could teach most 21st century image makers a thing or two about patient observation & uncompromising technique. Fabulous.

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pdirestajr

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #57 on: May 20, 2012, 07:46:03 PM »
I thinks there is no debate or comparing "film vs digital".

It's like trying to compare a painting to a digital photoshop illustration. They are completely different in every way. One is organic and the other is digital art.

The process of making an exposure on film, developing that film in a dark room, optically making a print on an enlarger, and developing the print has nothing to do with the digital workflow process.

Why can't they just be different forms of art?

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #57 on: May 20, 2012, 07:46:03 PM »

dirtcastle

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #58 on: May 20, 2012, 07:58:48 PM »
I thinks there is no debate or comparing "film vs digital".

It's like trying to compare a painting to a digital photoshop illustration. They are completely different in every way. One is organic and the other is digital art.

The process of making an exposure on film, developing that film in a dark room, optically making a print on an enlarger, and developing the print has nothing to do with the digital workflow process.

Why can't they just be different forms of art?

Let me guess... you prefer film?

The reason they are considered the same artform is because they are both photography. ;-)
« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 08:03:31 PM by dirtcastle »

Policar

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #59 on: May 20, 2012, 08:05:40 PM »
Completely off topic, since we're drifting there anyway, Loren Eiseley was another scientist with a strong artistic side. His essay, "How Flowers Changes the World," should be mandatory reading for any human being.

Drifting further off topic (why not?), for anyone who hasn't heard of him, check out the works of Ernst Haeckel, especially Kunstformen der Natur (Artforms of Nature). I wish I could take macro photos half or even 1/4 as good as his 120-year-old drawings.

Slightly back on-topic, when shooting film, it all depends on how slow film you use to take shots, how good your scanner is, etc. Lots of people making comparisons (not just here, but on the interwebs), are forgetting that they're scanning slides shot 30 years ago on glass that didn't have as fancy coatings as now (although some old lenses are sharper than current counterparts, i'm looking at you, Super Takumar 50/1.4 vs EF 50/1.4).

Aside: i've just thought of a test, seeing as I've got an EOS 3 now (now there's one way film beats digital, Eye control AF), and a roll of Velvia 50 lying around, i'll go ask my friend if he's bought his 5D3 yet and do a direct same-shot-same-lens comparison one day.

Anyway, let't think mathematically.
5D3 is 5760x3840 = 22.11 x10^6 pixels.
Let's scan a 135mm film to 4800dpi:
36/25.4*4800 = 6803x4535 = 30.85 x10^6 pixels.
OK, so scanning all but the finest-grained film is not going to give you the same sharpness as a D800. So let's downscale the scanned film a bit later on.

Now, as is my understanding, an iso100 film has the same grain size, whether it's deposited on a 135, 120, 4x5, or 8x10 negative. (if i'm wrong on that, better stop me here).
So let's scan in a 645 (cropped to 3:2 ratio) film, 56x37.3mm, at 4800dpi.
56/25.4*4800 = 10582x7055 = 74.65 x10^6 pixels.

OK, that's about what I was expecting (i was typing as I worked, so i'm reading the results now too).
Basically, scanning 135 film gives (near enough) equal to the best FF digital in terms of MP (D800), just as scanning 120 film gives equal to the best MF back (IQ180). That's assuming that scanning film to 4800dpi gives just as good results as the digital equivalent, which is a test for later. But the results should scale, if I can only scan a 135 Velvia 50 at 2400dpi (or more likely, to 4800dpi then downscale), I'll get 1/4 the res (7.5mp), and scanning 120 film to the same will give 18MP.


Anyway, that's just from an MP perspective. DR and colours is a whole different perspective, and we could go all day, but they're just not directly comparable (vinyl vs CDs vs MP3s anyone? or transistors vs tubes?).
The best thing about film is the non-linear response curve, so highlights don't get clipped as easily, even if you overexpose a bit too much (if you're good and process your own), you can recover a bit by underdeveloping. With digital, once the photon-bucket is filled, it's filled, no going back (although you can instantly see results and shoot again, another plus on digital). So there's never going to be a direct number-to-number comparison. Knowing your tool is more important than the tool itself in this case.

The best film will always beat the worst digital.
The best digital will always beat the worst film.
I think that's the only thing we can say with certainty...

Except that megapixels mean nothing as a metric and mtf means everything.  And both scanners and sensors are supposed to be designed to oversample by a factor of at least 2 (although they don't) to prevent aliasing.

A D800 shot will put Velvia 50 to shame every time, mm per mm.

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #59 on: May 20, 2012, 08:05:40 PM »